Tag Archives: Adult Fiction

@FTThum #BookReview ‘The Scent of You’ by Maggie Alderson

For me who’s struggling to see how five months of 2017 is nearly over, I took a mental break and reached for “The Scent of You”.

 

Title:          The Scent of You
Author:        Maggie Alderson
Publishers:     Harper Collins
Publication date:  1 April 2017
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Website:        maggiealderson.com
Pages:             512
Genre:           Fiction – Contemporary; ChickLit

 

 

What’s it about?

“The Scent of You” is Australian author Maggie Alderson’s 10th novel. It is a story of loyalty and of letting go, of following your heart or your head, and the conflicts within.

Hippolyta Masterton-Mackay, Polly to her friends, is a mother to Lucas and Clemmie, both of whom are away at university. She is also a successful blogger, an initial hobby which is now work, and a yoga teacher.

Polly is daughter to Daphne, a glamorous model at 85 years of age and living in a posh retirement home. Though she was quite emotionally absent from Polly in her younger days, Daphne now seems to have great insights into the dilemma her daughter is facing. The dilemma – Polly’s husband has vanished after declaring his need for space. What is Polly to do?

It is through her perfume blog in which she wrote of how scents evoked memories, and vice versa, which causes her to chance upon Guy, a gifted perfumer making a break in the world of scents. Guy quickly became one of her inner circle, but could there be more?

Around the same time, Polly reconnects with an old school friend, Edward, with whom she had shared an innocent kiss on the beach. Chum, a nickname for Edward, visits his stepfather at the same retirement home in which Daphne resides. And before long, Polly and Chum are taking long walks in the country, familiar and comfortable with each other’s company. Is familiarity a better choice than the excitement of Guy?

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation of lost husband and emerging relationship, she is supported by her yoga students, Shirlee in particular.

What will Polly do? Will Polly take this opportunity to realise who she wants to be?

Would I recommend it?

“The Scent of You” is light and entertaining, a worthy beach holiday read. Or read anywhere really.

This book is filled with warm characters, lovable and flawed. Pick it up and enjoy!

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think:                   2/5
Overall enjoyment:               3.5/5
Readability:                           3.5/5
Recommended:                     3/5
Overall Rating:                  3/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 11.18
 
 Booktopia  Ebook  AUD 14.99
 Paperback  AUD 25.50

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘From a Paris Balcony’ by Ella Carey

My birthday isn’t here yet, but I have just finished “From a Paris Balcony”, a gift from a dear friend. Here’s what I think of it.

Title:          From a Paris Balcony
Author:        Ella Carey
Publishers:     Lake Union Publishing  (October 11, 2016)
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Website:         www.ellacarey.com
Pages:             290
Genre:           Fiction – Contemporary

 

What’s it about?

“From a Paris Balcony” tells the stories of two women from two different centuries, both lost. Louisa Duval (nee West) longed for freedom and independence in conservative 19th century Europe, while Sarah West longed for the husband and family she would now not have.

They are bound by a devastating death, Louisa’s through suicide. To escape the pain in her life, she fled to Paris on a personal mission to discover the story of Louisa, her great great-aunt’s death after discovering a letter written to Louisa’s husband, Henry from one of Belle Epoque Paris’ notorious courtesan, Marthe de Florian. Guided by her instinct, Sarah searched for answers as her path crosses that of Laurent Chartier, an acclaimed artist who seems to be on his own private journey.

Will Sarah find the answers she is searching for? Did Louisa?

The women’s lives ran parallel in their attachment to their ideals and the future they wanted. Will they dare to embrace the lives they have, instead of the lives they wish?

Other than the romance, “From a Paris Balcony” highlights the conflict and hypocrisy of morality, class and norms in late 19th century Europe, particularly Paris and London. It also brings the issue of gender inequality to the fore.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, and enjoy it. There are whimsical and reflective elements to this book, and few could escape the romanticism of the City of Light.

Now I wish I was back there 😉 !

 

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think:                   3/5
Overall enjoyment:               3.5/5
Readability:                           3/5
Recommended:                     3.5/5
Overall Rating:                  3/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 4.99
  Paperback USD 6.32

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent

A book which I earmarked to read for some time. Finally, I did.

burial-ritesTitle:          Burial Rites
Author:        Hannah Kent
Publishers:     Back Bay Books, April 2014
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Pages:             311
Genre:           Fiction – Historical, Literary Fiction

What’s it about?

This heartbreaking story of a woman’s life journey in early 19th century Iceland gripped me from page one.

Burial Rites is a fictionalised story of a true event – In 1828, an Icelandic servant named Agnes Magnúsdóttir was convicted of killing her employer and another man, then burning their bodies. Hannah Kent’s take, as she explained, was “to supply a more ambiguous portrayal” of a woman who has been seen as a “witch, stirring up murder”.

There is no happy ending, and it is no surprise. But this book is not about finding out what happens at the end, but a study of Anna Magnúsdóttir’s life leading to her execution.

The Icelandic setting of unrelenting cold and unforgiving rocky terrain, is perfect backdrop to this story of poverty and a woman’s place within it. A young girl growing up without love and care, spurned and betrayed by those she depended on, Anna’s shame is writ large in her name, and by all that followed her survival.

There was no prison in Iceland then. So when Anna was convicted of murder, she is sent to live with District Officer Jon Jonsson; his ailing wife, Margret; and their two daughters to await her execution. A young clergy, Assistant Reverend Thorvardur Jonsson (‘Toti’) is sent to Anna as a spiritual guide to prepare her for the fateful day.

Reverend Toti initially did not understand the story Anna told, listening through his naïve and blinkered view of the world. But he finally did. And as Anna’s story unfolds, I the reader am confronted by questions.

