Cuppa and a Catch-up – An Author Interview with … C. L Taylor

WEDNESDAY 27th AUGUST 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I am delighted to feature on my blog today the lovely C.L Taylor, author to ‘The Accident’, a psychological thriller released in April 2014 by Avon Harper Collins.

‘The Accident’ was my garden read back in May when we had spells of glorious sunshine. It had me gripped. The back story of Susan is cleverly written in the form of diary entries, which allow us to understand how she was moulded into the person she has become. These are intertwined with the present day story of Susan trying to establish why her daughter, Charlotte, would want to step in front of a bus. Although you experience the horrific low points of Susan’s life, as well as feeling her pain, you also feel her strength. A determined mother who won’t rest until she gets to the bottom of what caused her daughter’s accident.

the accident 2

~Author Bio~

CL Taylor author photoCL Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle then moved to London to work in medical publishing. After two years she moved to Brighton where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer and instructional designer over the course of 13 years. She currently works as a Distance Learning Design and Development manager for a London university.
Her psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and by Sourcebooks in the US in June 2014 (with the title ‘Before I Wake’). She is currently working on LAST GIRL STANDING, a psychological thriller about friendship, mind control and murder (to be published April 2015).
~Synopsis~

Fast-paced and suspenseful The Accident is perfect for fans of Before I Go to Sleep, Gone Girl and Sophie Hannah.
A gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …TheAccidentfinalcover
Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.
Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.
Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?
Now grab that cuppa as we chat to Cally Taylor.
 coffee and cream

Hi Cally and welcome!

Where did the inspiration The Accident’ come from? 

I was pregnant with my son when the idea first came to me. I wanted to write a novel about ‘keeping secrets’ but I had no idea who would be keeping the secrets or what those secrets would be. Then one day, when I was walking back from the supermarket – waddling along under the weight of my groceries – the first three lines popped into my head. I heard Susan’s voice as clear as day and I knew immediately that she was the mother of a teenaged girl who’d stepped in front of a bus. I kept repeating those three lines over and over again as I walked home so I wouldn’t forget them, then frantically scribbled them down. I kept writing and, less than two hours later, I had the first chapter.

I didn’t write any more until a couple of months after my son’s birth. As a new mum in a new town I was lonely, and very sleep deprived, and I missed writing so, in his naps, I started plotting the rest of the story. I finished the first draft in five months.

How would you compare writing this story with anything you’ve previously written?

homeforchristmasMy personal circumstances were very different when I wrote my first two books. Before I wrote psychological thrillers I had two chicklit novels published – Heaven Can Wait and Home for Christmas (Orion). When I wrote them I had a full time job, I was in a relationship (but I didn’t live with my partner) and I didn’t have a child. I was a real night owl and would write after work from about 9pm until 1am. Because I largely worked from home I’d sleep until 8.30am then roll out of bed, shower, eat breakfast and be in front of my computer ready to check my work email at 9am. I’d often write for long stretches at the weekend and twice I booked time off work to go to the wonderful writing retreat Anam Cara near Cork so I could write all week without interruption.

 I wrote The Accident under very different circumstances. I lived with my partner, I had a baby son, I was on maternity leave and I was very, very sleep deprived (my son woke me every 2-3 hours for a feed every night until he was seven months old). The only way I could stay sane was to give myself something to think about during those nightly feeds – and so I started plotting The Accident. Then, once I’d planned the novel, I begin writing it during my son’s day time naps. He’d only nap for 45 minutes at a time so I’d literally rock him to sleep in his pram in the kitchen then rush into the living room, pull the laptop onto my knee and start writing. Unlike my chicklit novels I didn’t have time to stare into space and try and work out how to get from point A to point B in my novel, it had to be tightly plotted so I could write without stopping.

 How do you manage your writing time?

My son is nearly three now and goes to a childminder four days a week but, because I still do the day job four days a week that doesn’t free up much writing time. Now it’s a case of fitting in writing as and when I can. I try and do an hour after I’ve dropped him off at 8am, then another hour at lunchtime and, if I’ve got a tight deadline, more after dinner in the evening. I’ve had to suppress my night owl tendencies as my son wakes us up at 6.30am so I rarely write beyond 10pm these days. My partner is very supportive of my writing and, during a very busy time earlier this year when I was trying to complete the UK and US edits for The Accident (Before I Wake in the US), he’d take our son out on a Saturday and Sunday morning so I could fit in more writing time. 

