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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick


Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe.

Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled?

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

Title: Bad Little Girl
Author: Frances Vick
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 22nd February 2017
UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

Author Q & A with Frances Vick

Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels.


What was the inspiration behind this novel?
I read a lot about the Philpott case in Derby, where the parents deliberately caused the fire that killed their children, and the Shannon Matthews case. I’m interested in family relationships, social class, and the mistakes people make when they’re trying to do the right thing. All these things and lots of others stewed about for a bit and ‘Bad Little Girl’ was the result.


Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, always! But I never thought I could be. At school I was told I’d be lucky to stay off the dole.


What other jobs have you had?
Loads. I was a youth worker in London for a long time, I was an English teacher in Japan and Italy, I worked in a theatre in New York for a while; I was a cook/life model in Italy; and for two hellish weeks I was a street based charity fundraiser.


How did it feel when your first novel was published?
Amazing/terrifying


Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
My first novel, ‘Chinaski’ came out in 2014, through a very small publisher. Then, in 2016 I signed with the wonderful Bookouture, for three psychological thrillers. They’ve been amazing, very proactive and pushy (in a good way!)


Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
When I find myself indulging in displacement activities like watching a lot of daytime TV and calling it ‘research’ I know I’m in trouble. I try to be brutally honest with myself.. Do I really need to watch the end of this episode of Judge Judy before I can turn on the computer? Probably not. I’m powered by guilt.


What motivates you to keep writing?
I love it, and the more I write the more I love it. Plus, having the Bookouture team behind me helps a lot, because I know they have my back.


Where is your favourite place to write?
I live in a very small house with my husband, two sons and two cats, so there’s not a lot of space. I sit at the a desk in the dining room during the day and work on the lap top. After school I work as a childminder, so I can only work 9-3
 


Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
They do. A lot of my characters aren’t very likeable, they do things that I can’t argue them out of. As a result I often look as if I’ve come away from a bad phone call.


What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Read. Read some more. Write.


Which authors inspire you?
Joan Didion and Jenny Diski for their unswerving- and unnerving- commitment to the truth of a situation, even if it casts them in a bad light. Nabokov for sheer nerve. Salinger for beauty.


What are you reading at the moment?
A Crime in the Neighbourhood by Suzanne Berne; The Collected Letters of Samuel Beckett; The American Way of Death by Jessica MItford and the Unauthorised Biography of Nancy Reagan by Kitty Kelley.


If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Probably the prelude to Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens. I can imagine my main character, Claire Penny, listening to it on the way to work.


Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
Millie Bobby Brown- Eleven from ‘Stranger Things- would be great as Lorna Bell.


What is your next book about?
It involves a suspicious death, a broken friendship, an old obsession and a buried knife.


And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quickfire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘73 Hunter S Thompson

Cry your heart out?
Life and Fate Vasily Grossman

Want to read it again?
The Idiot by Dostoyevsky. I’ve read that dozens of times, it’s my comfort book.

Think more?
Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Wish it would be made into a film?
Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick (!)

Shocked?
American Psycho By Bret Easton Ellis

Scared?
IT By Stephen King


Thanks so much for joining us Frances and good luck with the book.

Sincerely
Book Angel x



About the Author


To find out more about Frances Vick please visit her website





Sunday, 26 February 2017

My Favourite Things by Freya Barrington

 

Food Savoury and sweet
Home made king prawn madras curry and home made apple pie and double cream 


Drink
Coffee in the morning, Sauvignan Blanc in the evening

Film
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café

TV Series
Game of Thrones

Book
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

Author
Ohh that's a difficult one, is it too obvious to say Phillipa Gregory and Sharon Penman. I know that's 2!

Character 
Catherine of Aragon

Song
Come up and see me, make me smile by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel - Never moved on really from the 70's

Holiday destination
Gozo, Malta

Animal
Dog

Person
Can't choose just one - my children and my husband have to share that one

Place to write
After midnight in our snug

Biggest timestealer
Facebook!

Season
Autumn


Biggest mystery
Why is there always a spoon in the washing up bowl after you've finished

Tradition
I love simple family traditions like the picnics with friends or the cake and milkshake in the special cafe when it's your birthday


Inspirational quote
Stop complaining about things you have the power to change (my mother)

Thing in the whole world - being alive, healthy and loved


Bio
Freya Barrington is the pen name of a senior child protection social worker in England, who worked for local authorities that required experienced social workers to offer support when there were staff shortages. She holds a Diploma in Social Work from the University of Derby with an award for excellence in practice, and is a registered member in good standing with the Health & Care Professions Council (UK).

