Category Archives: Author Influences

Author Influences with Mike Thomas

I’m thrilled to have Mike Thomas join me today for this week’s edition of Author Influences. Unforgivable, the second in the DC Will Macready series is out on 27 July 2017 and I’m excited to be taking part in the blog tour at the beginning of August. I will now hand you over to Mike…

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The books I remember enjoying when I was very young were by Richard Scarry. From there it was Enid Blyton, and in my early teens I became hooked on horror and fantasy, devouring writers like James Herbert, Stephen King and Robert R. McCammon. The first horror book I was ever given was called Plague Pit by Mark Ronson. It had this amazing, pulpy tone and the cover was of a mildewed skull with one eyeball peering at you. I think I was about ten years old and the book fascinated me but scared the bejesus out of me, too. From that point – seeing how these authors could affect you so profoundly just via words on a page – I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I always leaned towards the creative side of things at school. This is another way of saying I was unimaginably awful at mathematics and the sciences, to the point where I’d skip double algebra to go into town and hide in a café and play on their Space Invader machine (which was, technically, science). I thoroughly enjoyed English and art subjects. I studied English Language and Literature, and flourished under one of the teachers. She was incredibly inspiring and really pushed us to create – short stories, poems, novel chapters – and to read a broad range of genres. Was I good at English? I really don’t know. I’m making a living from writing in it now, so I suppose I was okay!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I was a police officer for over two decades and made a point of avoiding crime novels. Now I’m writing them, so have had to play catch up in the last few years and I’m really enjoying it. I read Sarah Hilary’s Someone Else’s Skin while writing my new novel and I must say it made me raise my game. It’s a superb book and I love her protagonist DI Marnie Rome. Most of the time it’s work by the likes of Denis Johnson, Tobias Wolff and Chuck Palahniuk, or relatively new kids on the block like Donald Ray Pollock and Frank Bill. So-called American ‘transgressive fiction’. But I’ll read anything. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, the label on the back of a jar of pickles. I just love to read.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Some kind of non-fiction travel work. I’ve been about, and live in Portugal now, and one of my ‘other writing jobs’ has involved travel articles. Perhaps humorous fiction. Probably because I think I’m hilarious. My wife would, quite rightly, disagree.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I refer you to question one. Stephen King was a huge influence. As I was discovering books in the early Eighties he was already a literary superstar, and pretty much everywhere. I burned through Carrie, Salem’s Lot and The Shining, but It sealed it for me; I was fourteen when I took on that doorstopper and loved every page. Pennywise the clown, man. Scary.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Cormac McCarthy. Dan Rhodes – I love his work. For crime it’s usually the big guns: Connelly, Rankin, Billingham and so on. And I have a soft spot for American author John Sandford.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Anything by Cormac McCarthy. I think The Road is a masterpiece. Grim and troubling and occasionally very difficult, following the father and son as they walk the ashen world, but ultimately hugely moving.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
I’ve used quite a few events from my time in the police. Tweaked them here and there, of course, to fit the story. Many real life incidents I would never use, simply because people will think they are too far-fetched. You’d be surprised at what goes on out there! And as for real people? Nope. I’m a writer, therefore cannot afford to pay enormous out of court settlements!

A huge thank you for taking part Mike, I really enjoyed reading your answers.

Mike’s next novel Unforgivable is out on 27 July 2017.

The Blurb

Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation.
An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside.
But this isn’t the Middle East – this is Cardiff . . .

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the ‘why’, then surely they can find the ‘who’? But that isn’t so easy, and time is fast running out . . .

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he’s asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman.

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

Ash and Bones, the first in the DC Macready is out now … if you missed it you can read my review HERE.

About Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas was born in Wales in 1971. For more than two decades he served in the police, working some of Cardiff ’s busiest neighbourhoods in uniform, public order units, drugs teams and CID. He left the force in 2015 to write full time.

His debut novel, Pocket Notebook, was published by William Heinemann (Penguin Random House) and longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year. The author was also named as one of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for 2010. His second novel, Ugly Bus, is currently in development for a six part television series with the BBC.

The first in the MacReady series of novels, Ash and Bones, was released August 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre. Unforgivable, the second in the series, is released in July 2017.

He lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and two children.

Website: https://mikethomasauthor.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ItDaFiveOh?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikeThomasAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895620.Mike_Thomas

 