What makes a person culpable for her actions?

What does it mean to undertake voluntary act? Who is responsible?

How much of our stories are constructed by what was told about us?

How much of us is truly seen and understood?

Would I recommend it?

A solid account. An engaging story. Highly recommended.

 

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think:                   3/5
Overall enjoyment:               4/5
Readability:                           4/5
Recommended:                     3.5/5
Overall Rating:                  3.5/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 7.47
  Paperback USD 6.00
 Bookdepository  Paperback  AUD 18.00

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Grind’ by Edward Vukovic

When approached by Vukovic for an honest review, I could not refuse as I am an avid coffee drinker. The book cover is enticing, and in itself, pip my curiosity. Coffee grind reading…?

grind-coverTitle:          Grind
Author:        Edward Vukovic
Publishers:     CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 2, 2016)
Format:          Kindle, Paperback
Website:         www.edwardvukovic.com
Pages:             398
Genre:           Fiction – Contemporary

What’s it about?

The story is a microcosm of the world at large, bound by the aromatic substance, coffee.  This is an entirely enjoyable and intelligent book, weaving multi-faceted characters through each other’s lives culminating in a powerful resolution.

We have Ziva, a young migrant woman, intelligent and trapped in a world of poverty. Infused with a talent for coffee-grind reading, she lives by her heightened ‘instinctive’ sense.

There is Simon, an angry direction-less man feeling victimised by life and its injustices; the only valuable thing in his life that which he thought could not be taken from him – his special coffee.

And Isaac, pub owner and a man atoning for his sins as he only knows how – the daily overcoming of the temptation of a former vice.

What of Michel, a homeless man by choice, oddly noble man avoiding his past and seeking in his own way to make amends.

Danielle, the young girl with a mentally ill father, bound by circumstances yet still hopeful for a better world.

Masterfully crafted by Vukovic, their lives intersect and will be forever changed, each character finding redemption.

I cannot help but associate the title ‘Grind’ with a different meaning, the grind that is life for the characters, each with a burden to bear. Will it lighten, I wonder…?

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely. ‘Grind’ draws the reader into the lives of its characters, reminding us that we all have our privates selves, that it is a priilege to be let into that private world.  We are the same – doing the best we can in our world – no matter the texture of our story; and interconnected – our actions have impact on others .

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think:                   3.5/5
Overall enjoyment:               4.5/5
Readability:                           4/5
Recommended:                     4/5
Overall Rating:                  4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 2.95
  Hardback USD 18.95

~ FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2017 LitWorldInterviews

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “The Iron Pendulum,” BY AUTHOR @MELLO_ELO

The Iron Pendulum

  • Title:  The Iron Pendulum
  • Author: Eloise De Sousa
  • File Size:
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication Date: June 26, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1326689983
  • ISBN-13: 9781326689988
  • ASIN: B01HYFLBII
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Murder Mystery

In the Author’s Words:

“Julia Webster and Hugo del Fuego are missing from their third-floor apartment in Bagley. The grisly display discovered in their home leaves Detectives Perkins and Jones with little evidence to follow and, as more remains turn up, the pressure mounts to find the killer. Time is the key element in solving a case riddled with dead ends and a strange family hiding its true evil behind the façade of money and power. Can they unravel the secrets hidden behind the closed doors and will it be enough to solve the case and rescue the couple in time?”

My Recommendation:

*The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Answering a missing person call, Detective Inspectors, Bob Jones and James Perkins enter a flat in Bagley and are greeted by a grisly sight. Large silver hooks are  suspended above their heads fastened to the ceiling; the kind used for hanging freshly slaughtered livestock. Pieces of flesh, still dripping blood, are attached to the hooks. By the looks of the flesh, it could be animal or human… However, all they find inside the flat is an orange and green parrot screaming and screeching inside a cupboard.

If you aren’t creeped out yet, hang on! The occupants of the flat are missing. Julia Webster and Hugo Del Fuego, both in their early twenties have disappeared into thin air. The couple has rented the flat for the past three years and always were seen as dependable. Where could they be?

With little evidence to go on the detectives are thrown head first into one of the most bizarre missing person cases I have ever read. Author, Eloise De Sousa adeptly strings the reader along revealing more grisly discoveries along the way. There is an extraordinary family history intertwined within the story that propels you forward to the shocking conclusion.

For me, the story was all about the detectives. Both were interesting characters, deeply haunted by the inexplicable events. True to British murder mysteries, the author wove  the detective’s own stories into the sequence of events, giving the story a realistic quality. I loved these detectives! They played off of one another’s strengths and weakness perfectly.

If you love a good murder mystery and don’t get squeamish reading about blood and murder, then this book is for you. I did get pretty creeped out, I won’t deny that. No matter. I could not put this book down! I had to find out the truth of what happened. There is quite the shock factor when you reach the end… Remember, I warned you!

Gulps

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

5gold-star3

 

 

 

Eloise De Sousa 2Author, Eloise De Sousa

About Eloise De Sousa:

For many years Eloise has been writing stories to entertain children and adults alike.
Her new book, The Iron Pendulum, is a fictional thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very end and her romance thriller, Deception, has the passion and drive to transport you back to Zimbabwe, where her book is based.

Not satisfied with just writing adult fiction, she has recently released a new book in the Spoilt Miranda series, this time tackling the terrible trio, Cecil, Bertha and Thomas in her book Cecil The Bully. Lots of slapstick comedy and of course, some serious lessons can be learned through Eloise’s children’s books which deal with everyday bullying in schools.

For more information on her work and weekly updates, follow her blog at www.eloisedesousa.wordpress.com and at www.facebook.com/eloisebookcorner.

