Monday, 10 August 2015

Meet the Author - Anne Allen

About Me – Anne Allen

It’s a lovely treat to be able to write about myself rather than writing a book. Just have to remember this is fact not fiction☺

I thought it would be an idea to focus on how I became a writer and the background to my first book, Dangerous Waters, which metamorphosed into book one of The Guernsey Novels. So here goes . . .

I’ve always had an ‘itch’ in the back of my head to write a book and friends had for years told me that I should.  This was probably more to do with the fact that my life could not be described as boring! I did, in fact, start to write my life story but somehow just couldn’t get in to it. I may have another go one day when I no longer have to protect the guilty!  Ironically my first stab at ‘real’ writing was an entry into a national competition run by Prima magazine a few years ago. They wanted a 500 word true-life story describing a life-changing event. My mother ‘pushed’ me into entering, thinking it was a fiction piece they wanted and thought it would encourage me to get on with my novel. Anyway, from being a reluctant entrant I emerged as the winner and collected £500 of M&S vouchers. Not bad for starters, I thought, with my eye on the bigger picture of novel writing. I was encouraged to realise I could write and so began my journey as a novelist.

This happened about nine years ago, at a time in my life when I could finally sit down, pen in hand, and write. I was a single mother of three and, together with my day job as a psychotherapist, was kept pretty busy. Now, not only had the birds flown the nest but I was about to become a grandmother. Talk about new beginnings☺ My book’s gestation was six months and my granddaughter was born three months later. However, I didn’t know then that it would take another six years to raise my baby to independence and emergence into the outside world . . .

I was born in Rugby but learnt early on that I was drawn to be 'beside the seaside'. My father was from the lovely island of Anglesey, North Wales, and every summer we would visit my grandparents who ran a village shop in Rhosneigr, a short walk from a fantastic beach. It was idyllic for children and as an adult I ventured around the country, my own children in tow, looking for the perfect home by the sea. After living in Scotland, Devon, Guernsey and Spain, I'm now settled in Devon again, to be near my daughter and two small grandchildren. But I still have dreams of a holiday home somewhere warm, like Spain. We can always dream, can't we? ☺

Dangerous Waters is set on the beautiful island of Guernsey and is a romantic mystery. The story covers love, loss and the tragedy that has befallen the central character, Jeanne Le Page. My inspiration came from having just read a book about another small island near France. It had echoes of Guernsey, where I had lived for many happy years and which still occupies a large part of my heart. In fact, I managed to leave a son behind in order to provide a valid reason for frequent returns! I felt comfortable with basing my story there as I knew the island – and some of its history – so well. The Occupation still has a significant impact on modern-day Guernsey and I wanted to make reference to that awful time even though the thrust of the story is set in the present day.

The second book, Finding Mother, is a romance/family drama, revolving around Nicole who seeks her birth mother when she hits a crisis in her marriage.

The third, Guernsey Retreat, is another romantic mystery and centres on Louisa who needs to find the father she's never met after her mother dies suddenly.

My latest book, The Family Divided, was  published in June 2015 and is a romantic mystery/family drama. The story sees Andy Batiste, a Guernsey-man, attempting to uncover the truth behind the rift in the family which has cost his father his rightful inheritance. He is offered the help of Charlotte Townsend, a publisher and would-be writer who is staying at a luxury health resort in Guernsey and has issues of her own to resolve.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Meet the Author - Jo Lambert

After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle.   Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

TalĂșn Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with.  Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met.  Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them - an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle. 

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities.  Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him.  For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for TalĂșn the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.
But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

Jo Lambert was born and brought up in rural Wiltshire. 

Her first novel, When Tomorrow Comes was published in 2009 and four other books  - Love, Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me, Between Today and Yesterday and The Other Side of Morning  followed.  They formed a series charting the loves and lives of four Somerset families over several decades.

Summer Moved On, her sixth novel, is the first part of a two book love story set in South Devon.
Jo now lives on the eastern side of the Georgian city of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a classic white MG Midget named Bridget.  She loves travel, red wine and rock music.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Welcome to my special guest Lynne Fitzgerald

 Lynne Fitzgerald is, undoubtedly, one of Merseyside’s most recognisable acting talents having appeared in plays such as The Salon at The Liverpool Royal Court and Theatre Royal, St. Helens, as well as Two alongside Louis Emerick at The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton.

