Brexitania (or Alan in Wonderland) by Alan A Roberts.   

Another gem from Alan Roberts, student of one of my creative writing classes. His last post was  here: http://bit.ly/29u7vui.  And then there was:  http://bit.ly/20Gvbh6 where he battles with the self service supermarket check-out

Here Alan finds himself in yet another quandary. But somehow he has returned to being a young lad. Well, with Alan, anything can happen… as we well know! 

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Cleaning his large bedroom frustrated Alan and he lacked concentration, making the task long and boring.  His mind wandered until noticing the dust-laden air being sucked towards the bottom of the wall alongside the old wardrobe.  Perplexed he investigated, holding his hand near the wall feeling the air going in, slightly yet in.  He held his breath before deciding to gingerly peel away the wallpaper until a huge wrought iron door stood before him.  Where it might lead he couldn’t comprehend.

He lifted the handle, pushed the door, which opened slowly, its creaking hinges adding to Alan’s apprehension.  Although the inside was dark, he stepped timidly into the black void without considering where or what he had entered or whether he might get out again.  Powerful lights blazed into life but Alan had no time to think about stopping himself for he felt himself falling and whatever he had fallen into was either very deep or he was falling very slowly, for he had time to look about and wonder what might happen next.  He tried to look down but it was too dark to see what was below so he looked at the sides of the hole and noticed there were maps of European countries – in fact he counted twenty-seven maps and alongside each was a photograph.  Recognising the faces of Hollande and Merkel, Alan assumed every photo was of the Country’s political leader.  All poked their tongues out as he passed.

Down, down, down. 

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He thought the fall would never end.  Suddenly, thump! thump! he landed upon a pile of papers.  His fall was over and amazingly he was unhurt.  As he steadied himself he saw the papers were hundreds of thousands of the recent referendum ballot papers, each marked with an X alongside the ‘Leave the European Union’ statement.  Alan looked up from where he had fallen but all was in darkness overhead.  In front of him was a long passage and from there he saw a White Rabbit hurrying toward him.  Alan couldn’t believe his eyes; the Rabbit’s white fur was unkempt and had the face of Boris Johnston.

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“Welcome, Alan,” the White Rabbit joyously proclaimed, “you’re our first visitor since the victory.”  He grabbed Alan’s hand and continued to shake it until Alan’s arm ached.

“Where am I?” Alan asked.

“Why my lad, you’re in Brexitania.  It’s the Country’s new name – Britain sounds too much like Brittany and we can’t have any confusion with them lot over the Channel.  Do you like the new name?”

“It sounds stupid”, Alan responded.

“Sorry old boy, can’t change it now – registered it with the Copyright Office straight away.  Anyway, tell me what brings you here?”

“I found a secret door in my bedroom then fell into a hole that seemed to go on forever and landed here: I’ve no idea what’s happening.  It’s all a bit weird and a little exciting, if I’m honest.”

“Ah, that’s what we like to hear – yes – a bit weird and a little exciting – good combination of words – might put them in our manifesto when we get round to it,” Rabbit exclaimed.

White Rabbit struggled to pull a large pocket watch from a small pocket, looked at its face on which Alan noticed it had neither hands nor numbers and exclaimed,

“Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting! I have to be off to trigger article 50. We always knew Jean-Claude Junker would prove troublesome.  Anyway, follow me and meet the rest of the gang. This way, follow the path: hurry, there’s a good chap.”

Alan followed close behind but when he turned a corner marked, ‘Brexit Triumph’, the White Rabbit had disappeared.  He now found himself in a long, low hall that was lit by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.  There were doors round the hall, but all were locked; and when Alan had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every one of the twenty-seven doors he walked sadly down the middle, wondering how he was ever to get out. Suddenly he came upon a little three-legged party table on which was placed a tiny golden key and Alan hoped it might unlock one of the doors; but as he tried each one their locks proved either too large or the key too small and none of them could be opened.  He tried a second time, hoping he might have missed one door on his initial round and he came to a low curtain that he hadn’t previously noticed.  Pulling the curtain aside he found a small door on which a sign declared, ‘BREXITANIA – ‘IN AND OUT’.  He tried the key and to his good fortune it fitted!

