Category Archives: Author Interview

Author Interview: ‘Tidal Rage’ by David Evans

About the Book:

On the cruise ship circuit, Sebastian McKenzie is a star. A brilliant pianist and singer, he entertains the wealthy guests every night in the piano bars and restaurants of the world’s leading cruise liners. But he never stays with the same ship for long. And some of the other entertainers have nicknamed him the Grim Reaper, because whenever Sebastian is on board, people go missing.

After escaping from prison, Josef Werner is driven to a safe hideout in the Didim area of Turkey. He sets up his base in the beautiful bay of Akbuk, and buys two isolated villas high on a hill overlooking the bay. But Werner has been followed by a private eye named Cortez, and the premises are bugged.

Max Cutler is an All-American boy: tall, blond and handsome, with a sharp wit and a keen eye for female company. A stand-out student at law school, he is immediately recruited into the Secret Service, to protect America’s interests overseas. Max is in Europe, breaking up a violent counterfeiting ring in Germany, when he hears that his baby sister Elisa has disappeared from a cruise ship in Alaska.

In a gripping thriller crossing three continents, these three men find their fates are entwined.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I spent my formative years in Singapore and Germany before returning home to Liverpool. I attended the same school as John Lennon and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, albeit a generation later.

Presently I am Managing Director of Business Consultancy and have investigated over 200 industrial accidents. This has given me an insight into causations and forensics. I am also a qualified lecturer teaching industrial and safety law, and a Principal Designer.

I am a chartered member of the Institute of Safety & Health. I have been a technical author for many years, and decided to use this knowledge and imagination to write fiction.

Health and Safety sounds boring, but I have travelled over rough water and climbed 90 metres on stations above cofferdams when the Forth Bridge and Mersey Gateway bridges were being built. I’ve been in the tunnels under the Thames for the new sewage pipe for London, under London for Cross rail and HS2. 

I have eight parachute jumps to my name, in the Lake District, Florida, and a base jump over Chamonix on skis. I have scuba-dived the Red Sea, Pacific, and Indian oceans, as well as the Barrier reef and Cozumel. I’ve caught sailing fish and Barracuda (always returning them to the sea alive and uninjured), undertaken safaris in Kenya, and been charged by elephants.  

Travel has been an important hobby for me and my wife, we have travelled to the four corners of the globe, visited every location in the book, and undertaken over twenty  cruises in preparation for writing this novel. I drove to Turkey to see how it could be done from Europe. We travelled to the Falkland Islands and walked the ridges over Mount Longdon, again for the scene in the book. 

Writing technical reports can be a little bit dry, and when I got to my fifties and the children had flown the coop, I decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition to write a book. I always had a vivid imagination, with English being my best subject at school, and I always received great marks for essays. 

The great thing with age is experience, and I think all the points above have assisted greatly with having an active imagination and helped me to write this book. My second in the trilogy is near completion and I have a cameo appearance for my father who has just died and intend to start on my third shortly after. 

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I have three favourite places to write. I have to travel a considerable amount for my work, and found I spent most of these nights away in a restaurant or pub, and went up from 70 kilos to 85 kilos. I decided I needed to do something, or I would be 120 kilos by time I was sixty. So, I began to write in hotel rooms, from 5pm to 9pm, when I was away, mostly listening to either Wagner, the Bee Gees, Queen or the Beatles. 

My second favourite place was when we took cruises, my wife who is very creative would work on her projects, and I would find a secluded area on deck and write. I observed people and gained insights into different characters, many traits I observed have assisted me to develop the characters. 

Third, I built an office outside in my large garden and when I finish work, I will sit there between 6pm and 9pm. I find it helps my thought process as I am surrounded by the aroma of flowers, the birdsong and I do not even mind the gnats and insects that invade the office from spring onwards. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I had been interested in deaths at sea for many years, and tracked cases of accidents, missing persons, suicides, murders put down as suicide and manslaughter and murders at sea. I observed a case at first hand where a Singapore businessman murdered his wife, after being caught stealing in the ship’s jewelry store. I was the only person observing the stern of the ship as the helicopter whisked the body and husband off to the island. The cruise line called an impromptu pool party with free drinks at the front of the ship to divert attention.

I pay waiters, barmen and security guards on ships to explain the cctv cameras: which one works, and which does not. They tell me the hiding places and about where the garbage goes, how they launch lifeboats, etc. You can find any information out as long as you tip.

I have a million different ideas in my head. For instance, my grandfather shot his best friend dead at the Somme in the first world war, as he had snuck up on him as a joke. My grandfather came back and married his best friend’s widow and took on seven children; she never forgave him and hated him till the day he died. What a great story for me to write in the future!

This week there has been a lot of press around sexual harassment and attacks in schools. The idea jumped into my head of writing a book around the subject. Taking first the boy’s side and showing how the internet, online porn and peer pressure affects their judgment. One boy gets away with it because of incompetent tutors, another boy posts pictures online and we follow him through as the future university and then prospective employers knock him back because of his previous social media and online failings.  Then showing the girl’s side, one who gets over the trauma by seeking help from friends and counsellors whilst another is sectioned and in later life goes on to commit suicide.

