Author Interview with Clare Harvey

Hello!
5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea first thing (possibly chai or cinnamon – but usually just normal builder’s style, with milk and sugar), but I have to have a cup of real coffee before I start work at 9 ish in the morning, and then again after lunch to perk me up.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

I think it would have to be Vi, in The Night Raid. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and stick two fingers up to authority, but she’s also brave, kind, and loyal, and fun. She’s the sort of woman you’d like to have as a best friend.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I write in bed. It’s the warmest place to be at this time of year (I’m certain my window cleaners think I’m the laziest woman in the street, though, because every time they clean my windows I’m lying around like Lady Muck).
Apparently I’m not alone in favouring the horizontal. Other writers who preferred to work in bed include Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, William Wordsworth and Marcel Proust. Edith Sitwell is reputed not just to have written in bed, but remarked that: “All women should have a day a week in bed.”
Hmmm…

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Memoirs, poetry, photographs, paintings, old films, and sometimes, real life (my debut, The Gunner Girl was inspired by my mother-in-law’s time on the anti-aircraft guns in WW2, for example, and the real-life Nottingham artist Dame Laura Knight is one of the main protagonists in my current book The Night Raid).
It’s always useful to do a bit of ‘optical research’ too. My second book, The English Agent, was partly set in Paris, so I spent a weekend wandering round the Paris streets, soaking up the sights and scouting for suitable locations, which was really inspirational, as well as being a wonderful experience.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I’ve just sent off the manuscript of my fourth book, The Escape, to my agent for feedback. She’ll probably suggest a couple of tweaks and then it’ll go onto my publisher later this month.
The Escape is a two-timeline story, set partly in 1945 in Germany, as the Red Army moves in and the so-called ‘iron curtain’ falls, and partly in 1989 as the Berlin Wall falls and the iron curtain rises. The 1945 timeline is a classic love story, but the 1989 timeline is more of a love-gone-wrong story (although it ends hopefully – I can’t say more without giving too much away!).
I’ve never written a two-timeline story before, so it’s a bit of a departure for me. It was also quite a challenge as it involved two lots of research (including a trip to Poland in February last year – brrr! – and a trip to Berlin in June). At the moment I’m keeping my fingers crossed that both my agent and publisher are happy and don’t ask for too many changes, especially as I’m champing at the bit to start work on book five…
The Escape is due out in hardback in July 2018, and you can find out more here: http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Escape/Clare-Harvey/9781471161872
And discover more about me, my books and my writing life on my website: https://clareharvey.net
You can also follow me on my author Facebook page: ClareHarvey13, or on Twitter @ClareHarveyauth.

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Author Interview with Anita Cassidy

Hello!

5 Questions to get to know you better…

Perhaps most important: Tea or Coffee? or a cheeky hot chocolate…

Coffee before 11am. Green tea until 5pm then a lavender tea at 9pm… I love to drink water all day and have been accused of possible OCD-ishness by having special mugs to use for the beginning and end of the day! Zippy in the morning and Wonder Woman in the evening…

Of all the characters you have created – who is your favourite?

They are all part of me so I love all of them in different ways but I think my favourite is David as he is me when I am trying my hardest to be better…

Do you have a particular place where you write? Can you share a picture?

I have a Victorian writing desk in the corner of my bedroom. I also use a wooden library chair which is probably terrible for my posture but I love it!

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I tend to write about what I am most interested in. When I started Appetite it was what and how we eat that fascinated me the most as well as how we navigate long term relationships and desire.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am currently writing the first of a pair of books. They are thematically and stylistically similar to Appetite. The first one is called Thirst. It is about what happens to a family when a late 20-something woman decides to run her relationships differently. It is also about school, families, forgiveness after an affair and our society’s relationship with drinking.

 

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Author Interview with Theodore Brun

Hello!

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

 

One cup of tea at crack of dawn. After that, gallons and gallons of coffee. I try to stop when I realise I’m shaking!

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

 

About five leap to mind – but if I had to pick one, it has to be Kai. The world of 8th century Scandinavia can get a bit serious at times so I love having Kai around to poke a bit of fun at it all and call out the ridiculous.

 

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

I work in a couple of places. On a small (but perfectly formed) desk in our flat in London – in a study currently shared with my baby daughter’s cot. When I have to get out of the house, I write and research in a hidden away nook in the London Library on St James’ Square, surrounded by the smell of old books. (Very important!)

ED – That looks just like my favourite place – Bromley House Library… mouldy books are sad but also awesome!

