Meet the creator of Dolly!

An interview with… Vivian Conroy

Five questions to get to know you better

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

Tea most definitely: I love all kinds, black, green, even white tea!
I have countless flavours on the shelf and my current favourite
depends a lot on the time of year and my mood. I love green tea with
raspberry/mint and rooibus honey or vanilla. I don’t drink coffee –
yet – my friends are trying to persuade me!

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

Lady Alkmene, the heroine of my 1920s’ Lady Alkmene mysteries. I
submitted the first chapter of book 1, A Proposal To Die For, to a
special call from HarperCollins and within 3 weeks I had a 3-book
deal for the series. So you could say I owe my writing career to
this wonderful lady! Lady Alkmene is feisty, determined and has a
tendency to stumble into murder and other mystery (diamond theft,
missing heirs), while reporter Jake Dubois, a fierce hater of titles
and wealth, tries to keep her out of his hair and his cases!

Do you have a particular place where you write, can you show us a

I can write in most places as the flow of writing distracts me
completely and I become oblivious to anything around me. I love
typing to be in the flow of the story and try to keep up with my
characters. But plotting is best done in long hand! As a stationery
fan, I always have an excuse to buy new notebooks, coloured pens and
post-its for to-do lists. (ED – we were refused a photo as the desk is such a mess!!)

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Everywhere! While watching the first stretch of the Tour de France
2016, which started on Mont St. Michel, a tidal island off the coast
of France, I was like: what a great setting for a mystery series.
Then taking my inspiration from Mont St Michel’s counterpart off the
coast of Cornwall, which has a castle on top!, my Cornish Castle
series was born. My mysteries in general are heavily inspired by all the
classic mystery tropes: mistaken identity, locked room, inheritance
intrigue etc. Once I discovered Agatha Christie at 13, I devoured
all of her books and I hope to bring my readers the same excitement of
piecing together the puzzle that I have myself when diving into a great

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

The first book in my Cornish Castle mysteries has just released and
readers can find it at all retailers for a special introductory
price. Book 2, Rubies in the Roses, will release late August and is
already up for pre order. When word gets out that a rare bejewelled
wedding goblet is hidden in the gardens of Cornisea Castle,  claimants
are at each other’s throats …
And in October Lady Alkmene embarks on a
new adventure, facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball. Fatal
Masquerade is also already up for pre order so you can ensure you
read it first! If you’re on Twitter please drop by @VivWrites and
share your favourite mysteries, tea flavours, dog breeds and
chocolate desserts with me! You can also find all of my books on
Goodreads, Fantastic Fiction and Book Bub.

If you want to check out the wonderful Death Plays A Part, there is a blog tour throughout July



It’s Friday!

Author Interview with Rachel Crowther


5 Questions to Know You Better…

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

That’s tricky – I’m definitely a tea AND coffee person, and I’m not averse to hot chocolate either, in the right circumstances (long walk, winter evening, nice fire). But I am quite picky about what and how, as far as tea and coffee are concerned: Earl Grey, no milk, and black filter coffee, not too strong, unless I happen to be in Italy when the only thing to drink is a tiny, dark, rich espresso

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

That’s tricky too: a bit like asking which is my favourite child! I tend to bond pretty strongly to my central female characters – Olivia in ‘The Partridge and the Pelican’, and Flora in ‘The Things You Do For Love’ – but my new novel ‘Every Secret Thing’ has several equally important female leads, and two important male characters too. Oddly enough, I think it might be the men I’m most drawn to in this one – Bill and Stephen – although I have a very soft spot for Marmion, and also for Fay, the older woman who befriends them all. They are all, in different ways, imperfect, and all, in different ways, unfulfilled, and that makes them very absorbing and compelling for me – and I hope for the reader!

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

I have a wonderful writing shed, although to be honest I write all over the place: at the kitchen table, in bed, perched on the edge of my husband’s desk – wherever I happen to be when there’s a quiet moment. But in my imagination I go out to the shed every morning, and that’s what tends to happen when I’ve got a novel in full flood. I don’t know whether I write any better out there, but I do love it. Here’s a picture of it:

(ED: I have a shed too!)

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I find the problem is more filtering ideas than coming by them in the first place. I have a whole stack of synopses and short-stories-that-really-want-to-be-novels sitting on my computer, and more of them arrive every week. Most of them are just vague ideas or scenarios, or interesting characters who aren’t going anywhere, but I think you can find novels everywhere if you decide to look for them. Life is so full of stories, dilemmas, heartbreak and unexpected joy: everything you need for an infinite supply of novels.

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

I’ve actually got three novels on the go at the moment. That might sound mad, but the road to publication for a novel involves a lot of stopping and starting – rounds of editing with a lull in between – and I often find I want to work on something new when a lull comes, rather than picking up what I was doing last time – so I end up with several manuscripts-in-progress waiting for me. At the moment I’m really enjoying revisiting all of them and trying to decide which to throw myself into over the summer, when Every Secret Thing is safely launched. The working titles of the two most likely candidates are The Treasure House and The Painted Ceiling, and I hope that whichever I plump for will be ready for submission by next summer.

