Today is publication day for her newest novel The Suspects, and today I bring you an author spotlight for Katharine Johnson:
Katharine Johnson was born in Bristol and now lives in Berkshire. She’s worked as a journalist on lots of magazines and has written a history book about Windsor. When not writing you’ll usually find her with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other, restoring a house in Italy, walking her spaniel or playing netball (although not usually at the same time.)
Katharine’s New Novel:
Publication Day: Today, May 10, 2019
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Shallow Grave meets The Secret History in this quirky psychological thriller
Bristol, 1988. Five young graduates on the threshold of their careers buy a house together in order to get a foot on the property ladder before prices spiral out of their reach. But it soon becomes the house share from hell.
After their New Year’s Eve party, they discover a body – and it’s clear they’ll be the first suspects. As each of them has a good reason from their past not to trust the police, they come up with a solution – one which forces them into a life of secrets and lies. But can they trust each other?
Purchase The Suspects NOW.
A short Q&A with Katharine:
Why did you write The Suspects?
I love stories that involve a small group of people in a claustrophobic situation. The shared house gives my characters something they’re desperate to hold onto but that also traps them. They’re thrown together as almost strangers but suddenly have to depend on each other to stay ahead of the police – but they’re also increasingly worried about the enemy within. When it comes down to it, will they stick together as they’ve promised, or save themselves?
When did you start writing?
I’ve always enjoyed making up stories and wrote my first book aged nine. I’ve made a living out of writing as a journalist but I came back to writing fiction around ten years ago when my three children were all at school and I had a bit more time. I wrote some stories for magazines, got lots of rejections, wrote some more, got a few published and then I enrolled on a creative writing course and finally decided to have a go at writing a novel I’d been planning to write for years.
What do you find the hardest aspect of writing a novel?
I love the early bit – getting the ideas, seeing where the plot goes. I like the early revision too but going over the final manuscript is hard because I always see things I want to change and it’s so hard to spot your own silly mistakes.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Getting into the heads of different characters as they try and think their way out of a situation.
What do you like least about writing?
There aren’t enough hours in the day to keep on top of all the marketing and promotion while trying to write your next book. It all seems to take me much longer than everyone else!
What’s the best advice you’ve had about writing?
Keep going until the end of the first draft – it might be terrible but no one’s going to see it. Then when you’ve got to the end and have the whole picture you can worry about fixing things, putting in foreshadowing, hooks etc.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished Our House by Louise Candlish – it’s so brilliant I want to start all over again!
Katharine’s Other Novels
The Silence and The Secret are both set in a villa in Tuscany. Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings is a 1930s crime story. What links all of Katharine’s books is that they are about ordinary people who because of a bad decision find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Published: June 8 , 2017
Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle – and a secret that could destroy everything.
When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity.
In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open.
Buy The Silence here.
Published: June 1, 2018
Love, Lies, and Betrayal in Wartime Italy.
Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences.
Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War, friendship is tested, and loyalties are divided until a chance encounter changes everything.
Their lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village, while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.
But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.
Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds among the next generation.
Buy The Secret here.
Published: August 13, 2016
Nothing much has gone right for Jack since he graduated last year. His career has failed to take off, his fiancée has ditched him for someone with better prospects and now he’s received an invitation to their wedding. He dreads going to the wedding alone, surrounded by his high-achieving friends, so when he meets a beautiful girl who offers to accompany him he jumps at the chance.
But by accepting her invitation he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue and murder.
Buy Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings here.
Today we are bringing you an Author Spotlight for Taylor Saville! We have all kinds of goodies for you today: Information on Taylor and her novel Jagged Mind, which also includes Kim’s review. As a bonus, Taylor is being awesome enough to do a giveaway of not one, but THREE novels and more (US Only). Come on and get to know Taylor and her work:
Taylor Saville is the author of Jagged Mind, and while it is not her first novel, it is the first novel she chose to publish. Her husband, Jeffrey Smith, or Ascending Storm, is a professional artist and designs all of her book covers. She has a new title planned to be released this Fall, and a fantasy trilogy that is well under way. She is also currently writing three new novels simultaneously, so expect many more titles in the future! She will be an author to look out for!
“Jagged Mind took years to bring to life. I’m elated for people to experience the story that took so much out of me to create. This novel is also complete with eleven full-page, interior illustrations.”
Is there any true deliverance for the depraved? Does love change people? These questions surround the life of Harper Nolan. The foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, self-destructive lead singer of the metal band known as Jagged Mind. Locked in a cycle of self-mutilation, violence, and alcohol abuse, the threads of his life slowly begin to unravel, much to the unease of his more levelheaded bandmates. Though right when his world is ready to collapse entirely from beneath his feet, he falls harder than he ever could have imagined for the naive, sheltered girl who changes everything. He believes her love can save him, when in reality, she is merely the flame which detonates the bomb, sending their lives spiraling into a nightmare too intense to fathom. A nightmare which leaves him convinced he must end his own life. Though to his horror… life refuses to let him go.
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Reviewed by: Kim
Kim’s rating: 4.5 stars
So, add another book to the list of “books that made Kim ugly cry.” Taylor was so kind in giving me a free e-book copy and I’m gonna give the most glowing endorsement a booknerd can possibly give: I bought a physical copy off of Amazon. That’s right! On top of the free e-book copy, I ordered a physical copy because I want it tangibly sitting on my shelf. Before I even start talking about the story, I want to mention the brilliant illustrations that are included in this book. Taylor’s husband, Jeff, is a professional artist and he created several gorgeous pictures to go along with the story. Once my copy arrived, first thing I did was flip through the book looking for all the artwork. They are amazing and enhanced my reading.
