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Archive for April, 2017

Hello and welcome to one of the two stops on the blog tour for “Watching You”, the third instalment of the Detective Kerri Blasco series by J.A. Schneider.  I am honoured to be sharing the tour spot with one of my favourite bloggers, the lovely Chelsea over at The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, don’t forget to head over to her blog & check out her reviews!

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Published: 25 April 2017

 

Description:

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life. 

My Thoughts & Review:

“Watching You” sees the much anticipated return of one of my top detectives, Kerri Blasco.  For fans of The Quiet Knitter you will know that I have followed this series since the publication of book one, “Fear Dreams” and have eagerly waited for updates from J.A. Schneider on the following books and thankfully she’s been frantically writing and weaving a tale that will wow her readers in the latest book of the series.

Kerri Blasco is a fantastic character who has developed well through the books so far, she’s tough and hard working, determined to catch the killers that prey on innocent victims and never thinks twice about putting herself in harms way to ensure the safety of those around her.  This plays well into the hands of the serial killer she’s hunting in this case, his next target is her.

The plotting of this feels very current, the advancements of modern technology and social media make it easier for people to find out information about others and Schneider uses this to her advantage, highlighting vulnerabilities of her characters as well as giving the reader a chilling idea of how realistic this storyline could actually be.
Combined with the riveting plot are short and snappy chapters which keep the pace brisk and intense, making this a book to become utterly immersed in.  Red herrings and plethora of possible culprits keep readers guessing throughout this thrilling novel.  I’m loathe to say too much about the plot, it’s a book you really need to read without any spoilers from me!  I will say that the alternation between the investigation and the point of view of the killer is brilliant and had me sitting on the edge of me seat, frantically reading on to find out what happened next!

Although this is book three of a wonderful series, this can be read as a stand alone book, but I would definitely recommend reading the books in order.

Now I just need to sit patiently and hope for more Kerri Blasco……..

You can buy a copy of “Watching You” via:

Amazon

About the Author:

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J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek. Once a Liberal Arts major (French Literature), she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and human psychology. Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there’ll be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers that she writes. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.

Connect with Joyce:
Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832782.J_A_Schneider
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.schneider.142?fref=ts


Check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Hello and welcome along to another post to Celebrate Indie Publishing, today I am delighted to share a book from the wonderful Orenda Books, today’s fantastic book featured is “Faithless” by Kjell Ola Dahl and I’m delighted to say that this post is also part of the blog tour for the book.


Book Feature:

Published: 15 April 2017

Description:

Faithless cover(1)

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her—and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers—and the killer—before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, atmospheric page-turner marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Kjell Ola Dahl was not a name that I was familiar with before I heard about this book, and for those out there that are shaking their heads in shock, horror or disbelief, please accept my apologies.  Kjell Ola is lovingly described as the “one of the fathers of Nordic Noir” by  his publisher Orenda Books, and after devouring this book I can see why.

“Faithless” is actually the seventh book in the series following the Oslo detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda, but happily this book can be read as a stand alone.  I did initially worry that I might struggle to connect with the characters because I came to the series so late but they are written so well that you don’t feel that you’ve missed anything.  The shared history and friendship of the detectives runs in tandem with the main thread of the plot and does not detract from the case at hand, the focus is on the crime and investigation. 

There is something special about Nordic Noir, there’s a realistic simplicity to it, the precise nature of which makes it a joy to read.  This realism shows through in the characterisation, Frølich and Gunnarstranda are time served detectives, they rely on gut instinct and experience rather than modern technology.  The simplicity of doing things the “old fashioned” way gives them an authenticity and fits in so well with the creations I conjured in my head whilst reading.
In keeping with the hallmarks of the genre, there is an unfathomable darkness looming on the horizon.  The tension slowly mounts whilst Dahl masterfully leads his readers on a journey of misdirection and plays with their minds, but all the while the darkness swells until Dahl cunningly stuns his audience and leaves them dumbfounded.  