Giveaway and Review!

Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther

This is such a wonderful page-turner of a book, whenever there are secrets to be revealed in a story you know that each page will bring more information and build into a crescendo of shocks and surprises. As these five old friends are reunited after 20 years, their pasts come back to haunt them – there are some things you just can’t forgive and forget.

The book has a wonderful pace and all the characters are all so beautifully human you can sympathise with them all in different ways, they are flawed and real which I find much more engaging. As I once lived in Cambridge I also enjoyed the descriptions of the city and felt very at home in the book. As the story builds it really does become a book you need to finish, and I read it over night!

Unlike so many modern novels this also has a satisfying ending, there is a sense of completion and although the story has stayed with me, I do feel my questions were answered.

If you would like to read it for yourself we have a giveaway to win a copy of the paperback, just enter via Twitter or Facebook using the link below – what could be easier?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Going Through the Change – Menopausal SuperHero Book 1

I have to admit to being somewhat nervous about reading this book! It didn’t seem the sort of thing that I would like, and certainly not something I would ordinarily read – but that’s the real beauty of reviewing, I get to widen my horizons in so many wonderful directions and meet amazing authors with the most creative minds!

It’s a truly creative and fun book, the story centres around several women who gain new ‘skills’ of a remarkable nature, but can’t figure out why or how these new powers have developed. They do not appear to have anything in common, but as the story continues small snippets of their lives start to cross over, and soon a single scientist brings the group together. The story has lots of great human interactions, engaging characters and I can’t wait to read Book 2 (I’m a a bit behind as Book 3 is out this week!!). Despite the outlandish changes the women go through, their inner ‘beings’ are totally relatable and their struggles are very real. It’s a crazy comical story but somehow I was still swept along and enjoyed every minute of it. I have no idea what genre to put it in, but have gone with fantasy and sci fi… 

Ready for something a little different…

Author Interview

Hello! to Samantha Bryant

5 Questions to Know You Better…
Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

I’m addicted to all three. I drink tea every day: British black teas in the morning and a variety of herbal and decaffeinated teas in the afternoons and evening. Coffee is a weekend treat because I like the calorific fancy ones with syrups and such, though I also indulge in a few cups of more standard coffee when I’m at a diner or meeting with my critique group. Hot chocolate is a winters-only thing for me, but I love fancy-schmancy hot chocolate from my local chocolatier, Matthew’s Chocolates.

Hot drinks are vital to my creative process. They’re so sensory: taste, smell, and feel.

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

Oh my, that’s rather like picking a favorite child, don’t you think? I love them all. Even the ones I’m supposed to dislike. I like best whichever one is cooperating with me!

I need to be deeply connected with whoever I’m writing at any given time, so right now, it’s probably Linda/Leonel Alvarez, since he is the focus of book 3, which I’m in the middle of edits for as I write this. Leonel has been through so much: raising a family, an unexpected change in gender, gaining super-strength, getting shot. But he’s remained who he is at the core throughout: a thoughtful, caring, and protective grandmother.

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

I don’t have a designated writing space. No office or anything yet, though I might get one when the eldest goes off to college in a couple years. I write on a laptop, so I take it to wherever it is quiet in the house (or out of it) at the time. So, that can be almost any room of the house, really.

Most days, I seem to end up in my living room, with my feet up on the sofa and a cup of tea getting cold on a folding table nearby.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I take inspiration from my life around me all the time: the people I know, the books I read, the places I’ve been, etc. But I think that most of the ideas that develop into anything worthwhile germinate in conversations with my husband. He’s a wonderful talker, and excellent to bounce ideas with. Definitely a keeper.

My menopausal superheroes series, for example, began with me complaining to him that all the superheroes in movies seem to be teenagers, like puberty gives you superpowers. I joked that if hormones really did give superpowers, it would be menopausal women who had the corner on the market. He laughed and told me to write that down. And a book series was born!

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

I’m editing Face the Change, book three of the Menopausal Superhero series. It’s planned for release by Curiosity Quills on July 11, 2017.

Each book is getting better, if I do say so myself and I’m so excited to get this one out there and into the hands of readers. This time, Cindy Liu (the mad scientist/villain) gets a point of view position. It’s been exciting to get to write things from her unique perspective and see how she justifies all the questionable things she’s done.

Our youngest author yet… Meet Charlotte Bowyer

Author Interview

Hello! Charlotte x
5 Questions to Know You Better…

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

I like hot chocolate more than coffee, but I tend to drink a couple of cups of either Earl Grey or Lemon and Ginger tea every day.

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

Avery from ‘His Frozen Fingertips’ is hands-down my favourite character that I have created. He is kind, capable, and I think that having bisexual characters is very important to increase diversity in Young Adult fiction.

