A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

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The other week on Twitter, I saw a post about reviews for a new dark comedy book, and I jumped at the chance. The cover, as you can see, is eye goggingly good, and the title immediately entices you to know more. It is very apt for the book too!

I shan’t tell you any details about the book, as I detest spoiler reviews, but this book made me laughing from the first page. I would LOVE to see this made into television, and I think it works so well. Caimh himself talks about being able to pull off comedy and crime together, and this one has it in spades. A unique plot, you will love this book. I haven’t stopped laughing yet!

5 stars from me!

So Caimh, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

I am currently working on the follow-up to A Man With One of Those Faces provisionally entitled The Day That Never Comes. I’ve finished a rough first draft and I currently am sitting beside a pinboard covered in 67 cards with various chapters mapped out on it. Those are in-turn, buried under layers of multi-coloured post-it notes with things I need to clarify, rework, insert or dump. I really like the rewriting process, it’s where the whole thing starts to take shape.

Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?

The Day That Never Comes featuring the three main characters from my last novel, plus some recurring secondary characters. I’m really excited about that as I’ve had numerous sitcoms optioned by TV development companies over the years but, for a vast array of reasons, none of them ever got commissioned. Essentially, I’ve been longing to write a second episode for about a decade now and I’m relishing it. The plot of the second book also feels like it is progressing into darker and more interesting areas. It is based around the idea that there are a lot of people who made a lot of money through dodgy business practices in Ireland, which resulted in our economy crashing a lot harder than it would have otherwise. The question at the heart of this novel is, what would happen if somebody tried to take their revenge on those people?

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

I’ve been a professional stand-up and TV writer for about 15 years now. I’ve performed stand-up all over the world and I’ve written for a mix of mainstream topical shows on British TV and I’ve also created a lot of kid’s TV too. I take a great deal of pride in being a jobbing writer and whatever the task, being able to get the job done.

I’m also ‘The Voice of London Irish’ – the professional rugby club so I’m down making announcements in a stadium and rallying our fans every couple of weeks.

I’m very lucky in the sense that I have no hobbies. Through a combination of hard slog and luck, I’ve managed to make everything I love to do into a career.

Previous to all of that, I worked in IT. My last job was as a disaster recovery specialist for a large multinational. Hand-on-heart, I’d no idea what the hell I was doing. I used to sit in a stand-by building in Canary Wharf two days of every week, looking at millions of pounds of stop-end hardware and wonder if I could go to prison if they ever figured out how much I was bluffing.

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?

It varies wildly, but most days I get up about 9 am and head to my office for about ten. I’m lucky enough to be a member of a communal office space in Manchester that I share with cartoonists, composers and medical researchers – they’re a diverse and interesting bunch. I prefer it to having an office on my own as that can get a bit lonely. I’ll work away for a few hours, normally doing admin or booking gigs, unless I’ve got a specific writing job on the go. I then go for a sixty to ninety minute walk at some time in the middle of the day, which I am really getting into. If I’m writing, I’ll often record myself talking through stuff on my phone as I walk, then listen to it back and record more thoughts. I basically brainstorm with myself. That’s if I’m in the middle of a writing project, if not it is podcasts or an audiobook.

It’s then back to the office for a few more hours writing and either off to a gig that night or home to spend some quality time with the missus.

 

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

Pokemon! Or at least it used be until a couple of weeks ago, I’m thoroughly bored of it now. Outside of that, since I stopped buying DVDs, nothing really. My wife gets very annoyed because I am an absolute nightmare to buy gifts for.

 

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

While not a woman (sorry!), I guess I do get pigeonholed in my own way. Agents and publishers I’ve discovered seem to have very set and limited ideas on how comedy and crime writing can be combined. I’m a passionate believer that plot and character is the be-all and end-all and I think those can be mixed with comedy to give an enriching experience for the reader. The inclusion of comedy does not preclude a novel from being either dark or gripping. Fiction, like life, is all about light and dark.

 

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

When I write short stories, they tend a lot more towards the science fiction side of things. I think that’s because sci-fi is pretty much based on the principle of exploring new ideas and I think short stories are wonderful for doing that.

