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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do by Lee De-Wit.


Description:

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Pundits, pollsters and politicians are queuing up to tell us, but do they really know? More importantly, do we really know?

Psychologists have been studying how we make political decisions for years, and the truth is we’re a lot less rational than we think we are; sometimes we vote for reasons we’re not even consciously aware of.

Delving into the science and psychology of politics, What’s Your Bias? gets under the skin to reveal what really drives us – whichever way we vote. In this absorbing book, psychologist and neuroscientist Lee de-Wit explores the subtle – and often surprising – factors that could be influencing our votes, from our personality traits and unconscious biases to our susceptibility to campaign targeting and fake news.

Whether we’re debating nationalism, immigration, welfare or equality, psychology can help us to better understand the decisions we make in modern politics. If you want to know more about yourself, your friends and family, or the bigger political picture, this is essential reading.

My Thoughts & Review:

This is a book that jumped out at me after reading the blurb, I’m not sure why really as it’s not something I would normally pick up and I tend to leave books that are more politically based alone, but there was something about this book that grabbed my attention enough to make me want to give it more attention.

From the opening pages this takes on a easy to read stance, the author stating “I’m not intending to offer an academic overview of political psychology…” helped to allay my worries that this would turn out to be “too high brow” for me to understand or enjoy.
I found this to be quite a thought provoking read, and regularly pulled my head out of the book to quote passages to my (long suffering) husband, finding that some sparked interesting debate between us or gave information on things we’d wondered about but never thought to research personally.
The chapter titled “Silent Majority” was one that I read with much interest, voting turn out is always something I look at when election results have been declared – for no other reason than it fascinates me.  I enjoyed that the author wrote from personal perspective throughout this book but especially in this chapter.  “One of the most common explanations for low vote turnout is that people are lazy or apathetic.  As a psychologist, I struggle with this explanation.”  This gave me the impression that the author actually cared about the research carried out and  wanted to address misconceptions as well as expand upon the psychology of the politics being discussed.

Breaking down the science behind voting makes this quite informative and does give great food for thought, and offers information to help understand the concept of nationalism from the perspective of those who support it.  It won’t necessarily change your mind about it, but it might just help you see the idea from another angle.
It is interesting to see that the author chooses to give examples from both UK and American politics to emphasise his points or illustrate them, there have been plenty instances both sides of the Atlantic Ocean recently.

I would say this is a good book to start with if you want to look into the psychology of politics and voting, it certainly offers plenty to facts to whet the appetite of the audience.

You can buy a copy of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Elliott & Thompson, especially Alison Menzies for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s No Exit Press, part of the Oldcastle Books Group in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of “The Unquiet Dead” by Ausma Zehanat Khan.


Description:

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One man is dead.

But thousands were his victims.

Can a single murder avenge that of many?

Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?

In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.

Winner of the Barry Award, Arthur Ellis Award, and Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel

My Thoughts & Review:

I don’t think I was fully prepared for the journey that this book would take me on when I started reading – it’s such an powerful and evocative read.
Beautiful descriptions of locations and the fantastic settings juxtapose perfectly with the brutal realities expertly woven throughout the plot.  Some aspects of the plot do make for difficult reading but these are important and perhaps due to my unfamiliarity of the massacre mentioned within in the pages of this book I found it all the more harrowing.

Fascinating characters really bring this book alive, each character is so vastly different from the next and their back stories are tantalisingly intriguing that I could not help but devour this book in order to find out more about them.

Khan handles the topics within this book with a sensitivity and confidence that never sensationalises or belittles the facts of what has passed.  Her writing evokes great emotion from readers in the way she deftly weaves together a plot with many strands and characters, somehow she manages to keep everything tightly bound so that the reader is kept utterly entranced by each page.
The cultural and religious details that are included within the narrative are fascinating and add a feeling of authenticity to the characters involved, I found that I was almost taking notes of things to look up once I’d finished reading to find out more.

The plot is well constructed and despite there being so much going on in this book it works so well.  This is an expertly crafted novel that has readers trying to follow the clues along with the detectives to join the dots but never quite managing to beat them at their own game.  Including quotes at the start of each chapter from the various documents such as witness statements, testimony from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and historical documents makes this stand out and is such an incredibly powerful tool to use. 

