Today with Jo Hammond

 

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next fortnight I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh  Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles: http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Graham Watkins: http://bit.ly/2aEgwRv , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons:http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin: http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza:http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams:http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl:http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe:http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V , Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k and Phil Carradice: http://bit.ly/2aYINV5  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I am so pleased to be talking with  Jo Hammond

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 Welcome, Jo, good to see you here today.

Good to be here, Judith

So, let’s start by you telling us what have you written? 

Battle in Iraq published by ibtauris, Adelina Patti Queen of Song and Wilderness & Paradise. The last two are both available as e-books on Amazon or through Hammond Associates. I have also written short stories for the Sexy Shorts series published by Accent Press.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My field is biography/history and I guess I am just very interested in lives already lived, especially women who have achieved extraordinary things often against the odds. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from? I have loved reading since I was very young. I learned to read at the age of 3. Living in West Africa there were not many distractions, my younger brother was my only companion much of the time. I escaped into a world of stories and characters. I used to be told I was a bookworm and when I was very young I thought that there really was such a biological creature – an insect that lived in books.

How long have you been writing?

Since the age of about 7. My very first success was in the tiny school I attended in a town called Zaria. Gerald Durrell was in the country on one of his expeditions and came to talk to us about his adventures and the animals he had seen. We were then set a competition to write an essay based on his talk. I won the first prize which was a terrapin.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

As well as the biographies I have mentioned and which I tend to write as though they were novels, I have written poetry and short stories.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I believe that from the earliest times when storytelling was entirely oral it was a way of making sense of the world around us and a way of remembering important events.

What were your goals and intentions in these books, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My first book Battle in Iraq is the story of my grandfather’s experiences working ships on the Tigris River during WW1. Although it is based on his diaries and letters, I wrote the back ground history to the war and as my son once put it, end with “a fine rant” in the final chapter against the war of 2003. For me it was important to try to explain the war to people and also to highlight the suffering in this theatre of war which is often forgotten concentrating as we do on the western front. My other two books are both about high achieving women, Adelina Patti had an amazing life as an opera singer starting at the age of 9 and had immense character. She also lived at a time of great excitement and upheaval with civil wars and revolutions going on across the world. She is often forgotten as compared with Jenny Lind and Nellie Melba, I felt that balance should be redressed. “Wilderness & Paradise” is a collection of mini biographies of women who went out alone to explore the deserts of Arabia, again brave and pioneering women who had exceptional courage and extraordinary lives.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching these books?

Most of my research was done in libraries and museums so the people I met were librarians, archivists and curators. For “Battle in Iraq” I went to Turkey to visit the town where my grandfather was a prisoner of war. It was a town of narrow streets with ottoman buildings that featured overhanging upper storeys. Its main claim to fame was the huge rock that dos almost sheer to 800 metres. In his diaries grandfather wrote of clubbing the rock and sitting there to read so of course we had to climb it too. I went to Turkey with some trepidation because my mind was filled with the evil things done to our troops in Iraq but I found the people friendly and helpful though there was not one person in the town prepared to admit that there had ever been prisoners of war there. Later when I was doing research at St Anthony’s college Oxford I met a very pleasant Iraqi who introduced me to his own publishers who subsequently accepted my book. For Adelina Patti I went to Windsor Castle to look at the diaries of Queen Victoria for whom Adelina often sang. I felt very privileged to be holding her actual diaries in my hand and reading her incredibly neat, clear handwriting. I also met Lord Mark Poltimore who is an art expert at Sotheby’s and on the Antiques Road Show. He is the owner of the painting by Winterhalter on the front of my book because he is the grandson of Adelina’s third husband. I also met his mother thereby giving me a living contact with Adelina and her husband Baron Cederström. They very kindly lent me her letters to study. What are some of the references that you used while researching? Many biographies and histories, the Bible, diaries and autobiographies.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved doing the research and finding odd facts and references and I loved the feeling that I was bringing these people to life. How did you get to be where you are in your life today? I grew up in West Africa so travel and far away places always appeal to me, hence my choice of subjects. I went to boarding school and then did a degree in French and Italian. I worked for a while teaching English as a Foreign Language and later as a secretary and translator before training as a teacher of Modern Languages. During this time I was also doing some free-lance writing for local newspapers. Coming to Pembrokeshire I wanted to escape from teaching so I started a business selling hampers of local specialities whilst still doing supply teaching. But I still wanted to write so I studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Trinity College and have been writing and giving talks ever since.