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I’ve always written. When I was eight I wrote a book about a group of flower friends and their adversary Evil Weed and sent it off, Heaven MMP CS12.inddbound in wool, to Penguin publishers. Several weeks later I received my first rejection. Over the years that followed I wrote short stories and terrible poetry. I even started two novels in my twenties but ditched them when I ran out of steam and enthusiasm. I kept telling myself ‘I’ll finish a novel one day’. Then, in the summer of 2006 one of my best friends from school died suddenly and unexpectedly and, as people often do in such situations, I re-evaluated my outlook on life. Time was precious I realised, and I couldn’t keep putting off writing a novel. By March 2007 the idea for ‘Heaven Can Wait’ was so clear in my head I had to sit down and write it. Three months and three weeks later I finished the first draft.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

After years of writing on my lap on the sofa or in bed, or at a desk in the corner of my cramped bedroom, I finally have ‘a room of my own’ where I can write. As I work from home for my day job I don’t just get to write in my study but it’s lovely to have somewhere when I can I pile up my books, notes and notepads and not worry about anyone tidying them away or spilling Ribena on them. I also have a treadmill so I can get a bit of exercise after I’ve been sitting on my bum for hours.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

I was a week away from grading for my orange belt in kickboxing when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I decided not to grade as it’s an intense, physical test but I’m determined to get my belt one day. Someone just has to insert more hours into the day first!

Thank you for being here today Cally.

~Where to find the author~

TheAccidentfinalcover

Buy The Accident from Amazon.co.uk

Website: http://www.cltaylorauthor.com

Love Missuswolf xxx 

 

Advertisements

Happy Third Birthday Blog!

SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST 2014

It’s three years ago today since I made myself comfortable on my corner sofa in our little flat, fired up the laptop and created Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Blogging

We’d not long been back from a fabulous holiday in Mexico, where I’d been a bridesmaid to one of my best friends. Despite the high of that holiday, I’d come home to discover there was trouble in my parents’ paradise. That August, I was also in my third month of being redeployed into a job working shifts in a role that I didn’t want to be in.

Seventy ThousandBut it gave me the time to focus on my reading and writing, and so this blog really did become my world – my distraction. I’d always read books, usually a couple of chapter’s a night before bed. I found that I started to read a lot more and used books as a form of Ruby Competitionescapism.

It gave me the drive to self publish the paperback version of ‘The Ruby of Egypt’ in December 2011. The kindle version shortly followed in January 2012.

That year, I wrote the first draft of my novel ‘Little Miss Pooshoe’ in January and February, attended creative writing classes at the local high school (which became my Creative Writing Café feature), joined Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF in the September and my nephew was born in the October. During all of this, the author interview feature ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ was born. It was a hard year as my parents separation became final.

Go Team PIF2013 was a busy year – after eight years of waiting we finally managed to sell our flat and buy our house. This left little time for writing. It wasn’t for the want of trying – I did try to complete NaNoWriMo in the November however there was too much to do around the house and general day-to-day life got in the way. On a positive note, it gave me the makings of a Science Fiction novel ‘The Arm of Northumberland’ which is a longstanding WIP. It’s a story I need to tell as it all stemmed from an Cuppa and a Catch up picextremely vivid dream …

Oh – and Ruby’s book trailer was created in February 2013.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013The Ruby of Egypt was also revised and revamped with a new cover, courtesy of Carl Harvey.

The start of 2014 was a struggle as my working lifestyle really did get me down. Fast forward to August and I’ve got a new job, two new nieces, set up my own freelance writing business and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel for a family member. My parents sold the family home yesterday and officially went their separate ways – which all seems so fitting now.

 

Life has a funny way of just falling into place.

Today, I had the wonderful surprise of meeting up with my grandparents (from Nottingham) whose mystery tour bus holiday they were on brought them to Gateshead.Freelance Bus Cards

The last three years have been a chapter of my life that have moulded me. There’s been difficult times but there has also been really good times. I’ve surrounded myself with other people’s stories by constantly immersing myself in books. Looking back I’m proud of the work that I’ve accomplished. Here’s to the next three years and what opportunities they may bring.

