The Other Twin | Lesley Hayes

Fantastic News: One of my favorite writers released a new book. Lesley Hayes won my “Writer of the Year Award”, so this is big news.

Source: The Other Twin | Lesley Hayes

THE OTHER TWIN

The Other Twin-cover

As anyone who has read my novel The Drowned Phoenician Sailor knows, I am intrigued by the special connection shared by twins. Like Verity, the central character in The Other Twin, I was born under the aegis of the zodiac sign Gemini, and perhaps that has fuelled my fascination. The twins I have known in real life (I always feel compelled to add “whatever that is” when I use that term) are not joined at the hip emotionally, and are often at odds, resentful of the assumption that they will think alike, dress alike, and get on like a house on fire. Setting each other’s houses on fire is more likely, from what I’ve observed – the uneasy sense that each is stealing part of themselves they want back, but can never have while the other twin is around.

Of course there are twins, I’m sure, who are happy with the mirror image each offers, and enjoy spending time together and sharing their toys, their clothes, their friends, and maybe even their lovers – but they aren’t the ones who intrigue me. As with all my novels, it’s the shadow that grabs my interest, the dark side of our loving, generous natures; the part of us that is driven by powerful desires that sometimes shame and frighten us with their intensity.

I’ve written before about the process of writing a novel, and each time – much like a love affair – it’s both familiar and yet unique. This novel was written in various stages, begun soon after I finished writing Dangerous People, while I was grieving the loss of those characters. (I said it was like a love affair.) I recognize, as probably many of my readers do, that there are certain archetypes that emerge again and again in my writing. As a psychologist I am well aware that there is some deep angst in my psyche I am attempting to exorcise – but it’s best just to acknowledge that rather than try and analyse it. Ripping the wings off a creative butterfly is never particularly useful. I’ll leave it to the critics.

There are times when it seems the universe hurls great Sisyphean boulders in our path to block us – or as I prefer to think of it, challenge us. During the early months of writing I was simultaneously orchestrating a move from the house I have lived in for thirty years. Anyone who has done this knows what a tortuous labour house buying and selling can be, and this was no easy ride. I was full of enthusiasm that gradually morphed into cynicism (not a comfortable fit for me) as I learned the hard way that not everyone can be trusted to play by the same rules as me. On the plus side, I gave roomfuls and cupboardfuls of stuff away to charity, and pared my belongings down to an almost Zenlike simplicity. (Definitely a good fit. I do love a good cull.) Only weeks away from the actual move (the third house I had made an offer on, and so surely third time lucky) family events erupted which ultimately meant I ended up not moving at all.

Here is not the place to talk about those events, which are still painfully raw, but it meant that once again the novel writing had to be relegated to an even lower position down the league table of my priorities. I wasn’t sure, for a couple of months, if I would ever properly return to it. My heart was elsewhere, wrapped around with many layers of grief. Not surprisingly, given all the stress I was experiencing, I had been unwell throughout much of this time, from the end of last autumn all the way through to now. My chronic fibromyalgia, neuralgia and associated stomach problems, soared to new heights of suffering. I’m not complaining. I have learned to live with the physical effects of what was once dubbed “over-sensitivity”. Sometimes it proves an easier companion than others. Writing has been for me one of the ways of liberating myself from pain – emotional as well as physical. And so it proved this time, eventually.

I opened my laptop one day and saw the poor neglected file that held two thirds of the completed first draft of The Other Twin, and started to read it. By the time I got to the end, I had to find out what happened next… and there was only me to write it. I had fallen in love with my characters all over again. Who were they really, beneath the masks they had assumed for the purposes of the narrative? Verity had already changed since she was introduced at the start of the novel. She had matured, as I always intend for my characters, experience having enabled her to widen her emotional horizons and grow kinder and more insightful. It’s what we each hope for ourselves, after all. I wondered where her choices would lead her, and continued to write avidly, discovering along the way.

The ending surprised even me. Had I always meant for it to be this way? It had the ring of inevitability about it, but even so I toyed with the notion of alternatives. But no other kind of ending had the same integrity, and so I had to bow to the deeper wisdom of the muse, as so often before. It really does seem sometimes as though a novel writes itself.