Who are some of your favourite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Racine, Jane Austen, Pierre Loti, Gertrude Bell, Isabelle Eberhardt, Balzac, Evelyn Waugh, Agatha Christie. All of these use simple language – I dislike books that use abstruse words where a simple one will do, I find that pretentious. But some of them also manage to write so lyrically creating beautiful images or sounds. In the case of Austen and Christie I think it is the vividness with which they portray their characters that most appeals.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I have always been a part time writer as I have had to earn money, I also had four sons of whom three are triplets so they have been my priority. Now they are grown up and have sons of their own so I am often on Granny duty. Having said that I find that ideas and thinking things through can happen while engaged in mundane tasks. Once the inspiration is in place the actual writing does not take so long.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I often get struck by writers’ block. Sometimes it is difficult to see how best to word something of fit it into the narrative. My solution is to walk away from it. Go and do something else, taking the dog for a walk is good because you can one thinking while walking and the change of air breathes fresh life into you.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

E-books have been a great benefit in many ways. Anyone can be published on Amazon and books are available to the public so easily through the internet. But there has as a result been a sad decline in the number of bookshops and the clatter of masses of unknown books on the internet drowns out more worthwhile books. I think the printed copy will always exist if only because once you have bought it it needs no electricity to enable you to read it.

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarise your writing process.

My books tend to be driven by logic and for the most part are written in the old fashioned beginning, middle and end way. As I write biographies as though they were novels intuition plays a part in thinking up the conversations that people might have had in a given situation. My books are strictly factual but obviously there is no record of what people said to each other unless a conversation is reported in an autobiography, so I have to make those up as with descriptions of clothes and places, though they are based on general reading around the subject.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I do my own proof reading, editing and publishing. After my first book I gave up on traditional publishers – too slow and too uninterested to market effectively.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

All my book cover are designed by me. Battle in Iraq shows a photo of my grandfather against a map of Iraq. On the back is a picture of the ship he was on when captured. It gives some clue as to wheat the book is about. Adelina Patti shows a portrait of the singer by Winterhalter. Wilderness & Paradis has a picture of an oriental rug of the type used to frame a doorway. It hangs in my dining room while on the back is a photo I took of a window at the Grand Mosque in Dubai. I wanted to give the atmosphere of the book from the very start.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I am on Twitter and I also have a blog but find I have little time for them. I try to “tweet” about once a week and find it does often result in a small flurry of sales.

How do you market your books? My last two books are on sale through ebooks on Amazon and I sell copies myself at book fairs and when I give talks or lectures. My first book Battle in Iraq is available from the publishers ibtauris.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I like to try new books, I enjoyed “The Girl on the Train” and also “Night Train to Lisbon”. I do mostly read fiction though my own books are non-fiction. “The Time Travellers Wife” struck me as similar to my own life being married to a man who is away working a great deal – not that he comes home naked, just the way he may be away for weeks and then suddenly parachutes back into my life and turns my routine upside down.

What is your favourite film and why?

Casablanca is the best film ever made. It is one of the most quoted because of its succinct and punchy lines. All its characters are so very vividly created and evoke immediate sympathy.

What is your role in the writing community?

I have given talks based on my writing. I help to run a creative writing group in Pembroke Dock

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am beginning research on women aviators as part of a plan to write a collection of mini biographies again. after that I feel I would really like to try my hand at fiction.

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Tenby Book Fair: 24th September 2016

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Events

Events to be held at the 2016 Tenby Book Fair, 24th September

Revised
Some talks, readings, Q&A sessions will be held in an adjoining room at the fair. Numbers will be limited, so it is advisable to reserve a place in advance. There is no charge.
  1. 11:00    Cambria Publishing Co-operative will be giving a talk and taking questions about the services and assistance they offer to independent authors.
  2. 11:30    Poet Kathy Miles will be giving a reading of some of her work.
  3. 12:00    Firefly Press will be talking about publishing children’s books and what they look for in submissions.
  4. 12:30    Prizes for the short story competitions will be presented in the main hall – no booking necessary.
  5. 1:30      Colin Parsons, children’s writer, talks about his popular work
  6. 2:00      Honno Welsh Women’s Press will be talking about their work, publishing contemporary novelists, anthologies and classics, and discussing what they look for in submissions.
  7. 2:30      Matt Johnson, thriller writer and ex-policeman, talks about his work and experiences.
  8. 2:55      Main hall (no booking required): raffle prizes.

 

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Today With Phil Carradice

 

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next week or two I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles: http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons:http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin: http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza:http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams:http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl:http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe:http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V  and Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

 

Today, at last, I’m here with Phil Carradice, whose interview is a little different.