Freya's debut work "Known to Social Services" was based on her own experiences as a front line social worker. The book has been the number one bestselling social work book on Amazon UK several times. "Known To Social Services" went on to WIN the autobiography/memoir section of the 2015 London Book Festival. It also received an Honorable Mention in the General Non-Fiction section of the 2016 Paris Book Festival.


Freya's second book, "Gozo Is the Grass Greener?" is an autobiographical account of her and her husband's move from the UK to the Mediterranean Maltese island of Gozo. With laugh out loud and tear jerking anecdotes in equal measure, "Gozo Is The Grass Greener?" received an honorable mention at the 2015 London Book Festival and went on to WIN the autobiography/biography section at the 2016 Paris Book Festival.


Freya currently lives in France, but travels often to undertake book signings and to give talks in regard to her books. In March 2015 Freya visited the UK and spoke to social work students at several Universities in regard to her experiences as a social worker and gave an account of her motivation in writing "Known to Social Services". In October 2015, Freya returned to Malta and Gozo after being invited to give talks to the students at the University there and to other interested organisations. While in Malta, Freya was interviewed by the Maltese Newspaper The Times of Malta.

Freya continues to write three blogs; one in relation to her life in Gozo, one with a more serious content relating to social work and one relating to her life in France where she currently lived.

Freya has been a contributor to the UK's Guardian Newspaper Social Care blog, and has appeared in features in several media including social work's Community Care Magazine.

Freya has also guested on radio stations in the UK and Malta.

Freya is currently working on the sequel to Known to Social Services which is a fictional work set in the world of child trafficking. Titled Caught In Traffick, the book is due for release in 2016.










Freya has been with her musician husband Steve for ten years; in her spare time, (when she has any) Freya enjoys horse riding, walking, bird watching, reading, cooking, drinking good coffee and spending time with friends and family.

Freya is indebted to Faraxa Publishing who have offered so much support in her career as a writer.

Please visit Freya's website and blogs at www.freyabarrington.com for more details on this exciting new author.

Thanks for joining us today Freya

Sincerely
Book Angel x



Sunday, 19 February 2017

My Favourite Things by Vicki Bowles, Author & Blogger




Food Savoury and sweet
Yes definitely a favourite of mine, is food! It depends what mood I'm in though. But when eating out, I've found myself opting for fish. As long as has it hasn't got loads of bones in it.

Mashed potato. Cheese. Eggs. Though not necessarily all together. Ooh and soft, freshly baked bread.

Sweet stuff: raspberries. So much more flavour than strawberries. And of course, chocolate. But not white chocolate. That's not proper chocolate.

And I have been known to have a bit of a thing for cake.


Drink
Who me? Well if you're asking... I don't like disappointing someone trying to refill my glass, especially if it's champagne.

I am rather fond of a gin & tonic. With lots of ice. Then I have to have a refill so I don't let the ice go to waste.

Tequila - it makes me happy. And also very silly. If it's in a margarita, even better.

For my non alcoholic favourite, I'd have to say orange juice. Pure sunshine in a glass. Oh and a nice strong coffee, with quite a bit of milk. Although if I'm not feeling well, I go off coffee and on to tea. Which has to be strong, sweet and just the tiniest dash of skimmed milk. Not that I'm fussy or anything...


Film
I love films – I go to the cinema quite a lot with my friend, and we usually go for really silly, gross-out humour. I do like some sci-fi, however, which I usually see with my husband. It's really hard to pick a favourite film. Star Wars would probably be my favourite film of all time. I was three when it came out, and I had the biggest ever crush on Luke Skywalker. Then Aliens and Terminator... I love those!

I loved La La Land! It wasn't quite what I expected, but I thought it was a fabulous love story with a difference, and has ignited an interest in Jazz, although I don't still don't quite get it...


Book
I read a lot of books, my favourite genres being women's fiction and psychological thrillers. For escapism I love reading Jilly Cooper's books about that rascally Rupert Campbell-Black. You can find a lot of the books I love on my blog (sneaky plug here!) vikbat.blogspot.co.uk. But when I was younger I read a lot of horror; Stephen King, James Herbert etc.

Then I read Watchers by Dean Koontz.