Do I know any more about the psychology of twins after writing it? Do you understand more by reading it? As in most of my stories, I have explored those themes that haunt me: the sometimes banal face of evil – the corruption at the heart of human nature that pushes us towards acts of betrayal, manipulation and annihilation. I like to keep my canvas small. We see those themes writ large on the world stage, and are shocked by the things we read and hear on the news, the crimes we all agree are beyond the pale. And yet, there in the closeted world of our family, those themes resonate time and again, and we are often blind to them. It can feel safer simply to ignore them. I guess in my novels I hope to open your eyes to see what I see, and remember we are each the sum of the choices we make. In the end, that’s how we are known and remembered.

You can find The Other Twin on kindle at Amazon The Other Twin

Welsh Wednesdays Review: “The Man behind the Glass” by Greg Howes

23898903If you like stories set in Victorian London, Oliver, Jack the Ripper, Doctor Who or anything dark and mysterious then this is for you. A book full of surprises and intrigue.
We follow Septimus Blackwood, the main protagonist of this story, experimenting with a new type of photography. What he finds on his mission is more than he has bargained for, in terms of science and his own personal past. The philosophical meets science, legacy meets innovation.
The setting in the Victorian era lends itself to beautiful and also scary mysteries like this one. The beginning of a new school of science, fantastic innovations and the darkness of London’s alleys and tunnels provide a perfect setting that is chilling and compelling at the same time.

Find the book on Amazon Uk and Amazon US

Meet Greg at the Llandeilo Book Fair December 2016

Blurb:
“The Man Behind The Glass is based around a character called Septimus Blackwood, a Victorian photographer with a difference. The story is set in London’s East end in the year 1860 . It is predominantly a mystery adventure story, based on uncovering the hidden secrets of life and death and a quest for a missing legacy buried deep amongst the forgotten rivers and cellars beneath old London. It is also a race against time, Septimus not only finds himself competing against the tide,he is also at odds with the twin evils of Joseph Bazalgette’s new sewage system and the formation of what was to become known as London’s underground train network.
It takes the reader on a supernatural journey of intrigue, horror and unexpected fantastical explorations. Mid Victorian London, was a place and time unlike any other; it was a time of expansion, vision, exploration and experiment. It was also a time of great contrasts, in wealth, health and opportunities. This intriguing voyage of discovery combined with the highly satirical characters found therein takes you to the edge of your seat and beyond…

Welsh Wednesdays Re-blog fromThorny matters: Fair Play – why book fairs? #TenbyBookFair

Source: Thorny matters: Fair Play – why book fairs?

Fair Play – why book fairs?

I’ll be taking part in a small flurry of book fairs soon: The Rhondda, on September 3rd, Tenby  (which I am helping to organise) on September 24th, and Carmarthen on October 1st.

Tenby Book Fair 2015

To stand at a stall, offering my wares, might seem a very Mediaeval way of going about things in the days of internet ordering and e-books. Besides, what are bookshops for, if not to provide any book that anyone is looking for? Literary festivals like Hay, with big names addressing crowds of fans are all very well, but why bother with book fairs?

The reason is that for most of us authors, such events are the only occasions when we get to meet our readers in the flesh, to discuss our work and hear their opinion. We write for ourselves, mostly, and perhaps to please a publisher or agent, but ultimately, since we choose to be published, rather than storing our work in notebooks under our bed, we write for “the reader” out there, who will devour our polished words. It becomes a somewhat surreal situation if our readers never materialise in the flesh. We need the contact to keep it real.

A fair also allows us to meet our fellow authors, in an atmosphere where everything is all about books, and sometimes it’s very healthy to escape the private isolation of writing and remind ourselves that we are not alone. There are other people as obsessed with writing as us.