A full list of Eloise De Sousa’s books and ebooks can be found at www.eloiseds.com.

You can find Eloise on Twitter @mello_elo.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

Fear of Dying by Erica Jong #bookreview by @FTThum

Fear of Dying

Title:                    Fear of Dying
Author:                Erica Jong
Publishers:        Canongate (29 October 2015)
Format:                Paperback
ISBN-10:             178211744X
ISBN-13:             978-1782117445
Website:             http://www.ericajong.com/fear-of-dying.htm
Pages:                   288
Genre:                 Adult Fiction; Women’s Fiction
 

What’s it about?

This book is further evidence of Erica Jong’s courage in tackling personal politics through fiction.  This poet and author of ‘Fear of Flying’ to ‘Fear of Fifty’ now tackles the issue of ageing and death and our very human reaction to fear of dying through the pursuit of sex.

Fear of Dying opens with an advertisement on Zipless.com – an internet sex site, by the protagonist, Vanessa Wonderman, which read in part,

“Happily married woman with extra erotic energy seeks happily married man to share same.”

Vanessa is a 60 year old woman exposed to deaths around her from the loss of her beloved father, to the process of losing her mother whom she admired and loved, to the shock of almost losing her husband. And her psychological response? To cling to life, to the symbol of life and vitality that is, sex – the “life force, the fire that goes from loins to navel, navel to heart, heart to brain”.

Vanessa is married to a man two decades older and impotent whom she loved yet found wanting, he met her needs yet she is unable to appreciate some of his ways, particularly the interference of his work.

Vanessa have always had the adoration of men, whom she in turn adored and flirted with and more. Ageing threatens her, as the first line in the book states, “I used to love the power I had over men” and later, “I hate, hate, hate getting older”.

Written in the first person, I encounter Vanessa’s mind in Fear of Dying as she experiences conflicted emotions and confusion. Vanessa does not profess to be the ‘good daughter’ or the ‘good mother’ or the ‘good wife’…quite the contrary. And it is the flawed aspects of Vanessa that makes this book entertaining and humorous. Her honesty is refreshing. It kept me turning the pages.

How does it end for Vanessa, the cynical somewhat jaded actor? You must discover this for yourself.

And if Fear of Dying is semiautobiographical then it is a testament that 60 year olds are still sexually passionate and not just in their minds.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, an intelligent and entertaining book that kept me wanting to know how it ends for Vanessa.

Ratings:

Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think:               3.5/5
Overall enjoyment:           4/5
Readability:                       3.5/5
Recommended:                 3.5/5
Overall Rating:                   3.5/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD $4.44
  Paperback USD $15.99
Booktopia Paperback AUD $17.95
Bookdepository Paperback £12.23

– FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

florence-2

© 2016 LitWorldInterviews

 

Book review @FTThum : The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by @JoelDicker

Harry Quebert

Title:               The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair
Author:          Joel Dicker (translated to English by Sam Taylor)
Publishers:   MacLehose Press, London (2015)
Format:         Paperback
ISBN-10:        1848663269
ISBN-13:        9781848663268
Website:         http://joeldicker.com/
Twitter:          @JoelDicker
Pages:             624
Genre:            Fiction; Crime Mystery

What’s it about?

And if every writer had to limit his writing to his own experience, literature would be impoverished and would lose all its meaning. We’re allowed to write about anything that affects us. And no one can judge us for that. We’re writers because we do one thing differently, one thing that everyone around knows how to do: write. All the nuances reside there.              Harry Quebert

And so it is that Marcus Goldman seeks to write a particular story about his mentor and inspiration, Harry Quebert.

Marcus Goldman is a high achieving and competitive writer, who has returned to see his mentor Harry Quebert in the quiet seaside town of Somerset, New Hampshire as the deadline for his second book looms. He is experiencing a severe case of writer’s block in the wake of his first highly acclaimed book.

It was while visiting Harry that the body of Nola, a 15 year old girl lost for some 30 years, was uncovered in the backyard of Harry’s house. As things unravel, stories involving Harry, Nola and the many characters in the town came to light as Marcus was compelled to investigate. There are twists to the story at every turn so don’t get comfortable. 🙂

Beyond the murder mystery/thriller (it is indeed difficult to slot this book into a particular genre), this book is also about the relationship between Harry and Marcus, the bonds they forged and the meaning of trust and loyalty. I can’t help being a vicarious mentee to Harry!

Don’t write in order to be read, write in order to be heard.     Harry Quebert

This is also a romance novel, documenting a love story between two unlikely characters, a story of love and sacrifice that is rather unexpected, and makes the reader (moi) question the usual conceptions of love, age and romance.

What she felt for him was something I had never felt before…and it was at that moment that I realized…that I had probably never been in love. That lots of people have never been in love. That they make do with good intentions; that they hide away in the comfort of a crummy existence and shy away from that amazing feeling that is probably the only thing that justifies being alive.                     Robert Quinn

The conclusion was a little disappointing to me in that, after the twists and turns, it wrapped up neatly. Don’t get me wrong, it wrapped up well, the resolutions to a complex plot and multiple timelines are well executed but I was expecting one final twist but alas, no.

Would I recommend it?

This is a compelling book, a page turner expertly told with an engaging voice of Swiss writer Joel Dicker and translated seamlessly into English by Sam Taylor. It is a book which takes you into the life (and thoughts and emotions) of the characters, and you will lose yourself in that world.

There is dry wit and humor in the dialogue, a simplicity to the narrative which makes this book an entertaining easy read.