Two animals escape from a government laboratory. One is a hyper intelligent golden retriever, the other a highly efficient killing machine.

I adored Einstein, the dog. He was so perfect. But I also felt so sorry for The Other, even though he was a ruthless killer. That book made me cry more than once.


Author
Probably Jilly Cooper. I live in terror of the time when she no longer writes.


Character
Rupert Campbell-Black. The naughty, loveable rogue. Such a bastard, but so sexy with it.


Song
I don't have a favourite single song. Anyone who knows me knows that anything by Muse is my favourite, so it is one of theirs. It really depends on my mood, but Exogenesis Symphony Part 1 from The Resistance Album is amazing, with the most perfect sound ever happening around 3 mins 45 seconds.


Holiday destination
We went to the Maldives for our honeymoon, and I read 5 books in 10 days. On honeymoon! I know! But really, it is idyllic and the 'no news, no shoes' edict they have is perfect for relaxation.

My other favourite holiday destination is Crete. My first foreign holiday involving an aeroplane was to Crete ,when I was 15. I fell in love with the island there and then. I've been to other Greek Islands, but none have quite matched Crete. It has its own particular smell, of thyme and other herbs, and warm sun, and it is just perfect. I went back a few years ago and it still had that scent in the air.


Animal
A dog. I had a golden retriever called Elliot when I was 21. He was my first 'child'. I would have another fur baby immediately if only my husband would say yes. That is main bone of contention in our marriage. I am dogged in my determination to convince him. He always says I'm barking.



Person
Matt Bellamy. Frontman of Muse. Inspiration for Matt Tennant, the hero in my first novel (sorry, another shameless plug) My Unintended (it's a story of wishful thinking on my part and I like to think my writing has improved since then!)



My husband would be my favourite person if he'd let me get a dog.

My favourite person who I actually know IRL (my husband is excluded, because, see above, as are my kids cos that's a given) is the amazing force of nature that is Sara-Jade Virtue. Without this fabulous woman, I would never have met so many lovely people, read so many lovely books. Met so many fabulous authors or made so many great friends. But it's not just that; SJ herself is one of the funniest, kind-hearted women I have ever met. I would include a photo but she'd kill me if she found out!


Place to write
My sofa.

I'd like to say my parent's place in North Devon, because it is so beautiful and peaceful. But I just find myself staring out of the window at this view:



Season
Hmm this one is tricky. I'd always have said summer - if it is one of those warm lazy days with a cloudless sky. Not if it's pissing down with rain and 13 degrees Celsius.

But then as I get older I find myself appreciating colours. So autumn, with its rich reds, bronzes and gold's, is particularly beautiful.

And Spring, when new life begins to peep through the dormant branches, every vibrant shade of green imaginable filling the trees with energy.

I'm not too fond of winter, although a bright blue sky against a snowy backdrop, when the air is so cold but the sun shines on diamond-like frost is beautiful.

But mostly I'd rather stay under the duvet in winter.


Thing in the whole world
To be with the people I love.


BIO
I'm a mother of four fabulous children, I work full-time as a Technical Associate, and in my spare time(!) I read and review books for my blog vikbat.blogspot.co.uk. I am also writing a novel and I'm a member of the Romantic Novelists Association on their New Writer's Scheme. I self-published my first novel My Unintended on Amazon three years ago but my new book will be much, much better!

Thanks for joining us today Vicki.


Sincerely
Book Angel x


Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland = Cover Reveal


Today we are delighted to be sharing the delightful cover for Lost For Words

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . . Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you. Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works. Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer. Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road. Praise for Lost for Words: 'Loveday is a compelling character, you love her in the way you love a cat who always scratches but you love it anyway . . . this book is quirky, clever and unputdownable. I really enjoyed it.' Katie Fforde

Title: Lost For Words
Author: Stephanie Butland
Published By: ZAFFRE
Publication Date: 20th April 2017
Links   UK:  Amazon   US: Amazon


About the Author


Stephanie Butland lives in the North east of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she's not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. She is the author of How I Said Bah! To Cancer: A Guide to Thinking, Laughing, Living and Dancing Your Way Through and her second book Thrive: The Bah! Guide to Wellness After Cancer, was published in September 2012.@under_blue_sky                 #LostForWords                 http://stephaniebutland.com/

Friday, 17 February 2017

Author Q & A - Trevor Williams


 A summer of second chances…

Just a week before her big day, Sarah returns home to find a note from her husband-to-be – the wedding’s off! So when her boss decides to send her on an epic cycling trip, from Venice to Rome, it seems like the perfect distraction…

Although she never expected the distraction to come in the form of her oh-so-handsome, but slightly serious, cycling companion, Miles. And with still 600 miles of beautiful scenery, mouthwatering food and delicious wine yet to cover, anything could happen!