For indie authors, who self-publish, and who want to rely on more than Kindle sales on Amazon, fairs can be almost the only way to put their printed books out there, for people to see. Many bookshops simply don’t stock independent authors. An ISBN number is not enough to get you on the “List.” And for us conventionally published authors, there is no guarantee that bookshops, even their local bookshops, will pay them any attention whatsoever. If you are lucky, you might find a copy of your book, buried in a dark corner, out of sequence, while the front displays concentrate on the highly promoted big names. If you are in the hands of one of the mega-publishing houses, which sees you as a potential block-buster in WH Smiths or on airport concourses, then they might send you off on tour round the country or the world, to meet your readers. They might flaunt your book cover on billboards for you. 99% of authors don’t get that treatment, so we have to put ourselves out there.

And that’s what book fairs are for. So do come. We’re a rare breed and well worth gawping at.

What’s new with me: A cosy Murder Mystery in Wales, and a Caribbean thriller / sequel to “The Healer”

download (9)I’ve had a busy summer working on my next two projects. “The Body in the Snow”, a cosy murder mystery set in Wales, and “Cayman Brac”, the sequel to “The Healer”, set on the Grand Cayman Islands.

image009

 

 

 

“The Body in the Snow” is a light-hearted mystery in which the characters and setting should be more prominent than the actual murder case. Although I truly love those ‘Agatha-Christie-style-books’ with great twists and unexpected endings, I also enjoy those novels where colourful characters are the main attraction. This is my feeble attempt to take a break from the more serious writing and just have fun:

A faded singer and her desperate attempts for a comeback, a highly unprofessional buddhist/ lesbian detective, neighbourhood disputes, scandals and ‘keeping up appearances’ in a Welsh hamlet provide the ingredients for “The Body in the Snow”.
I’ve had the idea several years back in a snow-related blackout and had great fun creating the story over the course of three years. I hope to present the novel at the Tenby Book Fair,  September 24th 2016. 

healer cover for kindle
“Cayman Brac”  on the other hand is more of a thriller and finds Arpan (from “The Healer”) on Grand Cayman, where he has opened his training centre. Erica catches up with him in her search for the guilty party from book one. The story also brings in Ben Andrews, a character from my other thriller Gamblers readfreelyThe Gamblers”, so you have really two sequels rolled into one.
I hope to publish this book by the end of the year. For those of you who haven’t read “The Healer” yet, I have copies of the audio version to give away. Please leave a comment if you are interested or follow this link.

The book is currently nominated for “Book of the Month”. Feel free to cast your vote here. Thank You!

 

Prayer-can-Heal-2

The Healer


When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
http://bookShow.me/B00QIJ4DJ6

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl

Book-likes: http://booklikes.com/the-healer-christoph-fischer/book,12975746

Rifflebooks: https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/388235

Review – Ludwika by Christoph Fischer

Wendy Unsworth

imageSet during WWII, this is the story of Ludwika, a young woman who makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her family, including her daughter, behind  in their small village in Poland and move to Germany where she will work for an SS officer. She goes believing that her friendship with the German will help protect her family through the dark days of war yet to come. Once in Germany however she finds her situation is far from what she had hoped; her position in society is precarious and she must quickly adapt in order to survive and have any chance of being reunited with her family again.

What struck me most about this story was the perspective. It was an interesting insight into the plight of those left behind whilst their loved ones fought for freedom; their struggle to live some kind of normality and survive occupation and all its…

View original post 125 more words

Mystery Monday: Review: “Fava” by John Hazen

28361209I’m delighted to share my review of “Fava” by John Hazen. I am a abig fan of John’s work and was excited to see what he would make of the thriller genre. What I found is a action packed, fast paced and breath-taking polit-thriller. As another reviewer put it: “What an excellent story to read, especially in times of islamophobia and racial hatred.”
While 9/11 is the trigger for a revenge terror plot against Muslims, we meet enough ‘regular’ believers to see how things can be put out of perspective. Such is the genius of John’s writing that he brings this, perspective, into all of his work.
A journalist is a step ahead of the rest of the press when she discovers that the winner of a collossal Lottery jackpot is set to use the money to avenge his brother’s death in the Pentagon on 9/11.
The attempt to stop the act of terror involves a lot of action, drama and a lot of twists. I am impressed by John’s versatility as much as I was on the edge of my seat to find out how the story would come to its conclusion.
Character depth, solid research and attention to detail are a given with this writer.
As another reviewer put it:
“Setting the record straight on some wrong believes about Islam and Muslims on the way, this is an excellent polit-thriller, an engaging page turner with depth and a solid plot.
Highly recommended.”