I visited Agatha Christie’s house in Dartmouth a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the atmosphere. I thought about writing a book about her settling down there in her later years, and a fictional companion who looks after her but keeps asking her about characters and plots. The companion turns out to become a famous author, but cannot stop being Agatha’s companion because she has no imagination. Agatha Christie’s agent suspects something, and the killings start. Agatha has one last case to solve.

And it goes on and on. 

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I normally mind map the book. I have a beginning, a middle and end, but the story evolves as I start to write and the ideas flow. I have never had writers’ block when writing, and must contain myself sometimes. I want to make the story as believable as I can. 

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I prefer adult fiction, thrillers, war, confrontation and spying. As a youngster, I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and thought it magnificent. I went through a stage of reading Dennis Wheatley and Stephen King but tired of the horror genre. Once I discovered Deighton, Forsyth and Le Carre I was hooked on thrillers. I would like to write a timeless novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, or Angels in the Sky by Wilbur Smith. 

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For me the cast was easy to pick, Max Cutler would be played by Christopher Hemsworth because of his acting ability and charisma, not to mention looks. Sebastian McKenzie the serial killer would be Jackie Chan. Robert Stahmer’s role would be taken by Stephen Graham, because not only is such a wonderful versatile actor, he is from my hometown. Moana ran through my mind when I created Tuck Walters, so although larger than the character in the book I could not get beyond The Rock. Fabienne Asper would be the wonderful Kirsten Vangsness, Cheryl Ross played by Alexa Vega. Hoagie Finberg must be Tom Hardy, Matt Rice known as Basmati would attract female audience if played by Corbin Bleu. Tom Hanks always plays the nicest man, and I would want him playing evil Seppi Werner. Alec Baldwin has aged well and would do justice to the role of Wyatt Rockman. Samantha Colley would play Ghislaine Lyman, Adrian Rodriguez would represent Philip Cortez very well. When I wrote about Delegate Frau Uebering, Angela Merkel kept coming to mind; failing her, I think Helen Mirren, who I adore as an actor, would be fantastic in the role. Lother Gotschalk could be played by the very able Til Schweiger, Idris Elba is the only consideration for Nathan Colton and finally Lou Diamond Philips as Lachiman

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read at least two books a month, more when on holiday. My favourite authors are Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Christopher Dickens, Harper Lee, Len Deighton, Clive Cussler, Wilbur Smith, Dennis Wheatley, Frederick Forsyth, Jeffrey Archer, Rudyard Kipling, and Lord Roben.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. 

9: What is your favourite book and why?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – opened my eyes as a twelve-year-old to the injustices and discrimination in the world. Convinced me I would never be a bigot or racist which was widely accepted when I was a child.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Everyone has a story. It does not matter if you do not have perfect grammatical English or whatever language you write in. If the story is good enough someone like the editors from Loudhailer Books will polish it for you.

We all want a legacy so whether your are eight or eighty, and if it take you six months or sixty years, once you have written it , no one can take that away from you. 

If you are younger, what a great addition to your CV.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

Presently I am on LinkedIn and next week I am setting up a Facebook page for Tidal Rage which I will link into my own Facebook page.

My publisher is loudhailerbooks.com

My website is davidalanevans.co.uk

About the Author:

David spent his formative years in Singapore and Germany before returning to his home city of Liverpool, United Kingdom. David attended the same school as John Lennon and Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, albeit a generation later.

Presently David is a Managing Director of Business Consultancy and has investigated over 200 industrial accidents. David is also a qualified Lecturer and teaches Industrial and safety Law. He is a Chartered member of the Institute of Safety & Health. He has been a technical author for many years and decided to use his knowledge and imagination to write his first fiction book.

Travel has been an important hobby for David, he has travelled to the four corners of the Globe. He has visited every location in the book and undertaken over twenty cruises in preparation for writing his novel.

David has been interested in deaths at sea for many years and tracks cases of accidents, missing persons, suicides, murders put down as suicide and manslaughter and murders at sea. David observed a case at first hand where a Singapore Business man murdered his wife after being caught stealing in the ships jewellery store. David was the only person observing the stern of the ship as the helicopter whisked the body and husband off to the island. The cruise line called an impromptu pool party with free drinks at the front of the ship to divert attention.

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Author Interview: ‘Seeder Shadow Wars’ by J. Houser

About the Book:

Dating and High School: Hard Enough. Now Add Assassins.

Avoiding assassination wasn’t on Mel’s to-do list for her junior year.

Learning she wasn’t human hadn’t made the list, either.

An only child with overprotective parents, Melody Walters just wants a drama-free year-and to be able to date. She gains the interest of more than one suitor, but doesn’t realize any one of them could be an enemy on the hunt. For her, the dating scene could prove deadly.

Mel discovers she’s a member of a botanical race, forced to hide their daughters in the human world until they mature enough for their powers to bloom. Something goes wrong with her blooming process, breaking her cover and jeopardizing the lives of her protectors and the large family she’d never known about.

With the enemy threat ever-looming, in a rush to master her new powers before she’s stranded in the human world forever, Mel struggles to decide who she can trust and if the sacrifice being asked of her is too great.