What might not be so well known though is the fact that Lynne is also a prolific playwright and has penned such hits as 4 Girls and Caravan,Psychic Sybil and Desperate Scousewives 1 and 2.

Lynne’s new play, Hey Girl Show Us Your Tips, opened at The Theatre Royal last year and is set in a Traditional Liverpool Alehouse,

As Lynne has recently appeared in Two, written by Jim Cartwright, was there any inspiration drawn from that piece of observational theatre?

“I was so obsessed by Two and would never, ever liken my writing skills to those of Jim’s, but I did find that his style did sort of begin to creep into my own work.

"I had to be very careful not to follow the path that he had already gone down so fantastically well, which was quite difficult to be honest.

"That said though, there are very different characters in Show Us Your Tips, it is a completely different scenario and a whole different ballgame.”

Once Lynne has the idea for a new play in mind, the process is then undertaken to develop the story at full throttle.

“What I do is get the idea, think of a name for it, get the name, design the poster that will advertise it then look at the poster and start writing the play. It is a bit unmethodical but if it works, it works.

"Every writer has their own way of doing things, I expect, but this is the way I do it. I have the story rolling around my head for about four or five days before actually getting down to writing it, but once I start that part of the process it takes about another four or five days – working about five or six hours a day – before the first full draft is completed.

"Then I go back and rewrite it about three or four more times. The whole thing from idea to page takes around two weeks work in total.”

“I hate plays that are overwritten and it has taken me years to learn how not to do that, because I was taking stuff out that would have worked really well in the end, simply because I found I was over thinking the material and scenario I was creating.

"I was bogged down too much with what the cast were thinking and what the audience would think, until I got to the point where I had to take responsibility.

 If stuff makes me laugh it goes in, if doesn't it comes out.

"I think every writer – because it is such a solitary occupation – has to write what they think is funny or sad or dramatic or whatever.”

With what seems like such a pressurised writing routine, does Lynne actually like the process of writing?

“I'm addicted to it. I didn't start off wanting to write I wanted to act, which is my first love. Then I found when I was going to see shows in Liverpool and around, I was adding different scenarios and creating characters that were, sometimes, more suited to the play than the ones that were being played on stage.

"I did stand up successfully for 15 years and I wrote all my own material for that, as well, so that gave me a grounding in what makes people laugh, so I thought ‘what am I doing, giving so much, material away?’.

“When I did seriously begin to write stuff of my own, the prospect of it being seen by an audience really scared me and, probably, and there where times when I thought, I may never pluck up the nerve to get my first stage play 4 Girls and a Caravan off the ground.

"If, as an actor, things go wrong on stage then you can alter it and cover it up to some extent. With writing a complete script, there is no hiding place and what the actors are working with is the final product, so it isn't good enough you’re stuck.

"Things are never as scary as you think they’re going to be, once you’re off and running, but I would still love to go away to some retreat and write and write and write.”

Lynne is also totally hands on in all aspects of her play’s production.

“I'm a total control freak. I design the sets, the costumes, the lighting, everything. It might sound awful but I do tend to think that nobody else can envisage what I can so I’d prefer to do it myself.

"In fact, I physically built the bar when I was in Two at The Floral Pavilion"

So what can an audience expect from Desperate Scousewives?

“Basically, its Liverpool comedy at its best, with a fabulous cast Trevor Dwyer Lynch (Coronation Street) Lynn Francis Charlie Griffiths and myself.

"There’s nothing deep and meaningful about it, nothing too thought provoking, so just come along, have a great night and get ready to be rolling in aisles laughing.

Chris High Interview

L/R Lynn Francis Lynne Fitzgerald Charlie Griffiths Trevor Dwyer Lynch

Desperate Scousewives - The Play
Monday 28th September to Thursday 1st October 2015, 7:30pm
Tickets £15.00* (£13.00* cons)

Group discounts available ask at the box office 0151 666 0000

Four ordinary women living in a four terraced house's in the back streets of Liverpool we join the occupants the days leading up to and following the wedding of Vanessa played by Charlie Griffiths, a wedding, incidentally, which takes place in Walton Jail to a prisoner she's never met.

Newcomer to the terrace, (Trisha) played by stand up comedian and Coronation Street star Trevor Dwyer Lynch tries desperately to fit-in with her new neighbours without realising the other's already know she's just moved into, Number One, owned by a battered wives association.