Author Influences with Jason Hewitt

I’m extremely delighted to welcome Jason Hewitt to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to talk about his favourite books and authors. I adored his novel Devastation Road and was eager to know about the books that have influenced him.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The first author I was aware of was probably Beatrix Potter but once I could read for myself I got rather fixated with Roald Dahl and Swedish children’s author Tove Janssen. The book I’ve read the most times is The Hobbit. However, the book that really filled me with wonder and suddenly made me aware of the skill required to be a writer was Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. Whatever you do, don’t watch the film. It’s a travesty. But as a children’s book, the structure, and, in particular, the way the narrative folds in on itself, is storytelling genius.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Like most authors, I was a bit of a book geek at school so English was inevitably my favourite subject. I was always good at it, too, but not really enough for anyone to notice. I was not one of these precocious young writers with an incredible breadth of language and nor did I ever win any writing competitions. I remember having to read out a poem I had written about a spider in my first year at secondary school and I didn’t know whether to be thrilled or mortified. My A level English teacher, Mrs Baldock, introduced me to two of my favourite authors: Iris Murdoch, via The Bell, and Susan Hill, via her short story collection, A Bit of Singing and Dancing, although it’s her debut novel I’m The King of the Castle which, in my opinion, is her masterpiece. I’ve always been fascinated in why good people do bad things and the relationship between the main characters Kingshaw and Hooper is one of the most destructive you’ll come across in modern literature.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
These days I read almost entirely historical fiction. There is so much good quality historical writing out there at the moment that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. I can’t actually remember the last contemporary novel I read. I read (and write) to escape and whilst I know there are some outstanding works of fiction out there that tackle the contemporary problems of today, but we’re living in amongst the thick of many of them so I don’t particularly want to be reading about them, too, when I go to bed.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I can see myself turning to crime one day (in a purely literary sense, you understand), although it would need to have a historical setting. I take my hat off to any contemporary crime writers who can sustain any sense of jeopardy in a world where we all have mobile phones and help is usually only the press of a button away. I like to think that my novels are structured rather like mysteries, with clues, red herrings and reveals, so I don’t think it would be too big a leap to one day perhaps create a good old fashioned whodunnit.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I honestly don’t remember. For those who are avid readers I think it only natural that eventually we go from reading stories to wanting to create stories of our own. I see it with my oldest nephew who is not yet eight but has been writing his own ‘novels’ for the last two years. I like to think that he has been inspired by me but, if I’m honest, I think it’s probably more likely to have been David Walliams.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
It used to be Lesley Glaister. In my final year of university, when I realized that actually what I wanted to do with my life most of all was to write, I picked up a copy of Writing Magazine. The cover story was an article with Lesley Glaister. She was at the start of her career then and the piece was so inspiring to me as a fledgling writer that I became rather fanatical about her, not least because at the time I loved anything with an atmosphere of what I would call ‘domestic gothic’ and that is something she does so brilliantly – everyday settings but with a sense of the macabre. These days though a new Sarah Waters or Anthony Doerr always excites me, or seeing a friend’s new book that I have seen developing over the months (and years) finally hitting the bookshops.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
I regularly get blown away by the skills of other writers. In fact, whatever book I’m reading, there is always something that gives me a pang of jealousy, even if it’s just a beautifully nuanced turn of phrase. My favourite read of the last few years though is Ian McGuire’s The North Water. It’s set on a whaling ship bound for the Arctic in 1895, and the world the author has created is so rich and real, so raw and visceral, that you can literally smell the reek of sea salt, whale blubber and blood lifting from the pages. It’s so hard to create an authentic but exciting historical period and in my opinion Ian McGuire absolutely nails it.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Both of my novels have been influenced by real events. My first novel The Dynamite Room was originally inspired by the true story of German bodies being washed up on the Suffolk coast in 1940. It made me wonder what might have happened if one of them had not been dead. For The Dynamite Room I also investigated parts of the war that previously I had known very little about, such as the Allies’ campaign in Norway and the initiation of Hitler’s secret Brandenburg Division. In Devastation Road I looked at the events that occurred in Europe in May 1945 during the days before and after peace was declared. The immediate aftermath of the war is something that novelists, as far as I can tell, have largely ignored. Devastation Road investigates what happened in mainland Europe as the concentration camps were liberated and the Allies tried to deal with the ensuing humanitarian crisis. Come the end of 1944 there were 11.5 million displaced people in Europe, 7.7 million in Germany alone. Devastation Road is the story of just three of them.

A huge thank you Jason for taking part and the considered answers. I’m pleased to come across another Tove Janssen fan and, as usual, this feature has added more titles to my ‘must read’ pile!

Devastation Road is out now and has just been released in North America.

The Blurb

A deeply compelling and poignant story that, like the novels of Pat Barker or Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong, dramatises the tragic lessons of war, the significance of belonging and of memory – without which we become lost, even to ourselves.

Spring, 1945: A man wakes in a field in a country he does not know. Injured and confused, he pulls himself to his feet and starts to walk, and so sets out on an extraordinary journey in search of his home, his past and himself.

His name is Owen. A war he has only a vague memory of joining is in its dying days, and as he tries to get back to England he becomes caught up in the flood of refugees pouring through Europe. Among them is a teenage boy, Janek, and together they form an unlikely alliance as they cross battle-worn Germany. When they meet a troubled young woman, tempers flare and scars are revealed as Owen gathers up the shattered pieces of his life. No one is as he remembers, not even himself – how can he truly return home when he hardly recalls what home is?

You can read my review of Devastation Road HERE.

About Jason Hewitt

Jason Hewitt is an author, playwright and actor. His debut novel The Dynamite Room was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Writing and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel. His second novel Devastation Road was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and has just been released in North America. His last play Claustrophobia premiered at Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to London. When not writing he teaches at Oxford Brookes University, Bath Spa University and runs writing workshops at the British Library.

Website: www.jason-hewitt.com
Twitter: @jasonhewitt123
Facebook: JasonHewitt
Instagram: JasonHewitt123

Author Influences with Su Bristow

I am beyond delighted to have the author of one of my favourite books of 2017 joining me today … it’s Su Bristow! Read on to find out more about Su’s favourite books and authors.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
We lived on the outskirts of a small village, so as a young child, my options were limited. There was a very small branch library in the church hall, which was open for a few hours a week. When I was seven I joined the Brownies, which meant staying in the village after school, so I went to the library and read my way through everything. What stands out in my memory? Biographies of famous scientists, like Marie Curie and Thomas Edison. Lives of the saints. Myths and fairy tales. And in fiction, of course, C S Lewis.