JOhn HazenBio: John Hazen came to writing novels relatively late in life, but once he started he hasn’t looked back. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but has lived in the New York City/New Jersey area for the past forty years. Degrees from Rutgers, The New School and NYU buttress a lifelong passion for learning and a love of history. Inspired by Lynn, his wife of over thirty-five years, he pursued the dream of becoming an established author and is now working on his fifth book. John and Lynn love to travel, and the experiences of those travels find their way into his writing. John’s reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from histories to classic novels to an occasional piece of modern trash. His absolute “must reads” are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time.

Website – www.johnwhazen.com

Twitter – @john_hazen

Facebook –john.hazen.92@facebook.com

Book links:

 

Fava – http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/fava?rq=fava or

http://amzn.to/1TCi1zH

Journey of an American Son –http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/journey-of-an-american-son?rq=journey or

http://amzn.to/1UY5lG3

Dear Dad – http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Dad-Novel-John-Hazen/dp/1466394757

Aceldama –http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/aceldama or

http://amzn.to/1qWS97P

My interview with John 

Interview with Peri Hoskins

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a new talent, Peri Hoskins, whose novel is due for release tomorrow. Welcome Peri. Please tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.Peri 1 warmer tones cropped

I wanted to be a writer from a young age.  I loved reading as a child and was reading novels at the age of seven.  At High School I excelled at English, History and Geography.  I went to university, and completed both a law degree with honours and a BA in English with sub-majors in Philosophy and Economics.  In my first year at university while sitting in 20th century English literature lectures I was in my element.  I was too young to write novels then, I needed to live first: have some experiences to write about.

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?

At the age of thirty I decided to travel around Australia and write a novel about it.  I completed that novel 22 years later, in 2016.  The book is called ‘East – A Novel’.  It will be out as an eBook in August 2016.  In 2014 I wrote and published my first book ‘Millennium – A Memoir’.  I took the travel notes for that book in 1999/2000.  So there has been delay between starting and completing my books.  The reason for that is my life, like most people’s lives, has been busy.  I’ve been busy earning a living, having relationships and generally living life. And it took time to find my writer’s voice; that came to me later in life.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

Many great writers including Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and John Steinbeck inspired me to become a writer.  At school it was generally acknowledged by my teachers that I could write well, and that was encouraging.  At university one of my lecturers said I had ‘a good solid prose style.’  He also said it was ‘a little wordy’ and it was back then.  In the years since I’ve cut the wordiness back to something pretty lean and economical.  I’m comfortable with the prose style I have now.  It didn’t come easily.  Like most worthwhile things it has been hard earned.

Tell me a little more about your writing style.'East' front cover

I’m a ‘tell it like it is writer’.  I’m interested in getting to the truth of things.  My books are not politically correct.  You won’t find the truth in political correctness.  I’m writing to be an authentic voice that both entertains and makes people think.

Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?

My books are both travelogue stories based on real life experiences.  I’ve found travel conducive to creativity; it frees the mind and frees the soul.  The rat on the wheel working life stifles creativity.

What is your life like outside of writing?

I work as a barrister, which is a self-employed lawyer.  I specialise in civil litigation.

What makes you laugh?

Politically incorrect humour.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

I think it was Charles Bukowski who said: ‘My heroes are all dead and the replacements seem very shoddy indeed.’  The people I’d like to invite for dinner have passed on.  Writers I would invite would include Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac and F Scott Fitzgerald.  I would also invite the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I talk about music during ‘East’ including songs like ‘I Walk the Line’ by Johnny Cash and music of the time by ‘The Smiths’ and ‘ZZ Top’.  Those songs would naturally fit with the movie of ‘East’.

What are you working on now?  

I’m busy promoting ‘East’ and working in my law practice.  I’ll get back to creative writing some time soon.  I think there’s at least one more book to come.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

A New York literary agent has read ‘East’ and says ‘its great’ and ‘without question the most anticipated book of the summer.’  I’m looking forward to the release.