So thank you for reading and thank you Charity Rattiner for pointing me in the direction of wordpress.

This really has been Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

A Chapter Excerpt from ‘Closure’ – a novella by Sylvia Stein

WEDNESDAY 20th AUGUST 2014

sylvia stein pic

 

Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writer’s Group on Linked in 750 in 2012.

She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series.

While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when Closure was born.

With the help of her editor Closure grew from a short story to a full novella that Author Stein is excited to share.

Closure is her debut book as a solo writer.   To quote author Stein,  “ This is the first of many to come.”

Closure-Amazon

CHAPTER ONE

Oct 15, 1999

Dear Diary,

I will never forget the day my mother passed away. I can recall that moment as if it were yesterday.

My life changed forever.

There was once a time when I thought life was perfect. After all, my mother and father were high school sweethearts. It seemed like they would be together forever.

Or so I thought.

Sadly, for our family, it was not to be.

Her death was the beginning of a nightmare . . . my nightmare.

Like most children, I did not understand the concept of time. There were many nights when the side effects of my mother’s chemo woke our family. I could hear her coughs and knew she was in pain. She attempted to mask it from us, but there are some things you cannot hide.

Mother developed breast cancer. It runs in her side of the family, and something I must watch for. Breast cancer is not the monster of my nightmares. That monster is my father.

One day, my mother was there, and the next day—I am walking into a big home and facing a large box.

For the longest time, I stood holding my father’s hand while looking at our reflection on the shiny wooden box.

The room began to fill with noise.

Confused, I looked over my shoulder and faced a dark, blue curtain.

“What’s that Daddy?” I asked.

“Everyone is coming to say goodbye.”

“Who’s goin’ away?”

He picked me up.

Inside was my mother, she looked peaceful.

Mommy is sleeping, I thought.

Delighted to see her with color and resting. I turned and whispered into my father’s ear, “Ssshhhh! Mommy is sleeping. Daddy, she’s not sick no more.”

“Sweetie,” he whispered. A jagged breath and wet heat caressed my ear.

Daddy’s crying?

Lost for words, I patted his back.

His sobs deepened.

“Oh, Sara. Mommy’s going away, but don’t worry, we’re still a family.”

Young and confused, nothing made sense. My father was crying, my mother was in a box, and people behind a curtain were there to say goodbye. Mother looked good, happy and without pain. How could someone who finally looked peaceful decide to leave?

The curtains opened.

Lost and confused, I searched the room for help.

Father carried me to the first seat and sat me down.

A strange man stood and described how wonderful my mother was. The air, the room, and, well, everything felt wrong. 

Mommy is there! Why does he keep saying she is with God? I want my mom! my mind shouted.

I tried to talk but tears and the world consumed me.

Then I saw a man with a collar come up to my father and whispered something in his ear. Moments later, the man closed the lid to the box my mom was in.

Five men and my father picked up mommy’s box and began carrying it out of the room. Angered by strangers carrying that infernal box, I ran in front of their path and tried to stop them.

Before I could say a word, a large, warm hand swallowed mine.

Startled, I tried to scream, but saw into my father’s heartbroken eyes.

“It’ll be alright,” my father assured me.

He lied.

Thanks to him and his abuse, I live with night terrors, have panic attacks, and suffer from stress-induced grand mal seizures. Over time, I have lost hope, and do not know if I will ever feel normal again.

~Sara

~If you would like to be known more about Author Stein’s books here is a link of them~

Closure

Giant Tales Beyond The Mystic Doors

Giant Tales From The Misty Swamp

Giant Tales World of Pirates

Lava Storm in the Neighbourhood

Giant Tales Dangerous Days

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Mischaela Advani

WEDNESDAY 13th AUGUST 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Mischaela Advani, author of ‘How To Run In Heels’.

~Author Bio~

authorphotosMischaela Advani is a writer, businesswoman, and UN advocate working to advance women’s rights and equality. She studied Business with a focus in Marketing and Finance at the prestigious Indiana University Kelley School of Business. While in college she was the official liaison between the United Nations Association and Indiana University, and the editor of Primary Source, the university’s oldest student run scholarly publication.  She writes for a variety of publications on business development, women in business, and emerging technology. Mischaela sits on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Fashion Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting Chicago’s thriving fashion community and organizing runway shows and fashion events all over the city. She is married to a hectically busy entrepreneur, and resides in the heart of downtown Chicago with her husband and their English Bulldog Sir Wimbledon.