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Hi Phil, take it away!!

 Cheers, Judith. here goes…

I began to write at school; I suppose I was around eight or nine. My father taught me to appreciate words, and also the writers I was reading at the time. And I continued to write at college.

But my real writing career began when I went to work as a teacher at a young offenders’ centre in Essex – stories and poems about them. These were published in magazines like Social Work Today and Community Care. Then a publisher asked if he could put them together in a book – unbelievable.

I moved on from there and began to write on other themes. Pembrokeshire, its topography and history, were always important to me so it was natural that I should write about them. What came out were lots of poems about the county but also a lot of history about my home town of Pembroke Dock.

 I write in my living room, in a book with a pen or pencil. Lots of noise going on around me – radio, TV etc. I transfer things to the computer later.

I’ve just been commissioned to write a series of books on Sense of Place – how writers are affected by the landscape and the places they live in. I’m also putting the finishing touches to a children’s book.

My most recent book is Napoleon in Defeat and Captivity – the story of Napoleon on St Helena.         ( http://fonthillmedia.com/Napoleon-in-Defeat-and-Captivity) published by Fonthill.

 I’ve also got a short monograph on the poet Ivor Gurney coming out later this month.

I always wanted to write books – or play rugby for Wales. That one’s looking a bit unlikely at my age!

I used to be a teacher but  gave that up to become a full-time writer – which I’ve been doing since 2000.

I do a lot of broadcasting on radio and go into lots of schools as a creative writing teacher – that’s what you have to do if you want to live as a writer.

 I have five or six different publishers, have never self-published but I think things were different when I started writing. It’s hard to get a start these days.

Thank you, Phil. A nice easy reminder of you and your books (all fifty of them …. bet there’ll be more by the time of the Book Fair!)

Links to Phil Carradice:

http://www.philcarradice.co.uk/

https://www.accentpress.co.uk/phil-carradice

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/waleshistory/phil_carradice

http://www.gwales.com/search_basic/

http://www.literaturewales.org/writers-of-wales/i/129551/desc/carradice-phil/

http://www.gomer.co.uk/index.php/authors/philcarradice.html

 

Being Anne: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September.

Our grateful thanks to Anne for featuring us on her page today. I’ve copied the interview below but here’s the link to Anne’s site:

https://beingannereading.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/feature-tenby-book-fair-on-24th.html?showComment=1470127579350#c8502712530969313920

Feature: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of mentions recently of the forthcoming Tenby Book Fair. Judith Barrow is running a series of interviews on her excellent blog with some of the authors who are attending. Taking place on 24th September this year, the event has its own website, and is featured on the Tenby Arts Festival website as its first event. 

I’m delighted that the organisers – Judith Barrow, Thorne Moore and Alex Martin – agreed to join me on Being Anne to tell us more about it…

L-R; Alex, Judith and Thorne

Judith, Thorne and Alex, welcome to Being Anne. I already know you all as novelists, but would you like to introduce yourselves?

Judith: Thank you Anne, we’re so pleased to be here. My name is Judith Barrow; I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire but moved in 1978 to live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. All by Honno. I’m now writing the prequel.

Thorne: My name is Thorne Moore. I was born in Luton but now live on the edge of a village in North Pembrokeshire. I write “domestic noir” crime mysteries and I have had three novels published by Honno: A Time For Silence (2012),Motherlove (2015) and The Unravelling (2016). I am currently working on another novel set in Pembrokeshire.

Alex: My name is Alex Martin. I live on the Gower Peninsula, in south Wales and also spend a lot of time in France, which I also love. I have written The Katherine Wheel Series, currently 3 books, Daffodils, Peace Lily and Speedwell with a fourth planned next year. They are based around WW1 and the social changes it evoked. My first book is based in France on my own grape-picking experience in the 1980’s. The Twisted Vine is more of a mystery story. I hope to publish The Rose Trail, a time slip ghost story, later this year.

Ah, I had the pleasure of reviewing Thorne’s The Unravelling this week – and yours are nearly at the top of my pile, Judith! Mmm, rather like the look of Alex’s too…

But we’re not here to talk about your books. We’re talking about the Tenby Book Fair that takes place on 24th September. How did you get involved in the organisation?

Judith:  I had the idea of holding a Book Fair five years ago and approached the Tenby Arts Festival Committee to see if there was any room in the programme for me. Initially there wasn’t and I decided to hold the Book Fair in the local library. Then they found me a two hour slot; the first event of the Festival, always held in St Mary’s Church House. Since then Thorne and Alex have worked alongside me at the subsequent Book Fairs. And we’ve been given more time.