 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

 

Often, little puzzles in the plot have been solved while out running in either Battersea Park or along the River Thames. I find the combination of music and movement seems to shuffle the deck in my brain, which occasionally produces an ace. I also have a dog who needs walking, so I spend many hours outside in the twilight of dawn or dusk, letting the mind wander. Inspiration, though, has come from many sources: my background, personal experience, opera, YouTube, dreams, my degree, other novels, and of course the source material of the Norse world itself, both archaeological and literary.

 

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

 

I have just signed off A Sacred Storm – the sequel to A Mighty Dawn – which is published in June. Everyone who has read it says it’s even better than A Mighty Dawn so I’m excited to see it out there. In the new year, I begin work on the third book in the Wanderer Chronicles, which at the moment I’m calling A Burning Sea. All being well, that will be out in 2019.

 

 

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Interview with Helene Fermont

Good Morning Helene Fermont!

5 Questions to get to know you better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Definitely hot chocolate! I simply Love chocolate, in particular Swedish candy and cakes. My favourite café in Malmö where I live and write part of the year is Cafe Hollandia.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Gosh, that’s a difficult question to answer! I guess I’ll always have a soft spot for the characters in my debut novel. But I really like and feel for all my characters in all novels. They’re such a big part of my life and I spend much time with them.

Everyone represents a variety of traits that are representative of real people.
Even the ‘bad ones’ are likeable to me to an extent since there are underlying reasons for their actions and behaviour. However, I really admire strong independent female characters which I believe mine are to a large extent.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

In London my favourite place to write is in my office where I see clients.
I love having my gorgeous British Shorthair cat, Teddy, next to me in his wooden box.

Equally, in Malmö where I write in our living room with a great view of The Western Harbour. There are photos of both on my website/social media and blogs.

Here is a picture of my home in Sweden. The white desk is where I spend hours on end writing my novels when I'm in Malmö. The view is my inspiration. It overlooks the Western Harbour and Turning Torso and is only a three-minute bike ride away from the main Ribersborg beach. I can see the Öresund Bridge and water from the balcony and, on a clear morning, part of Denmark across the water. The neighbourhood is tranquil, the only sound coming from birds in the sky And there are some lovely shops, cafés and restaurants in the vicinity. I generally write in long bursts punctuated hours with breaks when I either walk or cycle down to Limhamn's Harbour. Malmö is so different from London – which is far more intense and stressful – but I'm not complaining. I love both cities and get the best of both of them. Where is your favourite place to write?

A post shared by Hélene Fermont (@helenefermont) on

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I’m hugely inspired by everything around me and draw on experiences as psychologist and life in general. My novels are completely fictitious and reflect real life situations. I always carry a notebook when I’m out and even on my bedside table in the event I suddenly come up with new ideas.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

Currently, I’m working on two novels simultaneously. One is set in New York and Malmö and the other in Oslo in Norway. They are quite different and contain my usual in depth characters. Both are incredibly exciting and will be published next year.

You can see a review of His Guilty Secret over on our new YouTube Channel! 

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Author Interview with S J Parks

 

Hello to S J Parks, author of Made in Japan, her debut novel.

A review will be on the website on Monday 4th December as part of the Bookollective Blog Tour.

 

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Well it has to be Green tea and preferably Sencha

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

 

I had an affair with the architect as I wrote. Briefly. He’s very Zen.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

 

Really snatched at any desk and quite a mobile approach. The ideas could come on a walk before it all goes down.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

This is a long one but I believe I begin with a sense of place as a Catalyst.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I hope the next novel is a speedier process than the first. It’ll take me to a tight knit English community this time.

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Hello to Catherine Kullman!

I so enjoyed reading Perception and Illusion – I had to know more about the author that wrote it… so here were are x  As the new website still isn’t ready (grumble, grumble…) I am looking at doing book reviews as a video clip – I rather think this will be my first one so watch this space!