A haunting and moving book with a story that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book away.

 

You can buy a copy of The Unquiet Dead via:

Amazon

My thanks to No Exit Press for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

 

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today I have a review of “Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People” by Julia Boyd.


Description:

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Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes?

The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt – of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the propaganda or predict the Holocaust?

Travellers in the Third Reich is an extraordinary history of the rise of the Nazis based on fascinating first-hand accounts, drawing together a multitude of voices and stories, including students, politicians, musicians, diplomats, schoolchildren, communists, scholars, athletes, poets, journalists, fascists, artists, tourists, even celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Samuel Beckett. Their experiences create a remarkable three-dimensional picture of Germany under Hitler – one so palpable that the reader will feel, hear, even breathe the atmosphere.

These are the accidental eyewitnesses to history. Disturbing, absurd, moving, and ranging from the deeply trivial to the deeply tragic, their tales give a fresh insight into the complexities of the Third Reich, its paradoxes and its ultimate destruction.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the very outset, I want to say how incredibly detailed this book is.  It is clear from the way that it is written that there has been an unfathomable number of hours of research poured into this book and it pays off.

The reader is given a rare insight into Germany in the 1930s from travellers who had no idea of what was to become of the country in later years through a collection of diaries and letters that have not been published.
The propaganda machine that Hitler utilised is brought to life through the fascinating writing, there’s rich detail that conveys a clear picture of a segment of history that is often forgotten about, the run up to WWII.  Details of the rivalries within the Nazi party are mentioned, one of Ribbentrop’s parties being over shadowed by Göring hosting lavish events at his Air Ministry all in the name of impressing the senior British diplomat, Sir Robert Vansittart who was in Germany to attend the Olympics is just one such example.

I appreciate that Julia Boyd has taken the approach to include the horrors of this time too.  Some travellers describing the bombings as hellish times, and making the point that social status mattered not during air raids, everyone was in the shelters together for safety.  The hardships endured by ordinary people are sobering reading, as was the propaganda rife at the time.  Looking back with hindsight we can see what was the end goal, but there, in that moment in the 1930s, it must have seemed so persuasive and left people with views they were uncertain of.  Germany had a lot to offer visitors, spectacular scenery, rich culture, and a wonderful idealism.  I do find the idea that travellers who questioned the treatment of Jews unsavoury in terms of never getting answers.  It would seem that along with the patriotic devotion came naivety and a blinkered view, the juxtaposition of a hard working and friendly nation, family orientated that then shows such barbaric cruelty toward their fellow countryfolk would undoubtedly have left many travellers baffled.

An enlightening and captivating read that will leave many readers thinking.  It’s quite possibly one of the most inclusive sets of information I have read to date about life in Germany under the Third Reich and I applaud Julia Boyd for ensuring that her sources are varied.  Whilst some authors would chose to feature politicians, diplomats and notable public figures, Boyd has instead included the voices of artists, journalists, students, children and views from both fascists and communists to give a well rounded and incredibly real image of Germany.  This in turn gives readers something very rare, a glimpse of something we rarely see, but it also allows us in a way to experience the turbulent times that were the beginning of the destruction of Germany and the Reich.

 

You can buy a copy of “Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 

My thanks to Elliott & Thompson, especially Alison Menzies for sending me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

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Hello and a belated happy Friday to you all!  We’ve had some technical issues today, namely Mr Quiet Knitter having to be my Tech Support when our internet decided not to work and he’s spent the day swearing at it trying to make it work again – thankfully it’s back and here I am!

Today I’ve got a special post to celebrate indie publishing, the wonderfully lovely Matthew at Urbane Publications has kindly offered SIX paperback copies of some of their recent publications up for grabs to help celebrate The Quiet Knitter book blog turning two!  I have to add that this giveaway will only be open to UK entrants only but I am hoping to run a wee international giveaway so that readers outwith the UK can have a chance of winning some goodies too!

I’ve also managed to wrangle a chat with another of Urbane’s authors, the lovely Mark Pepper!