PRAISE FOR SEEDER SHADOW WARS

“Seeder Shadow Wars presents the genuinely strong female protagonists that are missing in a lot of young adult fantasy today. This book has all the elements of great storytelling–relatable and complex characters, a great and accessible magic system, and deep themes.” -CM Adler, author of The Witches of Grimm Series

“SEEDER SHADOW WARS thrusts the reader into a duplicitous setting in our world, where anyone may be a friend, foe, or family member. J. Houser provides the reader with a world within our own, complete with botanical beings in an age-old war. It is the first book in the series, and I can’t wait to read more.” -Courtnee Turner Hoyle, author of The Pale Woods Mystery Series.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Excerpt:

Prologue

BORDERED BY IMPASSABLE MOUNTAINS, a pocket realm tucked away on Earth was safely shrouded from human knowledge and interference. The hidden paradise was a land of beauty and lush plant growth, filled with an energy that coursed through the very veins of the people who lived there. The inhabitants could sense the cyclical energy shifts associated with the human world, though their own realm lacked any true change in season.

On the western front, people lived simple lives in quaint communities. As simple and quaint as they could be, in the midst of a never-ending war.

***

Murial stared down at her clutch of seedlings, her children. She wore a faint smile, her joy tainted by the vicious aching in her heart. Today would be the hardest day of her life.

Thod walked up behind Murial, wrapping his arms around her. He moved her auburn hair to the side and placed a sweet kiss on her cheek. “Are you going to be okay?”

She swallowed hard, reminding herself that she’d signed up for this. She wanted kids. Murial turned to face her husband, giving him the best smile she could muster. “I’ll be great.”

She looked around at the new home they’d just moved into. Like others lining their lane, it was much bigger than the tiny cottage they’d moved out of. It was beautifully simplistic with raw, natural wood. Books and potted flowers covered the shelves in the corner. The extra space and larger garden out back would be just enough for this next phase of their lives.

Thod gazed into her eyes. “I couldn’t have picked a better woman to raise my boys.”

Murial drew a deep breath, her smile warming. “I’ll make you proud. And I know you’ll take good care of the girls.”

He nodded, then patted his pants pocket. “I’ve got the letter for your dad. Anything else?”

She pursed her lips, thinking of the human dad that had helped raise her. Letters were all they had now. Having reached maturity, which allowed her to have a clutch, she wasn’t capable of leaving the Green Lands anymore. She scanned Thod, then glanced back at their seedlings.

“I think we’re all set.” Murial pulled him in closer. “There’s just one last thing.”

They shared a smile and she leaned in, giving him a kiss. The kind of kiss only a Seeder woman could give. The kind that imbued him with a portion of her energy, both expressing her love, and bolstering him for the long and difficult journey ahead.

***

It being the first day of spring, Murial and Thod gathered their seedling hopefuls and stepped outside. Walking a few feet from the door, they placed the glistening, round seeds on the dirt in the middle of the lane. A handful of neighbors were proudly doing the same with their own clutches for this year’s sprout reveal. Murial breathed deeply, tightly gripping Thod’s hand and forcing herself to soak in the wonder and beauty of the moment.

As the sun rose, it peeked over the wooden homes and bathed the eager parents waiting in anticipation. Shortly after the rays reached the seeds, they began to wiggle. Next door, a shout of glee rang out; someone’s first seedling had sprouted. Murial and Thod glanced over for just a moment to check it out, then returned to watching their own clutch.

Puff.

“There’s one!” Thod rejoiced, squeezing her hand.

Puff. Puff. Puff.

“Come on, girls, show yourselves,” Murial cheered in a whispered tone.

Twelve in total sprouted. The other twelve remained unchanged.

The breeze blew, and the palm-sized sprouted balls of fluff began to sway. Murial and Thod knew their time was short. They embraced, and then Thod stood next to the seedlings, like the other men in the street were starting to do. A gust rushed past—this was the one!

The wind swept up the balls of fluff—resembling dandelion seeds floating in the wind, but much more fluffy, like a bichon frise puppy. As soon as they lifted up, Thod sprang into the air, leaping forward into a somersault, transforming into his botanical form. His hair took on a purple hue, spiked like a thistle. A spiny leaf extended from each forearm between his wrist and elbow. His legs were now wrapped in taproots to his ankles.

Thod gathered their twelve sprouted seedlings in his arms and gave a reassuring, loving look to his wife down on the ground. The breeze blew them higher and higher, further from their village.

Murial watched on as he disappeared from sight past the lush hills in the distance. The knots in her stomach took over as she imagined the journey ahead of him and the time and space soon to be between them.

Years. In a completely different realm.

And there was no other choice.

Wiping tears from her face, Murial drew a deep breath and followed the example of the other women, taking her remaining seedlings back inside. She carefully laid them in a basin filled with earth. Sitting down, she gazed lovingly at her little boys, her heart swirling with a mix of emotions. Delighted to see her family grow. Gutted by her mate’s departure. And indignant at the other occupants of the Green Lands, the Ivies…

The Ivies considered themselves superior and insisted they’d been cheated out of prime land centuries ago, which was far from the truth. They’d deserted their claim to those lands and devastated the new region they now resided in. Not that truth held much weight in old feuds littered with propaganda.

