Guest Post by Rachel Burton Author of The Many Colours of Us.

Guest Post by Rachel Burton.

Author of The Many Colours of Us.

It started in a coffee shop in Cambridge. I was re-reading my old, battered copy of Dickens’ Bleak House and considering another soy latte when the idea popped into my head – a “what if” moment that would take me on a three-year journey to publication.

I’d been writing for years – from short stories at school, to my postgraduate thesis, to local history articles for a London newspaper. I wrote my first novel in 2005 – I sent it off to Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown who wrote back to tell me the story was terrible but I had a very distinct voice and must keep writing. I’ve kept that letter ever since, it motivates me to keep going. I wrote two more novels that nobody was interested in. I was considering giving up again.

I’ve always loved Bleak House, I love the intrigue and the drama and the interwoven storylines. But in that Cambridge coffee shop I was thinking about Esther Summerson’s part in the story. Esther had never known her parents, but there was a young lawyer in London who did, and his revelations helped her to find out where she came from.

How would that play out now? I wondered. What if a young woman had no idea who her father was? What if her mother had never told her? And what if there was a young, handsome lawyer somewhere in London, in possession of some letters that could reveal the truth?

I needed a house to base the action around, and the first one that came to mind was one in Kensington that used to belong to friends of my parents. A house I’d spent a lot of my teenage years in. It wasn’t until then that I realised Julia’s story had been with me for longer than I knew, waiting to be told. Perhaps for once I was on to something? Perhaps I’d finally found a story worth telling?

I wrote most of the first draft in a week on a writing retreat in Somerset. It was long and clunky and had a series of ridiculous subplots that even Dickens wouldn’t have put his name to. I called it Letters to Julia, got rid of subplot or two and created a second draft. I put it to one side for a few weeks.

Life got in the way. A few weeks turned into a year and it wasn’t until April of 2016 that I finally re-read that second draft, tore it apart and re-wrote it completely. On Halloween of last year I took a deep breath and sent it out to twenty agents and two publishers on the same day.

It was mostly rejected. A couple of agents asked for a full manuscript and then said it wasn’t what they were looking for. I was wondering what to do next, considering giving up again, when two things happened within days of each other – HQ said they wanted to publish it and Darley Anderson said they wanted to represent me.

I spent January simultaneously reeling with shock and re-writing the book again – I took out another clunky sublplot, expanded Edwin’s story and we re-named it The Many Colours of Us. I got line edits and a cover reveal and my book went up on Amazon and Goodreads and none of it seemed real. People started reading proofs and falling in love with Julia and Edwin. I started obsessively checking reviews and sales figures.

And tomorrow my little book, that started in off as the germ of an idea in that Cambridge coffee shop, flies out into the world. I hope the world loves Julia and Edwin as much as I do.

 

Blurb

‘Gorgeous, touching story, wonderful heroine, and I’m totally smitten with the hero.’ – Cressida McLaughlin, bestselling author of The Canal Boat Cafe

Fall in love with Rachel Burton’s stunning debut novel, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks and Sheila O’Flanagan

What if your life was built on lies?

Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.

Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.

Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. In 2013 she finally started making one up that was worth writing down.

She has a BA in Classics and an MA in English and has never really known what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a legal secretary, a yoga teacher and a paralegal. She never quite made it to law school.

She grew up in Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes. 

Twitter: @bookish_yogi
Instagram: @bookish_yogi

My Review Of Love Me Baby Author Mariyam Hasnain

My Review Of

Love Me Baby Author Mariyam Hasnain

I really enjoyed reading Love Me Baby. This short novella is really touching and has a hint of sexy romance in it. Also, I thought the scenes between Alan’s daughter and Lilly were adorable and easy to imagine- what little girl wouldn’t want her fairy to help her down on earth to find her lost puppy.

The story itself follows Lilly as she goes for a job interview  where she meets the very sexy Alan-her soon to be employer. As she  works closely with Alan, will her desire for him and their growing intimacy lead them into each other arms? Or will Alan stick with his other love interest Pixie? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

I thought all the characters were interesting to read about and the ending didn’t disappoint at all. So if you like heartwarming, romantic short stories with great characters then give this story a read.

Amazon Link to Love Me Baby

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018WMRMEE/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

My Review of Where She Will Shine Author Sylvia Anderson

My Review of 

Where She Will Shine Author Sylvia Anderson

I just finished reading this book. I liked the beginning with Mary going off to college to follow her dreams, leaving her mum. I also liked getting to read about the many characters with whom Mary becomes friends with. I also thought this book has strong themes running through as well which were emotional in places. Another thing I like about this book, it was split up into many short chapter, perfect if you only have limited time to read and like to leave a book after a chapter.