The plot is clever and the numerous strands of the plot weave so eloquently together to form a conclusion that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

As with any translated book from this publisher, the translation work is superb.  Don Bartlett deserves a huge thank you for taking this wonderful novel and making it read naturally in English.  I will admit that I am somewhat hesitant with some translated books, there is always a worry that subtleties will be lost in conversion into another language, that social or cultural aspects may not comfortably translate but here this is not the case, and I would like to offer my thanks to Don Bartlett for his time and hard work in ensuring that his work is to the highest standard.

You can buy a copy of “Faithless” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery
Orenda Books eBookstore


 

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more reviews, guest posts etc.

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I am so excited to welcome you along to my stop on the blog tour for Caroline Mitchell’s latest thriller featuring the wonderful DS Ruby Preston.  ‘Sleep Tight’ is the much anticipated sequel to ‘Love You To Death’ and once you’ve read this you will be begging for the next book too!

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Published: 20 April 2017

Description:

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up.

A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into disturbing recreations of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down the murderer who is using the women to realise his dark fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.
Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

As Ruby starts to close in on the twisted individual, can she stop him before he strikes again? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

A terrifying, addictive, serial killer thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, for readers of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Rachel Abbott.

My Thoughts & Review:

Wow…..I feel I need to break you into this book gently….This is quite possibly one of the best books that Caroline Mitchell has written.  Yes I am aware that I’ve probably said that after reading each of her previous books but ….. this book…..this book is epic!

For those not familiar with the character of Ruby Preston, fear not,  you can start reading this book from the second you get your hands on it. The way in which it is written means you will quickly pick up on events that have occurred in book one, and you will also get a good grasp of the history/relationships between characters.

“Sleep Tight” is fantastically dark and sinister, the killer is transforming his victims into fairytale princesses, and the level of detail that Mitchell writes about the practices of the killer really makes her books stand out from other crime thrillers out there.  I really enjoyed the clever way that work of the serial killer links back to the original tales by the Brothers Grimm, granted I will struggle to read the fairytale to my little one now without remembering “Sleep Tight”.

The descriptions of the characters are fantastic, the development of Ruby’s character is done so well and it feels that with each book the reader gets to know her a little more, I really hope that this continues as the series progresses.  I can only describe the pace of this as a relentless nail biter, the reader is hooked from the prologue and will struggle to put this down, one of those books in the “one more chapter” category….
The vivid descriptions of settings make crime scenes come alive, making the reader feel like they are peering over Ruby’s shoulder.

Caroline Mitchell’s time as a detective gives her a wonderful insight into the world of criminal investigations and this shines through in her writing.  There is a realistic feel to the policing in this novel and knowing that the author has intimate knowledge of the procedures and policies they are writing about makes a reader feel privileged with this information as well as adds an authenticity to the book.

An excellent follow up to “Love You To Death”, and I cannot wait to see what book three has in store for Ruby Preston, one thing’s for sure, it won’t be dull!

You can buy a copy of “Sleep Tight” via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

About the Author:

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A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences.
Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex.  She now writes full time.

www.caroline-writes.com
https://www.facebook.com/CMitchellAuthor/
https://twitter.com/Caroline_writes


Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

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The Liebster Award!

The Liebster Award!

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I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award by the wonderful Nat Marshall, she blogs over on the owl on the bookshelf.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person/blog who nominated you
  2. Answer the 11 questions they wrote for you
  3. Nominate 11 people
  4. Give them your set of 11 questions to answer

Nat’s questions for me:

What was the last book you bought?

I pre-ordered Stuart MacBride’s next book “Now We Are Dead”  does that count?

What book(s) have been on your TBR the longest?

This could paint me in a bad light…..I’ll say books that I should have read for uni

What is your favourite book of 2017 so far?

Don’t go with easy questions eh Nat?!  It’s a tough one because there have already been some pretty special books….can I say two?  Ach it’s my blog, I’m picking three *sticks out tongue*
Sealskin by Su Bristow,  Electric Souk by Rose McGinty and How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

What book are you most looking forward to that is being published this year?