 

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

From the feedback I get, most people seem to think that dialogue is the strongest part of my writing, which isn’t a big surprise I guess given my TV background. I never had any formal training in that but I did religiously acquire every book of TV and film scripts I could get hold of and I’d highly recommend that. Dialogue should be a living, breathing thing and seeing it done well really helps develop that. Devour absolutely everything ever written by Aaron Sorkin, for my money he is the greatest writer of dialogue there’s ever been.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

I have The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey on the go as an audiobook which I’m loving and I have the latest book by the brilliant Adrian McKinty waiting for me on my kindle, once I get a spare moment where I’m not working, sleeping or driving between those two things.

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

Honestly, I want to take my lovely wife on a holiday. She loves to travel and she is overdue because living with a writer isn’t the easiest of lives!

 

Cover Reveal – Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

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Today on my blog we have the lovely Sandra Danby, talking about her new book, and book covers. I must confess, I have at least ten different editions of P & P, so I know just what she means!

What do you think about the cover? Fantastic isn’t it!

And now I hand over to Sandra…

There must be literally hundreds of different covers for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Not counting the foreign language editions or the Zombie one. A quick online search revealed a flower-decorated straw bonnet lined with pink fabric [Wordsworth Classics], red and white peonies [Harper Teen], and beautiful designs by Jessica Hische for the Penguin Drop Caps series. Many of the very early editions featured peacock feathers, my favourite is the 1895 edition illustrated by Hugh Thompson for Macmillan. Pride equals peacock, you see.

Why am I talking about Pride and Prejudice? Because a book cover sticks in your head and becomes a part of that book’s personality. When I think about Pride and Prejudice my mind immediately pictures my battered old Penguin copy with the orange spine and a detail from Henry Raeburn’s portrait of Lady Colville. To me, Lady Colville is Elizabeth Bennet.

My own novel Ignoring Gravity has a new cover and hopefully it too has its own personality. Based on the tagline ‘Two pairs of sisters, separated by a generation of secrets’, it shows two sisters side-by-side. Hanging over their heads is a tree. Trees, for me, symbolize family connections, relationships, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. Ignoring Gravity’s modern-day sisters, Rose and Lily, haven’t given a moment’s thought to their ancestry, to the roots and branches of their family tree. They take it for granted, as many of us do. But what if you are not who you think you are?

 

About ‘Ignoring Gravity’

Rose Haldane is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it. Ignoring Gravity connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister Lily. Then just when she thinks there can’t be any more secrets…

 

Next in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series

In Connectedness, the sequel to Ignoring Gravity, Rose Haldane turns detective to solve an identity puzzle. Employed by controversial artist Justine Tree, Rose must find the birth child given away when Justine was an art student. Connectedness will be published in 2017.

 

Author bio

Proud Yorkshirewoman, tennis nut, tea drinker. Unlike Rose Haldane, in Ignoring Gravity, she is not adopted.

If you want to hear more or get in touch with Sandra, here are her details:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

‘Ignoring Gravity’ is available at:-

Amazon

Guest Post: Top 5 Writing Tips by Eva Woods

Guest Post: Top 5 Writing Tips by Eva Woods

Some great tips here!

Bookaholic Confessions

GP

Top 5 writing tips by Eva Woods

1. Keep going, keep going, keep going

The days when I sit down and the words flow out like water are maybe once a month, if I’m lucky. All the rest of the time is spent plodding along, trying things, seeing what happens. I aim to write a thousand words a day, without editing, checking, or worrying if it’s any good. I’m always amazed at how a book grows using this method, even when most days it feels like you’ve just typed a random assortment of words that don’t make any sense. If you keep the momentum up, your sub-conscious develops the story without you noticing.

2. Everything can be fixed in an edit

There’s always another draft you can do, so if you get stuck on something just leave it for now and keep moving forward. When you’ve done what you can…

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Author Interview: Barbara Phipps

Today, I am honoured to have Barbara come and chat to us! She is an author from Wakefield, West Yorkshire – just like me!

Her books are out now on Amazon.

Hi Barbara, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?

My WIP, with the working title ‘A Conflict of Interests’ is fiction based on fact. It is set in the late 18th and the 19th century. There are many strong, and quite quirky characters. To portray them as believable, that is to say, as characters a reader could relate to, is proving to be my greatest challenge to date.

Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?

It will take quite a while to complete my WIP, there is much more research to be done as the facts of the story are quite complicated. Turning the story into an easily read novel means I have to discard some facts which, although interesting, as not pertinent to the storyline.

Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?

I have had many, very interesting jobs, but not what you would call a career. Having worked with pharmacists, dentists, doctors, vets and pathologists, I have a little knowledge about lots of things. I was also a magistrate for sixteen years.

Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?

I like to rise early, replying to emails with my first coffee. I love my garden, so summer time pulls me outside. Because of this, writing and research takes a back seat in summer, but I try to do a little each day, even if it is just a few minutes. Winter months and rainy days see the word count rise!

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

I am not a collector, or hoarder, of anything.

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

I would say that both I, and my work, are difficult to pigeon hole. I have written a contemporary novel, a trilogy set in the 1950’s/60’s, and a historical novel, based on fact.

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

I would like to write a crime novel, but for now I find fiction based on fact, or faction as it is sometimes called, absolutely fascinating as I bring back a forgotten tale.

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

As with anything, the more you do it, the better you will become. Try to write every day.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

‘Someone LIke You’, by Roald Dahl

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

I have had several reviews of my work on Amazon, even suggesting my books would make good films. That would be nice!

I hope you get your dream Barbara! Stay in touch!

 

 

Author Interview: Julia Roberts

 

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Hi Julia, thanks for coming to chat to us today!

Q1. It’s Never Too Late To Say, which is out now, is the final in your recent trilogy. Was it hard to say goodbye?

It was really hard to say goodbye, almost like waving off family members to a new life on the other side of the world. I guess in one book you get to know and understand your characters but over the course of the trilogy we became quite intimate. Who knows, maybe I will do a spin off book at some point in the future and a prequel is definitely on the cards.

Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?

I have recently finished my first ever short story which I really enjoyed writing so I may do more of those. I am also working on a Christmas novella and planning a couple of other full length novels. I’ve come to novel writing comparatively late in life – so many ideas, so little time!

Q3. In addition to your books, you are also somewhat of a TV star! Which aspect of your professional life do you love the most, and dislike?

It’s kind of you to say so, but I’m only known in the world of shopping television really. I love appearing on live TV which is strange as I’m quite a shy person in real life. My role at QVC has changed over the twenty-three years I have been there with the advent of social media. Fortunately I am adaptable by nature and I must confess I love a bit of Twitter. I am also required to write a weekly blog on the QVC website and that has become a favoured part of my job.

Q4. A typical day in the life of Julia – what does that look like?

There are two different types of typical days in my life. If I’m working at QVC, I get up have breakfast, catch up on social media and email, then head off to work. When I get there I do my make-up, hair and nails ( yes, we have to do it ourselves with occasional exceptions) and then I will get to know the products I will be presenting and go and meet any guests who will be appearing with me on the shows. I normally do three hours of live television spread over a six to eight hour day. On non QVC days I will often start writing straight after breakfast and sit at it for six hours or more with only a short break for lunch. If possible I try to squeeze a Pilates workout in three times a week. I do enjoy relaxing evenings in front of the TV or reading.

Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?

Abandoned or mistreated cats, apparently! Our first cat, Dylan, was abandoned by his owners when they moved home. Our second, Charlie, was the third kitten in a litter and was accidentally missed by his mother’s owner when the kittens were moved to his girlfriend’s to be better looked after. He was two weeks old when we adopted him and we had to bottle feed him to start with – very touch and go, but he survived. More recently my daughter rescued a litter of kittens from mistreatment and we now look after one of them, alongside my elderly cat Poppy who has reached the grand old age of twenty-one, one hundred and five in cat years!

Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?

I don’t take much notice of people’s prejudices as you have to grow a thick skin in the entertainment world.  All that matters to me is that the people who read my work enjoy it for what it is… I’m not trying to be the next Shakespeare or Agatha Christie.

Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?

As a self-published author there are no restrictions on what I write. I will probably write a thriller at some point and definitely a romantic comedy if I’m able. I want to challenge myself to write in all the different genres that I find pleasure in reading.

Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?