The story itself follows Mary as she leaves for Collage to follow her dreams. While there she meets many interesting characters and finds herself a boyfriend in David. However this doesn’t last and one night a terrible thing happens to Mary that changes her life forever. Will she overcome the terrible incident and keep studying? Will David return to be with her? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

I thought Author Sylvia did a great job in dealing with identity confusion and denial. I think everyone can relate to this in her character at one stage of or another. I also really liked Alice, she had such a turbulent life and yet she seemed to find her place in the world.

I thought the ending to this story was very moving and very reflective of the title ‘Where She Will Shine’

If you like books with great characters, and a journey of facing the future and dealing with whatever life throws in your way, with  interesting endings that  then give this book a go.

Amazon link to Where She Will Shine.

Today I’m Incredibly Excited To Be Interviewing Chantelle Atkins Author of This Is Nowhere.

Today I’m incredibly excited to be interviewing Chantelle Atkins Author of This Is Nowhere.

Welcome Chantelle please tell us a little about yourself and your book.

What inspired you to create…This Is Nowhere?

I had the character  in my head for a while before the plot came. That’s usually the way it works  with me. I knew  he was  male and  had escaped a dysfunctional  family in order to live life on his  terms. Once I had his character  it was easy enough  to create the plot  based  around  his poor relationship  with his  sister and  father. It came to me early on that his mother went missing when  he was a child and that he would return to his home  town to solve the mystery of what happened to her. I was hugely inspired by where I live, which is a small village in Christchurch. The book is set here and I use a lot of the locations  in the story. Sopley Common, for instance, is a beautiful, lonely  place and every time I walked there I’d get more ideas for the book.

What is your writing routine? are you a pantster or planner?

I’m a bit of both. Usually, I get the character first, and as I get to know them in my head, their life and then the plot of a story starts to evolve. But sometimes  the idea or concept arrives first. I have a notebook  for each book, and once the ideas get too big in my head  I start jotting things down, and a loose plan/plot  will start to form, alongside bits of dialogue  and character bios . By the time I get around to starting the first draft, I will know what the first few chapters will be like, and then I jot them down in the notebook as and when they come. This can look very messy and chaotic to anyone  else but it always makes  sense  to me. Often the plot will take a different turn and I will figure things out as I go along.

Did you have a favourite place you like to write, while you were creating your novel?

Most of it was written in my kitchen, holding onto my then newborn son! Since then, I have acquired my own  writing space upstairs in my room, which is a lot better. A lot of the book came together while walking my dogs over Sopley Common, which features heavily in the story. I’d find ideas slotting  together and rush back home to write them down. The ending came to me while walking there, for  instance

Describe what your Muse looks like to you in three words.

Obsessed, addicted, passionate

What part of writing your novel did you most enjoy? E.g. First draft, research, editing…

I always enjoy the second draft the most. The first is a bit scary as you attempt to pull off the ideas you’ve had in your head. It changes course and throws up obstacles and it’s also clunky and clumsy and nowhere  near what it will end up being. The last drafts can be tedious and painstaking as you go over errors and get quite sick of the story. The second draft is fun because you are still familiarising yourself with the charactersand the plot, and you know it’s not perfect as there is so much more work to be done, but there’s no pressure at this point. The story is written so the bulk of the hard work is done, and the more tedious work comes later.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you be and why?

In this book, I think I would be May. I love her sunny outlook. She’s unconventional and hasn’t had an easy time, but she doesn’t let it get her down, and she strives for something better. She’s also quite childlike which I can relate to!

Which character did you like writing about the most? Why?

In this book, I would say Jake. I liked writing Jake from the child’s point of view, and then the adults. I liked the journey he went on. He was interesting to me, because he was harmless and gentle, yet also strangely self-destructive and lost.

What’s your favourite subject to write about? Why?

I would say the complexities of family life. All my books seem to revolve around family issues and drama, mixed in with social issues.

 If you could describe you main character in three words what would they be?

Dreamer, damaged, lost

What is the darkest thing any of your characters have ever done?

In This Is Nowhere, the darkest thing Jake does is try to commit suicide several times. In my other books, one character becomes dangerously obsessed with her weight and in my darkest book, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, one of the characters is driven to murder.

Does any of your characters have any strong beliefs or fears if so what are they? 

Yes, beliefs and fears are quite strong themes in this particular book. Jake was brought up by a fiercely religious father, but at a young age, meets a wild young boy who has been brought up as an atheist. He also has a homeless man as a friend who believes in nature, and nothing else. Jake struggles throughout the book to find something to believe in. He feels like he is nothing and nowhere, invisible and fading. The book is about his attempts to find meaning in life and his own existence.

Who are your favourite Authors?