 

~Book Overview~

How To Run In Heels inspires women to “run in heels” in business and in life. Through the life stories of 30 lady moguls, women can bookcovermockadopt the “running in heels” mentality….which boils down to living your life with power and purpose without compromising what makes women inherently powerful. It might still be a man’s world in many ways, but through learning how to “run in heels” women will discover how to harness their unique gifts and lady power to make 10,000 little cracks in the glass ceilings of politics, business, and the world at large. Running in heels means running the world or running your business with the confidence that comes with owning who you are, as a professional and as a woman whether your heels are Prada or Payless…maybe they’re  even cross-trainers (ala trailblazer and filibuster wonderwoman  Governor Wendy Davis). Glass ceiling…meet stiletto

Now grab that cuppa as we catch up with Mischaela Advani.

cuppa

Hi Mischaela and welcome! It’s great to have you here.

Where did the inspiration behind this book come from?

The inspiration for writing this book came from a few different places. I have always admired the witty “chick lit” writing of Plum Sykes (author of cult classic Bergdorf Blondes) and have always torn open my letterbox when the latest issue of Vogue was in it just to read her pieces. Ever since developing an appetite for her work, I’ve wanted to write something in a similar vein. On a separate note, as a woman in tech and a businesswoman, I’ve seldom come across books that are substantial and smart as well as stylish and fun …they are always one or the other. So I decided to pair traditional business literature with what is often known as “chick lit” to speak to a generation of Millennial women who are making their own rules in business and in life.

I’m inspired by women who create the world they live in, and these women run the gamut from Madame CJ Walker to Lady Gaga. I wanted to distill their life stories and words of wisdom into a beach read, a light hearted and fun book that women can read on their planes or in their salons.

How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

This book is definitely a departure from my previous pieces, as I’ve never written anything slightly humorous. I’ve done a great deal of fashion journalism, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Fashion Foundation and as a writer …but this is my first venture into the business coaching/self-improvement arena. It’s definitely my authentic editorial voice, which was really cathartic to get out …too often I’ve had to write for a more conservative and affluent reader who is a bit older. I’m glad to be able to be a bit audacious in my first book.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

As a child I was enamoured of writing, and always knew I’d be an author. I’ve written or edited semi-professionally since college. I was the editor of my university’s oldest scholarly journal, Primary Source, a publication that has been around since the 1820s. It was through reading all of the beautifully written research and op-ed pieces that I truly dug into my love of words.. As I said before, Plum Sykes is one of my biggest inspirations in terms of writing. I truly identify with her editorial voice and feel a lot of her influence in my own writing. Through reading her pieces in Vogue and re-reading her novels, the fire within me to write grew bigger and bigger.

How do you organise your writing time?

I tend to organize my writing time based on how creative I am feeling at the time. For me, it doesn’t matter how busy I am or what I have going on. Some days are just “writing days”, as most writers would probably also say. Some days the words pour out like a monsoon, and other days you’d be hard pressed to squeeze out a sentence or two.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

I might be the oddball, but I tend to love to write in public. Give me sidewalk or terrace seating at a little café and I’m set. I think the energy of people working and chatting around me helps me focus on what I want to say. The change of scenery as opposed to the same navy blue walls of my apartment helps me crank out good work. I realize I’m in the minority, as most writers tend to write by candlelight at their wooden desks late at night, but I’m happiest with a cappuccino and a laptop in the sunshine.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

Not many people know that I’m a speed reader. I can read, on average, about 600+ words per minute and definitely go much faster when I’m in a hurry or very engaged with a book. I’ve finished entire novels in 2 hours or less. In college, it definitely came in handy both at Primary Source and in my coursework.

Thank you for being here today Mischaela.

~Where to find Mischaela~

Twitter: @mischaelaadvani 

Web: http://www.mischaela.mobi/

Blog: http://howtoruninheels.tk/  (the blog ties in with the book)

Book Twitter Handle: @runinheelsbook

bookcovermock

 Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Chrissie Parker

WEDNESDAY 06th AUGUST 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

 

I would like to welcome back the lovely Chrissie Parker, who has just released her second book Among The Olive Groves.