Short author bio:Peri 1 warmer tones cropped
 
Peri Hoskins is a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand.  He is a child of the 20th century, born in Wellington, New Zealand.  He is the second son in a family of five children.  His first book, ‘Millennium – A Memoir’ was published in 2014.  The book was well reviewed in The New Zealand Listener and has received many five star reader reviews.  Peri Hoskins lived in Australia between 1985 and 2005.  His second book ‘East – A Novel’ is a 1994 slice of life travelogue novel in the tradition of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road.’  ‘East’ will launch as an eBook in August 2016.  Peri Hoskins writes books and works as a barrister-at-law.
LINKS:
My author website is at www.perihoskinsauthor.com.
For a limited time I have the Millennium ebook free from my website.  Here is the link bit.ly/FreeMilPH.
The ‘East’ eBook is available now as a preorder both at Apple and Amazon.
I’m at Twitter @PeriHoskins

THE HEALER has been shortlisted to be the next ReadFreely Book of the Month.

h_origTHE HEALER has been shortlisted to be the next ReadFreely Book of the Month.

 

 

here is a link, in case you wish to vote for the book. Many thanks for your support🙂

 

http://www.readfree.ly/help-choose-our-next-book-of-the-month/

 

http://a%20href=

 

The Healer


When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller
http://bookShow.me/B00QIJ4DJ6

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23662030-the-healer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHealerNovelbyChristophFischer?ref=hl

Book-likes: http://booklikes.com/the-healer-christoph-fischer/book,12975746

Rifflebooks: https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/388235

Review: “All You Need is Love (And a Big Handbag)” by Julie Hodgson

31236105Mystery meets comedy and action in this well-written and highly addictive drama. The narrator finds herself spying on her husband and waits for him under a bed where she expects him to cheat on her with another woman.
She is in for a big surprise and subsequent surprises. Interspersed in the events are snippets about the couple, how she met him at College and fell in love.
This is hugely enjoyable and a real page turner – and I don’t use this term often. I found it difficult to put the book down.

There is a lot of humour and self-deprication in this. Although the woman seems obsessive and goes maybe too far in her spying, she remains likeable and relatable throughout. This is a very entertaining story that I can only recommend.
Very impressive.

The book on Amazon US and Amazon UK

Blurb:
When the most bookish, clumsy geek manages to bag the most handsome,
beautiful man on campus – the man that all the other girls would happily
have thrown their Kappa Kappa Delta sisters under the bus for – then it
can’t end well. But Maggie has beaten the odds and is ten years into her
marriage with Jack. However, the pages in the book of fairytales are
beginning to smolder and burn as she starts to question his fidelity.

Forced into action by her suspicions, and hindered by her over-sexed
mother and under-brained friend, Maggie embarks on a search for truth.
What she finds, however, is an adventure that throws her directly into
the claws of danger and will make her wish that infidelity was the only
thing she had to worry about.

Julie Hodgson Is now living in Portugal with her husband John, has traveled extensively all over the world writing for children. Working on the children’s page of the Kuwaiti times for about a year .Just before the first Gulf conflict in 1989. And the story tellers page for the Dumfries and Galloway standard, and the press and journal Banff Standard, plus numerous other papers and short story books to her credit. She has also been featured twice in the Portuguese newspaper Aponte.

Julie Hodgson now settles for a quieter life and has more time to write stories, and is in popular demand for storytelling and has visited many schools in Portugal. On Fridays the children are entertained by Julie’s stories on the local radio show, “Bom Dia “(good morning Portugal) on RTL 96fm in Portugal and is a great success with an avid following. When last interviewed on the radio Julie stressed how important it was for children to be able to read. She usually donates the proceeds from the sales of her books to charities.