My favourite authors are Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, S.E Hinton and the indie author Kate Rigby

What was the best advice you’ve ever had while writing your novels?

I love Stephen King’s advice about writing the first draft as if no one is ever going to see it. I think it allows you to relax and just spit it out and not worry about how bad it might be to start with. I also read that Lois Lowry was given some advice on how best to start a book, which was ‘start with the day that is different’, and that’s really stuck with me since then. I think she nailed it.

What projects are you working on next?

I have been working on the relaunch of This Is Nowhere. It’s had a revamped cover, and I’ve changed the book too, as originally I had fictionalised the location, although it was where I lived. In this new version I have changed all the street names, towns and so on, back to what they are actually called. So it is set in Hurn, Christchurch exactly as it is! I have two books that are nearly ready for release and I’ve been working on these for two years, back and forth. One is a YA dystopian novel, which is finished, and I am currently sending it out to small presses and competitions. If I don’t have any luck within three months I will place it with Pronoun, the self-publishing platform I have my other books with. The second book is Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature, which is an adult book about a boy who tries to prove to his mother that humans are not all terrible, by following and befriending strangers. It’s currently with one last beta reader, and will then have one last, final draft done before I also send it out to publishers and competitions. Both these books will hopefully be out in 2017! I have also completed the second draft of a gritty YA novel called A Song For Bill Robinson, which is about an alcoholic teenage singer. I wrote it when I was 16 and found it in a suitcase under my bed and knew I had to rewrite and release it. I also have a four book YA series plotted and planned!

Do you have any advice for fellow writers who maybe undertaking creating their first novel at this very moment?

Join a writing group if you can, for support and networking. Knowing other writers online and in real life has been invaluable to me. Family and friends don’t really get it, so there is a great need to surround yourself with like minded people, I find. You may have to give something up in order to get it done. I have four children and I also run writing groups and workshops, and I’m a dog walker. Something had to give so I don’t watch any TV except on Saturday. I do all my writing in the evening, six days a week without fail.

Any final words you would like to add?

I would like to thank you so much for showing and interest in me and my books and for having me on your blog!

Thank you  Chantelle Atkins for taking time to do this blog interview, it has been a real pleasure to hear about your novel, I wish you well with your novel and all other writing projects you may undertake in the future.

Blurb

This Is Nowhere.

Jake Morgan has never been scared of dying. It’s living he can’t quite commit to. Homeless, jobless and aimless, he thinks he is happy. Then one night his estranged sister Gina calls him back to the home he ran away from as a teenager. Their father is suffering from dementia and she thinks it is about time Jake grew up. With nowhere else to go, and loan sharks on his back, Jake returns to the small village he grew up in. He goes back to help his father, but ends up being forced to face the question he ran from. What really happened to his mother who vanished in 1996? Jake decides it’s time he had some answers, if only to stop himself constantly wondering what the point of his existence is. Will he be able to get Gina on side to uncover the truth? Will his confused father be able to help him work out what was wrong with his mother? And when he finds it, will Jake really be able to handle the truth? This Is Nowhere is a story about a family blown apart by untold truths. A mystery that must be solved in order for a fragile young man to find some meaning in life.

If you want to find out more about This Is Nowhere and Chantelle Atkins

check out these links:

Amazon;https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chantelle-Atkins/e/B00J7ACVCY/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Blog; https://chantelleatkins.com/

Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142038.Chantelle_Atkins

Twitter; https://twitter.com/Chanatkins

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/chantelleatkinswriter/

 

 

My Review of This Is Nowhere by Chantelle Atkins.

My Review of

This Is Nowhere by Chantelle Atkins.

Wow this story has so many layers and emotions running through the characters. I found this story emotional to read with adult themes, but written in such a way that I couldn’t help but read on and hope that Jake finds the truth that he’d longed for deep down since his mother suddenly disappeared when he was a little boy.

The story itself follows Jake as he gets a call from his Sister Gina. She demands he comes home and look after their father who is unwell. Jake doesn’t want to return to his father, to the life he’d left behind full of wondering where his mum went? And why she’d left him all those years back? But life has its way of leading him back home, but with those unanswered questions coming to light. Will Jake finally discover the honest truth? You must read this emotional journey to find out.

I loved how this story flitted from Jake as a man to his memories of his childhood, because it was really easy to picture those scenes in my mind while reading this book. Also I feel I got a greater understanding of Jakes mother and the things she’d had to face in her life, as Well as why Jake’s life turned out the way it did. I also really loved Sully: his wisdom and how even though he had not much in the world he was happy.

I thought the author Chantelle did a great job at showing, even through the darkest of time true friends can be a caring support. There were really touching moments of this throughout this book.