My parents weren’t readers, but after my grandfather died when I was about eight, his books were all put in a trunk in an outhouse, and I braved the spiders and mice and worked my way through them. Rider Haggard and Laurens van der Post were a wonderful discovery; definitely not standard reading for a little girl! Meanwhile, back in my grandmother’s house, there was historical fiction and romance. Elizabeth Goudge, Baroness Orczy and Jean Plaidy were my favourites there. Grown up books were what was available, so that was what I read. Not reading was never an option.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English, always, and it was definitely my best subject at primary school, all the way through to A level alongside German, Latin and (ancient) Greek. Words in any language! Learning to love science and medicine came later, at university.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I think everything you read, especially when you’re young, has an impact on your writing – and your thinking too, of course. In my teens, with access to a proper library in town, I read my way through all sorts of literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, historical, horror, humour, poetry…you name it. I came later to crime fiction. Nowadays, I’ll still read almost anything. I think the style of writing is something I respond to when I’m reading, probably more than the genre.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
First I’d have to decide what my genre actually is! I think my publisher (Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books) would describe Sealskin as literary; and within that category, magical realism.

If I were to write a different genre, it might be young adult or high fantasy; I have unwritten stories from way back that might get told one day.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
There have been so many. But there are some that really excite me: Angela Carter, Ursula le Guin, Alan Garner, to name a few. People working with old stories or ‘big’ themes and bringing them into everyday reality.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Well, I’ve just got a signed copy of Robin Hobb’s latest, Assassin’s Fate. But the pile under the bed doesn’t seem to get any smaller. I know a lot of writers these days, and they will keep writing new books!

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy comes close to perfection, I think. The beautiful writing, building of story and character, the way magic and Taoism and environmentalist philosophy are woven into the fabric of the novels, are all just stunning.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yes, definitely. I have a nephew with very severe eczema, and I’ve seen how isolating and disabling it can be. That went into the creation of Donald in Sealskin, though that’s where the similarity ends. And Bridie’s work as a herbalist and healer is partly based on my own experience. On another level, my years of working with patients as they grow and change have taught me that people can bring themselves back from some very dark places, and make good even after getting it badly wrong at first.

A huge thank Su for taking part and for the wonderful answers.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you for the invitation!

Su’s beautiful debut novel Sealskin is out now. You can read my review of this beautiful book HERE.

What happens when magic collides with reality?
Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people – Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance.

About Su Bristow

Su Bristow is a consultant medical herbalist by day. She’s the author of two books on
herbal medicine: The Herbal Medicine Chest and The Herb Handbook; and two on
relationship skills: The Courage to Love and Falling in Love, Staying in Love, cowritten
with psychotherapist, Malcolm Stern. Her published fiction includes ‘Troll
Steps’ (in the anthology, Barcelona to Bihar), and ‘Changes’ which came second in the
2010 CreativeWritingMatters flash fiction competition. Her debut novel, Sealskin, is
set in the Hebrides, and it’s a reworking of the Scottish legend of the selkies, or seals
who can turn into people. It won the Exeter Novel Prize 2013. Her writing has been
described as ‘magical realism; Angela Carter meets Eowyn Ivey’.

Twitter: @SuBristow

Author Influences with Rebecca Pugh

I’m delighted to welcome author and brilliant blogger Rebecca Pugh to the blog today to talk about the books and authors that have influenced her life and her writing.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As a child, I’ll always remember having a little stack of books on my bedside table and each night, I looked forward to getting cosy and diving into said pile. This pile consisted of a number of fabulously fantastic tales, such as The Little Red Hen and Chicken Licken. I remember, too, those Where’s Spot? books where you lifted the flaps to find different animals, perhaps in the farmyard or in the house where Spot lived. I don’t know about you, but I always found any books that had flaps in them to be incredibly exciting when I was little. Who knew what would be hiding beneath? Afterwards, during secondary school, I found my way to the library, which I suppose was inevitable, and I became obsessed with R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, and another similar collection of eerie and creepy books known as Point Horror. I read most of these twice, three times over, and always bugged the librarian about whether more would ever come in. I absolutely loved them, and still read them now, if I fancy it.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was my favourite subject at school and, looking back now, I believe it was the only subject I excelled at. I loved my English classes and looked forward to them constantly. Learning about Shakespeare and practicing creative writing, even having to read passages aloud in class was something I didn’t mind doing at all. Silent reading was also another bonus about my English class. My teacher was a wonderful person and I still think about her now. She certainly made our classes enjoyable, and ignited my love for the subject even more.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
If you had asked me this question a couple of years back, then my answer would have been romance and romance alone but, in the past year or so, I’ve discovered a love within myself for crime thrillers and psychological thrillers. Books that tease you and play with your mind, having you believe one thing when in fact, it is the opposite that is true. I still adore my romance, I think it will always be my first love, but I’m excited to have broadened my reading genres. Doing so has introduced me to plenty of new authors whose books I have adored. I do think the genres that I read have an impact on my own writing. Since discovering the darker side of fiction, I’ve had an urge to try my hand at it myself. Whether I’ll be any good, who knows, but I think it’s good to try something new and test yourself once in a while.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
As mentioned above, I’ve discovered a new love for the darker side of fiction, so I would really love to try and write something darker myself. I adore Stephen King’s books. His ability to create the creepiest atmospheres and strangest characters goes beyond anything I’ve read before. I’m not saying I’d be any good, but everything is worth a try, isn’t it? I, myself, love it when an author instils that fear in me while reading, so I’d love to see if I could perhaps do the same. Who knows?