Over to Catherine…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea in the morning, coffee in the afternoon.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

I have a great fondness for Lady Needham, Luke Fitzmaurice’s ‘grand-godmother’ in The Murmur of Masks, who also appears in Perception & Illusion. An elderly lady, she is inclined to be blunt but has a very kind heart and will always come to the assistance of young people in social distress.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

As you will see from the photos, I have a wonderful writing cave, whose walls are lined with bookcases holding my research library and hung with engravings and prints from the Regency period. I also treated myself to an antique Regency desk and chair where I work with pen and paper, editing for example. Although I have a proper, ergonomic desk for my PC.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Everywhere. It is very much a question of ‘what if?’ and ‘what happened then? For example, this brief exchange from Perception & Illusion:
“The carriage is outside if you still wish to leave early,” Thalia whispered.
“I do. And you?”
“I think I’ll stay awhile”
triggered The Murmur of Masks. The two speakers are at a masquerade and I wanted to know what happened after Lallie left.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am completing the final edits for A Whisper of Scandal, the story of a governess who suddenly finds herself in a very sticky situation. I do not yet have a publication date, but it should be during the coming Winter.
After that will come The Potential for Love, a sequel to Perception & Illusion. It is the story of Hugo’s niece Arabella who finds choosing the right husband is not as straightforward as she thought it would be.

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How to Write a Novel…

I am so thrilled to have Louise Dean here to share her insight and ninja tactics – if you are taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge, this might be particularly helpful x

Ten Commandments for Writing Your Novel

 

One
You need to journal you writing progress. If you haven’t already, start one right now.
It will be invaluable throughout your writing journey to see that yes, you suffered and worried and yes you found a solution and got through it. Many great writers found this a necessity. Try it.

Two
You need to write every day, same time, same place.
You also need to read every day.

If you do those two things, then your day job will leaven your bread and bring a healthy reality check to you and your writing, and your writing will flourish thanks to the titbits you bring home from your labours and time in goodly society.

Three
Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t over-indulge in binge writing. You’ll upset your system. A solid hour a day will see you right. Keep faith with your novel. Don’t miss a day.

Four
If you do find yourself running out of steam, remember you have two pedals. One is writing, the other is reading. When one runs out of juice, use the other to take the pressure off and hey presto you’ll be moving again!

Five
Keep your notebook with you all day every day for 90 days to catch novel thoughts and insights gleaned from daily life.

Six
Write into a notebook, then type up for a very first early doors edit.
Creating material freely is what this first draft is all about and heading back to the notebook of your childhood, the secret diary, the handwriting of your first scribblings is very freeing.

Seven
Don’t fret the plot, think character and problem; think ‘what does he or she want?’

Eight
Tempted to go back over the work and tweak it? Don’t. You need to get the story down before you know what to include and what to leave out.

Nine
Great novels come in all shapes and sizes, so stop worrying about your word count!

Ten
Remember that your novel is a jealous God. Put it first for 90 days. That’s just 0.3% of your life. Only children or emergencies come before.

And one last tip just for luck:

If I were to leave you with one ‘prose tip’, it would be this:
Write a terribly good sentence that no one has written before, that is true for you and you alone, beautiful, sad and funny, perhaps controversial or contentious, and also understated. Write the next sentence.

Delete the second sentence. I can be almost completely certain that in the second you went too far, exaggerated, and spoilt the effect of the first. I see it all the time, in my work and in my writers’. It’s the most common error. Catch it sooner rather than later and your work will improve rapidly as you learn to train the wayward growth of your prose by tying it to a strong trellis.

Louise Dean is an award-winning author published by Penguin and Simon & Schuster and nominated for The Dublin International Literary Award, The Guardian First Book Prize, and the Man Booker Prize. She is the founder of Kritikme.com, an online creative writing course which teaches people how to write a novel in ninety days. You can get a 10% discount on this course by using the code MYNOVEL10 at the check-out.
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Interview with Childrens Author Peta Rainford

Enormous apologies this didn’t go up on Friday… technical problems… so happy to share it now x

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Ooo. Tough one. Actually, my answer is ‘lots of both!’ Truth be told, I am a bit of a sad case and rather set in my ways as far as hot beverages are concerned. Specifically, It’s tea before breakfast, coffee AT breakfast and during the morning, tea at lunch and in the afternoon and then coffee after dinner. Unless I’m abroad, of course, when it’s coffee at all times. Never tea. (Bet you wish you hadn’t asked!) It’s hardly ever hot chocolate, unless it’s snowing.

 

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Oh no! That’s almost as tough as the tea or coffee question! I suppose I would have to say Joe Jackson, the little boy at the heart of my new rhyming picture book, The Niggle, just because I have spent nearly every day of the last nine months in his company – either writing or editing the words about him, or drawing pictures of him. I suppose it is inevitable that characters in books for young children tend to be fairly two-dimensional, but The Niggle is about overcoming fear and finding resilience – and Joe embodies that – so I think he’s a little more rounded than some of my other creations.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I have a few places I write, depending on what stage of the process I am at. If I am doing hardcore writing – getting as many words down as I can, I work on my ancient Mac, at my cluttered desk, in my tiny office. If I am doing something more reflective, particularly if I am fine-tuning my rhymes, I prefer to sit on the sunny sofa in my bedroom, with my iPad – or sometimes a proper, old-school pad – while my hairy Jack Russell, Archie, protects me from passing postmen and cats.