Thorne: I joined up, enthusiastically, after attending Judith’s second fair. It was wonderful to find an outlet where authors could get together and meet the public. I’m delighted it’s beginning to feel like a permanent fixture.

Alex: I met Judith through Twitter, strangely enough! And had just published my first book, I was thrilled to attend my first book fair as an author and meet other kindred spirits. I’ve loved being involved in subsequent Book Fairs at Tenby and deepening my friendship with both Thorne and Judith has been a delight.

A little like herding cats though, maybe? What have been the particular challenges?

Judith: For me, at first, it was the sheer amount of work, time and effort it took to arrange; the publicity; getting the word out about the event, finding authors, making sure the authors were happy with their placings in the room. All sorts of little problems. It was a great relief when Thorne and Alex offered their help with future Book Fairs. I made the mistake of offering the public a choice of two free second hand books at the first Book Fair for every one of bought, author-signed new book. The idea didn’t work, either for the public or the authors.  A couple of years ago we also gave the authors the chance to give a talk about their work while the Book Fair was going on.  People who would have come into the event walked away, reluctant to interrupt. We also had a couple of authors who were, shall we say, a little long-winded and the audience became very restless.

Thorne: I think we’re getting the hang of it now. Coming up with creative ideas for the publicity has been good fun. 

Alex: I was in charge of the music and learned just how much classical music swells and ebbs in volume – sometimes downing out constructive conversation so was constantly twiddling knobs behind the stage. We’ve learned a lot too about the flow of customer traffic through the doors and how to manage it. It’s been fascinating but the footfall last year confirmed we’re ironing out the glitches nicely. 

I know this is the fifth Tenby Book Fair – how many publishers and authors will be involved this year?

Judith: We have twenty-five authors and three publishers; two traditional and one a cooperative.

Thorne: Yes, we are just about at capacity in Church House, but it’s great to have such a wide range, covering all genres, from children’s books to thrillers and biographies. The presence of publishers is a new thing this year, as we want the fair to be about books from everyone’s point of view – readers and would-be authors. 

Alex: The increasing size and popularity of the Tenby Book Fair makes the hard work very worthwhile and is increasingly satisfying. 

And what can people expect on the day?

Judith: Besides the authors signing their books and chatting about their work, we have a few talks by authors, a poetry reading and the publishers will be talking about themselves and the kind of submissions they are looking for. The cooperative publishers will be talking about the services they offer. We’ll have a separate room for these talks etc.

I notice there are a few competitions too…

Judith: Three competitions in all. A little bit of advertising here:

Children’s Competition
For entrants aged 7 – 12, an essay (one page) entitled: My Favourite Character.

Write about a character in a book that you like. Is he or she clever? Brave? Funny? Or just get to do all the things you’d like to do.

Include your name and age on the sheet and a way of contacting you – it can be your address, or your school, or a phone number – so we can tell you if you’ve won.



Hand your entry in to any library in Pembrokeshire, or post it to:
Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

Send it by August 13th, 2016



Collections of books are very generously being donated as prizes by Firefly Press.
 A winner and a runner-up will be chosen from each of two age groups: 7-9 and 10-12. Prizes will be presented at the Book Fair in St Mary’s Church House.

 

Young Adult Flash Fiction Competition
For entrants aged 12 – 18, a 100 word Creepy Tale.

You could write “A Creepy Tale,” about ghosts, vampires, zombies, the supernatural or anything that might give you the shivers. But can you write it in 100 words or less? That’s the challenge in this competition. A full story, in 100 words or less.



Include your name, age and contact details (address, phone number or email address) with the entry, and post it to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX OR paste it into the body of an email to thornemoore@btinternet.com with “Flash Fiction” in the subject line. 


The closing date is August 13th 2016. 


First Prize £15 book token. 2 runners-up: £5 book token. 
Prizes sponsored by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

Short Story Competition
For entrants 18 and over: a short story, “The Bag Lady.”

Entry Fee £3. Send cheque, made payable to “Tenby Book Fair” with your entry, or pay on-line, via PayPal (link on Tenby Book Fair website).

Write a short story of 2000 words or less, entitled “The Bag Lady”. How you interpret the title is up to you.

Include name and preferred contact details (address, phone number or email address) and post to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX  or send as a Word or Rich Text Format document, attached to an email to:thornemoore@btinternet.com including “Short Story” in the subject line.

Closing date: 13th August 2016.