Highly recommended.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization:   3.5/5
Made Me Think:                4/5
Overall enjoyment:           4/5
Readability:                        4/5
Recommended:                  4/5
Overall Rating:                   4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 14.74
  Paperback USD 21.49
Booktopia Paperback AUD 16.75
Bookdepository Paperback € 14.58

 

– FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

florence-2

 

 

 

© 2015 LitWorldInterviews

Q&A with the Irish @aliisaac_ & @MJDougherty33 Discussing their latest collaboration.

Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myth

 

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

RW – How did the two of you connect to collaborate on Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from ali isaac jane doughertyIrish Myth?

Ali – We had already become friends through our blogs. I had this idea of re-telling stories from Irish mythology kicking around in my head for a long time, in fact, I had been incorporating some of them into my Conor Kelly books. It turned out that Jane, too, had already been re-writing her favorite myths. It just seemed natural that we would join forces and work on a compilation together.

Jane – I started these retellings about a year ago with the story of Deirdre. It was cold, we had had a flurry of snow for about five minutes that had everybody gazing in wonder up at the sky, and the blackbirds were taken by surprise and fussed about in the trees. Something in the combination made me think of Deirdre and her feelings as a young girl kept in seclusion, just waiting to be married to an old king. One story led to another, and when Ali, at the end of last year suggested we have a go at rewriting some of these tragic stories, I knew I could do it. Tragic usually means love stories. Love stories means Valentine’s Day. Our collection had to be ready for February 14th. And it is!

RW – Why a retelling of Irish myth love stories?

ali-isaacAli – The first stories we worked on and subsequently revealed to each other just happened to be the most tragic ones, the love stories, perhaps because we connected in some way with the characters and what happened to them. We noticed the theme, and thought it would be fun to launch them for Valentine’s Day. That was in November, so we had to work fast… the Christmas and New Year celebrations held things up, but it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

RW – Why this particular subject for the book? I know there is a bit of an Irish connection.

Ali – Everyone loves a love story, the more dramatic and tragic the better! I am lucky enough to live in Ireland now, and Jane comes of Irish heritage although she lives in France. I never imagined when I came to live here that I would ever fall in love with it so deeply, but I did. I’ve never yet met anyone who has experienced Ireland and didn’t!

RW – How were the stories selected? Was there a unanimous yes to a selection or was it based on what each you wanted to do or was there a hat and slips of paper involved?

Ali – Nope. We just privately wrote the stories which spoke to us and drew us in, and then submitted them for each others perusal. Our writing styles are quite different, but complement each other perfectly. I loved Jane’s versions of the stories, and fortunately, she quite liked mine too!

jane-doughertyJane – Ali and I have different writing styles, but I think it’s fair to say that both of us have been greatly influenced by the obvious love of nature of the early Celts. Their flattest prose, even their description of combat, is full of poetry. That, for me, is the point of entry into the world of the protagonists of these ancient stories. They looked at a stream, a tree and saw what I see. They listened to the song of the blackbird, the curlew, the cry of the gull, and they heard the same sound. They were romantic people though their notion of love was perhaps not quite the same as ours. That is what I hope we have succeeded in putting across in these retellings.

RW – I enjoyed the fact the stories built on each other somewhat. Was that planned or is there a natural vein running through the old Irish stories that lent itself to what you accomplished?

Ali – That seems to happen quite naturally in the mythology, that stories and characters cross-reference each other. But it also helped with the selection, I think. Jane knew that she wanted to write both the Baile and Aillin story, and the Cuchullain and Emer story, which build on each other. Without giving too much away, I was half way through writing my Ciabhan and Cliodhna story, when I realized there was an overlap with the Cuchullain story. Fand’s words of advice to the couple do not appear in the mythology as far as I know, but I thought it would be fun to add them, as the story leant itself so perfectly to that happening.

RW – One character in particular, which I won’t go into detail or give away, I greatly enjoyed reading about in one story and seeing one aspect at one stage of life and then seeing a different stage of life entirely. There is such tragedy at times, is that something common to the Irish love stories or were they the ones you gravitated to for this collaboration?

Ali – Oh yes! The ancient Irish loved a bit of tragedy and sorrow in their stories! And they were masters of it.

RW – Ali, I know you are very involved in another novel series with the Sidhe. Would you explain a bit about who the Sidhe are?

Ali – Originally, the Sidhe were known as the Tuatha de Denann, a race of powerful semi-divine people who arrived in Ireland under very mysterious circumstances around 4000 years ago. They were said to be tall, blonde or red haired with blue or green eyes and fair skin, and were greatly skilled in the battle and magical arts. Eventually though, they were defeated by a race of man called the Milesians. The Denann were forced to retreat to their hollow hills and live forever in that half of Ireland which lies below ground. As time passed, they became known as the Sidhe (Shee), Ireland’s fairy folk, not the type which are tiny and have wings, but as solid and real as you or I, but with strange, unpredictable ways and powers.

RW – I noticed along with the title for each story you give information as to where the story originally came from such as the Ulster Cycle of Irish Mythology and Historical Cycle of Irish Mythology just to name two. What are the differences?

Ali – Basically, there are four main cyles of Irish mythology. They’re just collections of stories really. The first one is the Mythological cycle, and covers the first waves of invasion of Ireland, focusing mainly on the Tuatha de Denann until the Milesians came. The Ulster Cylce tells of Cuchullain and the Red Branch Knights, and Queen Medbh’s Cattle Raid of Cooley. The Fenian Cycle details all the legends attached to hero Fionn mac Cumhall and his warband, the Fianna. The Historical Cycle details all the High Kings of Ireland, and their adventures, but despite its name, cannot be taken as fact.