Opening the door, Alan found himself completely in the dark.  Adjusting his eyes, he saw two paths marked, ‘OUT’ and ‘IN’ but no instruction as to which of the two pathways should be taken or why.  He opted for the ‘IN’ path and walked its length, finally emerging into the light, into a place Alan recognised as Parliament Green.  He walked forward, becoming aware of a figure standing nearby, whose back was turned to him.  The figure wore a natty suit with a large stove-pipe hat perched precariously on its head.  As the figure turned he noticed a handwritten note pinned to the brim on which was printed in bold purple ink the words, ‘VOTE UKIP’.  Bizarrely, from beneath the rim the grinning face of Nigel Farage peered out; in his right hand he clutched a full pint of what Alan assumed to be froth-topped ale, which he instantly drank.  The Mad Hatter approached with his right hand extended.  Expecting to shake hands, Alan extended his but the Mad Hatter placed his thumb on his nose and wiggled his fingers, mockingly.

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“That had you,” the Mad Hatter gleefully spluttered before continuing, “hope you haven’t come for your share of the three hundred and fifty million quid we said we’d share out.” Bit of a porky but it helped get us OUT.  So, welcome to Brexitania – White Rabbit says you just dropped in. If you need a drink I’ll get Mock Chancellor Osborne over there to get you a glass of his ‘grumpy’.  Sorry, couldn’t resist that; cloudy lemonade’s your tipple, I believe?”

Carrying his lemonade, Alan wandered into the crowd gathered on the far side of the Green. A resplendent footman told him that a Cheshire Cat was due to make a speech.  Alan decided to wait and a few moments later the Cheshire Cat with Michael Gove’s grinning face jumped onto the dais and began addressing those assembled.

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“Welcome everybody – I’ve some announcements to make following our landslide victory.  First, Mr Justice Gums will be Lord Chancellor – boom! boom!; secondly we are banning the letters I and N appearing together and following Royal Assent words like ‘spin’ will become ‘spOUT’ and Cheshire Cat’s grin will become a ‘grOUT’; pubs called Inn’s will become OUT’s; legal terms will also change with Inns of Court becoming OUTS of Court and even Her Majesty’s family name will change from Windsor to WOUTdsor, difficult to pronounce but we’re certain you’ll get used to it.  Any questions?”

Alan raised his arm.

“And what’s your question, young man?”

“I can’t remain in such madness and I don’t want to be among all you mad people”.

Cheshire Cat Gove grinned from ear to ear.  “Oh no, you can’t REMAIN because we’re now OUT but also IN, if you get my drift. And anyway, we’re all mad here.  I’m mad, they’re mad and you’re mad.”

Alan indignantly responded, “You can’t say I’m mad, you don’t know me?”

“You must be mad,” grinned the Cheshire Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” He paused for a moment, then continued, “No further questions? Then everybody OUT, quick as you can, there’s good fellows.”

Alan watched as Cheshire Cat jumped from the stage leaving behind his still wide grin.  From the Green he kept running until coming to a sign saying, ‘THIS WAY TO SEE ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF HEARTS’.  Alan took the path indicated and found himself standing outside a building resembling Buckingham Palace where a further sign proclaimed: ‘THE BREXITANIA GOVERNMENT GIVES NOTICE THAT BUCKINGHAM PALACE WILL BECOME BUCKOUTGHAM PALACE AND HRH THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH WILL BECOME THE DUKE OF EDOUTBURGH’.  Seeing another of the footmen, Alan asked if he might speak with the Queen.  With his request granted, Alan was ushered inside and approached the Royal couple seated on their thrones.  Alan thought they both looked decidedly sad although the Duke was making a valiant attempt to wave his EU flag, much to the annoyance of the courtiers.  The Queen wore a dress on which red hearts were sewn over its entire surface whilst the Duke had on his ceremonial uniform with plastic medals across the jacket, brown suede shoes and from his red tricorne hat a plume of feathers drooped over his face.  Alan forced himself not to laugh.  Advised to kneel before the Queen, announce his name loudly and tell Her Majesty why he needed the audience, Alan nervously approached the Queen’s throne, kneeled, cleared his throat and in a loud voice said:

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“Your Majesty, my name is Alan and I ask if you can please arrange for me to return home as soon as possible.”

The Duke looked down and simply muttered,

“Oh Gawd, not another bloody simpleton”.

The Queen, unfased by the Duke’s rude aside, looked over her bifocals,

“And where would one’s home be?”

Alan, stuck for a meaningful response, thought if he gave his address at 23 Alder Gardens the Queen would have no idea where that was or how he could get there, so answered,

“Back up the long hole, your Majesty.”

The ensuing momentary silence was broken when the Duke shouted,

“Back up whose long hole, you cheeky little bugger?”

“Off with his head,” the Queen commanded.  Attendants grabbed Alan and hauled him into a side-room where he was padlocked inside a small wooden cage.  Panicking, he closed his eyes to stop himself crying. He was, he thought, far too young to die.

Suddenly, loud knocking accompanied by his mother’s voice startled Alan back to the reality of his bedroom,

“Alan, Benny’s here and wants to know if you’re coming out?”

Staring at the ripped wallpaper, he wailed, “Mum, tell him I’m staying in,” and pulled the duvet over his head and thanked God he was safely back home.

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Today With Sally Spedding

More chatting  with 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 months. 

So far I’ve interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg and Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr . Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing them all and I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance. 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 bringing you …  author Sally Spedding!!! A good friend, a brilliant writer of things “creepy and suspenseful”.

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Hi Sally, welcome. It’s lovely to be her with you today

 Hi Judith, glad to be here.

Let’c start with a question most of the authors like to talk about. What were you like at school?

Old Palace School, Croydon,  a convent secondary school run by High Anglican nuns, was quite a leap from a Porthcawl primary! An incredible old building, whose dark, granite walls still pop up in my writing. Apparently, Elizabeth1 stopped there on her travels, and the place felt steeped in history. My main preoccupation was whether or not the nuns wore any knickers beneath their voluminous robes, and later on at Withington Girls’ School in Manchester, studying the pedigrees of Thoroughbred racehorses evolved from just three Arabian stallions, running a betting ‘ring’ and regularly jumping out of the window during Maths.

Were you good at English?

At Withington, we had an inspiring teacher who did read out my work. You only need one…

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep writing what I want to read.

Which writers inspire you?

Too many to list, but  Emile Zola, Thomas Mann, Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Daphne du Maurier whom I’d read before starting out, still inspire me. Currently, Johan Theorin’s crime novels tick a lot of  boxes.

So, what have you written?

Since 2001, eight published noir crime/thriller/supernatural novels beginning with Wringland, set on the haunted Fens.; How to Write a Chiller Thriller; ‘Strangers Waiting’- a collection of short stories (now e-bk only); Crime short stories which are included in many outlets and CWA antholgies. Most recently, ‘Trespass’ in ‘The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories.’ I have also written poetry for the past 20 years, exploring mainly betrayal and injustice. What lies beneath… Although many have won prizes and been widely published, I have yet to organise a collection.

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*All my titles and many excerpts can be seen on www.sallyspedding.com  and most on Amazon. For earlier books now out of print, Abe Books can supply them.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Delphine Rougier is the young, lead character in my new French crime series set mainly near Le Mans. Despite her impoverished background and a demeaning job, she dreams of becoming a gendarme. However, she must navigate her way through lies, treachery and danger to realise her ambition.