First Prize £25 Second prize £10 Third Prize £5.
The prizes are donated by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

All three winning stories will be published on the Tenby Book Fair website and on http://showboat.tv/

People particularly mention the good vibe and great buzz of previous years – that must be something you’re proud of…


Judith: We all are, I think. We delegate the work between us. I find the authors mainly, keep in touch with them all, let them know how we’re progressing and interview them for the website. Thorne works on the leaflets, posters and website and Alex manages the press and other publicity. On the day we set up and generally share anything that crops up. It’s a friendly and hugely satisfying partnership.

Alex: I can second that. Although commitments mean I can’t attend on the actual day this year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the preparation.

Tenby was where I spent my childhood holidays – I had no idea it had such a thriving arts scene, or the popular Arts Festival that the book fair is part of. Where does the Book Fair audience come from? Mainly local people, or visitors?

Judith: The Tenby Arts Festival in September has been going for a long time. They mainly cover all forms of music; choirs, soloists, instrumental. They hold talks on local history and artists and have an open mic poetry session. Various things like that. They also have a children’s sandcastle competition. And, of course the Book Fair. There are also a few musical events, film-showings in a local hotel and there are always events happening at the local Tenby Museum in the summer months. We have a lot of local visitors who come to our book fair and have it marked in their diaries, but we also have many visitors from round the country, visiting Tenby for the Arts Festival.

I’m a little out of touch with the Welsh book scene too, although I do (of course) know about the wonderfulHonno Welsh Women’s Press. Tell me a little more about the publishers involved in the fair.

Judith: There are two other publishers besides Honno Welsh Women’s Press at this year’s Book Fair. Firefly is a press for children’s and young adults’ books, which started up in 2013 and is already winning awards. Cambria is a publishing co-operative, offering a range of services and help for those preferring to go it alone.

And some of the more well-known authors?

Judith: We have such a range and many of them are well-known within their own genres, like Sally Spedding, author of seriously chilling thrillers, or Colin Parsons, the children’s writer. Phil Carradice has written over fifty books. Others are new arrivals on the scene, but sure to be rising stars, like Matt Johnson, whose first novel, Wicked Game, is already soaring.

Other than the moment when the doors close on a perfect day, what are you particularly looking forward to on the day?

Judith: Meeting the authors. Some of them have been coming to the Book Fairs from the beginning and are old friends. Meeting new faces and potential friends. The buzz when people start to come in. Watching the faces of readers as they interact with the authors. It’s a great atmosphere. And seeing the video and photos of the Book Fair, taken by  http://showboat.tv/, friends of ours who always film the Book Fairs.

Alex: I shall be there in spirit with only my books to represent me, but will be willing everyone on and am confident it will be more popular than ever.

And you’ll be doing it again, next year…?  

Judith: Ah, well… next year will be different for us. The Book Fair will be part of a new venture. A group of us, including Thorne and Alex, will be forming the TenbyLitFest in June for three days 16th – 18th, and the book fair will be held on the Saturday (17th), in a larger venue, with even more authors attending. There will be a host of other events, including aMeet the Publishers day, poetry readings, plays, literary trails, children’s events etc. The motto is Everything about Words.

Alex: A new challenge will be very exciting. It’s a good feeling to bring writers, publishers but most importantly, readers together to discuss books.

It sounds like a wonderful day, ladies – and I hope it will be in every way. I’m gutted I can’t be there this year, but the dates for next year’s TenbyLitFest are already in my diary… see you there!

Presenting the Authors at the Tenby Book Fair 24th September 2016

TenbybeachB

Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next few weeks I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl: http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe: http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V . , and Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

Panorama

 I would also like to say,Thanks, Thank You, Message, Grateful

to everyone who has shared our interviews so far and spread the word. 

And don’t forget, there is still time to write a masterpiece for our short story competitions:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/competitions.html

And for all our visitors, here’s how to find us:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/where-to-find-us.html

showboat vsmall (1)

TAF vs

Today with Tony Riches

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve cross-examined interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan: http://bit.ly/29CHNa9  and John Nicholl: http://bit.ly/29NtdtX    And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 Today, I’m so pleased to be chatting with Tony Riches

Tony Riches 2016

Welcome Tony, Good to be chatting with you today.

Great to be here, Judith. And looking forward to the book fair

Let’s start by you telling us, what made you become a writer?