Title:     To Rome with Love
Author: T. A. Williams
Published by: Amazon Media
Publication Date: 17th Feb 2017

Links: UK:  Amazon 


Author Q & A


Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels blog.


What was the inspiration behind this novel?
This book, the first of a new series of romantic comedies (following on from my “What Happens…” series) was inspired by one of my hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and a few years back a group of us rode from Venice to Rome and it was so stunningly beautiful, I knew I wanted to write about it.

Did you always want to be a writer?
That’s easy, yes. I still have a copy (all 44 handwritten pages of it) of “The Lake Dwellers”, a shameless rip off of “Swallows and Amazons” that I wrote when I was 13 or 14. Since then, all my working life, I have written books, but it was only four years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher interested in my work.

What other jobs have you had?
After university, I went abroad to teach English, settling in Italy where I stayed for almost eight years. Back home, I ended up running a big language school in Exeter. This was a pretty full on job - especially in the summer – and it gave me the chance to travel all over the world. This experience definitely helped me as a writer.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
The word ecstatic comes to mind. But, to be honest, the most exciting moment was getting the initial email from the publishers saying how much they lied my work and offering me the contract. My wife was in the shower at the time and I ran through with the iPad and almost climbed in with her.

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
For over thirty years I have been writing first thrillers and then historical novels, but without any publishing success. In January 2013 I decided to make a change to romantic comedy and suddenly I found an audience.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I have ever had writer’s block as such. Before I sit down to write a book, I try to work out roughly what happens (not in great detail I must admit), so once I get started, it tends to run pretty smoothly. It’s not unusual for me to write a book in 6 weeks.

What motivates you to keep writing?
What motivates a junkie to keep shooting himself full of heroin? It’s a drug. I would rather write than read. In fact, if you add up all the unpublished manuscripts lying around my study, I’ve written well over a million words so far and see no relief on the horizon to what is, without doubt, obsession.

Where is your favourite place to write? ( can we have a picture)
I only ever write in my study. I use a desktop computer (and an iPad for social media). No music, no interruptions, and far too much tea.
Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Definitely the former. I can still read books I wrote years ago and know that certain passages will bring a tear to my eye. As for my mood affecting my writing, I’m not so sure. Writing can be very therapeutic. Writing about people having fun in the sun when you’ve got a stinking cold is good escapism I find.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
1.Write because you want to write and write what you enjoy writing.
2.Don’t expect to get rich quick (remember the words of Gene Hackman in Get Shorty where he says, ‘the only kind of writing that makes money is ransom notes’).
3.Persevere. It took me over 30 years to find a publisher and a modicum of success. Ignore all those rejection slips written by snooty girls with names like Lysistrata or Philomena. Keep trying.

Which authors inspire you?
Funnily enough, in spite of writing romantic comedies, I read very little of that genre. Inspiring authors to me are Hemingway, Hilary Mantel (but only her historical stuff), JP Donleavy (but not just “The Ginger Man”). Also I read a lot of non fiction, mainly history. If you want a gripping read with loads of sex, violence and intrigue, try Eamon Duffy’s “Saints and Sinners, A History of the Popes."

What are you reading at the moment?
Robert McKee, “Story – Substance, Structure, Style and the principles of screenwriting.” A Christmas present from my son-in-law and a useful, if rather indigestible resource for any writer.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Seeing as “To Rome With Love” starts with Sarah coming home and finding a letter from her fiancé telling her he is dumping her, only a week before the wedding, it would need to be something pretty soulful. How about “A Whiter Shade of Grey”, Procol Harem, if I’m not showing my age too much with this oldie.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
Sarah is very beautiful, slim and fit (she goes on a 1000km bike ride) and a very competent, organised sort. I reckon Keira Knightley might fit the bill.

What is your next book about?
My next book, already written and coming out in May, is “Dreaming of Venice”. It’s about Penny, an aspiring artist who lives in London, working in a tatty café to keep body and soul together, who dreams of gliding down the Grand Canal in Venice in a gondola. I won’t spoil it, but she gets the chance to go there and, along the way, she runs into the phenomenon of love at first sight. She’s pretty sure this only happens to other people. Or does it?  