Murial’s eyes glowed green, as she no longer tried to hide the change. This was the only way their species could survive anymore—by tearing their families apart.

Over a century ago, the Ivies had poisoned Seeder territories. Ivy poison, produced by their females, was strong enough to kill a human, but not a Seeder. The Seeder males were barely even affected by the attack. Future generations of females exhibited less power. Most devastating was the effect it had on the young Seeder daughters. Not having their powers yet, they were essentially human, defenseless. Every last one of them perished within a week of the Great Poisoning. After girls in new clutches also failed to survive, the true and lasting effects were realized and drastic measures had to be taken to protect their young.

A knock at the door broke Murial from her trance. She wiped away more tears and centered her energy, her eyes changing back to a deep shade of brown. She opened the door with a smile. “Hey! Come in!”

Sandra, her new neighbor, a short woman with light brown hair who was also in her late twenties, entered, giving Murial a long hug. “Just wanted to see how you’re doing.”

Murial grinned, pulling back and gesturing for her to sit down. “I expect we’re feeling about the same.”

Sandra gave her an understanding frown. “They’ll be okay.”

Murial nodded. “I know.” She picked at her fingernails. “It’s just different when it’s your own.”

Sandra crossed her legs, resting her hands on her knees. “How old were you at the time of your bloom?”

“Sixteen.”

“Right. I forgot. I was seventeen.”

So many years of waiting. Of separation.

Murial glanced down at her remaining seedlings. The boys always took longer to sprout, but by nightfall, they would start to form roots. She vowed to enjoy every moment she had with them before their childhood would be replaced with training. Whether protecting their homeland borders against Ivy attacks, or crossing over into the human world, the boys all shared one thing: they would be soldiers. Looking up with a forced smile, Murial added, “I’ll feel so much better once the first one is old enough to go over for protection duty.”

Sandra sighed. “We’ve got this.” She gave Murial a calm smile, standing back up. “I just wanted to pop in real quick, but I better get back to my own boys. You know where to find me.”

Murial walked Sandra to the door, giving her another hug. “I’m glad we’re neighbors.”

***

Murial spent the rest of the day preparing a vegetable stew and coconut-almond biscuits. She constantly looked over at her boys. Not that anything had changed about them yet—they were still little glistening seedlings, full of potential. It would be a couple weeks before their roots developed enough to shed their seedling forms, rapidly growing to appear like any regular human.

Sitting down after sunset, Murial grabbed her journal from the shelf. Day One. She processed her thoughts and feelings before she began to write.

Human teenagers have it so easy. Then again, when she’d been a teenager, before her bloom, she’d thought she was an average human, too.

It wasn’t enough for the Ivies to attempt genocide and lay siege to Seeder borders. Fully-rooted female Seeders were twice as powerful as the males—their energy was used to charge the border walls that kept their lands relatively safe from further Ivy attacks. With these girls being the only thing that kept the Ivies from their goal of Seeder annihilation, their safety was paramount. When the Ivy Kingdom had discovered that Seeders were hiding their daughters away in the human world, it became their new hunting ground.

The Ivies knew their enemies well. They focused on finding the girls during the vulnerable bloom-to-root period when their powers came in. Ivy assassins lay in wait, always watching for a hint of a bloom.

Murial put her pen to paper.

I miss him already. And our girls. I look forward to seeing each one of their faces some day.

She grinned, thinking of her boys.

This is going to be quite the adventure. Things will work out. I know they will. I have to believe it.

Murial tried to imagine the faces of each of her girls—what interests and personalities they would have. Each day without them, without Thod, would be a battle. But she was confident in her husband; he had done so much work ahead of time, planning and preparing, to keep them safe for the coming years.

The fate of the Seeder girls relied on one thing—who was in the know. In the mix of it all were humans, oblivious to the hunt happening around them—the two enemies constantly trying to sniff and snuff each other out.

In their own realm, Seeders had no need to be on the offensive. In the human world, they watched over their daughters and sisters, always observing for signs of the Ivies. Once the girls were old enough, they would show signs of budding, and then bloom, gaining their full powers. Their family just needed to keep them safe and guide them home, without being discovered. And so the game went. As if high school wasn’t already enough of a jungle.

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m not the typical author that’s been writing stories since they were old enough to pick up a crayon. I guess I’m more of the current cliché that found their passion during Covid-19 shutdowns. I decided to write a story based on a dream I’d had that I thought would make a cool movie someday. And then I wrote 8 more books in just a few months’ time. It became an addiction that I don’t plan to quit. In high school and college, I enjoyed journalism and poetry, but had never explored this side of literary writing until now.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

On a comfy chair or couch in the living room, and any time of the day. Though I’m more of a night owl… That sometimes creates more editing work than not because I read it the next day and can tell how sleepy I must have been, lol

3: Where do your ideas come from?