I wrote articles for magazines and journals before tackling my first book just over four years ago. I began with several non-fiction books on subjects as diverse as the story of Scott’s Antarctic ship, the Terra Nova, to Atlantis, about the last flight of the NASA Space shuttle. Now my focus is very much on historical fiction – and I have become something of an expert on the rise of the Tudor dynasty

Most novels tend to look at the Wars of the Roses from the Yorkist side, what made you choose to tell the story from the Tudor point of view?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, so feel a special connection with Henry Tudor, who was born there. Everyone knows about King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth Ist – but I was surprised to discover there were no books about Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty. I discovered several accounts of the life of Henry Tudor (who later became King Henry VII) but there were no novels that brought his own story to life.

The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ with the help of Owen’s son, Jasper Tudor, in book two, and rule England in book three, so there would be plenty of scope to explore his life and times.

Owen - Book One of the Tudor Trilogy

If someone said they wanted to make a film of your books, who would you pick to play Owen, Edmund and Jasper?

I’m currently in the process of having audiobooks produced of OWEN and JASPER and find it fascinating to hear their voices from over five centuries ago, so can imagine what it must be like to see them made as a film. I’ve always thought Welsh Actor Michael Sheen would be great for Owen – and perhaps Ioan Gruffudd (famous for playing Horatio Hornblower) as Jasper Tudor. Edmund is a bit of a shady character (I’ve never forgiven him for what he did to Margaret Beaufort) although I recently visited Carmarthen Castle where he died and his impressive tomb in St David’s Cathedral. How about another great young Welsh actor, Iwan Rheon, (who you might know as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones.)

Jasper - Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy

How long do you spend researching a novel before you start writing?

I’ve developed a great ‘system’ over the years of spending a year researching, followed by about none months writing the book while it’s all still fresh in my mind. I have a wonderful collection of books on Wars of The Rises and the fifteenth century, and I particularly enjoy visiting the actual locations I’m writing about. I’ve just returned from a visit to Josselin in Brittany, where I saw the châteaux where Jasper and Henry spent their long exile. There is no substitute for first-hand, primary research.

What comes first, your storyline or your research?

I have to decide where to start the storyline, then I start the research notes. For example, in OWEN I decided to begin with his first meeting with Queen Catherine of Valois, as little is really known about his life before then and I could easily work it in later.

Owen is told in the first person. It works really well – makes the story more personal for the reader. What made you write it in that way?

I’d already written the first two chapters when I read Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, and was struck by the power of her use of the present-tense. It was a huge risk to re-write it in the first person present-tense but I enjoyed the challenge.

Warwick: The Man Behind The Wars of the Roses

How do you organise your writing day?

I’ve learnt to ‘deal with’ social media early in the morning to prevent it distracting me from writing. My ‘system’ is to aim for twenty-five chapters of about four thousand words, to arrive at a completed first draft for editing of about a hundred thousand. I keep track of my daily word count on a simple Excel spreadsheet, which allows me to see how well I’m doing at a glance.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

There is nothing better than having feedback from a reader who says they’ve really enjoyed one of my books. I’d like to think in some small way I’ve also helped readers understand the rise of the Tudors a little better, and it’s my ambition to present a more balanced view of the often overlooked King Henry VII.

What is the worst thing about writing?

I should know better by now but I must admit that a harsh comment in a review can trouble me for days. One reviewer recently pointed out that I’d failed to explain the reason for the Wars of The Roses!

The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham

How long does it take to do a project from start to finish? Do you write one book at a time, or have several on the go at once?

I’m happy to produce one new book a year. I enjoy sailing and kayaking, so I usually begin writing at the end of the season in October and aim to send a first draft to my editor by Easter the following year. The process is so intense I don’t think I could manage to juggle two books at once.

Who are your favourite personalities from history? Is there anyone you would particularly like to write about, but haven’t yet?

It would have to be Jasper Tudor, who put his loyalty to Henry Tudor and Margaret Beaufort before everything else. As for those I haven’t written about yet, there are some fascinating members of the court of Henry VIII I’ve already ‘penciled in’ for potential future novels.

You’ve written about the Wars of the Roses and the Romans, what other historical periods would you like to write about?

I’d like to slowly make my way towards the Elizabethan period, as I was looking at an original portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1st recently and saw the knowing look in her eye. There are plenty of books about Elizabeth but still plenty of scope to explore her life and times.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

No, I suffer from the opposite, which is waking up with my characters voices telling me so much I can hardly write it all down quickly enough. I keep my laptop by the side of the bed now, and have been known to write a whole chapter before breakfast.

Queen Sacrifice

Do you find social media – such as Facebook and Twitter – a benefit or a hindrance?

Twitter is a great way to build an international readership and has enabled me to have best sellers in the US and Australia – something which earlier writers would only have been able to dream of.  As a consequence, I’ve invested less time in Facebook, although there are some great groups there which I follow and contribute to when I can.