All of them!  hahaha really looking forward to “Exquisite” being published, it’s utterly brilliant!

What book do you want to re-read the most, if any?

My all-time favourite book,  “Alone in Berlin”,  but I’m also desperate to re-read “Electric Souk” too, it’s calling me.

What book would you recommend as a perfect book to join you on holiday? (Looking for inspiration for my forthcoming holiday!)

It depends what you’re doing on holiday….for me I don’t get to read much on holiday as I have a grumpy husband, a mischievous mini human and two dogs to keep an eye on….

What is your favourite book that is a sequel/part of a series?

I love the Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride and the Bernie Guther Series by Philip Kerr.

What book do you wish had a sequel/was part of a series?

There are a few that I could list, but sometimes for me the idea that the conclusion is left hanging to allow the reader to make up their own mind is better – it’s sometimes fun to imagine “what if” at the end of a book.

What book would you love to see adapted for film/television?

I would love to see “Deep Down Dead” by Steph Broadribb adapted for film, so long as they leave it alone, the writing is perfect as it is!

DEED DOWN DEAD BF AW.indd

Time to judge a book by its cover! What book features your favourite cover art?

I don’t think I have a favourite cover per se, I find that some covers can be aesthetically pleasing but have little bearing on my desire to read a book, or conversely, there can be books with things I cannot stand (creepy crawlies, reptiles etc) that should put me off but I know that the contents of the book might outweigh the cover….thank goodness for my kindle, I can ignore the cover and just read when it’s an e-book.

Who is your favourite fictional character, and why?

Ach there’s so many, too many to pick from!


I nominate these bloggers and anyone else that wants to take part:

Emma at damppebbles

Donna at Chocolate’n’Waffles

Jen at Jen Med’s Book Reviews

Wendy at Little Bookness Lane

Emma at Emma the Little Bookworm

Sharon at Chapter in my Life

Annie at The Misstery

Hayley at Rather Too Fond Of Books

Lorraine at The Book Review Cafe

Jo at My Chestnut Reading Tree

Mairead at Swirl and Thread


My 11 questions:

What was the last book you bought?

What book do you think everyone needs to read?

What book would you save from a burning bookshop?

Is there a book you’ll never stop re-reading?

If you could re-write any book (or part of a book), what would it be and why?

What is your favourite book that is a sequel/part of a series?

What book have you been meaning to get round to, but not found the time to read yet?

What book do you wish had a sequel/was part of a series?

What book would you love to see adapted for film/television?

Time to judge a book by its cover! What book features your favourite cover art?

Who is your favourite fictional character, and why?

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Description:

‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit that this was the first book by Simon Beckett that I’d had the chance to read, but soon went back and bought the previous books so that I could devour them all.  Fear not though, this book reads perfectly well on it’s own as there is ample detail given as to David Hunter’s background etc so that you don’t feel you’ve missed anything salient.

The plotting of this novel is absolutely brilliant and keeps the reader hooked.  David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist, his consulting work with the Police has all but dried up and he is questioning whether his contract with his university will be renewed, so when he receives a phone call from DI Bob Lundy from Essex Police to help with the recovery of a body from an estuary he is only too keen to help.

The Police are already presuming the identity of the corpse, or more hoping that it’s the body of a man suspected of murdering his lover and subsequently committed suicide, but need Hunter’s expertise to aid with the recovery and identification due to nature having taken its toll on the body.
Hunter voices his doubts about the identity, and almost immediately finds himself at odds with the local police and the father of the (presumed) deceased.  Sir Stephen Villiers is very influential in the local area and has friends in the highest of places, including within the Police force.
Far from being a quick job, the investigation becomes incredibly convoluted, especially when more remains are discovered.  A conflict of interest makes Hunter’s job much harder, but that’s nothing compared to the family tensions, lies, secrets and local feuds that surround him.  Hunter and the Police have to tread a careful tightrope in order to solve the case.