I would recommend this book if you like to read an emotional journey fulled with great characters and a search for the truth, a place to belong and an ending that you’ll never see coming.

Amazon link to This is Nowhere

Interview with Ben from One Endless Summer by Laurie Ellingham.

One Endless Summer.

Interview with Ben

Welcome Ben and a huge thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) Tell us a little about yourself. And what you are doing right now?

I’m a cameraman for Channel 6. I live in South London, but spend most of my time away from home. Right now, I’m a week into filming for a documentary called The Girl with Three Months to Live, which is being aired every Saturday. I’m the only cameraman following three girls as they travel around the world for the next three months, so there’s a lot of work involved.

2) Who are you most getting on with most on this trip?

[Laughs] Let’s just say, filming wildlife would be a lot easier! Yesterday, Jaddi likened me to an annoying older brother tagging along, which is not the worst thing I’ve been called. It’s important that I don’t get too close to the girls and become part of the story that I’m being paid to capture.

3) Who is the least favourite person in your life right now? Why?

I wouldn’t say least favourite, but between you and me, Lizzie is making my job harder than it has to be. She signed up to have the final three months of her life filmed, and yet, she’s asked me several times to make special cuts for moments she’s not wanted to share with the world. It just doesn’t work that way. This is not one of those reality soaps that you can do another take on.

4) What is it like being paid to travel the world with three girls? Sounds like a dream job.

Following three girls around in humid conditions is not my idea of a dream job! I’m sure it must look like a free holiday, but it’s not. Once the girls go to bed, I’m up until the early hours editing the day’s footage before sending it to the studio in London.

5) Did you have to learn another language to take this trip? If you did could you type a sentence in that language? 

There’s no time to learn another language at the moment. We’ll travelling so quickly that the dialect and language will change daily. We’re going to Cambodia next and I’ve memorised the basics: Saum (please), Arkoun (thank you), and of course Kahve (Coffee)

6) Have you a girlfriend back home? Or have you fallen for anyone on your trip? Tell us a bit about them.

Er …. no, no girlfriend. I’m behind the camera and away so much that relationships take a back seat.

7) What do you believe your main propose was for taking this trip? And how far will you go to achieve it?

To do my job. To capture the truth. That’s all I care about. How far will I go to get it? All the way.

8) Have you had any scary moments? Tell us what happen or why you feel like this?

Bangkok airport was a rather hairy moment, but mostly for Lizzie and the girls. It was one of the few times in my career where I’ve stepped out from behind the camera and been part of the story, but I was glad I could help.

9) What has been the highlight of your trip? What do you think when you return home will be your favourite memory?

We’re only a week into the trip at the moment, but for me, the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Grand Palace was spectacular. The sights in Thailand have been breathtaking. There have been a few times when I’ve forgotten that it’s the girls I’m supposed to be filming.

10) What do you think the viewers at home will make of the documentary? It is a rather harrowing topic!     

It is, but there’s something quite special about Lizzie. She’s not sitting around waiting to die, she’s embracing life for the first time, and I think that will resonate with a lot of people at home.

 Thank you Ben for taking part in this interview. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

Thanks Katrina for having me (and Ben!).

Book Blurb: One Endless Summer

 Three best friends.

Three continents.
Three months to live.

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie’s battle with cancer is coming to an end, and now she’s ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. There are only three months, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five-year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

If you want to find out more about Ben and One Endless Summer,

Check out the links below.

Social Media:
Twitter: @LaurieEllingham
Facebook author page: @LaurieEllinghamAuthor (https://www.facebook.com/LaurieEllinghamAuthor/#)
Links to Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o9dQBo
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2nzlFjd

My Review Of Riverside Lane Author Ginger Black.

My Review Of

Riverside Lane Author Ginger Black.

I just finished Riverside Lane, I felt this book is very character driven, lots of characters to get to know in a small village. I really enjoyed getting to know the many secrets inside the houses of the different characters. The story is centered around Luca Tempesta, who  swaps house with Clive to escape to England, where all the drama unfolds throughout the book.

The story itself follows Luca as he gets off a plane into a sleepy village where he’s going to stay, But we soon find out it’s not all it seems as he meets the his neighbors and they begin to probe into who he is and what he’s really doing in the village. Will the likes of Ivy , Celia or Sam discover what his secret is? Or will their probing expose their own deep secrets instead? Read this book to find out.

I really loved Celia as a character; she seemed to fall for men who didn’t have her best interests at heart, but meeting Luca had a profound effect on her life and her future goals, which I thought was a great part of this story.

I think the ending was really great and very surprising as well. If you love stories set in a beautiful scenic village with interesting and conspiring characters, check out this book.

Amazon buy link to Riverside Lane.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Riverside-Lane-Ginger-Black/dp/1911475010/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=