We have had Owen and Jasper, so what will be the last book of the Tudor trilogy?

I’m busy with the research for HENRY – Book Three of the Tudor Trilogy now.  I’ve just read Alison Weir’s excellent new book about Katherine of Aragon and was disappointed to see Henry portrayed as more than a little sinister and insensitive, so it looks like it’s up to me to present an alternative point of view.

What is your next project, once The Tudor Trilogy is complete?

I’m looking forward to entering the court of Henry Tudor’s tyrannical son – through the eyes of someone who knows him particularly well….

For more information about Tony’s books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his WordPress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

 

 

Today With Nigel Williams

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  and Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq   and Juliet Greenwood: http://bit.ly/29jylrM And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m talking to Nigel Williams; an interesting and generous chap as you will see.

nigel

Welcome to our author interviews, Nigel. It’s great to see you here… finally!

 It’s good to be here… finally. (He’s grinning!!)

So… my favourite question, what were you like at school?

I loved school, for the most part. I looked forward to the summer and the athletics season. I was a keen long jump and high jump competitor and made up the numbers in the 4×100 relay for the school. Academically, I was lazy. I did what had to be done to scrape through but never really applied myself. I realised, even back then in the 70’s, that school measured and valued only a very limited range of skills.

Were you good at English?

I managed to pass my O’level in English but certainly didn’t shine. That was because I sat next to Ed Thomas (author, poet and producer of television programmes such as Hinterland). Ed played wing for the school rugby team and was a good player, fast and elusive. I played inside him at centre. In the same team were Steve Alexander (drummer for Brother Beyond and session musician for Jeff beck and Duran Duran) and there was also Wyndham Price – another writer and director and producer with Spinning Head films in Cardiff.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would love to write to pay my bills and retire from teaching. I’ve had two big careers and have worked for over thirty years. I’d like to retire somewhere nice and warm, with a sea view and write full-time.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ve never really been interested in literary novelists. I suppose my ‘action’ background as a police firearms officer has coloured my taste.

So, what have you written?

My first novel – EDEN RELICS, was the result of a mid-life crisis. I was rapidly approaching fifty and writing a novel was at the top of my bucket list. I had always written throughout my life but never finished anything. I was determined to complete this action-adventure book before my fiftieth birthday. I did get 100,000 words written within that deadline but it took several more months to re-write and edit.

Set in the Swansea Valley, EDEN RELICS featured a retired police officer drawn into the search for ancient relics discovered a century earlier by the opera diva Adelina Patti. I managed to sell over 3,500 downloads and paperback copies of that book in the first month or so and even had interest from a major publisher. Nothing came of that interest but it was flattering.

My father-in-law passed away from Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer) and I decided to donate all the subsequent royalties for the book to this charity.

Next up came WELSH GOLD. This started off as a screenplay entitled “GILT.” I had written it entirely just prior to the mine disaster in the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley in 2011. Spookily, it was set in the same mine system and also featured a similar disaster that left the owner bankrupt and without a family home. The protagonist ends up moving to a dilapidated cottage in Dolaucothi and discovers the house sits above an ancient Roman gold mine. Torn between his promise to his wife that he’ll never return underground and the temptation of the gold, Gwyn becomes involved in events that threaten the safety of the whole family.

The screenplay is currently with a production company but whether it will ever see the small screen is another matter. Royalties from this book are donated to the British Heart Foundation.  

FAKE BAKED was my first attempt at writing a crime comedy about a small-time Cardiff con man dreaming of pulling the ultimate scam. The story was based on the cons of a real hustler called Victor Lustig. Lustig sold the Eifel Tower to Parisian scrap dealers, not once but twice. He somehow managed to convince them the tower was due for demolition at the turn of the last century and got away with it. My protagonist uses the same con by trying to sell the old Severn Bridge.

I was drawn back to the crime genre through Facebook. A former colleague – Alan Lloyd MBE -contacted me and said he was writing his ‘disguised’ memoirs of his time in the South Wales Police. I offered to provide advice and guidance but before Alan could complete the book he died suddenly. With permission of his family, I completed the book and NO STEP BACK was published last Christmas. This book triggered events that became frantic over the next few months.

I wanted Alan’s main character to continue his adventures in the police service of the nineteen sixties and took an unresolved plot point from NO STEP BACK and wrote A HARD PLACE. This led on to A COLD PLACE and was to be followed by A DEAD PLACE but that was put on the back burner due to a new series of books I became involved with.