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I fell in love with Jill Mansell’s books from the moment I read my first. The gorgeous settings along with the lovable characters made me feel warm and safe in the fictional worlds between the pages. They whisked me away from reality and sometimes, that’s exactly what a person is after. Reading Jill’s work had me wondering, what if I could do the same for someone? I used to look at Jill’s books on my bookshelf, all lined up together, and think, I’d really love to see my books lined up together like that too. It’s about offering readers a place to go, a place to look forward to going, and a place to let go of the stresses and worries of everyday life, I think, with characters who they can relate to, or just enjoy spending time with.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Gosh, yes! Probably too many to list here, but I’ll try my best! Jill Mansell’s books, which always come around in January, so I think of them as a birthday treat from me to me. There’s also Stephen King, Miranda Dickinson, Fern Britton, Cathy Bramley, C.L. Taylor, Sophie Kinsella… The list goes on!

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
There are two here, and those are The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson (still thinking about that twist even now!), and I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Both books are incredible and I loved them from beginning to end. These authors are fantastically talented at what they do.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Sometimes, real life does a play a part in my books, but not always. I’ll focus on themes that mean a lot to me, like sisters in A Home in Sunset Bay or beginning again like in Down on Daffodil Lane when life doesn’t go to plan, but other than that, I try to let my imagination take the lead as much as possible. I think it’s inevitable, really, that a little bit of real life will slip into an author’s WIP. But it’s magical, too, watching the real and the fictional become entwined. I love that.

A huge thank you Rebecca for taking part and for the brilliant answers.

Rebecca’s latest novel Right Here Waiting For You is out now, published by HQ Digital:

We used to be best friends…
Magda used to be the girl everyone wanted to be – most likely to achieve her every wish. That is until suddenly her perfect life seems to be anything but!
Sophia has never regretted her life, sure it isn’t perfect, but being a single mum to a daughter she loves is pretty great. Perhaps she never moved away from home, or got to live out her dreams, but what she has right now isn’t so bad.
That is until an invitation to their school reunion arrives, throwing both their lives into a spin – because these two used to be friends and it might finally be time to face up to that one big mistake that happened all those years ago…

About Rebecca

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire. Not an immediate reader, it took her a while to find her way towards the wonderful fictional worlds hidden between the pages of books. Ever since, she’s fallen under the spell of countless authors and the tales they’ve weaved. Her favourite authors include Jill Mansell, Cathy Bramley, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin, to name but a few. She loves nothing more than tapping away at the keyboard, taking her characters from imagination to page and, when that isn’t the case, she adores curling up with a good book.

Rebecca is a fan of fairy tale romances that sweep you off your feet, dashing heroes and strong, lovable heroines. She can’t make up her mind whether she prefers a countryside escape, or a love story set in bustling New York. Either way, she’s more than happy to disappear into both.

When it comes to her own writing, Rebecca aims to whisk readers away to desirable locations, where they can meet characters who, she hopes, will begin to feel like friends. With a dash of romance here, and a shake-up of things there, she loves dreaming up stories and watching them come to life.

Connect with Rebecca

Twitter: @RebeccaPAuthor

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Influences with Alan Jones

Whoop whoop the bloomin’ fabulous Alan Jones joins me today to talk about his author influences!

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Stig of the Dump and the Asterix books were my all-time favourite as a kid but I read a pile of Enid Blyton books too and went through most of the child section of our local library until the Librarian, an elderly man (of about my age now, probably 😊), told me I could take books out of the adult section as long as he passed them as suitable. He suggested I might want to start with Alistair Maclean and Desmond Bagley.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved creative writing but I hated dissecting books to the nth degree. I may sometimes take a book too literally and fail to find the author’s underlying message, although even I did manage to get Animal Farm’s subtext without prompting but the search for deep meaning always spoiled a book for me. My year one teacher spotted that I was a reader, and gave me all sorts of books to read. That was my introduction to authors like Nevil Shute and Nicholas Monsorrat, Lewis Grassic Gibbon and George Orwell. I’m forever in her debt to opening my mind up to a wide range of books and writers.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read most genres, except romance and the supernatural, although I do like a good relationship in a non-romance book. I find myself drawn into writing a love story when I’m writing my own books, which I hope makes my crime thrillers very human. I like science fiction when it is close to reality and is firmly based on science. Fantasy not so much. Historical stuff can be really good if it engages me with people who seem real. I enjoy crime and legal thrillers, and try and read literary books occasionally, both modern and classic. And I really like quirky books, that just stick out for some undefinable reason.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Funny you should ask that. After three gritty crime novels, I am now researching a non-crime book. It is historical to an extent, but it is within the last century. The problem is that I’ve discovered writing such a book requires a vast amount of research compared with the average crime novel (especially as my first two books were based in Glasgow, where I lived until the age of 22).

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I think Irvine Welsh’s use of Scottish urban dialect and his no-holds-barred approach to describing real life allowed me to write as I felt, without getting worried or embarrassed about what readers would think. I know that my books won’t appeal to everyone, as they contain a lot of swearing, violence, varying degrees of sexual content and some pretty strong Glasgow slang (in the first two at least).