Author Feature:pep-pic-222x300

By now, Mark Pepper really should be on his fourth wife and in rehab at some idyllic retreat in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Graduating from RADA in 1990, he believed he would be a Hollywood star by the time the U.S. hosted the World Cup four years later. It didn’t work out that way.

His acting career was spasmodic, to say the least. There were high points: peeing on the Aidensfield Arms hearth-fire in the first-ever episode of Heartbeat; taking Lulu hostage in the Christmas special ten years later; acting with icons like Tom Bell and Helen Mirren; and popping up in Coronation Street several times. But there were vast deserts of unemployment between these little oases and Mark quickly turned to writing as an alternative source of expression.

His first novel, The Short Cut, was published in hardcover by Hodder & Stoughton in 1996 and in paperback by Hodder’s New English Library in 1997, and his second novel, Man on a Murder Cycle, was released by the same publisher hardcover in 1997 and paperback in 1998.

Veteran Avenue was completed a few years later but, as the pressures of earning a decent living and supporting his family took precedence, was placed on the back-burner – although not literally as that would have been stupid. Like any self-respecting struggling actor, he has had a host of jobs, including gym instructor, bed salesman, taxi driver, binman, and even a stint as a Special Constable with Greater Manchester Police. He left when he realised they were never going to give him a gun. Then ten years ago he completed a PGCE in Secondary School Drama, thinking it would be a good idea to be a teacher but not taking into account the problem of OPK – Other People’s Kids. His next move was to get his HGV licences. While happily driving artics around the country he rather stumbled into his current job of Client Intelligence Analyst, which he likes mostly because he can genuinely tell people he’s CIA.

After spending seven years living in Murcia with his wife and daughter, Mark recently returned to the UK as he missed the dull skies, frequent downpours, and especially road-rage.

He is delighted to have been adopted by the Urbane family, and is looking forward to his resurrected writing career. Veteran Avenue will publish in September 2017.

Courtesy of Urbane Publications website

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

Using my imagination, backed up by research, to create a believable and fascinating world the reader cannot wait to jump back into. Playing God with the characters’ lives.

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

Not spending time with my family.

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

This one. Veteran Avenue is loosely based on my first draft of a full-length novel from 1992, entitled Returntime. I wrote my previously-published novels, The Short Cut and Man on a Murder Cycle, after that, but, if I had to choose just one story to publish in my life, Veteran Avenue would be it. It is the closest to my heart for several reasons.

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

Earning a living! I have had a “regular” job for the past ten years, working online as a Client Intelligence Analyst. Also, spending time with my family and working out at the gym.

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

No rituals, as such; I don’t think they help, although silence is certainly preferable. I have always just grabbed as much time as I can, whenever I can. I write on a computer any time of the day or night. My first published novel, The Short Cut, was finished in one non-stop 24-hour writing spree.

 

A huge thank you to Mark for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always great to get to know a little more about the people behind the brilliant books we read.
If you would like to know more about Mark and his books, please check out his website http://www.markpepper.com/ or find him on Twitter @WritermanMark.

 


Giveaway

For your chance to win paper copies of Nemesister, Seeking Eden, The Secret Wound, Belief, Blue Gold and Beware the Cuckoo, all you need to do is leave a comment telling me where you’d like to read these books – be it a beach, on top of a mountain, in the pub….it all counts!  Apologies to readers outwith the UK, but this giveaway is only open to UK entries.
A random winner will be pulled from the hat on Tuesday 15th August (Mini Quiet Knitter will be picking a winner at lunchtime on the 15th), and good luck!


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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from Bombshell Books who are an imprint of the fantastic Bloodhound Books – I thoroughly recommend checking out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “The Trouble With Words” by Suzie Tullett and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

Published: 29 July 2017

Description:Trouble 5(1)

Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident, she’s just not ready for another relationship. 

Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.

When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both start to think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems. But things are about to get messy.

Can Dan and Annabel get what they want?

Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

This has to be one of the most powerfully emotive books I’ve read this year, it’s so packed with laughter, love and raw human emotion that this reader cannot help but give this book special place in her heart.