Another former colleague – Arthur Cole (a former detective sergeant) also contacted me through Facebook and asked if I could collaborate on a story he had in mind about police corruption. He wanted to write one book and donate the royalties to Marie Curie. I agreed and UNETHICAL CONDUCT was published in January this year.

 

Although it was only a novella, the story line had a main character that simply didn’t want it to end there, and so EDGE OF INTEGRITY quickly followed.

We were able to keep some common threads running through the books and DEATH AND DEPRAVITY allowed us to tie up a few of the loose threads from the earlier books. ANGEL of DEATH came next in the series and NEST OF VIPERS will be due out in the next month or so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All royalties for these books will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Trust.

How much research do you do?

I spend a lot of time on research, though much of it never makes the finished page. Research is essential for any novel and forms a crucial link between the author and the characters living within the story.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write every day, at some point. I write quickly and can complete 10,000 ‘rough’ words a day with ease. My collaborator on the Terry McGuire stories, Arthur Cole, can do the same. It provides us with a huge amount of material in a short time for editing.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I always have a rough idea but only really plan things after the first draft is written. I like to get the body of the book down and then add or subtract chapters as necessary. It’s probably not the best way to write efficiently but it seems to work okay for me.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I don’t tend to get writer’s block because I always have someone I can bounce ideas off. That’s the great benefit of collaboration.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Let someone read your words. Even if they aren’t interested in your story they will be able to pick out things that work or don’t work. Rectifying these problems keeps you writing and will open the door to new directions.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I never thought I’d get involved in writing a series but I’ve found the experience enlightening. It’s great to let a character develop far beyond the initial pages of the first book, to deal with new issues and to discover how he or she will handle them.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I love to read the action and adventure books, books that keep me turning the page. A little horror now and again is okay too. The first book I ever read was THE TIME MACHINE by HG Wells. I love the way Bernard Cornwell uses incredible research to weave fiction within historical events.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

As an art teacher, I can create the covers myself but through a stroke of great good fortune, Arthur Cole’s daughter, Karen, is a graphic designer and produced the covers for the Terry McGuire series. A professional touch is invaluable. Makes a big difference to the finished product.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I only ever submitted one book to a traditional publisher and that was EDEN RELICS. It did get some really good feedback from one of the big houses (Harper Collins) and I was offered the chance to try again with them. To be honest, I really can’t be bothered. The idea of sitting down and condensing a novel into a one-page synopsis fills me with dread. I have never wanted to be taken that seriously. I just love to tell the odd tale. If people enjoy them then that’s all that really matters.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Some negative reviews are invaluable, they keep you striving to improve, but it’s true that one or two people out there are perhaps over zealous with their criticism. As a teacher I’m always aware of the need to provide positive criticism, to highlight issues that need improving but to do it with care. We’re all different and the odd troll will delight in destroying those with delicate natures. Ignore them. Take the good with the bad, learn from it and move on. Not everyone will love your story.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Facebook and Twitter etc are great for letting friends and family know about your next release but it’ll never compete with the financial power of traditional publishing. I’m disheartened by the growing trend of ‘self-help experts’ that offer marketing and advice for authors at a price. Many are exploiting new writers and some have little or no experience to justify their self-proclaimed expertise. Be careful with these. You could end up losing a lot of money.

Thanks for the great chat, Nigel. I ‘m sure we all wish you luck with the sales of your books to raise money for these brilliant charities. So, tell us, how can readers discover more about you and you work?

It was good to be here… finally (he’s still smiling, folks!) And here are all the links to find Nigel and his books.

Website: http://www.nigel-williams.biz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nigel.williams.14661

Twitter: http://bit.ly/29oF1oQ

Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigel-williams-baa10b59?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)

I’ve just included a few of the books – the first in the series etc to keep it a little shorter. (Sure we’ll find the rest!)

EDEN RELICS

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Relics-Woods-action-adventure-novel-ebook/dp/B008NWT6L6

http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Relics-N-Williams/dp/1291867384

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=11614

WELSH GOLD

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WELSH-GOLD-Royalties-British-Foundation-ebook/dp/B00B1UOCGG/

FAKE BAKED

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fake-Baked-You-cant-innocent-ebook/dp/B00CB1OOPI

UNETHICAL CONDUCT

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01B6KXV0I

http://www.amazon.com/Unethical-Conduct-Arthur-Cole/dp/1523724129

NO STEP BACK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Step-Back-Policemans-Different-ebook/dp/B018XOXZ7E

A HARD PLACE

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Place-Book-Frank-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B019IRFF2I