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Again, Irvine Welsh would fit into that category. I’m trying to read as widely as I can at the moment, so I’m trying not to get too tied to any particular author just now.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Mila 18, by Leon Uris, Shogun by James Clavell and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. All very different, but all had the wow factor for me, for different reasons. Mila 18 is the best novel about the Holocaust that I have read. It’s a sort of ‘what-if’ book loosely based on the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Shogun is another novel roughly inspired by a true event, about a British Sailor shipwrecked in Japan who becomes an integral part of Japanese culture. Trainspotting is one of the most visceral books about the side of Scotland not portrayed on tourist posters, and is a searing indictment of the Scottish Capital’s underbelly.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yes, many of my characters inherit traits from people I know or who I’ve come in contact with. In my second book, Blue Wicked, a lot of the plotlines were drawn from my everyday job – I don’t want to say more, lest I give away the opening of the book.

In my first book, The Cabinetmaker, the main character makes bespoke furniture, and plays amateur football, both passions of mine, so the plot and the descriptions of the characters were heavily influenced by my own interests, and it meant that I didn’t have to do too much research!

A massive thank you Alan for taking part and for the brilliant responses!

Bloq Alan’s latest novel is out now … and it’s brilliant. You can read my review of it HERE.

A father waits in Glasgow’s Central Station for his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train has pulled in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

About Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish Author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. Living on the Clyde coast in Ayrshire, he works in the animal health industry, makes furniture and maintains and sails a 40 year old yacht in the Irish Sea and the West coast of Scotland. He writes under a pen name for work related reasons, and is married with grown up children. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. Last year he hung up his football boots as age and a dodgy ankle caught up with him.

His books are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

Connect with Alan

Website: www.alanjonesbooks.co.uk

Twitter: @alanjonesbooks

Blog Tour – The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards *Review and Author Influences*

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be taking part in Mark Edwards’ blog tour for his latest novel The Lucky Ones. I’m thrilled to be sharing my review AND I have the man himself taking part in Author Influences, so you can find out about Mark’s favourite books and authors. But first find out more about The Lucky Ones

The Blurb

It was the happiest day of her life. Little did she know it was also the last.
When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.
A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.
But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.
Happiness…and death.
The Lucky Ones is the terrifying new thriller from the #1 Kindle bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Devil’s Work.

My Thoughts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mark Edwards’s books and so I was incredibly excited to receive an advance copy of The Lucky Ones. So what did I think? Is it as good as his other books? ‘As good as’ is an understatement … I think it’s his best yet and I absolutely loved it!

Set in a small village in Shropshire, this normally peaceful village has been rocked by a series of killings by who the media have dubbed ‘The Shropshire Viper’. DI Imogen Evans, a detective recently transferred from the Met, is the lead on the case and has her work cut out finding the killer. Ben, with his son Ollie, has recently moved back to the Shropshire village where he grew up following the separation from his wife. Little does he know he is going to be the Viper’s next target.

The prologue of The Lucky Ones drags you into the story and from there on it just doesn’t let you go! Perfectly paced, Edwards ruined many a planned early night as once I started this book I just could not put it down. It is utterly gripping!

The characters are great, and Edwards makes full use of telling the story from three perspectives. We follow DI Imogen Evans in third person narrative as she investigates the spate of killings. Imogen is struggling to adjust to life in a rural area after being part of The Met. Imogen is likeable and while she certainly has issues from her past she is not the cliched detective that we so often see in crime novels. Ben is immediately likeable as the single father who is adjusting to his new life after a recent run of bad luck, and we see things directly from his perspective through first person narrative. Then we have the chilling voice of the killer. I always love to get into the mind of the killer and Edwards provides this as parts of the story are told directly by The Viper. This is a killer with a very skewed view of life and death and this makes him intriguing and interesting.

The premise of The Lucky Ones is great and totally different as the killer focuses on making his victims, bizarrely, happy! If something is too good to be true, it probably is could be the lesson learned from The Lucky Ones. Edwards had me constantly thinking I had it all figured out as to who the antagonist was to then prove me totally wrong and clueless. He led me up so many garden paths I was beginning to feel like a horticulturalist! This book totally kept me enthralled and on my toes!

If you have to read only one thriller this year make it The Lucky Ones … You will not be disappointed. Utter perfection!

The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards is published by Thomas & Mercer on 15 June 2017 as an £8.99 paperback original.

A huge thank you to Mark Edwards, Lisa Shakespeare at Midas PR and Thomas and Mercer for my advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

And now I hand you over to Mark to tell you about his author influences…

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
When I was at primary school I mainly read comics – everything from 2000AD to Whizzer and Chips! – but my first favourite author was John Wyndham. I was desperate to read Day of the Triffids after watching the BBC adaptation. My dad took me to our local book shop to get a copy and the bookseller told him it wasn’t suitable for children. Luckily, he ignored her attempt at censorship.

A few years later, after I’d devoured Wyndham’s back catalogue, I read and loved the first two Adrian Mole books. I still quote them to this day and spent half my life looking for a girl, like Sharon Botts, who will do anything for 50p and a pound of grapes.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
It was the only subject I was good at. I loved writing stories, many of which were pretty dark and gruesome. I wrote a story about a house with walls that oozed blood when I was nine or ten. Later, when I was at secondary school, I was awarded the English Prize two years in a row. It remains the only literary prize I’ve ever won.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I mostly read crime novels and psychological thrillers. Elizabeth Haynes’ Into the Darkest Corner was the first of the current wave of psych thrillers that I read and it made me realise that was the kind of book I wanted to write. I was fortunate to start publishing psych thrillers – and domestic noir – just as it took off and became the most popular genre.