An enjoyable story that is equally heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, it restores your faith in humanity, kindness and unquestioning friendship through the wonderful cast of characters and their takes on life.
In the beginning I will admit to not being entirely sure of Annabel.  Her grief felt so raw and it seemed that she was rushing straight into having a baby, perhaps this was just her method of survival, we all know that grief can do funny things to people and we will do whatever it takes to just make it through a moment in time relatively intact.  But once her thought process becomes clearer, the reader begins to understand her more.
Dan on the other hand, well there’s fictional boyfriend material if ever you needed it!  It would seem that he has a heart of gold, he wants to try and keep people happy.  His relationship with his mother is so lovely, the dialogue between them felt very natural and was cause for some laughter.  Dan’s mother, what a character!  Her outlook on life is one I applaud.  Why keep things for best indeed!  If you want to wear a ballgown to nip down to Tesco for loo rolls then on you go, enjoy!  Might drag out my wedding dress and wear that next time I pop out for the shopping.  The sparkle in her eyes what shines bright with mischievous intent is so abundant throughout the story.

The easy flow to the writing makes this a quick but enjoyable read.  With so much emotion woven into the story I felt like I’d been on a rollercoaster, and there was one point I was convinced by specs were covered in dirt as I was struggling to read properly, not realising it was due to the tears threatening to spill from my brimming eyes.

It’s easy to say that a book has left a lasting impression on you, that characters have stayed with you after you’ve finished the book, but this is a book that leaves you almost feeling bereft once you reach the end.  I became so invested in the characters and I genuinely felt as a loss once I’d read the final words, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a special book and one I will be sure to buy a paper copy of for the bookcase so I can revisit soon.  Suzie Tullett is a writer who has secured her place on my “must read” list, and I will be keeping an eye out for her next projects!

You can buy a copy of “The Trouble With  Words” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 


Author Feature:

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Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.

Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.

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

One of my favourite things about being an author is the fact that I can work anywhere. All I need is a notebook and pen or a laptop and I can take myself off to a café or the beach to write. Like now, the weather is so glorious I’ve set myself up in the garden. It’s lovely to have the freedom to change environments like this.

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

In contrast to the above, there are times when authors have no choice but to sit at the desk for hours on end, especially when it comes to meeting tight deadlines. This is when being an author can be quite a lonely business. I can go days and days without seeing a real live person, so the isolation can be difficult. 

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

There are so many books I’ve read that I absolutely love and all for different reasons. Wearing my author hat though, I’d probably choose the Harry Potter series. Not only are they hugely successful, I’ve heard it said many time that J.K. Rowling is responsible for getting a whole generation of people reading. Now that’s an accolade any author can be proud of.

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

When I’m not plotting my next book you’ll usually find I’ve swapped the keyboard for a saw, or a hammer, or a tile cutter. We bought a run down house a couple of years ago so I’m turning into a bit of a DIY expert.

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

When it comes to starting a new book I like to write long hand, so a beautiful notebook and extra sharp pencil is a must. I don’t have any rituals as such, but I do have to have silence. No radio or music playing in the background, I find these too distracting. Once I’m in the writing zone, however, it’s a different story. Anything can be going on around me and I wouldn’t notice. In fact, a neighbour’s house once caught fire and I missed the whole event. Thankfully it wasn’t a big fire and no-one was hurt, but still, you’d think I’d have seen or heard something!
A huge thank you to Suzie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book, and if I need some DIY done I know who I’ll be calling!!
If you would like to know more about Suzie and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter: @SuzieTullett
website: suzietullett.com


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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , this week the book being featured is ‘Hampstead Fever’ by Carol Cooper and she’s kindly taken the time out to join me for a quick author feature too.


Book Feature:

Published: 30 June 2016

Description:

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In a London heatwave, emotions reach boiling point…

Ex-con Dan has it all. The perfect job and a new baby with his dream woman. So why is he still an outsider?

Laure had baby Jack late in life. It’s only natural she’s a little over-protective. Motherhood is terrifying.

After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?

Karen’s love life is reduced to casual sex with the football coach. As a divorcee with four kids, romance is on her to-do list, just below the laundry.

Doctor Geoff’s relationship with actress Daisy is bound to be a bit dramatic. But why all the mystery?