What I liked most about this book was the fact that I could just become utterly lost within the pages, usually when you first encounter a character mid series there is the awkwardness of not having their full backstory, not knowing them overly well or in some cases not being familiar with the author’s style of writing, but in this case I immediately felt like I’d put on an old glove.  This book read so well as a stand alone story (I did go back and buy the previous books because I wanted to find out more about David Hunter and his life), the way in which the Backwaters are written makes them so incredibly dangerous and mysterious.  I had the delight of sharing a post from Simon Beckett about the importance of setting on the blog tour and I have to say that the detail he includes for his settings is phenomenal.  The plotting is brilliant, well fleshed out characters and the level of detail in this novel make it one of the best thrillers I’ve read so far this year!

You can buy a copy of “The Restless Dead” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

My thanks to Transworld Books for the opportunity to read and review this novel, as well as take part in the blog tour for publication of “The Restless Dead”.

 

 

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Hello and welcome along to to my stop on the blog tour for Ice Cold Alice by C.P Wilson, I am so excited to share my review of this thriller with you.

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Published: 12 April 2017

Copy provided by Bloodhound Books

Description:

They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.

A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.

This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.

Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…

What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?

Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?

My Thoughts & Review:

“Ice Cold Alice” was one of those books that as soon as I saw the description I just knew I had to read the book.  Granted one of the main themes of the book may not be the easiest of topics to write or read about, I have to say that the author has done a stellar job.
The theme of abuse is explored well and in doing so Wilson has created a character who is ridding the world of abusive men one by one.
Alice is a character that mesmerises readers, we shouldn’t really like her because at the heart of the matter she is a murderer, a cold hearted one at that but there is something about the way that this character has been created that just makes the reader empathise with her and want to succeed at what she is doing.
Cleverly, this book is more than just a thriller, it also makes the reader think about what justice and punishment is and whether the form it takes is acceptable for society.

Without going over the plot too much I will say that Alice is a vigilante, and on paper her alter egos are as far apart as the North and South Poles.  A successful author of YA novels who becomes a stalker and murderer of abusive men at night, and she doesn’t seem overly concerned about people knowing, in fact she blogs about the kills under the name Tequila Mockingbird.   What then follows is a tantalising game of cat and mouse following the vigilante on her murdering crusade and a narrative that draws from past events.  

This was a fast paced read and one that hooked me in from the start, I needed to keep reading to find out what happened next.  A cleverly woven plot with some brilliant characters makes this a must read for fans of crime thrillers.  It’s just an incredibly hard book to review as there are so many things I want to say and have to keep deleting through fear of giving away spoilers.  Take my word for it, this is a book you’re gonna want to read!

You can buy a copy of “Ice Cold Alice” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

 

 

 

 

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Welcome along to my Friday post to celebrate Indie Publishing!  Today I am delighted to bring you another book from  Cranachan Publishing and share my review “Buy Buy Baby” by Helen MacKinven.  I was also lucky enough to grab a few minutes of Helen’s time so interrogated her thoroughly for the author feature!


Book Feature:

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Published: 7 July 2016

Description:

What price tag would you put on a baby?

Set in and around Glasgow, Buy Buy Baby is a moving and funny story of life, loss and longing.

Packed full of bitchy banter, it follows the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby.

Carol talks to her dog, has an expensive Ebay habit and relies on wine to forget she’s no longer a mum following the death of her young son.

Cheeky besom Julia is career-driven and appears to have it all. But after disastrous attempts at internet dating, she feels there is a baby-shaped hole in her life.

In steps Dan, a total charmer with a solution to their problems.

But only if they are willing to pay the price, on every level…

My Thoughts & Review:

“Buy Buy Baby” was a book that initially spooked me a little, the doll face on the cover creeped me out a little but thankfully the contents are brilliant and that makes up for my wobbles about the creepy cover.