Jane – There are lots of variations of all the old stories. As they are part of an oral tradition, we know them mainly through the versions noted down by Christian monks. There are regional variations, but also alternative endings, as if someone was trying to change the message, or include a message that wasn’t there before. We can’t know anything for sure, but it rather muddies the waters if we are trying to reach back in time to the emotions of the men and women of pre-Christian Ireland.

RW – Being this is a collection of short stories how was the collaborative process? I imagine it was a little less stressful than say one where you are working on the exact same story such as a full length novel.

Ali – Well for me it was great! Normally, writing a book is such a lonely process, with a lot of responsibility for every aspect of the book falling on your shoulders. This time, there was someone to share it all with, and not only that, someone to bounce ideas off, edit your work, and help with the really hard stuff, like marketing for example.

Jane – Actually, I think without Ali nagging at me to keep popping these stories out, I’d have given up on it. It was Christmas, holidays, flu, sprained back muscle, and if I had been on my own I’d have crawled into a corner and gone into hibernation. Knowing that I’d agreed to go halves in this venture kept me at it. Joking aside, it just wasn’t possible to let Ali down. She’d proposed doing the formatting after all. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

RW – Do you have any individual works that people should be on the lookout for in the not too distant future? Or maybe a just released work?Ali Isaac

Ali – I have just started writing the third and final book of my Tir na Nog Trilogy, but it always takes me a long time to write a book. I’m aiming for the end of the year for it to be ready for publication. Its working title is Conor Kelly and The Three Waves of Eirean, but dark-citadelthat might change.

Jane – My fantasy series has been around since 2014 but I hope to get the rest of my Irish stories ready for publication in the near future.

RW – Who was or is the most influential writer of your writing style? Or what author made you want to be an author?

Ali – It’s impossible to pin influences down to one writer or novel. But in this style, I have two favourites; the late and great Rosemary Sutcliffe, whose novella Tristan and Iseult has stayed with me since I first read it at the age of 9 or 10; and Marion Zimmer Bradley, whose novel The Mists of Avalon is a multi-layered masterpiece.

Jane – I wish I could cite some great writer and claim their influence on my style, but unfortunately I’m not aware of any. Shame. As for the author who decided me to have a go, he is a complete unknown, Dario Nuzzi, the uncle of a great friend of my mother’s. He decided to write after he retired from teaching and just did it. And he got published. If Zio Dario could do it, so could I.

RW – I always like to ask what is an author’s favorite word and why, so I’m asking both of you now to end our time together, what’s your favorite word and why?

Ali – LOL! Not a word really, but I have a strange compulsion to add it to all my emails and blog comments (but not my stories or novels, LOL! See what I mean?). It’s an addiction which, although I hate it, I cannot deny.

(I can attest to this being true. I have more LOL’s in my email since meeting Ali. And as she read this she really did LOL. I can guarantee it.)

Jane – Oriflamme is a favourite of mine. It’s a lovely sounding word, gold and flames, and so evocative of the coloured banners that floated from spears as armies charged into battle. No, I’m not a warmonger, but I love the image.


Too much talent for one man to handle. I asked the questions and got out of the way. I’ve read the book and my review will appear here soon. All I can say about it is, pre-order the book now on Amazon by going to the site and checking it out. And that’s, as I said. all I can say right now. I am looking forward to reading more works from Ireland.

Available

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Here are Ali’s various links:

Amazon Author Page You can see all of her books there. Very convenient.

Ali Isaac Storyteller is her website.

And of course follow her on Twitter – @aliisaac_Click this one to follow. There is an underscore at the end of the handle. Thus just click it to make it easier.

Here are Jane’s various links:

Amazon Author Page with more books than you could imagine.

JaneDougherty.WordPress.Com is her website/blog.

is her Twitter handle.

 

Much Respect and Admiration

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Atonement, Tennessee Q&A with @TeaganGeneviene the Southern Voice.