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quickfire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud?         
Tom Sharp, “Indecent Exposure”

Cry your heart out?   
Got to be “Watership Down”

Want to read it again?
“Wolf Hall” and I’ve read it three times

Think more?   
That history of the popes book. Wow, you would not believe some of the stuff that happened back in the Middle Ages!

Wish it would be made into a film? 
Sorry to do this to you, but to be totally honest, I reckon my book, “What Happens in Tuscany” would make an amazing film. Could this be why I’m reading a book about screenwriting, maybe? Watch this space…

Shocked?        
Still the popes book

Scared?    
No question. 40 years ago I was living and working in northern Italy. No TV, very few books in English and my Italian wasn’t good enough in those days to read books in Italian. A friend handed me a book one evening about ten o'clock and said, “read this, it’s good.’ I started reading it at midnight, finished at five o'clock in the morning, and then sat shivering until dawn. The book? “The Exorcist”.


Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today and good luck with the book, also do keep us updated about the screenplay.
Thanks a lot, Annette. This has been a lot of fun.  J

Sincerely
Book Angels

About the Author

I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife... 
  I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.




Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Author Q & A Jennifer Niven


Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed 'America's Fattest Teen'. But no one's taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum's death, she's been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby's ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he's got swagger, but he's also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can't recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He's the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can't understand what's going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don't get too close to anyone.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world - theirs and yours.
Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are - and seeing them right back



Title:     Holding Up The Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven 
Published By: Penguin
Publication Date: 6th October 2016
Links: UK: Amazon US: Amazon


We are delighted to welcome the lovely Jennifer Niven to our blog to talk about her latest YA book, 'Holding up the Universe.'

Author Q & A with Jennifer Niven


What was the inspiration behind this novel?
Holding Up the Universe came from so many different facets of my life—my grief over losing my mom, my own weight struggles as a teen, and the struggles of family members who have a neurological condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness, which means they aren’t able to recognize faces, not even the faces of those they love. It also came from readers who wrote me after reading All the Bright Places to say thank you for letting me know I’m not alone. The theme of Holding Up the Universe is seeing and being seen, and you are wanted, you are loved. That message is a love letter to my readers.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Ever since I was a little girl. My mom, Penelope Niven, was an author, and I grew up with writing time in my childhood routine. It’s what I’ve always loved doing more than anything.

What other jobs have you had?
I worked as a writer and editor at House of Blues and interviewed all the musicians who played there. I was an Associate Producer at ABC Television, which is where I was working when I got the idea for my first book.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
My first book, The Ice Master, was actually a nonfiction account of a deadly Arctic expedition, and I remember the first time I saw it in a bookstore. It was sitting on the shelves and all I wanted to do was gather up all the copies and run out of the store with them. I wanted to protect them! I wasn’t ready for the book to be out in the world, and none of it felt quite real. But then this man walked over and picked up the book and read the flap copy. And then set it down and walked away. I couldn’t believe it! In that moment, it all became oh-so real, and I wanted to chase after him and make him buy it!

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
Two years after graduating from film school with a graduate degree in screenwriting, I was working at ABC when I stumbled across an idea that I thought would make a great movie. As I was talking to my mom about it, I kept saying, “I wish it was a book because I would love to read this story.” She said, “Why not write it yourself?” I worked at night and on weekends until I had a rough draft I felt good about, and I sent that to my dream agent, who said he wanted to represent me. We sold the book—The Ice Master— at auction three months later. I followed that one up with another Arctic nonfiction story, Ada Blackjack, which is currently being turned into a movie. But after the media started pigeonholing me as an Arctic writer, I decided to write my first novel, which ended up becoming a series of historical novels for adults (the Velva Jean series).

As for YA, I’d always wanted to write in that genre, but had never found the right idea. It wasn’t until the spring of 2013, following the sudden death of my literary agent, that I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write next. The last conversation I’d had with him, he said, “Whatever you write next, write it because you can’t imagine writing anything else. Even if it terrifies you.” I wanted to honor that and him, and I knew exactly what that book would be. The story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die, inspired by a boy I loved and lost years ago. I sent a rough draft of All the Bright Places to my dream agent, and she took me on. Just over a month later, we sold it in a pre-emptive auction to Knopf/Random House.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
I try to write through the block to the other side, or I walk away from my desk for a bit to clear my head. I also try to pay attention to the reason for the block—usually it’s because I’m trying to force the characters or story into a direction they don’t want to go, and I listen to that.