List Julie Hodgson’s Current Books:
As Sete Irmas
Billy Bark A Lot
Earth Child
If I Had
In My Fathers Pocket
Juno And The Windwalker
Miniature Horse Tales
Polly Mae
The Magic of Christmas
The Mothaich
The Young Prince
Where Oh Where Is Yellow Bear
ZodoFF – by Julie Hodgson
Juno and the Windwalker by Julie Hodgson
She Who Dares

Julie Hodgson’s Website
http://www.juliehodgson.com

A Conversation with Author Dianne Ascroft | Victorian Treasures

Thanks to Pam Lecky for this post

Source: A Conversation with Author Dianne Ascroft | Victorian Treasures

 

Today in the Library I am delighted to host author ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Dianne Ascroft, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

YOU ARE VERY WELCOME, DIANNE, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Dianne Ascroft headshotHi everyone. I’m an urban Canadian writer. I moved to Britain more than a quarter of a century ago and gradually downsized until I’m now settled on a farm in rural Northern Ireland with my husband and an assortment of strong willed animals.

I write historical and contemporary fiction, often with an Irish connection. My current series The Yankee Years is a collection of Short Reads and novels set in World War II Northern Ireland. After the Allied troops arrived in this outlying part of Great Britain, life there would never be the same again. The series weaves tales of the people and the era. My previous writing includes a short story collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hoovesand an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars. Online I lurk at www.dianneascroft.com.

DID YOU READ MUCH AS A CHILD? ARE YOU AN AVID READER NOW? DO YOU PREFER BOOKS IN YOUR OWN GENRE OR ARE YOU HAPPY TO EXPLORE OTHERS?

I’m an only child and my mother and grandfather were voracious readers so I learned to love reading early. I have happy memories of reading, sprawled in a Muskoka chair (a big wooden lounge chair) in our back garden during the summer holidays. I never lost my love of reading and still squeeze in a few minutes with a book every chance I get. There is rarely a day that I don’t spend some time reading for pleasure.

I read a wide variety of fiction. I especially enjoy historical fiction set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and contemporary women’s fiction. I sometimes review books for blog tours and, as a result, read books outside my usual genre preferences. This has broadened my reading tastes and I’ve discovered that I really enjoy cosy mysteries, as well as crime novels and thrillers, if they aren’t too gory.

ARE YOU SELF-PUBLISHED OR TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED?

The Short Reads in my series, The Yankee Years, as well as my first historical novel and my collection of short stories, were all self-published. I’m currently working on a novel in The Yankee Years series. When it’s ready I intend to submit it to a traditional publisher for consideration. A traditional publisher has the contacts to introduce the book to a wider audience than I can reach so I would like to try this publishing method. But if I don’t find a publisher that thinks the book fits their market, I will be happy to self-publish this one too. I really enjoy being involved in the whole process and watching the project come together.  

WHICH GENRE DO YOU WRITE IN AND WHY?

I write historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction, and my work includes short stories and novels. Recently I’ve been concentrating on The Yankee Years, my historical fiction series set in Second World War Northern Ireland.

I like to tell stories sparked by interesting items that catch my attention and I’ve found inspiration in a many different places, hence my wanderings between historical and contemporary writing. My current series was inspired by the area where I live in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The county has a rich and varied wartime history and, after I moved to the area more than a decade ago and learned about this history, I became fascinated by it. During the Second World War army camps and flying boat bases sprung up throughout the county, and approximately a quarter of the population were military personnel. It must have been so different from the quiet rural area that I know. I started rooting in books, original newspapers and personal accounts to learn about the era, and many of the ideas for my stories were sparked by snippets of information I stumbled across during my research.

WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING?

I’m not really sure who has been the biggest influence on my writing but Irish author Jennifer Johnston’s Shadows On My Skin made a huge impact on me when it was first released in the late 1970s. Her ability to breathe life into characters and unveil a story in an understated way, as well as her skilful use of language, are wonderful skills that I aspire to emulate. I also admire Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling skill and her ability to interweave stories that unfold over several books. Both authors have taught me valuable lessons.

HAS YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/CULTURE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?

Although my stories are set in Northern Ireland, the country where I’ve lived for more than a quarter of a century, I’m sure Canada, my country of origin, influences the way I view my adopted home. On one hand, I hesitate to tackle writing about a society very different from the one I grew up in. It is difficult to capture the nuances of life in this complex society where the tensions between the communities stretch back well before the Second World War and influence many aspects of life. On the other hand, viewing the society as an outsider gives me unique insights that I can use to convey the place and the people to my readers.