A mix of dreams and ‘what if’s.’ My debut Seeder Wars came from a little snippet of a dream.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Generally speaking, I really don’t enjoy outlining. I like experiencing the journey with the characters. But to some extent, I usually know major plot points, scenes, and the end game.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I’ve never been good at limiting myself to just one niche, and I don’t plan to do it in writing either. I enjoy fantasy and sci-fi, as well as contemporary works. Dystopian, post-apocalyptic, adventure. Young Adult and Adult audiences. One thing I’m apparently NOT good at, is excluding romance. It’s a big part of most of my manuscripts that I’ve written thus far.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I really haven’t given it any thought, and I’m horrible with that side of media culture, knowing actor and actress names!

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I likely don’t read as voraciously as many authors (I blame it on ADHD.) I’ve started to read a lot more, though. I’m still forming my opinions, casting a wide net. I’m starting to find authors whose style I personally don’t love, but haven’t read enough of any one author to become a superfan quite yet.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve been listening to Clockwork Angel on audiobook. I promised my friend I’d give it a shot after mentioning I almost didn’t finish City of Bones because of the prose and characters. I can see that the author and her editors had made a lot of progress over the years. Like most people, I have a TBR list. Next, I plan to read a couple of indie published books.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I’m not really a re-reader, so I’m not sure if I have a favorite book. Perhaps Pride and Prejudice? Though I’d say that’s because I enjoy the book + movie combo (the Colin Firth edition reigns supreme and so accurately to the book ❤ )

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Just start, you never know what will become of it. And focus on finishing that first book. It may be a dumpster fire of a story, but you’ll improve. (My first manuscript has been though multiple edits but has been on the back burner for quite a while because it still needs a huge overhaul.) Constantly be learning—about grammar, writing craft, the publishing industry, etc.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

My best social media is on Youtube, then probably Instagram, and I’m trying to get my Facebook more active. (Though I’m on Twitter and Tiktok, too.) My handle on all sites is JHouserWrites.

I’d also recommend my website as well www.jhouserwrites.com. You can sign up for my newsletter, follow other news, and get a free short story there!

Youtube: JHouserWrites – YouTube

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jhouserwrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jhouserwrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jhouserwrites

About the Author:

J. Houser has spent most of her life in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Her second language is Polish and she uses neither her A.A.S. in Culinary Arts nor her B.S. in University Studies. Instead, she takes snippets of dreams and a lot of ‘what-ifs,’ and is feverishly working toward her goal of being a multi-genre hybrid author. She’s a firm lover of both Jane Austen and Stargate, and currently resides in Idaho with her lovable fur-child, Mia.

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Author Interview: ‘The Alleys of Olde Architecture: Volume I’ by J. Evans

About the Book:

When her father is arrested in the middle of the night and confesses to a crime that cannot possibly be true, fifteen-year-old Alley a’Door has one day to climb to the top of the mountain, free her father, and clear his name—but how do you save a man who is dead-set on orchestrating his own execution? Over the longest day of her life, Alley and her friends will race against the clock to climb the great Stair, unraveling the mystery of her father’s cabalistic testimony and the truth behind his cryptic warning that their city—the only home she has ever known—is not what it seems to be.

Skirting the line between YA and Adult, this is a character-first story with breakneck pace and gut-wrenching personal stakes, a Grimmly-gothic atmosphere brimming with eerie wonder and weird humor and the barest hints of magic you can never quite put your finger on. If you are a fantasy aficionado, this is the book you have always been hoping to stumble across on the dusty, back shelf of the bookstore: wildly adventurous, never shying from the occasional detour down shadowy side-streets; dark, but never desolate; with a plot that twists your brain in knots, a dash of romance, a morass of moral conundrums, an oddball cast of characters who dance around old tropes like trip-wires, and a courageous heroine that readers can stand up and cheer for.

If you are still wondering what sort of book this is… imagine Diagon Alley designed by Tim Burton, then stretch it three miles into the sky on a mountain in the middle of the sea and fill it full of creatures from Guillermo Del Toro’s cutting room floor. Drop in a teenage girl as clever as Katniss Everdeen and cutthroat as Arya Stark, send her on an adventure that feels like Fablehaven was put in a rock tumbler with His Dark Materials, populated with characters that might be equally at home in Gormenghast or The Phantom Tollbooth, cap it all off with a four-dimensional Rubix Cube Conclusion—then run the whole thing through a blender in Neil Gaiman’s secret, underground laboratory, and voila: you have The Alleys of Olde Architecture.

The Alleys of Olde Architecture will be published in three volumes. Volume II will be released in late 2021.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I am 37, married, and live in a small town in Illinois. After college, I worked (if you can call it that) as a nanny for the next eight years. When the kids got older, I stumbled into remodeling and have been working with my hands ever since. As it turns out, writing a book has a lot in common with raising kids and building houses; who knew?

I started writing seriously during the Harry Potter craze, although the inkling was always there. I wrote and self-published my first book when I was 21—and it was everything a good book shouldn’t be: clunky, corny, cheesy, choppy, and about 300 pages too long. But I learned a lot—about writing and being a writer—and have not stopped since.

