Today I am part of the blog tour for Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters. I interviewed her today. There is also a giveaway going on if you live in the UK!
Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays. Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.
Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.
The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen. Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.
Buy Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer here!
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m married with 2 teenage children. I was born in Coventry on April Fools Day. I have an older brother and trained as an accountant.
JRR: An April Fools Day baby! What inspires you to write?
Everything inspires me, from a song, something I see or overhear and even once an advert I saw on the TV.
JRR: You never know what may cause that inspiration! What does your writing process consist of? Do you research or ‘go with the flow’, do you handwriting or type, do you listen to music or have silence?
Most of my writing is go with the flow. I usually think about my next chapter whilst walking my dogs or as I’m drifting off to sleep. I always use my laptop now and tend to have silence or sometimes a movie I have seen over and over again that I don’t need to concentrate on.
JRR: I always think of things (not writing, but things I need to do) while in the shower. It just hits me! What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors? I know the journey to become published and can be long and hard.
The best advice is to keep going. Keep writing, keep editing and keep querying.
JRR: Don’t ever give up! Who is your favorite author as an adult?
My favourite author is Philippa Gregory.
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
The Worst Witch book by Jill Murphy has always stuck in my head and I dreamed of going to Cackles. I suppose in a way it was wanting to go to this imaginary place that made me want to make up my own imaginary worlds.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
I would love to have dinner with the Queen, not a state formal occasion but something small where you could see what she was really like. My late grandparents, I always spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day with them and would love to have just one more meal with them. But most of all I would like to have dinner with my dad before his dementia set in so I could tell him I loved him just one more time and he would know I was his daughter again.
JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
Too many to list.
JRR: Too many books and never enough time! What’s the best advice you have ever received?
You can’t change the past. Why waste time worrying about something you can do nothing about? Instead focus on the future and what you can do to make it better for you and others.
JRR: For someone who has not read anything written by you, what do you recommend for a start?
As I only have one book out in each genre I can only recommend Josie James for children or people who enjoy a fantasy series. As an adult my time slip romance, Reflected Destinies is a must.
JRR: Where did you get the idea for the Josie James series? Is Josie based off anyone you know?
Josie came to me a few years ago. She just started to develop in my mind over a few weeks and months. She is very loosely based on myself and my friends as teenagers.
JRR: Josie James will be a series of five novels, do you already know how it will ultimately end? And what can you tell us about the husky Asher? How quickly do you think the complete series will be released?
I know how each book will vaguely pan out and how ultimately it will end. Asher is based on my own husky Aisha. She is absolutely loopy and many of the things that Murphy and Asher do in the books are things that Aisha and her brother Max have done. We are hoping to release a book every 9 months.
JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for taking the time to interview me and share on your blog.
JRR: Thank you for your time with this interview!
About the Author:
Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also star in the Josie James series. She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.
Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local places and even her old school in her stories. Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.
Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.
Win a signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for The Pretender by Katie Ward. I will be sharing an extract from the novel. There is also an international giveaway going on!
France 2000: Two babies are born on the same day just two hours apart – but to very different lives. Isabella is a Princess and heir to the French throne, while Sophia is born into a life of poverty and abuse at the hands of her father. At the age of 18, Sophia runs away from home. That same night, Isabella is also fleeing from the burden of her royal life when she finds Sophia slumped at the palace gates. Amazed by how alike they look, Isabella proposes a daring plot – to exchange their lives for one week.
‘The Pretender’ is an emotionally intense and compelling story of friendship, love and the strange power of destiny.
Having now switched places with Princess Isabella, Sophia is faced with the problem of not knowing anyone or where anything is in the Palace, despite the fact she is supposed to have grown up there. Waiting until the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, Sophia sneaks out to try and find where everything is in the Palace.…..
Lying wide awake in the dead of night, I wait until the castle is sleeping before I set out to explore.
Tugging the bed covers aside, I creep towards the door and place my ear against it. There isn’t even the smallest sound from outside, so I open it quietly and slip out of Isabella’s room into the corridor. It’s imperative that I learn where everything is if I stand any chance of making this venture work.
The silver glow of the moon gives an unearthly feel to the palace as I begin to descend the staircase. Standing in the centre of the foyer I gaze towards the corridors leading off it. Which one should I take first? Am I going to get lost?
‘Ahem, Princess, isn’t it a little late for you to be roaming round the palace?’
I jump with fright. Stood before me is a portly little man. His glasses sit strangely on his long nose. I try not to stare but he has an almost comical appearance, with his stern demeanour in perfect contrast to his comical look.
‘I couldn’t sleep, sir,’ I manage to say. ‘I just needed to stretch my legs.’
‘Isabella, why do you call me sir? If your father heard you, I’d be in trouble. I’m here to serve you, not the other way around.’
I sigh deeply. It’s difficult to be treated as if you are on a pedestal. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss being treated like me.