What motivates you to keep writing?
It’s what I love to do most, and there are so many stories to be told. Beyond that, my readers. They are the brightest places in the world.

Where is your favourite place to write? 
My big, sunny home office. It’s filled with books and souvenirs from my career and tours, and gifts readers have given me, and there is always at least one literary cat keeping me company as I write. (Not to mention my life-size cardboard cut-out of Supernatural’s Sam Winchester.)



Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Absolutely. When I’m writing, I’m living in the book and living through the characters. I become them and they’re a part of me, and inevitably I’m crying and laughing alongside them and they’re crying and laughing alongside me.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Read everything.
Write the story you want to read.
Always believe in yourself and in your work.

Which authors inspire you?
Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Flannery O’Connor, John Green, Jandy Nelson, Nick Hornby, Lauren Groff, Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury, Zora Neale Hurston, JK Rowling. My mom, most of all.

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m rereading the Harry Potter series and falling in love all over again.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. It’s happy and hopeful just like Holding Up the Universe.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
An extremely talented unknown actor who could become Libby or Jack on screen.

What is your next book about?
I can’t reveal that just yet, but I can tell you it’s a book I feel needs to be written. And it’s a book I want to read.

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quickfire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:

Laugh out loud? Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series. I love it so much!

Cry your heart out? Me Before You

Want to read it again?
Wonder

Think more? The Girls

Wish it would be made into a film?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Shocked?
We Were Liars

Scared? The Haunting of Hill House


Thanks for much for joining us today Jennifer
Thank you so much for these wonderful questions, and thank you again for featuring me.
Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Jennifer Niven is the author of two narrative non-fiction books, The Ice Master and Ada Blackjack; a high school memoir,The Aqua Net Diaries; and four historical novels for adults: Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on her Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), Velva Jean Learns to Fly, Becoming Clementine, and the forthcoming American Blonde. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles and you can learn more about her at www.jenniferniven.com.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

My Favourite Things by Sam Tonge. Writer

Food
It has to be cake – pictured is a Valentine’s Day one I baked! I grew up with a mum who was a great cook. She was a midday supervisor as well, so brought home delicious recipes. We’re talking old-style suet jam sponges, oven-baked rice pudding, fruit crumbles and dark, sticky carrot cake with homemade custard... I recall often going back for seconds. Oh the comfort and satisfaction. So it’s no wonder I’ve grown up with a sweet tooth and love writing about food. Mistletoe Mansion stars a cupcake maker and my summer bestseller Game of Scones speaks for itself!
Holiday Destination
Japan – I was lucky enough to visit there in 2014. It was clean, free of graffiti and litter, super safe and polite. We stayed in Kyoto and the temples and scenery were stunning. And it was great to experience a culture completely alien to our own and to manage with hand signals because hardly anyone spoke English. The only challenge was the food. Thank goodness for McDonalds!
Inspirational Quote
I love this one – it’s so true. Negativity from other people can be so damaging. I truly believe that anyone can achieve anything with a positive attitude and determination. It might just take a little while – It took me 8 years to get my novel deal, but I never stopped learning and never stopped brushing myself down after yet another rejection. Just keep on bumbling!
Song
Last Christmas by George Michael. I really enjoyed Christmas 2016 but spent the last five minutes of the twenty-fifth with tears trickling down my cheeks. Not because I was watching Love Actually (great film) but because I’d just read the news on my phone and found out about George Michael’s death. He was a massive part of my youth and represented the whole 80s dream of aspiring to great things. I used to go to a nightclub called Tropicana Beach, drank Pina Coladas and was in hedonistic heaven whenever the DJ played Wham!’s Club Tropicana! George Michael was a sensitive, tortured, romantic soul. A very special person with an amazing writing talent.
Drink
Coffee. My next book, probably out April 2017, is set in a coffee shop and a member of my family works in one. So I spend many hours *working* there!  I love coffee because it is warm and comforting and goes well with cake. I went on a health kick last year and don’t drink alcohol or sweet fizzy drinks, but I haven’t missed either. My decaffeinated Americanos are a real joy (yes, I’m addicted!) I can’t wait to share my new book which stars a rather dishy, but mysterious barista! 