Having said that, I think the market is so saturated now that it’s getting harder to be original and fresh. There seem to be a lot of identikit domestic thrillers around at the moment, which is one reason my new book, The Lucky Ones, subverts the usual psychological thriller plot line by turning everything on its head…

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I love a good ‘end of the world’ novel and have always wanted to write one. I would love to pen something like Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy – something really epic and dark.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
It’s not a very original answer but it was initially Stephen King and James Herbert, plus Clive Barker to a lesser extent. I was a huge horror reader as a teenager and that was when I first started to dream about being a writer.

Then, in my early twenties, I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which remains my favourite book. It’s perfect in every way, and I yearn to make readers feel as I felt when I first experienced that book.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Yes, quite a few. The aforementioned Donna Tartt, along with Bret Easton Ellis, Mo Hayder (my favourite crime writer), Elizabeth Haynes, Paula Daly, CL Taylor…I could go on and on.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
This happens nearly every week! One that stands out is I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. That twist is so good – I think Clare really raised the bar with that and I’ve been obsessed ever since with coming up with a twist that good. To mention one more, I loved The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer because it was so funny. Every line is read-aloud brilliant.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Most of my psychological thrillers have been influenced by things that happened to me. The Magpies was based on my own experience of neighbours from hell; Follow You Home was inspired by a real-life disaster on a train in Europe. I don’t really base books on real crimes, although I had to research Harold Shipman for The Lucky Ones as my killer uses the same method to murder his victims. It’s terrifying that Britain’s most prolific serial killer was not a prowling Hannibal Lecter type but a seemingly trustworthy, mild-mannered medic. Although, come to think of it, both Shipman and Lecter were doctors…

A massive thanks to Mark Edwards for taking the time to answer my questions brilliantly. You have made my month!

About Mark Edwards

After a career that has taken in everything from answering complaint calls for a rail company to teaching English in Japan and being a marketing director, Mark now writes full-time.

He live in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, three children, a ginger cat and a golden retriever.

Connect with Mark

Website: www.markedwardsauthor.com

Twitter: @mredwards

Facebook: @markedwardsbooks

Follow the rest of the tour…

Continue reading Blog Tour – The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards *Review and Author Influences*

Author Influences With Sharon Maas

I am very excited to be joined by the very talented Sharon Maas today. I am a huge fan of Sharon’s books and her next novel The Orphan Of India is published on 28 June 2017 by Bookouture. You can find out more about it later in the post. In the meantime I hand you over to Sharon to tell you about her author influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The ubiquitous Enid Blyton, of course! I must have read every single thing she ever wrote, starting with Noddy and through the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair, Naughtiest Girl, St Clare and Mallory Towers and the Famous Five, Five Find-Outers and The Adventure series and the Mystery series—she wrote it, I read it! As a young child I also adored Winnie the Pooh, though, and later, the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Not to mention Just William.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was my best subject, and I loved it. I was almost always top of the class in composition. We also did a thing called precis, which is basically synopsis writing. I loved it! I don’t think English pupils do that any more. When I was about 14, at Harrogate College, we had to produce a little magazine in groups and I was editor of my group; our magazine was called Tally Ho and it was about ponies and riding, and it won first prize.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read women’s fiction and historical fiction; stories fixed in reality. I also love John LeCarre’s writing. Books that deal with realistic themes and problems and dig a little beneath the surface; that make me reflect on different aspects of life and somehow change me, for the better.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
As far as fiction is concerned, I wouldn’t want to write in any other genre. If I had to, though, I’d probably write cosy mysteries. I might write children’s books, one day, as I have a granddaughter and more grands will probably come along.

Also, I’d like to move into non-fiction: self-help books on meditation, ageing, how to find happiness from within, and so on.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
When I was quite a little girl I used to try my hand at writing stories a la Enid Blyton; you know, several children and a dog and ponies, having adventures and catching thieves and all that. So I suppose she was the first influence.

But when I was about 12 or 13 I read the books of Mary O’Hara: My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead, and Green Grass of Wyoming. My Friend Flicka was the first book ever to reduce me to a blubbering heap of tears. I can still tell you the line that did that to me: “I wanted a little girl too, mother.”
That was the first time I knew the emotional power of storytelling, and I longed to be able to do the same some day.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
At the moment it’s Lucinda Riley with her Seven Sisters Trilogy. I’ve read three and can’t wait for number four to be published. At this rate it’s going to be at least three years before I’ve read them all, and that’s really harsh!

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
That happened with A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, at 1500 pages. I wanted to write a never-ending family saga. I actually think I’m doing that with my Quint series; it’s going to end up being several books which have connecting characters. It’s such a pleasure doing that.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Many times. The Quint series is based on the life of my grandmother, for instance, and I also wrote a novel set in the Jonestown tragedy of 1978. Fortunately, Jim Jones can’t sue me! Right now I’m writing a novel which has a whole character created around the life of a real person, an unsung hero of the 19th century who absolutely deserves more attention.

A huge thank you for taking part Sharon. I’m so glad to hear there are going to be more books in the Quint series!

The Orphan of India is published later this month and is available for pre-order here now. Look out for my review next week and here is the blurb:

A beautiful, unforgettable tale of a young girl torn between two lives…

Monika and Jack Kingsley are desperate for a child of their own. On a trip to India, they fall in love with Jyothi: a small, shy girl, whose family has been ruined by poverty.

Jyothi has been living on the streets of Bombay, seeking comfort in the music she hears around her. When her mother is involved in a tragic accident, Jack and Monika are determined to adopt the orphan child.