Occupant of Number Two (Lily) played by Lynn Francis is currently in an abusive relationship and when she accidentally kills her husband, a whole string of hilarious co-incidences conspire to divert suspicion away from this down-trodden character

Add in Bossy, loud-mouthed occupant of Number Three (Susan) played by Lynne Fitzgerald in her own inimitable style, your in for one hilarious night of entertainment.

*Includes a £1.00 per ticket fee. Capped at 8 tickets. No fees to Friends of the Floral.

Indiscretion by Hannah Fielding

After been brought up by her English aunt, Alexandra feels she needs to discover her Spanish roots. Half-English, half-Spanish she wants to re-connect with her Spanish side of the family. So she travels to Spain and explores that side to her identity.

When things do not go to plan she finds herself drawn to her handsome cousin Salvador. Just when she feels he is attracted to her too he pulls away and becomes distant. A few stolen moments are shared again but what is stopping Salvador from committing to their relationship.

Epic love story set in 1950's Spain is the setting for this slow burning romance novel. For me personally I like to see more spark and passion to a romance novel. Now I am not saying I dislike the book, because I did like it. I just found not a lot went on really for me to feel fully involved with the characters and the storyline did not pull me in. The beautiful descriptive locations and old fashioned feel to the story I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Meet the Author - Linn B. Halton

Quintessentially Yours
(the sequel to Under The Stars)
Katherine Dale lives her life according to her daily horoscope forecast. Having recently hit forty, Katherine is living with her partner, James Kingman, and their delightful little six-month-old daughter, Leyla. James is an up-and-coming name in astrology and that’s how they met. At a party to celebrate the publication of Katherine’s first novel, James was about to propose when Katherine announced the news that she was expecting a baby. ‘Ask me later, when I can fit into my dream dress’ she’d told him.
Wind forward thirteen months and while there is an engagement ring on Katherine’s finger, James still can’t mention the ‘m’ word. Leyla suffers from colic and won’t settle into any semblance of a routine. The lack of sleep is taking its toll on them all. James is at his wits’ end trying to cope with his increasing workload, while handling a hormonal woman who feels like an abject failure. And then there’s his boss, who has designs – on him!
With feline help from No. 4, plus a little timely advice from old postman Tom and neighbour Ed, can James and Katherine’s love for each other survive all of the challenges that life is throwing at them? Will there ever be time to plan that dream wedding?
This sequel can be read as a standalone novel.
Bristol-born Linn B. Halton lives in the small village of Lydbrook, which nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her husband and feline with 'catitude'- Mr Tiggs.
Linn began writing in March 2009 and her debut novel was published in February 2011. In a recent interview Linn was asked about genres:
"From a very young age I knew romantic fiction was always going to be my genre. I am, and will always be, madly in love with love! Whether that's love of life, a partner, or the things I'm passionate about.
My stories are about love, life and real relationships - but romance is always the one thing that holds each story together. Often there's a light, psychic touch and I never dreamed I would write drawing upon my personal psychic experiences. But as my interest and understanding in the subject has grown, it is now such a part of my life that it finds its way into my fictional tales. However, what is heartening is that most of my experiences have been uplifting and it's wonderful to know loved ones are around me always. I hope it will make readers stop and wonder 'What if?'
The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that's something rather special and for which I'm very grateful."
Love, life and beyond... but it's ALWAYS about the romance!
Linn is published by Choc Lit, HarperImpulse, Endeavour Press and Sapphire Star Publishing.
Linn is also the managing editor of Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine.
Loveahappyending Lifestyle emagazine:
Linn’s Books on Amazon:

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The SW19 Club by Nicola May

Gracie's life starts to fall apart when she is left heartbroken after suffering a miscarriage. Full of grief she withdraws into herself, partner Lewis is also feeling the loss and through a lack of communication the couple drift apart and break-up when their situation is made worse by an indiscretion.

Newly single Gracie tries to rebuild her life and finds comfort in a group she helps to set up for women going through similar experiences. The members of the group are a great support system for each other, knowing they must find a way to live with the pain of great loss that will never leave them, she also tries dating and moving on. But she must face her past to come to terms and begin to heal from her tragic circumstances.

Although there is a deep sadness about this book author Nicola May writes the story with such a fast and lively pace that makes the sensitive issue of what this story is about easier to read and although it does move you emotionally and you feel empathy with Gracie, I could not help smiling at how many times a certain word gets mentioned in this book. I am no prude but I did find this unnecessary repetitive and not needed so much in what is a beautifully told story.