 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

To be honest, most of the things I write about have been rattling around in my head so long I can’t remember where they started. I have a notepad that I jot ideas down in as they occur. Often these ideas are fairly abstract and I have no idea how to develop them into stories. But then, a year or two down the line, I might look at one of them again and see a context – or storyline – to hang it on. The Niggle worked like that. I had the idea of a little undermining voice, whispering in people’s ears and making them afraid, years ago. But it was only last year that I looked at it again in the context of a little boy learning resilience and understanding that you can’t be brave if you don’t feel fear, and found my story.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am going back to a 30,000 children’s book novel for 8-11 year olds that I wrote before I started on The Niggle. I completed the first draft, and I am now starting on the second. At this stage, I’m not sure when it is likely to be published!

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Meet the totally organised Lisa Cole x

Author Interview
Hello!
5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Real tea with tannin in the morning and a really good coffee with caffeine once or twice a week. I make the coffee in a stove top moka pot, it takes a while but is worth the wait and makes a lovely sound while it brews.
I’ve been trying to drink more herbal tea but it is just not the same as the real thing!

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I write mostly on the sofa in the front room. In the winter I’m covered up by blankets and cats, in the summer I’m dodging sunlight streaming through the winter and hitting the screen. Sometimes, generally on a Friday I’ll take myself and my laptop off to a local pub for a pint of beer. It is a converted bank and it is light and airy, they tend to play music I can work to and they love people working in there. I have to stick to one pint though or I write nonsense!

Ed: In lieu of a photo Lisa has sent this great ‘adulting’ sticker x 

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I was brought up by my grandmother who lived during the war so I learned to hoard things just in case. We rarely bought anything new, it was all sewn, knitted or baked at home. The only trouble with this lifestyle is that it is much easier to accumulate too much stuff now and it is really easy to get overwhelmed with it. I write about coping with clutter and overwhelm for real people like me, who don’t want to live in minimalistic white boxes but who do need to be able to find things when they need them. I truly believe that it is good to have things, they are part of our personalities and individuality and I feel sad when I see people throw away their history in huge decluttering purges. I’m constantly inspired by our very friendly less-stuff Facebook support group. The people in the group prove that getting rid of just a few things a day works much better than purging. I love thinking that I’m right about something and I get daily proof in the group :-).

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

The new book Elephants in the Room is OUT NOW!

 

 

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Hey Caimh McDonnell!

Author Interview

 Hello!

 5 Questions to Know You Better…

 

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

 I’m afraid I’m somewhat of a freak and I drink none of those things! I’ve never drank a cup of coffee in my life, The only cup of tea I’ve had in the last decade was when three horses totalled my car and, while I love things that are both hot and chocolate individually, I keep trying hot chocolate and then remembering that I don’t enjoy it either. So – I’ll have a Diet Pepsi if you’re offering.

 Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Detective Bunny McGarry – he was supposed to be a relatively minor character in my first book, but essentially walked in and took over. He’s clearly a big favourite with my readers too. There’s a strong element of wish fulfilment to him – he is the man who does the things I would secretly love to do if I didn’t have to live with the consequences.

Do you have a particular place where you write –  can you show us a picture?

 Where I definitely can’t write is my own apartment, so I have an office in a co-op with cartoonists, researchers, charities etc that I go to. This also forces me to put on trousers every day which is a good idea in general.

(ED. this the second non-photo interview… I might start issuing penalties…)

 Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

 In the shower in the morning, or at least that’s where they make themselves known. I like to think of my brain like a PA who is reporting back what my subconscious has been working on over-night while I’ve been out of the office. (Note: not normally acceptable workplace practice to have your PA in the shower with you.)

 What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

 I’m technically in what you’d call the pre-production phase of the third and final part of my Dublin trilogy. I spent ten minutes in bed last night explaining what was going to happen to the wife so I’m pretty sure it might be time to go into the production phase. 

NOTE:

I will be reviewing Angels in the MoonLight, once I’ve finished laughing – it arrived the same week as my birthday and school starting so my reading time has been a bit curtailed. It’s is BRILLIANT, but until I have that last chapter read I don’t want to put the review up… 

 

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