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

At seventeen years old, I am more of a nomadic writer than someone who sits in one place every day. I use both my laptop and iPad and jot down ideas whenever I get them. I still try to write over one thousand words every day, even though I don’t have a set place to do it.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I get inspiration and ideas from a variety of places A lot of my characters take traits from people whom I know in real life, although I hope that I develop them so much that no one can tell if they are the source of a character or not!

I read a lot, and I think that that also influences my writing and is a source of my ideas.

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

I’m currently working on another YA fantasy novel, but I’m not going to look to publish until after I’ve finished my A-levels in 2018. It takes a lot of work to go through the publication process and I think that it would be better suited to when I have more free time. Watch this space!

Blog Tour of His Frozen Fingertips

I love doing Book Blog Tours, as you get such a variety of responses and thoughts about a book. I don’t read a lot of YA and have read even less LGBT books, so this was a great treat for me, thank you to the Book Collective for sending me a review copy.

I really love the fantastical setting of the book, and getting to grips with this new enchanted world I was being taken to. The two central characters were so well described and I really enjoyed their company on their travels.  The story has a fast pace and there were constantly changing environments and smaller characters – all well described and engaging. I wanted to know what was next throughout the book, which is always a good sign. I do admit to being slightly confused at some points, and would have liked a little more background, however I wonder if there will be another book to resolve some of the storylines in the future?

The romance between the two central characters is carefully and slowly played out, it doesn’t dominate the story and I enjoyed it’s gentle threading thoroughout the book. I was  little disappointed in the very end as it seemed so sad – but it was very fitting and any other outcome would have been too schmaltzy.  If you enjoy fantasy I would recommend giving this story a go, I hope to hear more about this new world and it’s history in the future.


It’s Friday – time for some historical intrigue…

Author Interview
Hello! Amanda Carmack

5 Questions to know you better…

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

Now, that is a hard one! Tea, always (My husband complains about the fact that my approximately 300 varities of tea take up half the pantry, but I NEED them all!) A lovely cup of hot chocolate is perfect on a snowy day, though. Not much for coffee, though, unless it has lots of cream.

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

I definitely have a soft spot for Kate Haywood, the musician sleuth of my Elizabethan Mysteries series! She is talented at creating music (which I never was, sadly), gets to hang around with Queen Elizabeth I, and I’ve been able to see her grow more confident with each book. In my romance novels, I really enjoyed Clio Chase from “To Deceive a Duke,” the second of my Muses of Mayfair series. She’s a scholar and archaeologist (something else I always wanted to be!), with a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor and a fearless heart. She was fun!

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

LOL—and let the world see just how messy I really am?? I usually write my rough drafts in longhand (it just doesn’t work any other way for me), either sitting on my bed or at a table at Starbucks. When I type them up, I sit at the kitchen table, because my desk is always piled with research books, Hello Kitty doodads, and a Lady Mary figurine from “Downton Abbey,” so there is no room for my laptop.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

All over the place! From paintings or historical objects in museums (I’m a museum fanatic), TV shows, stuff I overhear at Starbucks (people have the most amazing conversations there, and sometimes they get a bit—strange). I seem to have the best ideas in the middle of the night, but if I forget to turn the light on and jot it down (thinking surely I will rememeber in the morning!) they vanish.

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

I am just started the first of a new trilogy for Harlequin Historicals, one I am VERY excited about! The series title is “The Grantley Girls Go To Paris,” and it centers around 3 school friends who all venture to Paris in 1889 for the Exposition. The first heroine, Diana, is a fashion journalist, and the hero, William, is a diplomat, so expect lots of Worth gowns, romantic boat rides on the Seine, and of course the brand-new Eiffel Tower! It will be out summer of 2018. My next release, though, “The Wallflower’s Mistletoe Wedding” (a Regency holiday house party story) will be out in November 2017.


Good Morning Paper Panda! xx

5 Questions to Know You Better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?
Mostly tea (builders tea, has to be strong, soya milk, no sugar) with the occasional filter coffee. Biscuits must be involved.
Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?
Finn Biddybum. He’s a little, spiky extension of myself. What’s not to like about a hedgehog who loves cake?
Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

I wrote my first book on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic. This sounds more dramatic than it actually was. There were non alcoholic cocktails and swimsuits involved. Tight deadlines often mean that work spills into holiday-time. My second book was written (and photographed) at the same desk I paint and papercut on, surrounded by curios and strange bits and bobs that inspire me.

My third book (due out late 2017) was written one afternoon laying on the couch, nursing a migraine. Yes, really.
Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?
My first two books were instructional and entirely based on work and the artwork I produce. My third is a children’s book based around the characters I created over the past few years, the Woodland Friends. Everything I create is based around nature and is largely inspired by the books I read as a child.
What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?
I’m currently illustrating “Finn Biddybum’s Cake”, a children’s book written in rhyme (thank you, migraine) that’s due out later this year, fingers crossed!