‘If I told you a secret, would you promise to keep it?’ I ask him. ‘I need to tell someone or I’ll go mad – but you must promise you’ll never say anything.’ I’m taking a big risk, but I don’t see any alternative.
‘I’m the soul of discretion, dear Princess, and I swear I won’t reveal your secret to anyone. I tell you what, let’s go and have a cup of chocolat chaud and you can tell me all about it.’
He’s so comforting and kind. My spirits lift a little as I follow the man down to the kitchens, trying to discreetly make mental notes on how to get back. The man pulls out a chair for me at a table, quietly pottering around making the hot chocolate, bringing it to the table with some chocolate madeleines. He conveys an air of calm that helps me to relax slightly.
‘I thought you might like a little treat, Princess, you need to keep your strength up, and I know these are your favourites.’
‘Thank you, that’s so sweet of you.’ I am suddenly ravenous. I take a sip of the sweet chocolate drink and nibble on a delicious chocolate biscuit, all the while keeping my focus on the man and his kind face. Is it the right thing to do, to speak? Will he really keep my secret – or will I ruin everything?
‘So, Isabella, what is it that’s bothering you? I know your parents are very concerned, as you haven’t been yourself these past few days. Come on now, you can tell old Baptiste what the trouble is.’
I swallow a piece of biscuit and say: ‘Well, that’s just it. You see, I’m not who you think I am. The reason I’m acting so oddly is because I’m not Isabella and I don’t know anyone here. I’ve no idea who you are.’
A wary look crosses the man’s face, his penetrative stare maps my face trying to find a trace of difference in my face. His brow knits together as he fails to do so.
‘I can’t believe that. I’ve known Isabella since she was a baby and looking at you now I see the same child I always have. But your explanation does account for your odd behaviour – unless you are ill, my poor child. Oh, I just don’t know what to think! If it’s true, how could this have happened?’
‘Please don’t tell anyone,’ I beg urgently. ‘It’s a secret and it must stay that way. Promise me you won’t say a thing and I’ll tell you everything.’
‘As long as you are not in danger, of course, I won’t say a thing. To be honest, I don’t think anyone would believe me anyway. I’m not sure I can believe it myself.’
‘It happened the night that Isabella had the big argument with her father about going to Paris. She was really upset and decided to run away. We met at the palace gates, I had fled after my father attacked me, after Isabella found me crying at the gates she brought me to her room. When she saw how alike we looked, she suggested that we exchange places for a week.’ I gulp. ‘She was desperate for a taste of freedom and I was desperate for some security . . .’
I pull up my sleeves, showing him the bruises upon my arms.
‘My name is Sophia Lazarus. My family live on the Forest estate– after fleeing my home I had nowhere else to go so I came to the palace because it’s the only place I’ve ever felt safe.
The kindly man’s face goes pale. ‘Oh, my word. What a terrible thing to do to anyone, let alone your own child. I’m so sorry for you.’
‘Isabella was ready to make her escape, but when she found me there, slumped and weeping in pain, she got the guard to let me in and we climbed back up a makeshift rope to her room.’ I can’t help but smile at the memory. ‘It was one of the strangest nights of my life I still can’t believe that it really happened.’
‘I see. So that’s how she came to have a stranger in her bedroom when the King and Queen walked in . . . Things certainly make a lot more sense now.’
About the Author:
Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism.
After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper.
Katie currently lives in Devon with her cat (aka ‘Her Royal Fluffiness’) where she sings in a community choir and has recently taken up Archery. Katie’s favourite author has been Roald Dahl since she was a child as she loves the dark edge he brings to his books. On the flip side though, Katie loves Disney, magic, unicorns and a good rom com film at the cinema with her friends.
Win a signed original illustration from Emma Haines. She is the artist who drew the cover illustrations of The Pretender.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.[Top]
Today I am on the blog tour for The Craft Room by Dave Holwill. This is a short one at 207 pages!
Sylvia Blackwell is tired. Her grandchildren are being kept away from her, and the expected inheritance that might finally get her middle-aged son to move out has failed to materialise – thanks to her mother’s cat. It is becoming increasingly difficult to remain composed. On a romantic clifftop walk for her 47th Wedding Anniversary, an unexpected opportunity leads to a momentous decision that will irretrievably change the course of her life.
The Craft Room is a darkly comic tale of sex, crepe paper, murder and knitting in a sleepy Devon town, with a ‘truly original’ premise and genuinely jaw-dropping moments. What would you do if unexpectedly freed from bondage you never knew you were in? How would your children cope? How far would you go to protect them from an uncomfortable truth? You can only push a grandmother so far…
About the Author:
Dave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
His debut novel, Weekend Rockstars, was published in August 2016 to favourable reviews and his second The Craft Room (a very dark comedy concerning death through misadventure) came out in August 2017. He is currently in editing hell with the third.[Top]