The Alleys of Olde Architecture is my fourth novel.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I write everything by hand to begin with, which I’m happy to do anywhere outside or near a window. For all the computer stuff (transcribing, revising, editing, digital art) I am stuck in the basement, and usually knock that out in the morning with a cup of coffee.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

You know that feeling when you’re watching a movie and you think, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if they <fill in the blank>?’ Writing is a bit like that, except when you have an idea for something cool (regardless where that idea comes from) you don’t need a million-dollar budget and a film crew to make it happen—you just crack open your notebook and start writing.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Style and strategy change depending on the project. I recently wrote a short, middle-grade novel (What Magic Is Not) with minimal planning and it turned out quite well. Conversely, for The Alleys of Olde Architecture, I probably did more planning than writing. My Notes file was several hundred pages long, the Outline looks like M.C. Escher painting inside a kaleidoscope, I had dozens of spreadsheets keeping track of every conceivable facet of the story, and I put together my own Dictionary with over 3,000 archaic, medieval, and/or other long-forgotten words to give the book that extra little ‘something special.’ That said, once your start writing, you never exactly what is going to happen…  

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Is ‘Magical’ a genre? I suppose all my books would be classified as ‘Fantasy,’ but they are all quite different from one another—the common thread between everything I write is the barest hint of magic you can never quite put your finger on.

Growing up, I most remember reading The Chronicles of Narnia, The Phantom Tollbooth, Redwall, and The Last Unicorn. I guess it’s no surprise I turned out like I did.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I love thinking about this question—unfortunately, my main character, Alley, and her friends are teenagers, and I have no idea who any popular young actors and actresses are these days. But there is a role in here that I think Nicholas Cage would knock out of the park (if he would agree to 6 hours a day in the make-up chair and he learned how to juggle and play the fiddle at the same time.)

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I don’t have time to read as much as I would like to, since most of my free time goes to writing. Perusing the bookstores can be overwhelming—especially when you view all the amazing books and talented authors on display as your competitors!

My all-time favorite authors are C.S. Lewis and Robert Jordan, but I could easily add another twenty names to the list.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I am finishing up the Gormenghast Trilogy for the first time (and I am in utter awe of the beautiful writing); I am anxiously awaiting the last book in Brandon Mull’s Dragonwatch series (my guilty pleasure); and my wife and I just finished reading a delightful little book called Ida B, by Katherine Hannigan.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Easy! The Alleys of Olde Architecture, because it’s exactly the sort of book I would want to stumble across on the dusty, back shelf of an old bookstore—wildly adventurous, never shying from the occasional detour down shadowy side-streets; dark, but never desolate; with a plot that twists your brain in knots, a dash of romance, a morass of moral conundrums, an oddball cast of characters who dance around old tropes like trip-wires, and a courageous heroine that readers can stand up and cheer for.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

If you like the idea of toiling away for long, thankless hours, obsessing over the tiniest details on obscure projects which there is no guarantee anyone will ever read, enjoy, appreciate, or pay you for, writing is the perfect choice!

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

My own website jeffevans.org is the best portal to find out more about my books, artwork, to contact me, or to sign up for my mailing list.

Amazon is the place to go to purchase a paperback or eBook. That link is: www.amazon.com/J-Evans/e/B09816FHYD

And I am on Goodreads. That link is: www.goodreads.com/author/show/383752.J_Evans

About the Author:

I write books for kids, grown-ups, and everyone in between. Visit my website at jeffevans.org for more info or to contact me directly.

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Author Interview: ‘Diary of a Contemporary Woman’ by Lucy Pussett

About the Book:

Having reached 34, Angelique Santoro finds herself feeling trapped and deeply unhappy within the constraints of traditional relationships.

Uneasy to perform the role of life partner or girlfriend in the way society has designed for all women.

Finally, she takes the courage to break free and becomes single for the first time in 15 years. Breaking away from the ties that bind us. Breaking away from the fear of being alone and lonely to become what she was always meant to be.

Diary of a contemporary woman follows Angelique in her new life, her adventures. Utterly compelling, beautiful, honest and bold.

Angelique will have you laughing and crying at the same time, willing her on to find happiness and that rare calm within.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m Lucy and come from Brighton, England. I live with my life partner and a very needy rescue cat and dog. Not sure my journey into writing is very normal at all but happy to share it. We run a Tech Recruitment business and well since March 2020, it has been very quiet indeed with the whole Covid situation.

I started waking up at 3am pretty much on the dot every morning in September 2020. In other words, 6 months since using my sales and marketing lizard brain and this whole creative side of me woke up. Having dreams, really vivid dreams about Angelique, her family, her life, these characters. Started getting up and writing down ideas. Grew from there. By October, I was developing the characters fully, the story itself. Mid-November saw me finish Chapter 1. I was relentless at this point and wrote the next 14 Chapters in 14 weeks finishing my book 20th March 2021.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Yes. 4am to 7am – It’s dark outside, it’s silent and calm. Well, I guess if I don’t write during the winter next time and keep the same schedule, I’ll be writing to glorious sunrises huh! Location – Dining room table, so I can sometimes hear the birds even if I can’t see them!