Thing in the Whole World
My husband and kids. I had a challenging 2016 and am eternally grateful for the love and support they displayed. We laugh a lot and are very open with each other. Nothing in the world makes me happier than having coffee and cake out with them J
Bio 
Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. She loves baking but writing romantic comedy novels is her passion. Her 2015 bestseller Game of Scones got to #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories 2015 Best Ebook award. Her summer 2016 novel, Breakfast under a Cornish Sun was another Top Ten Kindle bestseller. Click here to buy.

Thanks for joining us on My Favourite Things Sam.
Sincerely
Book Angel x





Monday, 6 February 2017

Blog Tour - Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard


Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.
However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?
As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there's another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can't escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.


Title: Dare to Remember
Author:  Susanna Beard
Published By: Legend Press
Publication Date: 1st February 2017
Links: UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

Today we are delighted to host the Blog Tour for Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard, this book certainly grabbed my attention.


My Review

I found this to be a fascinating read which managed to hold my attention from beginning to end.
I didn't find it particularly shocking but the subtlety of the changes to Lisa from the beginning to the end of the book I found enthralling.

 Lisa has been through a horrendous attack in which her best friend was killed but due to the trauma her mind has blocked out much of what happened.

It's cleverly written as it holds the attention of the reader even whilst Lisa is going through her everyday routines like walking the dog etc. I think those sorts of tasks provide the person with a lot of thinking time. The story is moved along by the thought processes which are revealed gradually throughout the book through a series of flashbacks and visits to her psychotherapist.

Lisa is a very likeable person but is very much an empty shell at the beginning.

She moves to a small village so she can hide away from everyone and everything. Her attempts to keep herself to herself don't really work as she is involuntarily drawn into other people's lives; her neighbour John and dog walking companion Jessica. Meeting these people helps her because they needed her in different ways and this took the focus off her problems.

It was an interesting delve into the human psyche as sometimes our minds may not want to remember certain things and Lisa was frightened as to what her memory would reveal.

****** Slight spoiler alert***************
One of the questions was left unanswered which I found slightly disappointing as a reader but can see that it is an honest reflection of what sometimes happens in real life.
**************************************

This was a very interesting and well written account of a young lady making her way through post traumatic stress.
Thanks to Legend Press for the ARC which I've reviewed voluntarily.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author


Originally a linguist, I've always loved words and writing. My career to date both demands and celebrates writing. 
"I discovered that the slope of writing to order is a slippery one, and that the descent is in fact pleasurable." Elena Ferrante. 

Writing fiction is new and joyous for me. It offers a freedom from constraint which is refreshing and full of wonder.

I like dark, contemplative stories with a twist. I'm fascinated by the psychology of relationships and the impact of insignificant events on people's lives.
Author info taken from www.susannabeard.com


Follow the rest of the blog tour here...

Sunday, 5 February 2017

My Favourite Things by Adele Parks, Author


Photo credit http://www.adeleparks.com/

Food; Savoury and sweet

I’m a big fan of pasta! I spent a year in Italy when I was just 21, teaching English and I became seriously hooked. Besides being yummy and versatile, it’s easy to prepare which is a great thing for me as I’m not a brilliant cook; I don’t have the required patience or precision, at least not when it comes to cooking – I think I must use up my dose of those virtues writing. I’m not especially sweet toothed and usually skip pudding (too full after my plate full of carbs!) but I do like the occasional Ferrero Rocher chocolate.



Drink

Until very recently I’d have answered champagne. I’ve been a noisy advocate of drinking fizz for longer than I care to remember. Champers always says ‘good times’, so I started to drink it on non-special occasions to trick myself into thinking everything is special. Which, actually, it is - if you want it to be. However, recently my lust for bubbles is waning. My latest favourite tipple is margarita. I don’t quite know what made me switch; I think I like the theatre of preparing cocktails.



Film

My favourite film is My Fair Lady. I love a musical and Audrey Hepburn is just a delight to watch. Watching her is like breathing in all that’s good in the world: kindness, promise, humour, grace. Besides, the story line is surprisingly profound, if you think about it. I went to see La La Land recently and loved that. I’m really excited that musicals are becoming cool as I’ve always believed!



Book

I could never pick just one favourite book. My feelings towards books change depending on what’s going on in my life when I read them. I have re-read books that I thought I loved and, disappointingly, not found the same passion for them second time around. Conversely, I’ve given books a second chance at a different time of my life and found I loved them. I guess that’s the amazing thing about books, it’s the reader who finishes them because each reader brings his or her experiences, emotions and values to a novel. It’s quite magical.