RW: Tell us about Atonement, Tennessee.Orange LinkedIn 6-18-2014 TEAGAN:  It always seems simple in my head, but describing it never is.  Atonement, Tennessee is a tiny fictional town where a lot of strange things happen.  The novel is an “urban fantasy” – set in the current day of our real world, but with magical elements.  I also added a mystery subplot to the fantasy. The story is inspired by (but not based on) ancient Celtic/Welsh mythology, particularly the myth of Gwydion fab Don.  I give sneaky little nods to the myth in some of the characters’ names (such as Guy Fabdon).  If you’re a person who responds well to visual information, I have a modest book trailer.  Because of the mythology that motivated me, I put a lilting Celtic tune with the trailer — it will give you a good idea of the story. The heroine, Ralda Lawton, short for Esmeralda.  She narrates the story.  Ralda moves from the big city to the quaint little town of Atonement, hoping for a quiet life.  She buys an old estate house, and she is off to a good start, making friends with her neighbors and settling into the community.  But her new life is anything but peaceful. The old house is rundown but interesting, and the grounds include an old cemetery.  Some of the antiques in the house have strange properties; a mirror that might show truths you don’t want to see, and a brass bed that gives you dreams of the past, or even past lives. Ralda begins to unravel mysteries about her past, things she hadn’t previously given much thought.  Also one of her new friends gets into serious trouble – the woman is suspected of wrong-doing when her husband disappears.  Ralda and the other women set about clearing her name. Meanwhile supernatural entities have their own agendas.  Their dangerous schemes involve Ralda and she has no defense to compare with their magical strength.  She doesn’t know who, if anyone, she can Atonement Video Cover copytrust. At the end, I deliberately left a few minor details unresolved, to leave room for more novels in the Atonement series. RW: How did you come up with the story? TEAGAN:  In 2005 the TV series Desperate Housewives was a big hit.  My friends kept telling me I should write a story like that.  I didn’t like any of the characters in that show, but I gave it a try… for all of half a dozen pages.  I couldn’t make it work.  The characters who were supposed to be despicable turned out to be people I would have been happy to call friend.  And my “justice for the philandering husband” scene was not realistic. How could it be, when it involved a magic mirror?  So I put the story aside. Years later I was preparing for my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I still remembered those characters.  It was time to give them a story.  Since Atonement, Tennessee was a NaNoWriMo book, requiring a draft to be written in a single month, I geared everything about the story to be something I could write quickly.  Following the advice “Write what you know,” I wanted a small southern town as the setting.  I chose Tennessee for the state of my fictional town.  (Even making up a fictional town was intended for speed – it wouldn’t need as much research! I research everything…)  Suddenly, “Atonement” popped into my mind as the name for the town, and I took the story forward from there. RW: You and I talked about the Southern Voice, explain to our readers what you mean by that. TEAGAN:  It seems that I always work on more than one level at a time; or so I’m told.  I think the idea of a “southern voice” is just one of those levels.  I’m sure the concept of a southern voice means different things to everyone.  To me, it means writing in a way that makes the reader feel they are in a place in the southern United States, or that they are listening to a person from there, without resorting to stereotypes, or overt reminders that “Hey, you’re in a southern place.”  I’m talking about subtleties in description, cadence, and character development. RW: Who are some classic examples that one might look to in order to get an idea of Southern Voice or even some contemporary favorites of yours? TEAGAN:  For me, Charlaine Harris did that in her “Southern Vampire” series.  Another good example is the old television series, Designing Women. RW: What draws you to this particular style? TEAGAN:  I suppose it is a style at that, isn’t it?  I had not thought of it that way.  I mentioned the advice “Write what you know.”  That was the first guidance I heard as a writer, and I’ve always followed it.  I am native to the southern United States.  I’ve lived in a number of locations from one coast to the other, but always in southern states.  In writing fiction, it never occurred to me to try and suppress it.  Even though I write in various styles, points of view, and tones, I expect that (if you were aware of my roots) you would pick up on the “southern voice.” RW: Do you think you need to have lived in the South to be able to truly capture that voice? TEAGAN:  I’ve seen it accomplished by non-southerners a few times, whether on film or in print.  However, the ones who do manage it did a lot of homework to achieve a good result.  They didn’t just jump in and start writing, or assume that they already knew, or accept stereotypes as truth. RW: Give an example of something that would be the Southern Voice and then in some other way. I know it’s not exactly that simple, but you did it, especially in your prologue with Lilith. You nailed it perfectly. TEAGAN:  Why thank you Ronovan!  I’m quite flattered.  I’m not certain that I understand this question, but a good example of a southern voice seeping into the writing was the late Robert Jordan in his Wheel of Time series.  I found myself very at home with the main characters, their thoughts, manners, and ideals.  When I learned Jordan was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, I understood why those things were integrated so seamlessly into that series. RW: So you naturally write with that style in mind or do you have to go back and work some magic to get that right feel? TEAGAN:  I hope I give each separate written work its own tone while still keeping part of my particular voice.  I begin any story with an overall “voice” or tone in mind.  That comes from 15 years as a technical editor and writer.  I often “put words into [my boss’s] mouth” by writing as him or her.  That requires a constant focus on how the other person speaks and thinks.  So it’s ingrained in me to think of the tone I want a story to carry before I even begin writing. RW: I read the opening pages available on Amazon and I loved it. I liked the style, the tone, the story to that point and it did make me want to read more. Your writing is very professional and I don’t mean that in a mechanics way, I mean that as in polished. Share with us your writing back ground and tell our readers what other things you do in the Lit World. TEAGAN:  Ronovan, I would take that as a great compliment either way!  Oops… I guess I answered most of that question before I was supposed to.  But yes, around 20 years ago I took up the pen (keyboard) to begin my first novel (unpublished).  Shortly after that I made a career change to IT technical writing. That grew into technical editing, and eventually morphed into a sort of executive advisory role.  If you’re saying something to which your boss is going to sign his name and publish it to a thousand people (including his bosses), you want to be meticulous about getting it right. As far as the mechanics, I’m actually proud to say that I did all the technical/mechanical parts myself.  The paper back of Atonement, Tennessee is made by Create Space (a print on demand service), and they did a great job.  I went outside their standard template, to produce higher readability in the print version.  I did all the formatting, designed the cover, all the details.  And yes, I added that to my professional resume.  (Grins.) RW: Which of your cats is Lilith based on? Or is this like a friend of yours you have put ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????into cat form? TEAGAN:  Ha-ha.  No, I haven’t put a human into feline form.  Since most of your viewers have not read Atonement, Tennessee, let me explain.  The novel is told in first person; through the eyes of Ralda, the heroine.  To keep the story interesting, when something happens that Ralda couldn’t be present to witness, I let her calico cat, Lilith be there.  Those segments are told through the calico’s eyes. Throughout my life I’ve always had a cat.  Lilith’s behaviors and personality are a composite of every cat that has owned me over the years.  You’ve guessed by now that I’m a cat person.  I love to study them, their movements and behaviors.  That let me write the parts that are told from the cat’s point of view. RW: What’s your favorite color for a cat and a cat’s eyes? TEAGAN:  Whatever pair of feline eyes holds my gaze at a given moment, that’s my favorite.  I have a white cat with eyes the clear blue of the southwest desert sky, and a black and white cat whose golden eyes are the color of the lighter striation in tiger’s eye gems.  All cats have beautiful eyes, no matter the color. Lilith is a calico because I’ve always been intrigued by their multi-colored markings.  I’ve never had a calico myself.  However, I sincerely don’t have a favorite as far as markings or eye color. RW: I ask authors to describe their book in one word. You can do that and tell why or you can describe the Southern Voice style in one word and why.  I have my word that instantly says Southern to me. TEAGAN:  Ha-ha, one word?  When I already need a novel and a running serial on my blog to express my thoughts?  I can say that I hope others would choose a word like, intriguing, or exciting, or maybe multi-dimensional. RW: Is there a way people could get an autographed copy of the book? Say by ordering through your site? I know there has been a call for a sequel by fans so I wondered if there might be something in the works for those fans to get hold of. TEAGAN:  Since the paperback is made via print on demand, I haven’t worked out an efficient way to Atonement_in_Bloom_1_03-24-2014provide autographed copies.  Now that you’ve made me aware that there might be a demand for that, I will put some thought into how it might be done. Yes, I have started book-2 in the Atonement series, Atonement in Bloom.  It brings in a few new supernatural characters, and returns your favorite citizens of the little town.  I also have plans for a third novel in the series.  It will explore more of the mysterious history of the Cael character. RW: How are you coming on book-2? TEAGAN:  I’m worked on Atonement in Bloom concurrently with this year’s NaNoWriMo novel, The Guitar Mancer.  (That one is also urban fantasy, but it is very different from Atonement.)  So with two novels — and the serial story I publish each weekend on my blog, and of course my paying job… Well, book-2 not coming as quickly as I’d like.  Guitar Mancer Cover 11-28-2014I’ll get there though. I’m trying really hard. RW: Where can people purchase your book? TEAGAN: I’ll give you links below to all the ways Atonement can be purchased. Ronovan, thanks so very much for letting me visit with you and your readers today.  It’s been a joy to talk with you. Links Barnes & Noble Nook Kindle and Paperback Amazon UK Amazon India Other Links Teagan’s Blog  See Teagan’s Workspace Character Interviews-I wonder if the cat was interviewed.   Pinterest I’ve used Pinterest to tell a story in pictures not just for “Atonement, Tennessee,” but for my works in progress as well.  Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/ Twitter:  @teagangeneviene Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM Business Profile LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=174325949&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile http://youtu.be/koggOn6vcDs There you have it. Southern Voice. Two Southerners, one asking questions and one answering them. Too bad you couldn’t hear us, right? Maybe another time. You never know what I might come up with. Hope you enjoyed the interview. I thank Teagan for doing a different kind of interview than the norm here. This is more the direction I want to take and slowly we’re getting there. Buy her book! Check out the LWI Review of the book by Olga Núñez Miret by clicking here.