What are you working on at the minute?

This crime series. ‘Footfall’  and ‘Featherblade’ are finished. ‘Fearless’ is still in progress.

What genre are your books?

Like life, which can’t be compartmentalised, they cross genres. Crime is their core, but often involving historical/psychological/supernatural elements.

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What draws you to this genre?My family background and ongoing experiences in this world of ours.

How much research do you do?Setting is crucial, and always the start, so I have to be there and bring back visual imagery. Even a shell or  a few leaves…  By the time the book is finished, there will be a thick folder of ‘on the hoof’ information gathered but not necessarily used. It’s there as bedrock.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

In my head, all the time. Part-time and snatched moments. Life is complicated.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

First thing, post-dreaming.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Longhand, with drawings, maps etc. Then editing while typing on to a computer.

Where do  your ideas come from?

Observation. Being far too nosey.

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

When the setting’s established, I ask, who’s there? Why? Who’s been there? What’s happened?

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Getting the best words in the right order, and keeping things clear for the reader.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Several characters in ‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ a gothic horror, historical novel, set in Argyll, need to speak in dialect, to varying degrees, without confusing the reader. They had to be consistent.

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What is the easiest thing about writing?

Sitting down!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

At least a year for writing. Another for typing up/editing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Paper.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Am well into ‘Motherland’ by Thorne Moore, and ‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ by Christoph Fischer, and really enjoying them. Will need a complete break to be able to continue and finish.

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

Our daughter, Hannah Spedding is a professional proof reader and doesn’t miss a trick.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

No. I do it while it’s fresh in the mind. Editing poetry however, seems never-ending.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

It’s crucial, as is a shout line, blurb, and author information. For an original-looking image, it may pay to look further than the usual internet stockists. With a mainstream publisher, the final choice is usually theirs.

How are you publishing this book and why? e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ will be published under the Death Watch Books imprint by Publish&Print.    http://www.publishandprint.co.uk/   Dave Lewis can be relied upon to create a quality product.

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Meanwhile, several mainstream publishers are reading my Delphine Rougier series, as my current publisher, Sparkling Books is no longer handling fiction. All part of the publishing roller-coaster that many authors experience.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

It can be very useful indeed, but the danger is to overdo it, which ultimately becomes counter-productive.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I admit to having a problem with this.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.

KBO  (Thank you, Winston Churchill)

What is your favourite book and why?

‘The Pledge’ by the late Friedrich Duürrenmatt. A study in obsession, in a picture postcard setting which becomes ever more claustrophobic and full of menace.

What is your favourite film and why?

Jeanne de Florette, for its setting and all-too believable character motivations.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Jesus Christ. To find out more about his conception.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be true to yourself, and don’t be tempted jump on current ‘bandwagons.’

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.sallyspedding.com

Everything is on it, including links to Facebook and Twitter.

 

 Thank you so much, Sally. Time for a cup of tea, I think

Lovely. Thank you, Judith!

Thanks to All

Being off-line for five weeks I fully expected that I would drop out of sight. I’ve been amazed and grateful that the opposite has been the case. There are so many people I want to thank for their support

First of all, my publishers,http://www.honno.co.uk/     Gwasg Honno Press

Supportive and understanding as always. Thank you, Helena, Janet,  Caroline, Ali, Lesley. I’m working hard on the next book

And thank you to fellow Honno author Juliet Greenwood: https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood for her continued friendship and support

And my gratitude for the friendship and kindness of the people I have got to know through the world of blogging, writing & twitter etc.: Sally: https://twitter.com/sgc58,     Sue: https://twitter.com/SCVincent. Terry: ttps://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

And to Rosie:  https://twitter.com/rosieamber1

I’m a member of Rosie’s review team (#RBRT) and it’s lovely to discover how many times fellow reviewers have mentioned me while I’ve been absent. Grateful to all of you. And I see I have missed the launch of #TuesdayBookBlog ( https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23tuesdaybookblog ) and #MysteryNovember https://twitter.com/search?q=%20%23MysteryNovember.&src=typd) I have so much to catch up on. Thank you all. And, Rosie, I’ll be catching up on reviews this week.