Eventually they return to England, but Jyothi finds it difficult to adapt to her new home. She feels more alone than ever and music becomes her solace once more. Even when Jyothi’s extraordinary musical talent transforms into a promising career, she still doesn’t feel like she belongs.

Then a turbulent love affair causes her to question everything. And Jyothi realises that before she can embrace her future, she must confront her past…

The Orphan of India is an utterly evocative and heart-wrenching novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Santa Montefiore and Diane Chamberlain.

You can read my reviews of The Lost Daughter of India and The Sugar Planter’s Daughter by clicking on the pictures.

About Sharon Maas

Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951 and educated in Guyana and England. After leaving school she worked as a staff journalist at the Guyana Graphic and the Sunday Chronicla in Georgetown.
Sharon has always had a great sense of adventure and curiosity about the world we live in, and Guyana could not hold her for long. In 1971 she set off on a year-long backpacking trip around South America.  In 1973 she travelled overland to India through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and spent two years in an Ashram in South India.

Connect with Sharon

Website: www.sharonmaas.com

Facebook: @sharonmaasauthor

Twitter: @Sharon_maas

Author Influences With Paul Harrison

I’m delighted to be joined by Paul Harrison, author of Revenge of the Malakim – Volume 1 of The Grooming Parlour Trilogy, today to talk about the books and authors that have had an influence on him.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was an avid Famous Five reader. Enid Blyton could write an awesome tale. I also liked to read about real life mysteries, those I mainly read about in American comics.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was a bit of a rebel at school. I held the record for the cane, mainly for not listening and being cheeky. However, there were two subjects I excelled in, History and English. I loved both subjects, and still do I guess.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Being an ex-copper, I used to read a lot of true crime. I was influenced by Jonathan Goodman, an excellent writer of the genre. My first books and most of the thirty plus I’ve written are true crime. My police career and those books helped me to write my first crime fiction novel Revenge of the Malakim.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Much of my life has been spent within the criminal justice system, (the lawful end I hasten to add), so I know it inside out. I like to research and write mysteries, and once wrote a book about the Loch Ness Monster, which was great fun.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Yes, the late Jonathan Goodman became my writing mentor. I read one of his books and was so impressed, I wrote to him. He replied, and our friendship was formed. Jon was able to articulate any situation perfectly and make it a compelling read.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Mark Billingham, I really enjoy his books, and he’s a decent bloke as well.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Jonathan Goodman – The Burning of Evelyn Foster. I found it difficult to put down. He painted a picture with words.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Some of the events detailed in Revenge of the Malakim (Williams & Whiting) are loosely based about real life incidents within my police career. I am perhaps fortunate, that I’ve interviewed dozens of serial killers. As daft as it sounds, the interviews become boring after a time, the killers all say similar things. So I decided to create my own serial killers, based on those interviews and character/personality traits.

 

Paul’s debut crime novel Revenge of the Malakim is out now, published by Williams & Whiting. Here is the synopsis:

It’s high summer and the streets of Bridlington East Yorkshire are awash with tourists. A serial killer is on the loose. DCI Will Scott and his team embark upon a fast paced investigation to catch a killer with a unique agenda. As the body count rises the killer randomly moves location and the police are unwittingly drawn into a dark and sinister world where cover-ups and corruption reigns. A place where no one can truly be trusted and nothing is ever what it seems.

Purchase a copy from Amazon UK and Amazon US 

Find out more about Paul on the Williams & Whiting website.

A huge thank you Paul for taking part!

 

Author Influences with Maureen Carter

I’m delighted to be joined by crime writer and creator of the DS Bev Morriss and DI Sarah Quinn series Maureen Carter. Here she tells us about her favourite books and authors.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Like many children, I suspect, I cut my reading teeth on Enid Blyton’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of stories. Such magical worlds and wonderful characters. For me, the Famous Five had the edge on the Secret Seven, but it was a close call. I moved on to Richmal Crompton’s William stories. I so wanted to be in his gang. Then I discovered Agatha Christie’s novels – and was utterly smitten. I don’t think I ever guess ‘whodunit’ and I still feel The Murder of Ackroyd is one of the most fiendishly clever plots ever conceived.

(As an aside, many years later I bought tickets to see The Mousetrap in the West End. Just before the big day, a friend told me the butler did it. I was furious until I found out the play has no butler in it!)

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was, and I loved the subject. I had an enormous advantage in that my father – who sadly died when I was eight years old – taught me to read before I started school. The head-teacher was so impressed that on my first day, she led me by the hand to every class and I had to stand at the front and read out loud to everyone. Fortunately, I was too young to be embarrassed or to realise this might not make me the most popular girl in the school!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read voraciously. If I’m not writing, I’ll almost certainly have my head in another author’s book. I read everything from the classics to contemporary fiction; non-fiction, biographies. Not surprisingly my favourite genre is crime fiction. I love reading it but as I also write crime novels, I think it’s important to keep on top of trends and know what and who is out there.

If you were to write in a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d probably write a biography, or even compile a series of interviews with crime writers and write profiles of some of the top practitioners in the genre. It’s certainly the kind of book I’d like to read and as both crime author and former journalist I’d rather like to write it, too.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Ruth Rendell. A Judgement in Stone. The first sentence reads: Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.
In thirteen words, the perpetrator, the crime and the victims are revealed yet I found the compulsion to read on utterly irresistible. The writing’s wonderfully under-stated, the pages packed with tension and suspense – it’s a master-class in story-telling.