 

much-respect-ronovan

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Meet @WendyProof Author&More Q&A

From Cuddle Bug’s review of “Verity” in A Kind of Mad Courage on Amazon.com: The ending of one of my favorite stories, ‘Verity’ by Wendy Janes, about an aging woman in the UK, made me cry from surprise and possibility. I won’t spoil the story but say that the skillful denouement, and the general short story plot included a sort of lovely misdirection (whether intentional or unintentional) which meant I was surprised and truly touching in reading the ending. The prose pacing and ambiance of that story really flowed and gave me a sense of being there.

From Terry Tyler’s review of “Verity” in A Kind of Mad Courage on Amazon.com: …my other joint favourite! So touching, really moving, I loved it.

Joy E’s review of “The Stars They Never Own” in Romantic Heroes on Amazon.co.uk: …my favourite story within the anthology, by far…. The Author managed to draw me into the story so quickly and the twist at the end was absolutely charming. To construct a story like this in so few words is no mean feat and Ms. Janes should be complimented. I hope that she continues to write and look forward to reading more by her in the future.

I met my guest today in some way a time ago. I don’t always remember how I meet people ever since an accident brought about short and long term amnesia. For a History teacher and Author this is a frustrating thing. I tell you this only so you understand that my first meeting with today’s guest was not a case of not being memorable, just a case of me being the current me. A joy of a friend and social media supporter. A very accommodating person. Meet . . .

Author

Proof Reader

Editor

Wendy Janes

wendy_janes_author.jpg@WendyProof

RW: We’ve known each other for a little while, and for some reason I never think of people being in places, I just think of names, faces, and words, but now it’s time to expose you to the world. Where are you from?

WENDY: I’ve always lived in the south of England. I was born and brought up in the leafy Surrey countryside, and I now live in a less leafy suburb of south London. I love being so close to the vibrancy and history of London.

RW: I swear I am like a British magnet. What is it about Britain and me? Is it the Scot in me? With that in mind what is your favorite beverage?

WENDY: Chilled champagne if I’m celebrating. A cup of Earl Grey if it’s afternoon teatime.

RW: You are fully British so let’s see, tell us who your favorite authors are?

WENDY: Oooh, that’s so difficult to answer. I’ll pick two from the past – Graham Greene and E. M. Forster – and two from the present – Maggie O’Farrell and Jon McGregor. Brilliant writers whose stories take me to wonderful places in my head.

RW: And there you go the British package complete Four from the British Isles. Let’s get into why you are here. First, what is the genre you would say your book falls into and why do you write in that genre?

WENDY: Contemporary women’s fiction. They say “write what you know” – so I do. I love to write about the people we meet every day; to delve into their private lives and reveal the depths below. It never ceases to amaze me how ordinary life is so extraordinary.

RW: You told me there is a conflict within you that you are striving to resolve. You must resolve this or never complete your novel. Why can’t you name your novel?