And a big thank you for the continued support from https://twitter.com/LPOBryan
https://twitter.com/findnewbooks
https://twitter.com/YourNewBooks

Books Go Social

I’m also grateful to Debbie and her brilliant team at http://brookcottagebooks.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/BrookCottageBks

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I’ve just seen all the lovely reviews and posts she’s been promoting for my latest book on the book tour: http://amzn.to/1JzO3Jh. Wonderful!! Thanks Debbie.

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Not forgetting my dear friends from our ‘Semi-Colon’ writing group: Thorne Moore: https://www.facebook.com/thornemoorenovelist/?fref=ts and Alex Martin: https://www.facebook.com/alex.martin.3532507?fref=ts

And for her continued and valued  friendship over the years  (and help in all things)  – never more so than over the last few weeks – great mate and award winning children’s’ author, Sharon Tregenza:  https://www.facebook.com/sharontregenzabooks?fref=ts

There are so many others I’d like to thank. Among them are fellow writers and bloggers:
Olga: https://twitter.com/OlgaNM7

Jenny: https://twitter.com/JennyBurnley1

Christoph: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Georgia: https://twitter.com/GeorgiaRoseBook

Mary:https://twitter.com/marysmithwriter

Linda:https://twitter.com/lindaabbott55?lang=en-gb

Cathy:https://twitter.com/CathyRy

Alison: https://twitter.com/Alison_WiIliams

Hugh: https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05

As I’ve said, I’ve been offline and the above are the people I’ve seen the few times I managed to find WiFi. I’m sure there are more I’ve missed. I can only apologise and hope to make amends by sharing all their news in the near future whenever and wherever I can.

I’ll stop now – this is beginning to feel like one of those radio programmes where participants in shows ask if they can say hello to friends and family and “to all who know me”…

My Review of An Unlamented Death: A Mystery Set in Georgian England (Mysteries of Georgian Norfolk Book 1) byWilliam Savage

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I was given this book by William Savage as part of Rosie Ambers Review Team (RBRT) in return for a fair review. I’d like to thank them both.

An Unlamented Death by William Savage

 I have given An Unlamented Death: by William Savage 4 of of 5 stars.

I was intrigued by the title and subtitle of the book by William Savage: An Unlamented Death: A Mystery Set in Georgian England (Mysteries of Georgian Norfolk Book 1). It’s been a long time since I read a novel set in Georgian England and I do like a good murder mystery. I’m normally a slow reader but this book took me a long time to read because of the density of the language. The expressive prose reveals the many traits of the well-rounded characters that exist within the confines of the setting. The setting, a Norfolk village on the coast is the perfect place for a murder mystery, political corruption, robbery and smuggling. And throughout the book the social, religious and political constraints and divides of the eighteenth century are subtly shown as the plot is revealed.
The dialogue, with the long sentences and clauses, is representative of its time and social etiquette. It’s obvious that the author has researched well. Told from a single point of view omniscient narrator the reader follows the thought processes and actions of the protagonist, Adam, a young doctor building up his list of patients. I liked the way this character is slowly brought to life for the reader.
If I had any problem with this novel it was, oddly enough, with that which I most admired; the prose. Almost all the story is told through dialogue, both externally and internal. Sometimes it borders on telling rather than showing, and sometimes is a little too drawn out, with minimal action. But, as I’ve already said, William Savage has a wonderful writing style; perfect for this genre. Overall I enjoyed An Unlamented Death and would recommend it.

Available at:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1JkdTzf

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1V7UFCq

Today I’m really pleased to be chatting with author Catherine Marshall

Quick introduction, please.