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Dreams initially then when it was less from that as I had started taking action instead of ignoring them, doodling whilst lying on my bed, feet up, music playing, drinking tea.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I’m rubbish at planning in life in general. Highly disorganized so it’s been a real shock to me and others that I’ve actually being very focused around planning for this book. I mapped out all 15 chapters, before writing. OK, OK it’s not like things didn’t get cut or I fell out with my ideas. I did for sure. But yes, I had a structure to work from and I knew the last 7 chapters by the 4th one completed 100%. I had a lot of self-doubt this being my first Novel. “Was I good enough to be even attempting this?” So, I think without planning and structure in advance, the whole thing would have been just overwhelming for me.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Erotic Fiction / Women’s Fiction / Chick-Lit. What drew me to Erotic Fiction? Lol, well, it’s probably the opposite. Much of it pushed me away. A lot of very familiar landscapes of alpha males, submissive women and I just didn’t feel drawn too much of it. I felt a strong pull to create a female lead character. Create a funny, girl power lead which was just not “typical” for this genre and add in a Chick-Lit / Women’s fiction vibe making for a “Crossover” book. It’s designed to appeal to people who usually would not love Erotic Fiction but captivate those which do if that makes sense. She says, hoping you all get me….

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Love this question! For sure, 100% Jennifer Lawrence would play Angelique, no question. Simon Baker to play Gareth. Isabelle Huppert to play Catherine, Angelique’s Mother. Ben Kingsley to play Giovanni.  Aveline to be played by Jenna Coleman.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I go through phases of reading like full on, then periods where I read less. Like the past year for example. I don’t actually tend to have favourite Authors per se. As with music I have a wide, varied interest. I can enjoy anything fantasy to erotica to crime / thrillers to dark comedy and chick-lit

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m not reading anything just now. Promoting the book and the day job getting busy again just no time or energy!

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I’ve always felt like an outsider, not comfortable fitting in. The book spoke to me in many ways. Lisbeth is just the perfect anti-heroine but at times, she’s a pure heroine. It’s not straight forward with her. It’s not black and white and I love that.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

It’s a journey of self-discovery. It takes a huge amount of time and effort. You must be prepared AND willing that it will take over your life. Your characters will invade your dreams too without any invitation! Haha! So, for sure, it’s important to understand this and be in the right head space to welcome in this beautiful stranger. I was on my knees after proof reading say what? Mid-April and then the realization that “Lucy, hey girl!? No-one knows who you are. No-one even knows you wrote this cool book…” Part 1 has ended and part 2, marketing your book, contacting wonderful (VERY busy) Influencers, trying to find more coin for advertising etc it is exhausting. It’s not like the rest of the World backs off and says “Hey Lucy, I’ll pay your bills for the next year you just take your time!!” It’s full on. On the flip side? Seriously? Without doubt the most beautiful, wonderful experience of my life. I mean every word of that. Never knew I had it within me and now if someone told me you can’t ever write again, I’d be devastated.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Book2Look: www.book2look.com/book/UnWRvWL441

Website: www.lucypussett.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lucypussett34

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lucy_pussett

Twitter: @lucy_pussett

About the Author:

Hi I’m Lucy. I am a first time Novelist from Brighton, England.

I started writing during lockdown inspired to do so as I felt there were a desperate need for a girl power character living her life without reservation, without barriers.

I live in Brighton with my life partner and our very needy rescue cat and dog!

Diary of a Contemporary Woman is the first in the Trilogy of Angelique Santoro’s adventures!

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Author Interview: ‘Red Rose White Rose’ by Virginie Marconato

About the Book:

When she wakes up a captive in Lord Blackhorne’s house Lady Isabella Kent quickly realises that she has been brought there by mistake. The arrogant stranger who organised her abduction meant to kidnap her cousin Philippa. However, as this unforeseen event provides her with the opportunity for escape she desperately needed, she decides to go along with the pretence.

Anthony has no idea that the woman in his possession is not the one he means to marry. To his surprise, he finds himself drawn to this spirited young lady. Far from being the meek damsel he imagined her to be, she sets his senses on fire. Maybe this alliance, initially intended as a revenge on his old enemy will prove to be a lot more rewarding than he had counted on…
All he needs now is to convince his reluctant bride-to-be that this marriage can offer her some satisfaction.

In bed.

As the attraction for the man who should be her enemy grows stronger, Isabella realises only one thing will stop her from falling into his arms. Revealing her true identity.

But then there will be hell to pay…

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I think writing has always been at the back of my mind somewhere. I enjoyed creative writing at school, and I love reading. I think it is hard to read books without ever feeling the urge to try to write one yourself.

One day the notion popped into my head. “Why couldn’t I write something? Other people do… Why not me?” Having my children and spending time at home provided me with the perfect environment to start writing. I tried poetry, contemporary romance but the results were not conclusive. And then one day (whilst swimming in my pool) I realised where I was going wrong. I was not writing about what I loved! As soon as I started to write a story set in the midst of the Hundred Years War I knew I had found my path.

It’s like falling in love I think. When you meet the right person it clicks, even if you don’t know exactly what it is about them that draws you to them.

2. Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Not really. A quiet garden with a stunning view over nature is my preferred option but I can write anywhere, anytime. At night in my bed, while I am queuing at the market, on public transport… I always have a notebook and pen in my bag with me so I can jot down ideas or even whole scenes. Then I type it into my computer, padding it out as I go. Sometimes I find it hard to get going and cannot write more than a few lines at a time, sometimes the words come pouring out for hours on end, it really depends.

But once I start, I get into my bubble and I am no longer on a plane or in the kitchen but in a castle in the fifteenth century or galloping through the forest with brigands in hot pursuit. That is why I like writing so much, I think.

3. Where do your ideas come from?

All sorts of places. Listening to an historical documentary, looking out over a beautiful landscape, listening to a piece of music, seeing an animal. Anything can trigger an idea. Then generally I take a long walk to let it develop in my head. I suppose it’s a bit like picking a flower bud and then waiting for the petals to unfurl. Sometimes it takes longer than you would like but you have to be patient. It will open eventually.

A visit to a castle will invariably spark my imagination and I often leave the site with a story in mind. Then when I get to write it down I imagine myself wandering through the site as the people inhabiting it come to life.

4. Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Every single one of my stories starts with the idea of an opening scene, a premise, a vague direction. I know it will be about a couple separated by an evil brother for example, and then as I go on, ideas sprout in every direction from that single source.

As my characters become real people in my mind, they start guiding me. Every one asks me how I don’t mix everything up and how I remember who does what in which story but it’s like with friends. You never forget who is married to whom or where you met them. It is the same with the characters I create. They are real people in my mind so writing about them is easy. I know how they would respond to provocation, what would make them laugh or cry, how they would react in a given situation. The book doesn’t really progress until that crucial moment when my characters suddenly (it somehow seems to happen overnight) become real people.

5. What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write historical romance. It is one of my favourite genres to read so it makes sense for me to write stories I would enjoy reading. I favour the Middle Ages, as I have always been fascinated by this period. I still vividly remember during history lessons in primary school when the image of the lady of the castle standing on the battlements with her henin and veil fluttering in the breeze captured my imagination. It seemed like something straight out of a fairy tale and yet it had been real once! How magical!

6. What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

That’s a good question! Some of my heroes and heroines have a very specific appearance in my mind, but with others it’s more of a general impression, as if I could only see them through a gauze veil.

For Anthony, the hero of Red Rose White Rose, I see someone with a dark complexion and masculine power tempered by a soft smile and kind eyes. Clive Standen, who I discovered in the role of Rollo in Vikings would be a good match.

For Isabella, it is less clear. I would need an actress with determination etched all over her face. Perhaps someone like Jessica Biel.

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

I do read a lot, though I don’t think that’s surprising for an author. What chef doesn’t like to go to a good restaurant, what football player doesn’t watch professional matches on TV?

As a child growing up in France, naturally, I mainly read French writers. Marcel Pagnol is a firm favourite. His words are so evocative of the sunny landscape of his childhood that you are instantly transported to where he is taking you. I must have read La Gloire De Mon Père and Le Château De Ma Mère twenty times each. I also loved Henri Troyat and his family sagas set in Russia. He has a knack for describing an atmosphere in just a few chosen words.

In English Georgette Heyer is probably my go-to author. The dialogues alone are worth a read! I love Simon the Coldheart, the Talisman Ring and Devil’s Cub in particular. Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O’Brien, Kate Furnivall, Marina Fiorato and Karen Maitland consistently write books I enjoy reading.

But I love to go to bookshops to browse and discover new authors. In this way I have discovered a whole range of different styles that I enjoy; Jasper Fforde’s craziness appeals to me, as does Mark Gatiss’ humour… A Michael Crichton or Ben Elton book also never fails to draw me in.

The list is endless really.

8. What book/s are you reading at present?

I usually read two or three books at any given time. At the moment I am in the middle of reading Mythos by Stephen Fry, an excellent retelling of Greek myths and of course a historical romance, Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens.

.9 What is your favourite book and why?

If by favourite you mean which one I wish I had written then perhaps The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is such a rollercoaster of a book! Three stories rolled into one and never a dull moment.

If you mean which I would never tire of reading then one of the ones I mentioned earlier, or perhaps The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, the younger. What a heartbreaking love story!

10. What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write about what you like because this is what will give you the most pleasure and motivation. For me that’s the whole point of the exercise. It’s like cooking. I always find that I get better results if I cook spontaneously, creating the recipe as I make the food. I enjoy eating these unique meals more than if I follow a recipe to the letter. Better a stew you invented yourself than a show stopping creation you stressed over.

I always seem to read the same advice for writers: read, read, and write, write and it’s true that this is essential. The more you write, the better you get. There is no better way to hone a skill than to do it over and over again. You adjust every time, and it gets easier.

Believe in your gut feeling. If you truly feel deep down that you have a story that will appeal to people, then you are probably right. Just be aware that it doesn’t mean it will appeal to everyone. That’s ok though, as it is more likely to be a reflection of each person’s tastes than your lack of skill (or so I like to think…)

11. What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I am not big on social media because, if I have time, I end up writing. But you can find my books on Amazon and Goodreads. And I am on Facebook: www.facebook.com/virginie.marconato.

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