Now, the story . . . fair warning, Taylor is a soul torturer. To be honest, when I first started reading, I was expecting to hate Harper and sludge through another cliché love story of good girl falls for bad boy and she helps him discover the teddy bear within. Nope! The story is a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and tragedy and happiness and love and hate and disgust and stomach-churning and hope and I didn’t think my heart could take anymore, and that was barely half way through! I do not remember the last time I connected so emotionally to a character like I did with Harper. Every single thing that he went through, that happened to him, that he did, I took personally. There were times when I was literally sick to my stomach because of the things Harper did and participated in. As the darkness inside him got darker and bleaker and deeper, I wanted to jump into the story and beat him and hug him all at the same time. Hope and despair go hand in hand throughout the entire book! I’m pretty sure I developed an anxiety disorder while reading Jagged Mind, in all the best and worst ways! I wish I could accurately describe just how much this book made me feel. And y’all know that I’m a relatively shallow person so that’s a pretty big deal! When I finished the last page, I just sat and cried. My heart broke so completely and it felt so good and so bad simultaneously.
I identified with Emmaline. She and I are the sheltered chicks thrown into a crazy world and I appreciated her realism. There were times that she frustrated me because she was so cautious and reserved with Harper, when my “happily ever after” brain just wanted them to fall in love and everything to work out perfectly, and sometimes it just felt like she was leading him on and it really bugs me when girls do that. The other members of the band were just as turbulent in my mind. Gray, Harper’s best friend and the band’s bassist, alternated between love and hate for me. But I absolutely loved the banter between all the guys. It cracked me up! Indeed, I did laugh out loud several times when the band got together and joked and mocked together. I just became so invested in the characters and I find myself missing them, now that I’ve finished the book. Even the secondary characters that have very small parts in the plot were so real and so genuine that I’ve already asked Taylor to write another book to tell the story of one of them. Ok, two of them! 😊
The reason I gave Jagged Mind 4.5 stars instead of a full 5 stars is relatively minor, once I got used to it. Taylor gets so deep into the minds of all the characters that sometimes the distinction between everyone gets a little murky. One minute, you’re in Harper’s head, contemplating his deep-seated self-hate, then the next sentence, you’re in Rence’s head, pondering the future of the band. And the easiest way to fix it would be the pronouns, but even those got confusing. Once I figured it out, I was able to easily think my way through it, but it did get a bit distracting at times. However, I definitely wouldn’t trade the window into everyone’s thoughts for all the clear pronouns in the world, so overall, it worked out well.
I’m going to include the message I sent to Taylor as soon as I finished the book so hopefully I can convey just how much this book meant to me:
“I’m not sure what to say …
Thank you for sharing your book with me. I usually rate books by the emotions they illicit and I gauge my emotions by their physical manifestations. I’m in tears, Taylor. I had to blink to clear my eyes so I could even finish the last 2 pages. Once I closed the book, I sobbed. Very few books have brought out that kind of reaction, and your book is one of them. I don’t want to say that Jagged Mind is “awesome” or “amazing” because they’re too shallow and they don’t do it justice. I don’t know what word to use yet … you’re a writer, give me a word! All I can say is that I love your book and I plan on keeping it on my shelf for the rest of my life and I plan on rereading many times.”
I hope that, in some way, channels a few of the feelings that I had to endure while reading Jagged Mind. I absolutely recommend this book, definitely not to teens, but to anyone looking for a deep, poignant, disturbing, moving read.
There will be three winners: You will receive a signed copy of Jagged Mind and a limited art print signed by the artist! Thank you for this awesome giveaway Taylor!Giveaway runs from today through 9/26 at midnight. Good luck!
Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches, windy dunes, and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.
Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. Neptune’s Daughter is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, is slated to release in April 2018. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.
Terry’s newest upcoming novel:
Would you sell your secrets?
Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.
Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.
Can she clear her name before it’s too late?
Publication Date: April 11, 2018
The Sarah Bennett Mysteries:
Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies. In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.
San Francisco, March 1943 – Sarah Bennett harbors two secrets: She sees ghosts, and she’s in love with a spy. When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr. Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her—a spirit whose incessant weeping only she can hear. Meanwhile, as Sarah struggles to cope with the relentless weeping, she comes face to face with Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is ostensibly convalescing from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and Sarah’s love and trust are soon put to the test. Things take an even darker turn when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, and Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead. Unsure who she can trust, she must unlock the mystery of the weeping ghost in order to save Dr. Geisler—and herself—from an unknown enemy.
Zeke’s sister-in-law, Rachel Winslow Caen, was despondent over her inability to carry a child to term, so when her body was found on Christmas Eve, 1937 drowned, her family assumed she took her own life. Now, five years later, one of the emeralds that Rachel was wearing at the time of her death has turned up at a stonecutter’s in Portland, Oregon. Zeke’s brother, Simon, who has paid off his gambling debts with funds from an unknown source, is under suspicion of murdering Rachel and taking the emeralds. The town gossips are certain that Simon’s family will influence the investigation and that Simon will get away with murder.
With troubles of their own and in need of a place to hide, Sarah and Zeke return to Zeke’s hometown and set out to clear Simon’s name. Things take a sinister turn when Rachel Caen’s ghost leads Sarah to another emerald, hidden away in the Caen house. Did one of Zeke’s family members murder Rachel? Who can Sarah trust? Sarah and Zeke pit their wits against a cunning killer who will stop at nothing to thwart them, and discover just how far someone will go for the love of family and tradition.
Set in California in 1943, Neptune’s Daughter is a taut mystery told in the style of Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden, and Victoria Holt, and is a poignant reminder of civilian life on the home front during the Second World War.