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I’m Catherine Marshall, born in Birmingham, now living in Lancashire.  Author of two romantic novels, many short stories and three psychological thrillers.  Married, two grown-up children.  Worked largely in education teaching English and Drama.

What first inspired you to start writing?

I’d always written little stories as a child.  Then during the summer holidays when I was eleven, I complained to my mum that I was bored.  She said, Why don’t you write a book?  I did.  It was about a family of seven children and called The Ravenscrofts.  I illustrated it too.  Horrendous.  While I was a teenager I wrote short stories to entertain my friends, then while I was at college I began selling short stories to Jackie magazine.  It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.  When I’m writing is the only time I really feel like me.  That, and wanting to entertain people with great stories.

Why do you write?

To give voice to the ideas and characters in my head.  Because I love telling stories.

Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?

I never thought I was writing genre fiction.  I thought I was just writing books.  Then an agent said I was writing ‘suspenseful women’s fiction’, which isn’t much of a leap to psychological thrillers.  I have always preferred that genre as a reader/viewer, so it’s a natural progression, I guess.

What does your writing space look like?

The study at home, a huge old office desk usually stacked with my husband’s Open University course material, photos of our children and my scribbled notes.

Do you ever have writer’s block and what do you do then?

Yes.  Often.  Iron.  Or go for a walk.  It’s usually because I’m approaching something from the wrong angle, so I need to retrace my steps and try to find the right angle.

Do you write full-time or have a day job and write in your spare time?

The latter.  Working in schools has been very useful for all those long holidays!

Are you an Indie or a traditionally published author?

Both.  Years ago I published two novels with Robert Hale and short stories with various magazines.  Now I have three novels available on Amazon Kindle.

Tell us about your new book.

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Still Water is set in a small town in Cornwall and is the story of Jem, who earns her living making jewellery and lives in a cottage on the cliffs with her father Alex, a painter.  She becomes entranced by Gil, an attractive and charming visitor to the town, and believes he can save her from her loneliness and grief.  She is unaware, however, of Gil’s link to the secrets of her own past or that she is setting in motion a chain of events which will lead to tragedy.

What are you working on now?

A novel called Hurt, about the damage people can do to each other, and how we deal with those who hurt us.

What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?

Publication!  A three-book deal would be nice.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

I’m hoping that’s yet to come.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career?

Having two major publishers seriously interested in buying one of my novels and then both of them changing their minds.  Although having come so close does keep me going.

Who would you most like to read your work (a hero/idol)?

Probably writers whose work I enjoy – Julia Couch, Erin Kelly – and pray they enjoyed it!

What are your three favourite books including the authors?

Impossible to choose just three, but – Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell and Decade by Jacqueline Briskin.

 A bit of triviality now…

What would ‘living the dream’ be to you?

Living in Cornwall, earning a living from writing.

Who would you cast to play the characters in Still Water in a movie?

Well I did have Aidan Turner in mind when I wrote Gil, but that was before he became an international success as Ross Poldark.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

Windmills of my Mind, sung by Alison Moyet.

What makes you laugh?

Playing Articulate with my family, ‘Gavin and Stacey’, my comedy writer and actor friend Eric Potts.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

Aidan Turner!  My grandmother, who encouraged me in everything and who died when I was ten.  My good friend and fellow writer Thorne Moore.  Billy Connolly.  David Tennant. The author Julia Crouch, who I’ve met and is lovely. Thinking about it, that’s quite a bizarre combination.

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

I have no sense of smell.  I hate rice pudding.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next? And how much time a day do you spend on social media?

Oh, I don’t know.  An hour?  Not usually in one sitting though. And  I’m not sure I do balance it.  I need to crack the whole marketing lark, I think.  It’s still early days for me.  I did take some leaflets to local bookshops and libraries and gained a lot of interest which I need to follow up.  Actually, balancing marketing and writing is not the problem.  Balancing marketing, writing and the day job is the problem.