This book follows the tales of two women, Carol and Julia who both have the same desire in life – to have a baby.  The reader is first introduced to Carol and it is very apparent early on that she has suffered great trauma through the loss of her son in a car accident.  The breakdown of her marriage has robbed her of another chance to be a mother and now she shares her life with her son’s dog and a routine that means she can avoid seeing people unless she really has to.  She is a character that many readers will feel sympathy towards and want a good outcome for her despite having just met her.
Julia on the other hand is career driven, and now almost in her 40s realises she might have left it too late to find Mr Right.  Internet dating hasn’t really worked out well for her and when she found out her long term partner didn’t want children it left her back at square one so to speak.

Enter Dan, everything about him seems “nice” at first glance, but as the story progressed I found that I couldn’t quite make my mind up about him.  He seems to have the magic touch when it comes to both Carol and Julia, his chat up lines seemed to work for both women.  His solution to both of their problems was a bold one, and I think that Helen MacKinven has done a superb job in the way she has written this.  The desperation that both women feel towards motherhood feels very authentic and their determination to do whatever it takes gives much pause for thought.

The writing itself is sharp yet sensitive, the topics covered in this book are ones that require a certain amount of tact and I believe that Helen MacKinven has done this.   But at the same time there are also some wonderfully funny parts in this book, especially moments like Carol talking to Jinksy the dog (and him talking back to her).  The Scots dialect added that extra “something” for me and makes this book stand out more, I do love books that are set in Scotland and when I see local dialects and phrasing used it makes my heart sing.

A truly wonderful read that inspires many thoughts and stayed with me after I’d finished it.

 

You can buy a copy of “Buy Buy Baby” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Helen’s short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals, such as Gutter magazine and one of her novels was shortlisted in a UK-wide competition by Hookline Books. Her debut novel, Talk of the Toun, a coming-of-age story set in 1985 in central Scotland, was published by ThunderPoint in 2015.

Originally from the Falkirk area, Helen moved to a three hundred year old cottage in a small rural village in North Lanarkshire to live with her husband after watching far too many episodes of Escape to the Country. She has two grown-up sons but has filled her empty nest with two dogs, two pygmy goats and an ever-changing number of chickens as she attempts to juggle work and play in her version of The Good Life.

Helen blogs at helenmackinven.co.uk and you can find her on Twitter as @HelenMacKinven

Helen’s second book, Buy Buy Baby, was the very first title published by Cranachan.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Without a doubt, it’s meeting readers. For someone to tell me that they’ve read and enjoyed my books is very satisfying and makes all the time and effort worthwhile. I also get a huge buzz from seeing my book on display in a bookshop or library. When I was a student, I worked in a library and I would never have believed that one day my book would be on a shelf. It’s a cliché but it’s truly a dream come true.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Writer’s bum! The hours required to sit at a desk have not helped my figure and as a naturally greedy person I battle with my weight. I’ve been going to Weighwatchers now for two years after seeing myself in a photo taken at a spoken word event and it’s helping to combat an occupational hazard.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why? 

When a new writer asks me for advice, I always tell them to, “Write the book you want to read”. There are few novels set in central Scotland from a working-class female’s point of view using urban Scots dialect so I wanted to write a book I could relate to and reflected my world. Although there are many books I love, I don’t wish I’d written them. My literary idols have used their own ‘voice’ which is unique to them and I’m happy with mine.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Reading is crucial to developing as a writer so I try and read as often as I can and choose an eclectic mix. I love going to the theatre, cinema and art exhibitions. I also enjoy gardening, walking (only when it’s good weather!) and spending time with my pet dogs, goats, chickens and peachicks.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

When I started writing I worked full-time and my sons were still boys which meant that I developed a habit of writing at night. My circumstances have changed but this routine has stuck and I like to have a bath, get my pjs on, snuggle up in bed with my dog at my side and tap away in silence on my laptop.

A huge thank you to Helen for taking part in the author feature and telling us a little about herself.   Helen blogs at helenmackinven.co.uk and you can find her on Twitter as @HelenMacKinven.

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If you are an independent publisher or author and would like to feature on “Celebrating Indie Publishing” Friday please get in touch – email and twitter links are on the “About Me & Review Policy” page.

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