A slice of contemporary multi-cultural London life to make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

‘Hampstead Fever’ is the first book by Carol Cooper that I have read, it’s actually the sequel to ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ but I managed to read it fine without having read the previous novel.  There are mentions to events from ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ which might be less confusing for readers if they have read the books in order but it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of reading.

The reader meets a varied cast of characters as they struggle their way through a heatwave in London, I won’t go into the who’s who of the book as it’s already clear from the book description who the major players are and what their issue is.  Through these characters the reader is faced with many themes including adultery, life changing illness and it’s aftermath, breakdown of relationships and motherhood.  I should mention there is also a fair bit of sex in this, and a little raunchy at times, so perhaps not the book to buy grandma for her 80th birthday.

The author’s medical background shines through in her writing, which I found interesting and felt it added an ethos of compassion and understanding.  The dark humour that is woven throughout the writing is superb and really appealed to me.

A quick and enjoyable read that was a lovely change of pace to my usual crime and psychological thrillers, and makes a good summer read!

You can buy a copy of “Hampstead Fever” via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:Carol Cooper

 

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. She has a string of non-fiction books to her name, all traditionally published, on topics such as child health, twins, and general practice. In 2013, she made her fiction debut with One Night at the Jacaranda, which she self-published under her imprint Hardwick Press. This year, Carol’s latest self-published novel Hampstead Fever was picked for a prestigious promotion in WH Smith travel bookshops around the UK. More fiction is in the pipeline.

 

What is your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, the best thing is that writing is completely portable. An author can write almost anywhere in the world. There aren’t many occupations you can say that about. I might be in my apartment in Hampstead, North London, or by the river in Cambridge, which is my second home. All I need is a head full of ideas. In fact the plot for my first novel, One Night at the Jacaranda, came to me while I was on a plane heading for my father’ funeral.

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

Self-promotion! It would be great if all you needed for success to come knocking at the door was to write a good book and wait for people to discover it, but that just isn’t so. These days all authors need to promote themselves and their work, whether they’re self-published or with one of the Big Five. The snag is that it can feel a bit icky to shout about yourself. It’s not terribly British, is it?

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

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. This delightful novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story. It brilliantly evokes growing up in the 1970s. Reading it, I could feel all the confusion of childhood, plus the blistering heat of the summer of 1976. Cannon’s prose is so fresh that, no matter how mundane a situation is, it never feels hackneyed. That’s the mark of great writing, and it’s the reason I love the book.

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

There’s rarely an idle moment. I write on health for The Sun newspaper, teach medical students at Imperial College, and still see the occasional patient. I’m also involved with several charities which are close to my heart, like the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, and Action on Pre-Eclampsia. When I get some down time, I like to garden, by which I mean pottering around my tiny patio, and of course I love reading novels.

Do you have a set routine for writing, or any rituals you have to observe?

I’m not sure you’d call it a routine, but I always produce my first efforts with pencil and paper. I find the ideas flow more easily that way. Transferring the scribbles onto computer is how a very rough draft gets turned into something marginally more coherent. The pencil must be super sharp, so I have a battery-operated sharpener. I used to write to music, especially anything by The Beatles, but these days I prefer silence. I get distracted more easily than I used to, so sometimes I get up early to finish a piece of writing. But, on the whole, I write whenever there’s time.

 

A huge thank you to Carol for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Carol and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter @DrCarolCooper
Blog Pills & Pillow-Talk
Website DrCarolCooper.com

 

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is “Seeking Eden” by Beverly Harvey and I’m shining a light on Sophie Jonas-Hill as she takes part in my author feature….I say light, it’s more like a wee torch, but it’s the thought that counts eh?!


Book Feature:

Published: 6 July 2017

Description:

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’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’
Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man. But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press. But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I first read the description of this book I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, it sounds like women’s fiction but with an added edge.  The plot begins with a break in at the home of the central character Kate, which is the catalyst for her and her husband Neil, moving to the idyllic newly built estate outside London in Eden Hill.

The move to the their new home means that Neil finds the lengthy commute to London tiresome and soon takes up the offer of a sofa to sleep on from a friend in London, leaving Kate to her own devices in a strange new location.  Initially withdrawn, Kate is lonely and misses the hubub of City life, misses her friends but soon joins the local gym and takes on a dog for company.