Please share your social media links with us:

http://on.fb.me/1JLuduW

http://on.fb.me/1Ik0xTm

http://bit.ly/1KPPVMI

Wednesday’s Interview with #Honno Authors: Today With the newest recruit to Honno – author Carol Lovekin

Today I’m really pleased to be chatting with Honno’s latest find, Carol Lovekin

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Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.
Hello, I’m Carol. I’ve lived in mid-Wales since 1979. My novel, Ghostbird will be published by Honno in March 2016. It’s a very exciting time for me. I always hoped that if the book was ever deemed good enough to warrant publication it would be with Honno. I’ve been a fan and a supporter of this unique press for years. I’m currently working on another story set in Wales.

Tell me a little about your writing history/background. What inspired you to write?
I’ve always been inspired to write. My problem has been arrested development – which I’ve suffered from for far too long frankly – and a sense of myself as not quite good enough or ready for publication. I allowed my personal life to get in the way for too long as well. I self-published my first book in 2008 – a venture I now view with mixed feelings although I learned a great deal from the experience.

Where do your ideas come from?
I love this question, even though it’s virtually impossible to answer. It makes me smile because more often than not an idea is ‘a moment’ I can’t necessarily describe. Ideas come when the word birds drop them in your path or leave them on the pillow. Ghostbird began life when I reimagined the Welsh myth of Blodeuwedd from her point of view, as a reclaiming and a feminist issue. When I first read the story, my initial reaction was: why would it be considered a curse to be turned into a bird? What a gift! Blodeuwedd can fly away and escape her fate! From there the story began to take shape in my head. I have no clear memory as to why I decided on a teenage main protagonist. Not the likeliest choice for someone of my age. Cadi arrived one day, fully formed, and I fell for her.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
Before I begin, I like to know as much as possible and create a fairly detailed outline. That said I don’t necessarily stick with the plan. I love it when paths open and characters boss me around or when missed opportunities present themselves.

What genre is your book?
It’s a contemporary ghost story with slivers of magic. Although it’s been suggested it might have YA cross-over potential and would appeal to upper-age teens, essentially, it’s a story for adults with adult themes.

How did you come up with the title of your novel?
In more than one mythology ‘ghostbird’ is another name for the barn owl – which is how Blodeuwedd is often depicted in illustrations for The Mabinogion, the book in which her story originated. The title began life as something entirely different however and the decision to change it was initiated by my editor, the discerning, sharp-eyed and lovely, Janet Thomas. A book cover is about perception and reader appeal. Janet was right about numberless aspects of the book and she was right about the title. As I was able to choose the alternative myself, it wasn’t hard to let go of the original. And in any case, I think having to change the title is a positive thing. It allows me to let go, in preparation for sending the book out into the world. The old title was pre-acceptance; the new one celebrates affirmation.

What has been your best moment as a writer?
Best moments are the ones when someone tells you what you write has touched them. Getting the email from Janet with the news that Honno were going to make me an offer was absolutely a ‘best’ moment!

Do you have a special time to write and how is your day structured?
My stories begin life as random, handwritten pencil notes. I’m not a linear writer and this note-writing process is ongoing. I often write in bed first thing in the morning accompanied by tea. Deciphering and working out where these isolated scraps and scenes fit into the main narrative can be challenging. At times it’s like having a dyslexic spider running round inside my head. I like to be at my computer by or before ten, or as I call it, writing o’clock. I work for at least four hours. When I’m on a roll, I’m disciplined and can self-manage. I swim two mornings a week and after the Wednesday session, hang out in a local café with my talented writing friend, Janey. We feed each other’s brains!