As Nike would say, ‘Just Do it.’ If you’ve got an idea for a story with a start, a middle and an end, just write it in your own words – there are plenty of professional editors who can help you lick it into shape when you are first starting out. I also used professionals for my cover designs and formatting as I want my end product to look as good as anything else on the shelves of a book shop.

Q9. What are you reading currently?

I don’t have as much time as I would like to read, but on a recent holiday I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and The Litigators by John Grisham. I’ve also just finished My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse and I try to read every book written by Mary Higgins Clark. Quite diverse really.

Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?

I would like to have a Times Bestseller (wouldn’t we all) and it would be fantastic if the Liberty Sands trilogy was made into a movie… I can dream can’t I?? And a chat show on ITV would be pretty cool too but I guess I shouldn’t be greedy!

 

Thanks to Julia for coming to chat today – I loved the answers!

The Liberty Sands Trilogy is out now

Life's a Beach COVER Final

Life’s a Beach and Then…

If He Really Loved Me Front Cover

If He Really Loved Me…

its never cover

It’s Never Too Late To Say…

Sex – To do it, or not to do it?

I have made myself a deadline, to finish my current book by the end of August. I have other irons in the fire, publisher things, submission things, but for the moment I don’t have a deadline from a publisher, so it’s all on me to apply bottom to chair and write.

My deadline is 4th September, so I have a book all fresh and ready to edit when the kids return to school and normality resumes. I have been going great guns, till my characters decided to sleep together. The words have ground to a halt. Why?

SEX. Such a little word that means so much. I am no wilting violet, and I enjoy reading books in this genre. I have devoured Mills & Boon books for years, and the relatively new NA (New Adult) genre has a great customer in me, as I love to stock up on steamy kindle reads, as long as the plot is good. Writing it however, is different.

Amanda and Ben, my two characters in The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, were a joy to write, but my two new characters, Thomas and Kate, are raw and steamy. The sexual tension has been burning my fingers for weeks, and now we are on the cusp….there are tongues…and….and…nothing!!

I have cleaned my house, filed my bills, posted my letters, tidied my desk. All my baskets are empty, washing, ironing, bins. I have the boys at home for the summer, and the house looks great. I have nothing to do today but write. Can I take the next step? Nope. I am a shivering virgin in the writing a sex scene part of writing.

So, what do we think? Do you think sex scenes are cringeworthy, or relevant? My two characters need to take this next step, it’s relevant, it’s been coming (pardon the pun, don’t read this Grandma Grace!) a while.

What favourite sex scenes do you have? Four Weddings and a Funeral awkward sex with talk of bottoms? Raunchy 50 Shades play room antics?

All I can say is, well done to those women who have deflowered virgins and crossed boundaries on the page. For now, my characters are staring lustily at the bedroom door…..sexy cap

Happy Yorkshire Day!

Book Review: Search of the Lost by Thomas R. Gaskin

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You may have seen in the media lately talk of a dyslexic writer hitting the headlines with a publishing deal. Well, this is it, and not only is the author a flag flyer for Dyslexia, he is also a very good writer! IF you like GoT, you will love this!

‘”No!” Havovatch shouted. But he could do nothing with two more fighting before him.

Out of nowhere, Feera jumped down from above with his two swords in a cross, cutting the creature’s head clean off.’

Like that taster? The book has some pretty awesome fight scenes, and the description is spot on. I find it hard to get into fantasy novels at times, but this one kept me reading.

According to the reviews, I read book 2 is even better, but with the ending for book 1, I can’t imagine where it will take the reader next!

Synopsis

The Knights of Ezazeruth were the most elite warriors the world had known: toughened by war and trained in a harsh regime, they were a force to reckon with.

But when the arrogant King Afthadus became afraid they would not survive, he cursed them with immortality: and so they went into exile…

2,000 years later, the dark armies of the Black, the very empire they swore to protect the world against, begin their invasion of Ezazeruth, and the ancient legends must be summoned back to fulfil their oath. This quest falls upon Havovatch, with his newly-appointed captaincy and unit of elite warriors. They must venture into the wild to find the Knights. But there is one problem: no-one knows where they are… If Havovatch does not succeed then Ezazeruth is doomed.

Search of the Lost is the first instalment in the Knights of Ezazeruth trilogy.

Search of the Lost is out now in ebook and paperback on Amazon.

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