WENDY: Ah, I wish I could give you give you a straightforward answer to this question. You’ve no idea how many hours I’ve spent trying to summon up the perfect title for my novel. I have two front-runners at present – What Jennifer Knows and Take Two. The first captures the central dilemma of my lead character. The second is more subtle and works at a number of different levels. When readers reach a pivotal scene (my favourite) they’ll “get” the full ramifications of the second title. Oooh, which to go for…?

RW: Perhaps a Take Two: What Jennifer Knows? Tell us a little about your book and what inspired it and perhaps that will give as the reason for such a dilemma.

WENDY: Jennifer unwittingly stumbles across some information that she’d really rather not know: two of her friends who don’t know each other have more than Jennifer in common. She has to decide whether to speak out or not, and as the weeks roll by, things become more complicated, making her situation even more difficult.

A similar experience happened to my parents, but with far less drama involved. Many discussions around the family dinner table about what happened, and what might have occurred if things had panned out differently, led to my father suggesting it would make a good story for me to write. I eagerly took up the challenge. Essentially, my story is an exploration of all the tantalising “what ifs” that didn’t happen in the real-life story.

RW: What do you think will make your main characters connect to readers, which is key to a books success?

WENDY: Jennifer is a dance therapist. Her natural empathy for her students and her friends mean she’s excellent at her job and a trusted friend. It’s her kindness and her genuine wish to do the right thing that (I hope) readers will relate to. She also has a wonderfully eccentric husband, Gerald. Their relationship provides a lot of the comic and heartfelt moments in the book.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

WENDY: English. I hope I’m allowed to explain my choice. The setting, characters and feel of the book is very English – mannered and peppered with self-deprecating humor. It’s set during the 2012 Olympics and touches on the incredible wave of positive feeling that swept the country at that time.

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

WENDY:

Jennifer would say: “When life gets complicated, do your best.”

Gerald would say: “When life gets complicated, hang on to your sense of humor.”

 

I’ve connected to Wendy everywhere now it’s your turn. I can tell you that she is a great social media friend. She has really helped with many of the Tweets and Google+ things I put out. Seeing what she does reminds me of techniques I’ve forgotten. (Remember I am the amnesiac author and poet.)

My proofreading website is: http://wendyproof.co.uk/

Twitter: @WendyProof

Facebook: Wendy Janes

Google +: Wendy Janes

Linkedin: Wendy Janes

Goodreads: Wendy Janes


If you’ve visited before you know I have different types of questions, now we move into more shall I call them  different types of questions. (Yes, I tried to come up with something funny but failed.)

RW: What is your escape when writing just is driving you a bit mad?

WENDY: Chocolate. It helps soothe so many of life’s problems.

RW: What is your favorite word?

WENDY: Chocolate.

**I see a pattern here.**

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

WENDY: I’ve spent many years writing journal entries (private) and book reviews (public), so I’d say that’s my background in writing. Then, five years ago I was sitting with my friend in her kitchen and our conversation turned to the lack of good books with well-written sex scenes in them, and on the spur of the moment we decided to write our own. We had a fantastic couple of years developing our characters and our story, and it was a good test of our friendship to negotiate how two very different writers could collaborate. Eventually we self-published Living Lives: Living Lies by Ruth Allen. Alas, the book didn’t take the world by storm as we’d imagined while scribbling away at the dining room table. I’m happy to report that we’re still very good friends, although my days of writing erotic fiction are over. The whole experience introduced me to self-publishing and helped me find my own writing voice. I now write short stories and am working on a novel that I’m planning to self-publish in 2015.

RW: What other books do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them?

WENDY: My short story “Verity” features in A Kind of Mad Courage, a selection of stories about motherhood, written to raise money for the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation. Another short story, a_kind_of_mad_courage.jpg“The Stars They Never Own” appears in the anthology, Romantic Heroes. Although they are stories about very different people (a retired woman in her seventies and an actor in his thirties), both have their poignant and their funny moments.

**But Wendy isn’t just about her own fiction writing and anthologies, collections or even her own full length novel. There is a more personal work out there with her name on the cover.**

the_one_and_sixpenny_englishman.jpgAs a family we self-published my grandfather’s memoir in 2014. The One and Sixpenny Englishman tells of my grandfather’s arrival in England as a baby at the turn of the twentieth century, his experience in the First World War, and his eclectic choice of occupations. It’s a little slice of personal history told in words and family photos.

 

 

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

WENDY: No I don’t currently have representation. My agent would need to be patient, honest, supportive, motivated, professional, and creative. And so would I.

RW: What are you working on right now?

WENDY: In addition to What Jennifer Knows/Take Two, I’m also working on a couple of short stories. One of them is a departure from my usual relationship-based drama, and is an absurd comedy. It’s making me laugh. Let’s hope it will make readers laugh too.

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

WENDY: ‘I’ve just finished reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I laughed. I cried. I didn’t want it to end.’.

RW: Uh oh, an Australian invades Great Britain’s literary territory! So I have to ask, if you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

WENDY: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. His poetic prose is beautiful.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

WENDY: I’m a proofreader, so I have to declare that my biggest tip is: “Get your book edited and proofread, please!”

Here’s a lovely little trailer we made for Living Lives: Living Lies

Wendy Janes, more than an Author. Yes, today was about her upcoming full length novel, but what I personally took away was something else. She’s authentic. Wendy, as I said before helps out with the little things at times with some Social Media retweets, Tweets, Google+ shout outs, and the like. Some do that to make connections in the business. Anyone that writes and works so much to put out a book about their grandfather is, to me at least, the real thing. To be honest if I had .99 to spare the book would be in my Kindle library already. Talking with Wendy outside of this interview I have discovered she only does something that she can give her all to. That’s the kind of Author I want to read. Connect with her everywhere, buy anything she is involved with and as always . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

 

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