Author

Currently, I’m mad about Liane Moriarty. I only started to read her work last October (I don’t know what took me so long!) and since I’ve read everything she’s written. I love her work. She’s interested in drawing complete and believable characters who are presented with flaws and all; that’s what I’ve always prided myself on.



Character

I think my favourite character is Emma from Jane Austen’s novel from the same title. She’s so horribly wrong at times but always means well. It’s thrilling when she develops and finally gets the ending she deserves. 



Holiday destination

Somewhere new! The world is a big and fantastic place so my favourite holiday destination is always somewhere I haven’t been before. I realise this sometimes leads to disappointment but at least it’s always an experience and that is more valuable and interesting than anything else.



Animal

My favourite animal is my cat, Lilac. I like giraffes too but I don’t have one as a pet ;-)



Place to write

I mostly write in my office (a converted bedroom in our house). I’m incredibly productive there and I have everything I need. However, in my head, my favourite place to write would be looking out on an exotic beach somewhere. I realise in real life that’s probably pretty impractical, I’d get sand in my keyboard and the sun would make the screen unreadable.



Tradition

In our family we always have birthday cake for breakfast even though it makes us feel pretty sick sometimes. I still love the tradition because it is silly and somehow defiant.



Inspirational quote

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill.



Thing in the whole world

My favourite thing in the whole world, by a long mile, is my family.





Author Bio: 

Adele Parks has published 17 bestselling novels, her latest The Stranger in my Home is already an eBook #1 and is to be published in paperback on February 9th. The Stranger in My Home is the story of two families who discover they brought each other’s child home from hospital. This discovery is made when the girls are fifteen years old, throwing both families into emotional turmoil.
Thank you so much for joining us Adele.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

Friday, 3 February 2017

Spring Blogger Evening 2017


 
Last night I went to my third Spring Blogger Event which was held at Simon & Schuster headquarters.

Pic credit Sara-Jade Virtue
We were greeted by the lovely organiser of the event Sara-Jade and given name badges, then looked after by the fab team at Books and the City.
Welcome drinks were very unusual and included elderflower, cucumber and rhubarb (not all at once,) they were like mocktails and delicious.

The first time I went to one of these events I didn't know a soul so it was lovely to meet up with lots of now familiar faces from the blogging world who I really enjoy spending time with.
Lovely Linda showing off her gorgeous Book Bag

After a little mingling we were led through to the meeting room where our lovely authors were all sitting at the top table.
Editor Jo Dickinson introduced us to:-
Alice Peterson, A Song for Tomorrow, see my review here.
Dani Atkins, This Love.
Milly Johnson, The Queen of Wishful Thinking
Kate Furnivall, The Betrayal (which is not available yet so here is Kate's previous book The Liberation)
Juliet Ashton, The Woman at Number 24
Sarah Vaughan, Anatomy of a Scandal (not available yet so here is Sarah's previous book The Farm on the Edge of the World.

Jo started with an ice-breaker which involved the authors giving us two truths and one lie about themselves, some of the more unusual answers were someone who worked in a hotel and was paid by a rich American to dress as a ghost to impress his wife. This was Milly Johnson and it was true. Dani Atkins told a story about seeing a ghost cat when she moved into a house, she then admitted it was her lie but then shockingly told us it had actually happened to her husband. It was a great way to start the event. Jo then did a Q and A asking questions such as what made the authors get into writing and what advice they could give to aspiring writers.

After this the corks started popping and we were given a very heavy goody bag laden with fabulous books and other little treats, including a 'Prosecco bubbles' flavoured lipscrub and lipbalm from Pura cosmetics which taste delicious. You can buy them from here.

We were then invited to have some Prosecco and then meet the authors and have our books signed. It was lovely chatting to the authors, some I met for the first time and some I have got to know really well over the last couple of years.
Milly and Me x

There were lots of delicious cupcakes which matched each of the books and some other nibbles. We had time for a little more mingling and then it was time to say goodbye.


I would like to say a huge thanks to SJ for organising another fabulous evening and to all the team at BATC for looking after us so well.

I would also like to say a thank you to Jess Barrett who upon hearing I had a dog, gave me a copy of Lily and the Octopus and has assured me I will need a mansize box of tissues when I read it.
Buy it here.



Another fabulous Books and the City event.
Sincerely
Book Angel x