Do you write every day?
Yes, although I don’t necessarily work seven days a week on my current story. The ‘write everyday’ mantra is a stick writers can easily learn to beat themselves with. What matters to me is writing something every day. I write a letter to a friend in America 365 days a year which flexes my writing muscles.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’m not sure ‘career’ is the right word. I’m seventy-one! I definitely intend to carry on writing. I’ve almost completed draft zero of my next story and I have another one tangled in the edges of my hair.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t give advice. I do suggest: don’t give up! If you have a story you are passionate about and if you are willing to work hard, take advice, re-write, edit and work some more – and if you’re good enough – you are more likely to succeed.
Who are your favorite authors and what is it that you love about their work?
Top of the list has to be Virginia Woolf. I became mesmerised by her vision in my early twenties and remain fascinated by her writing. Reading her encouraged me to take risks. Although I love her novels, it is her letters and diaries I find most intriguing. I’ve read the major biographies about her life and most of the novels based on it.
Other writers I admire include Edna O’Brien, A S Byatt, Alice Hoffman, Cormac McCarthy, Susan Hill, Doris Lessing, Sebastian Faulks and Elizabeth Von Armin. And I recently discovered the rather splendid, Patrick Gale. Each of these writers possesses the ability to instantly create a doorway through which the reader simply has to step. Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle has the best fictional opening line ever and I reread Jane Eyre every few years. To Kill a Mockingbird would be my Desert Island book. It has everything. I own a lovely collection of books by Joanne Harris – all her adult novels in pretty, hardback editions. She understands authentic magic and knows the spells that makes it probable. All of these writers (and a myriad others) have encouraged me to do as Francine Prose suggests and “read like a writer” in order to maybe learn a few tricks of the trade, from my betters.

Tell me something unusual about yourself.
I overcame my fear of deep water two years ago and I’m now a MerCrone!


What’s your view on social media for marketing?
Used wisely, it’s hugely effective. Twitter in particular, opens doors. I’ve met many generous writers both famously published and on their way, and got to know some of them in real life. I’ve been encouraged and supported and taken care of.

Which social network works best for you?
Twitter for introductions and making contacts. After years away I recently re-joined Facebook, which to my surprise is proving useful too. Social media is like cake. Too much of it makes you sick. Get is right and, as we say in Wales, it’s lush!

Facebook Author page:

The Three Day Quote Challenge:

The Three Day Quote Challenge:

My thanks go to the wonderful Sally Cronin, blogger and writer extraordinaire,  who tagged me in this challenging (for me anyway!) challenge:

Sally G Cronin

Sally’s  blog is https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
And for more information on her books listed here at Amazon please visit
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/

Okay, the deal is, you share your favourite quote (even if written by you) and also inspire people.
The Rules:

As always these challenges come with a few provisos and here they are.

Thank the person who nominated you. Share your favourite quotes (even if written by you)  that inspire you and could inspire other people   Pass it on by tagging some poor unsuspecting person  that you admire (bearing in mind you’ll want them to be your friend afterwards. Hah!)  Do we have to post three quotes, or one quote every day for three days? Not sure but mine are all here today…

My Quotes:

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

— John Steinbeck

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“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’

— Toni Morrison

download (8)

And finally: – a list of quotes – just to prove I know who I am, where I belong – and that I’m always right.

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Now I’m tagging the following three lovely ladies – only if they fancy doing this – no pressure – really!!:
Thorne Moore: http://www.thornemoore.co.uk/: Author of the brilliant Honno novels: Time for Silence: http://amzn.to/1TkRFll and Motherlove: http://amzn.to/1gnpnsc. Also available at  http://www.honno.co.uk/

Alex Martin: http://amzn.to/1Co3ItD:  Author of  the excellent Katherine Wheel Books:  Daffodils  http://amzn.to/1JTFdUZ  and Peace Lilt: http://amzn.to/1Mebk26

 Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/1dLEsSf: Author of the superb children’s’ middle grade books: Shiver Stone,  http://amzn.to/1COq01b – also available at http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ – author of Tarrantula Tide: http://amzn.to/1HfqYpC

And if too busy to accept the challenge, ladies here’s something else for you to take as a thank you. Have a drink on me

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