WHAT PART OF THE WRITING PROCESS DO YOU FIND MOST DIFFICULT? HOW DO YOU OVERCOME IT?

Probably the most difficult aspect of the process for me is deciding what the theme of the story is and how the plot has to develop to reflect this. I spend time thinking about a new story and jot down my ideas before I begin to construct the plot. Once I have a list of ideas and information about the characters and the events in the story, I try to pull them together into a coherent plot. I then check to be sure the story flows in a believable way and each character’s actions and the reasons behind them make sense. When I begin writing the story I frequently refer back to my plot outline to be sure it is still on course.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TIME OF DAY TO WRITE?

I like to write early in the morning. I’m always the first one up each morning so the house is quiet and I can write without any distractions, other than the cats clamouring for their breakfast. In this atmosphere it’s easy to gather my thoughts and put them on paper before my mind gets filled with the other tasks that I have to tackle that day.

 WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR? AND THE FLIPSIDE – WHAT IS THE WORST?

I love conjuring up ideas and scribbling down the stories that flow from them. When a story is finally completed, it’s exciting to see the finished work. The hardest or worst part is the slog in the middle when you must revise your original draft, more than once, so that it conforms to the wonderful idea you started with and turns into the book you imagined when you started writing.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA AN ESSENTIAL CHORE OR SOMETHING YOU ENJOY? WHICH FORUM DO YOU PREFER?

I enjoy meeting readers and other writers on social media. Socially and professionally, it’s a great place to be. Facebook is where you will find me most often. Finding enough free time to spend on social media is often a problem for me so, although I have a Twitter account, I don’t pop in there as often as I do to Facebook. I’m not on Pinterest or Instagram either for the same reason. A writer friend and I founded a Facebook group called The Second World War Club to bring readers and writers of wartime fiction together (we have expanded it to include World War I fiction too). In the group I enjoy working with other writers to help each other with our writing projects and chatting with readers about wartime novels. It’s lively and fun and I learn so much from my fellow members. There are several other Facebook groups I’m also active in. I just need more hours in the day to spend all the time I’d like to online.

IF YOU WEREN’T AN AUTHOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE UP TO?

Since writing isn’t my fulltime job it isn’t really an either/or choice. Throughout my writing life I’ve worked in administration jobs so I haven’t given up another career to write. I have to fit the writing in around everything else.

History has always fascinated me and I love to research so, if I weren’t writing, I might have put more time into delving deeper into my family tree. I did quite a bit of work on it about twenty years ago but have never had the time to go back to it after I started writing.

We live on a farm and I enjoy the outdoors so when I’m not writing, I go for long walks and also spend time with our animals. If I weren’t writing, I would spend more of my free time outdoors. Maybe I should get something like Dragon software and dictate my stories while I’m walking.

IT’S THE LAST DAY AND THE EARTH IS FACING OBLIVION – WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU READ?

I don’t think I could pin it down to one book, but if I knew that it was the end and there was nothing I could do about it, I might want to find something I could lose myself in for those last few hours. Two authors who would do that for me immediately spring to mind. Although their writing styles are very different, both create vivid, memorable characters and settings that nearly jump off the page. They also have the ability to tell gripping stories. So my choices would be Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series) or M C Scott (Boudica or Rome series).

PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOU ARE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT.

Pearl Harbour finalMy current series, The Yankee Years, is a collection of novels and Short Reads set in World War II Northern Ireland. After the Allied troops arrived in this outlying part of Great Britain, rsz_ally-final-kindlelife there would never be the same again. The series weaves tales of the people and the era. I have released Books 1, The Shadow Ally, and 3,Keeping Her Pledge, in the series, and will release Book 2, Acts of Sabotage, in late July. All three of these stories are Short Reads or Book Blasts as James Patterson describes short stories. I’m also working on a novel, An Elusive Enemy, and other Short Reads for the series. One of the new Short Reads in the series will be included inPearl Harbor and More, a collection of short stories set in December 1941 by ten authors who write wartime fiction. Pearl Harbor and More is a limited edition ebook which will be released at the beginning of November 2016 and available on Amazon until January 2017.

 If you would like to know more about Dianne and her work, check out the links below: 

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