I’d always wanted to be a writer but after reading this book, I knew for the first time that I wanted to write crime.

Are there authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
How long have you got? Seriously, the authors whose new books I really have to get hold of include: Belinda Bauer, Tana French, Denise Mina, Mark Billingham, Ian Rankin, David Mark and Harry Bingham. I also love every novel written by Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill.

Which books have you read that made you think, ‘Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
A Judgement in Stone is definitely a book I wish I’d written and another is Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell. I read it in proof copy more than twenty years ago and fell in love with the sharp writing and edgy characters. Mallory was – is – a New York detective but I’d never come across a fictional female cop like her. Sassy, kick-ass and feisty Mallory was a maverick who shot from the lip and didn’t give a damn who she crossed. Similar characters are two-a-euro now, but back then O’Connell’s creation stood out strongly in the fictional cop crowd.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people?
Yes, several. I worked as a journalist and producer in BBC TV news and producer for many years and a number of my books are influenced by crime stories I covered and people I interviewed. Increasingly, I found I wanted to explore some issues further and switched to crime fiction to enable me to do that.
Working Girls, my first novel published in 2004, stemmed from what was then a pilot scheme by West Midlands police that treated young prostitutes as victims not criminals. My research involved going out on the streets with vice squad officers and talking to young sex workers.
My characters – I hasten to add – are an imaginative meld of people I meet and those I make up!

Maureen Carter is the author of the Sarah Quinn Mysteries and the Bev Morriss Mysteries. Her latest novels Next Of Kin: A British Police Procedural and book 5 in the Sarah Quinn Mysteries and book 9 in the Bev Morriss Mysteries Death Wish are out now!

About Maureen Carter

Maureen Carter is the creator of two crime series set in Birmingham where she lives. Before writing fiction, she worked for BBC TV news holding various roles as reporter, producer, presenter and editor. Her novels feature the sort of stories that get big news coverage and reflect the impact journalists can have on high-profile police investigations. When not writing she’s probably reading or catching-up with frieds. She loves cats, coffee, crosswords and Cornwall.
Find out more at: www.maureencarter.co.uk
She blogs at: https://macarterblog.wordpress.com/
Is on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/maureen.carter.50
And follow her on Twitter at: @getcarter4

Thank you Maureen for taking part!

 

Author Influences With Alice May

Alice May joins me today to talk books in Author Influences. Alice’s debut novel Accidental Damage is out now and I will tell you more about it later. Right now I’m going to hand over to Alice…

 

Which Authors/books did you like as a child?
As a child I would read anything I could get my hands on. I wasn’t particularly fussy. I read so fast that my parents had trouble keeping up with my need to read, even with a local library membership. I was always to be found curled up in a corner reading and re-reading books, often with several different ones on the go at once.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I wasn’t outstandingly good at English at school but I really enjoyed the literature classes. I eventually followed a science and maths route but never stopped reading.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I enjoy a wide variety of genres from science fiction to murder mysteries to romance. I wouldn’t say any one has influenced the genre I write but I have learned a great deal about the different styles of story-telling from every book I have ever read.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I think reading work from authors like Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde and Jenny Colgan has definitely encouraged me to write. I love Trisha Ashley’s quirky but very believable characters and I really enjoy how approachable the heroines are in both Katie Fforde and Jenny Colgan’s books.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
All of the authors mentioned above of course and also H. T. King who writes the Victoria Institute Series ‘Undercover Thief’ and ‘Thief Underground’. These are teen fiction but the main character is so sassy and go-get-em that I absolutely adore her. Can’t wait for the next in the series!

Which books have you read that have made you think ‘Wow, I wish I had written that?’
I frequently come across books that make me think ‘Wow, I wish I had written that!’ I feel so lucky that there are so many talented authors out there who can transport you into another world for a little while.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people?
Yes, my first novel ‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down!’ was inspired by true life events. It is the tale of a family of six (mum, dad and four kids) who suddenly find themselves homeless after their old cottage falls down completely out of the blue one day. With nowhere to go they are forced to move into a tent in the garden.
Told retrospectively from the mother’s point of view, ‘Accidental Damage’ is packed with both humorous anecdotes and brutally honest emotional reactions to what it is like to live in your garden whilst working out how you are going to rebuild your home. It is a tale of family love and loyalty, proving that if you pull together as a team and look after each other you can survive anything.
The characters of the family in ‘Accidental Damage’ are based (loosely) on my own family. I wanted to convey to the reader the complex interactions of a large family under such uniquely stressful circumstances. (Don’t worry my husband and kids have all read the book and approve.)
No other characters in the book are actually based on real people.

Alice’s debut novel Accidental Damage is out now and here is the blurb:

If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden surrounded by the jumbled up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting.

Our heroine has survived the sudden collapse of her home – or has she?

Certain events two and a half years ago led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed. What happens when she decides to go looking for it?

Does she really deserve to be whole again?

Inspired by a true story, this is an account of one woman’s secret guilt and her journey in search of forgiveness!

Published on 3 August 2016 you can purchase a copy HERE.

About Alice May

Alice May is a multi-tasking mother with four not-so-small children and she is fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet. They live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Her conservatory is always festooned with wet washing and her kitchen full of cake.

Following many years exhibiting as a mixed media artist, Alice decided that 2016 was the year she would write her first fictional novel. ‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down’ simply wouldn’t leave her alone until it was written.

Connect With Alice

Website: www.alicemay.weebly.com

Twitter: @AliceMay_Author

Facebook: @AliceMayAuthor