The reader is then introduced to a varied cast of characters, Lisa who was once married to a football star, Ben an ageing pop star who happens to be Kate’s ex boyfriend, and Martin and Jan Bevan who own the local carpet shop.  Each of these characters has their own intricately woven tale that culminates in a plot rich with detail and the theme of people taking stock of life once they near 50.  The plot is intriguing, I found I was keen to read on to find out what was going to happen next with Kate, and strangely, I felt at times I was more interested in the parallel storyline of Martin and Jan.  Seeing how Martin struggled with what appeared to be a midlife crisis whilst supporting his wife who was suffering from crippling depression made for interesting and enlightening reading.

There were times that that this book read like a synopsis of the latest episode of a soap opera, this character gossiping about that one, who was doing what with whom, and so on, but on the whole the writing is good and the story flows well.
Whilst there are some serious issues written into the plot, there are also ample light hearted moments to offset this, making it quite a well rounded read and quite a good book for packing in your suitcase for your summer holidays!

 

You can buy a copy of “Seeking Eden” directly from directly from Urbane Publications here, or alternatively via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:

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I’ve always written and told stories, for as long as I can remember. My first self published work at the age of seven, fully illustrated in felt pen and crayon. I continued with a series of insightful ‘When I grow up I want to be an author’, essays, and an attempt at a ‘Bonk-buster’ series of supernatural thrillers written from a position of utter ignorance on all topics, until I was distracted by Art college. A never ending, or never finished, fantasy epic kept me going through my twenties, but it was motherhood in my thirties which concentrated my mind enough to actually finish a novel. It’s amazing what a bit of life experience and the sudden curtailing of your free time can do to concentrate the mind.

After that I began giving myself permission to take my writing seriously enough to spend time on it and actually listen to critiques. The writing festival in York proved invaluable, and time and disappointment got me to the point of producing something readable, which I was lucky enough to have read by Urbane publications.

If you make or write anything, the number one question you get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ In answer to that question, it’s an easy process which combines working on your craft every hour you can for as long as possible – hard graft – reading as much as you can of everyone else’s work – stealing – and inspiration, which is just one of those things that just happens. The inspiration for ‘Nemesister’ comes from a dark episode of family history, and a moment from a dream; an image of a man standing in the doorway of what I knew was an abandoned shack, which was gone as soon as it came and yet lingered, the way some dreams do.

 

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

Writing. I know that sounds a bit simplistic, but writing, the act of it, chance to have these words and people and ideas come tumbling out onto the page is one of the best feelings ever. I have always written, from when I can remember being able to write, though as I’m dyslexic and old enough to come from a time when that was just labeled as stupid, my early writing was quixotic to say the least. But that didn’t matter, I have always told stories inside my head and on paper, then on an old sticky typewriter and finally a lap top, and the chance to have other people read them is just amazing.

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

Right now it would have probably been ‘The Power’ by Namoi Alderman, simply because it is such an audacious idea, and because it’s so simple and yet so thoroughly realised. It say so much about where we are now, like all good Sci-fi, and yet is a really good read too, never letting its central ideas become polemic.

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

Well, apart from being a mum to two kids, one still a baby, I am a tutor for Kent Adult Education, where I devise and run a huge range of arts based workshops. This means that when I’m not teaching them, I’m building up pintrest boards and creating samples work out new ideas. So yes, while I’m working out the twisted excesses of the human psyche, I’m also making pom-pom chandeliers, needle felt animals and steam-punk dolls’ houses.

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

I wish I did! I have to snatch time to write at the moment, as my son is only one year old, so I tend to write when I can and where I can. I try and make myself write at least 500 words a day no matter what, and I have a rule of never reading anything I’ve written until I’ve done a first draft. Write, don’t think is my maxim – thinking is for tomorrow.

 

A huge thank you to Sophie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, and I have to say I love the idea of making needle felt animals whilst your mind is on considerably less innocent things.  I’ll definitely be sure to head over to Pinterest later for ideas of fun things to create with my mini monster.
If you would like to know more about Sophie and her book check out her website .

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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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