~Author Bio~

Chrissie Parker Author PicChrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.

Chrissie is also an Author. Her thriller Integrate was released in October 2013. Chrissie is currently working on two sequels to Integrate called Temperance and Retribution. Both will be released in 2015.

Other written work includes factual articles for the Bristolian newspaper and guest articles for the charities Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation. Chrissie has also written a book of short stories and poems, one of which was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.

 

Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two six-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University.   She also likes to read, collect books, make bracelets and listen to music. To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com

~Synopsis~

Elena Petrakis adores living on the Greek island of Zakynthos. When World War Two looms her way of life is threatened. Left with noATOG_Amazon_Small choice she joins the island’s resistance to fight for what she believes in; her family, her home, and her freedom.

Decades later, thousands of miles away in the Cornish town of Newquay, Kate Fisher prepares to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, but her joy is fleeting when she learns she is adopted. Abandoning life in England, Kate flees to Zakynthos, where she is forced to acknowledge a life she has struggled to come to terms with, one that will change her future.

From the beautiful crystal turquoise seas of the Ionian Islands to the rugged shores of the Cornish coast, ‘Among the Olive Groves’ is a story of love, bravery and sacrifice.

 

Grab that cuppa as we catch up with the fabulous Chrissie Parker.

CUPPA

Hi Chrissie and welcome! It’s great to have you here again.

Thank you Gemma it’s nice to be back again!

Where did the inspiration for behind Among The Olive Groves come from?

The idea came from a conversation I had with a local when visiting the island about nine years ago. They talked to me about the war, and told me about something very specific that happened (I can’t tell you what, as it’s a spoiler for the book!). It made me want to write about the island during that time. I also love the island of Zakynthos (Zante) and Greece has been going through a bit of a hard time, so wanted to write something about the island to show how lovely it is.

How would you compare writing this book with writing Integrate?

Writing this book was completely different. Among the Olive Groves is historical fiction, set during the second world war, as well as in the 1990’s/2000’s. I had to do a lot of research on the war, and learn about what happened to people who lived during it. The book is also set on the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante), so I had to do a lot of research about the island and Greece in general. It was a mammoth task, but also great fun. With Integrate I could just write the story, it was completely fictional. Among the Olive Groves was very different, I wrote, planned, researched and then repeated the exercise a few times!

What research was involved in writing this story?

I read a lot of books and watched a lot of documentaries about world war two. I also visited a few war museums to get a feel for what happened during that time. I also did a lot of research about women in Greece during that time and what they went through during the war, which was essential for my character Elena Petrakis who ends up joining the resistance. I read some very brave accounts, and also some very sad ones. I can’t even begin to put into words what some people went through.

You’re currently working on the sequels to Integrate. How are these coming along?

They are coming along well. Integrate will now be known as the first book of a trilogy called ‘The Moon series’. Book two will be called Temperance, and the third book will be called Retribution.

I have written the full draft of Temperance, and worked out the story plan for Retribution. I’m really enjoying it and there will be a few unexpected surprises in store for the readers!

You have completed an Archaeology and Egyptology course at Exeter University. Have these influenced any of your writing?

I have and I’m hoping to try and do another course soon. I am a huge lover of history and archaeology and quite a bit of what I have learned from the courses about researching/finding information has really helped during writing Among the Olive Groves. Some of the historical and technical information I learned has also helped me with writing two future books that are set in Egypt and Jordan.

As a reader, what should we expect from Among The Olive Groves?

It’s a powerful and emotional story, with strong identifiable characters. It’s about family, change and learning to adapt. It’s also about fighting for what you believe in and having the strength to see things through.

Stepping away from the fact that I wrote it, I would say that it’s definitely a book that will keep you hooked, and the description of the island is likely to make you want to pack your bags and take the first plane out of the UK to soak up some Greek sun!

Thank you for being here today Chrissie and best of luck with the new release!

Thank you Gemma, and it was nice to be back on your lovely blog!

~Where to find Chrissie Parker~

Facebook

Twitter – @Chrissie_author

Blog

Pinterest 

Goodreads 

ATOG_Amazon_Small

 Love Missuswolf xxx

%d bloggers like this: