Tag: interview

Blog Blitz: The Christmas Spirit

Today I am part of the blog blitz for The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan: I interviewed her! There is also an INTERNATIONAL giveaway going on for some ebooks. Be sure to check that out!

Book Description:

Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it.

Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.

Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?

Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.

Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season?

The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?

Buy The Christmas Spirit now:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Jessica. Well, I’ve written four books and am actually in the middle of two more. I live near Glasgow with my husband and two cherubs, one of each. I juggle the monkeys and my proofreading and editing business, although I now have a dedicated writing day, which should mean more books in the future.

I love the theatre, quiz shows, fine dining (well, food, generally!) and movies. Did I forget books?!

JRR: Did you always want to become an author?

Yes and no. I have written stories from an early age, but life has a habit of getting in the way. I actually wanted to be a linguist when I left school and went to uni and did a Masters in French and Hispanic Studies, then worked in European and International Sales for many years. When I was made redundant a few years ago, my then boyfriend (now husband) suggested I try to publish the book I’d been writing on holiday for about six years!

JRR: And now you have written four books with more to come! What inspires you to write?

Everything and anything. It can be a chance remark I overhear in a café or in a conversation with a friend. It can be a person. I have some clients who work so hard that they put me to shame and I think ‘right, no more procrastinating, I will write today’ or it can be the germ of an idea.

JRR: So be careful where you are in public, you never know who may overhear you and use what you say for a book! 😉 Now, what does your writing process consist of? Do you research, do you handwrite or type, do you have music playing or need silence?

I handwrite only when I am without my laptop. Yes, writing by hand is nice, but a) my writing is awful – like a doctor’s and b) it just means I need to type it into the laptop later. When I am out and about, I do use my notebook, but more for planning out scenes and capturing ideas. I research a lot. I hate inconsistencies and now as an editor of other people’s books that has become even more important for me!

I don’t usually have music on but if I do it’s classical.

JRR: What kind of advice can you give to aspiring authors?

Too long a list, but basically, write; write whenever you can; don’t give up; write what you love; write something you’d want to read. Don’t be afraid of not being good enough. There are ways to help you improve. No one gets it right first time.

JRR: Who is your favorite author as an adult?

Hmm. I don’t really have a favourite as I can’t choose between my top four or five. I will buy any new release by Jill Mansell, Carole Matthews and latterly by Holly Martin and Cathy Bramley, but I keep finding all these new authors that I love.

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?

My favourite author was the late Maeve Binchy. Her books and the way she wrote lovely, warm characters inspired me to write. And Enid Blyton’s stories made me want to always keep my imagination and believe in the magical.

JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?

Rupert Penry-Jones (he’s lovely!), Queen Victoria (I reckon she was a lot softer than they made out) and Maeve Binchy (reasons above).

JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

Anything by Jane Austen and Dickens. I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice and A Christmas Carol.

JRR: What is it like to write Christmas stories vs stories that take place at other times of the year? Do Christmas stories seem ‘magical’ to you?

I love writing Christmas stories. It is funny though writing about snow and decorations and mulled wine in July. I do feel that Christmas sparkle and smile to myself as I write (I know I do, I can’t help it!). Christmas is about spreading goodwill and my characters tend to need a bit of help around Christmas, so it warms my heart to be able to make that happen for them. And I love writing about all the Christmas traditions around the world.

JRR: Where did you get the idea for The Christmas Spirit? Which character was your ‘favorite’ to write?

I think I had a dream that inspired it. Natalie, the protagonist, was my favourite, although I did love writing Stanley, the old man, and Meredith was such a horror! Loved writing her too.

JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?

You’ve only got one life so live it.

JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?

There’s a second book out, related to The Christmas Spirit, aptly named Return of the Christmas Spirit. And I hope to release The Proposal and Just One Day in the first half of 2019, with perhaps a Christmas-themed book for this time next year.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope Santa’s good to you!

JRR: A second book! How exciting! And more from you in 2019! I look forward to it! Thank you for your time with this interview.


About the Author:

Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband and their two children. She is the author of four novels: Return of the Christmas Spirit, The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game, and Sign of the Times. She is currently working on books five and six: The Proposal and Just One Day.

Susan is also a proofreader, editor and translator, and when not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, loves reading, the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!

Contact Susan:
Website: Sooz’s Journal
Twitter @susan_buchanan

https://www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author

**International Giveaway!**

Win e-copies of Sign of the Times and The Dating Game:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*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.

Blog Blitz: I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas

Today I am part of the blog blitz for I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas by CP Ward: I interviewed him! 

Book Description:

I’m glad I found you this Christmas – an uplifting sweet romance set against the magical backdrop of Christmas.

Maggie Coates is frustrated. Her longterm boyfriend, Dirk, recently moved to London to take a job she fears puts him out of her league. Despite the assurances of her best friend Renee, Maggie is convinced Dirk is slowly drifting away. All Maggie wants is to get married and settle down, but maybe Dirk has other ideas.

Convinced by Renee to make one last throw of the dice, Maggie books a romantic holiday for two in the quaint Scottish village of Hollydell. But will Dirk show up?

And if he doesn’t, what if there is a perfect man waiting for her among the Christmas magic of Hollydell’s snow-laden streets? What if Henry, the humble reindeer farmer with the kind smile, turns out to be the man of Maggie’s dreams?

I’m glad I found you this Christmas is a glowing sweet romance which will leave you feeling warm inside and buzzing with Christmas spirit.

Buy I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas now:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Chris Ward, I’m 39 years old (nearly 40!) and I’m from Cornwall in the UK. For the last 15 years I’ve been living in the mountains of Japan, where I work full time as an English teacher. 

JRR:  Japan: Nice!  My hubby wants to visit there.  Now, did you always want to become an author?

From as young as I can remember. I started writing little stories at the age of 5 or 6, then began dreaming of superstardom during my early teens while typing away on my dad’s battered old typewriter. 

JRR:  What inspires you to write? 

I find myself constantly examining the world around me. It sounds like a cliché but I’m always thinking “what if this happened?”

JRR:  That could be the best way to come up with a story( What if this happened?). What does your writing process consist of?  Do you research, do you handwrite or type, do you have music or need silence?

I write in multiple genres and in a variety of different ways. In general, I write in the mornings, to as much silence as I can get, and on a battered old laptop with the internet connection deleted. Since my daughter was born two years ago, very early mornings – I generally start around 4.a.m, write until she gets up, then go to work and steal a little time on the clock if I’m not busy. If I’m awake after my daughter goes to sleep (rarely) I do a bit of marketing stuff.

My process depends on the type of book I’m writing. I prefer to make it up as I go along, but especially for series books I plan them more in advance. Some, like my mystery pen name (Jack Benton) I write them intentionally on the fly. That makes the plots more difficult to figure out.

As for research, I do it as I go along, usually by watching YouTube videos or using the Internet. 

JRR:  Who is your favorite author as an adult?

Currently, Gillian Flynn. Everything she writes is genius. Historically, Iain Banks. I’m also currently partial to a bit of Mark Edwards, although I pick books and authors at random and there’s no one I’ve read comprehensively.

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?

To be honest, there was no writer who inspired me to become one. I can’t even remember what I used to read when I was very young. Whatever was in the school library, I guess. In my teens I got big into Stephen King, but I was also a fantasy nut, reading loads of fat long books by people like Robert Jordan. 

JRR:  I read Stephen King as a teen as well.  If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?

 My grandparents, because I miss them, and my two-year-old daughter, because I’d like my grandparents to have met her.

JRR:  Aww, good choice! 

Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. I bought it about a week before I got my Kindle. It’s been sat around on my table ever since, and I’ve got to page 14 about fifteen times. 

JRR:  I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas is different from the books you usually write. What made you decide to write it?

Simply because I love Christmas. I always wanted to write a Christmas book, and I finally got around to it.

JRR:  Women tend to write ‘sweet romance’ books. How did you feel about writing this type of novel?

It’s not the first romance I’ve written – I have three mystery novels which have a romantic subplot (although darker), and I’ve written some romantic short stories. In general, though, I can turn my hand to anything. I started publishing in 2012, and got pigeonholed into SF for commercial reasons, but in the years before that I only ever wrote standalone novels, and each in a different genre. I was strictly opposed to writing the same book twice, and even now I struggle to maintain my interest past three or four books. I generally don’t read series for the same reason, although I probably would if I had more time. I like to get a complete story when I buy a book.

JRR: Is Christmas your favorite holiday?  What made you pick Christmas as the time of year for this novel?

It’s absolutely my favourite. I’m a teacher by profession, and a foreigner in Japan, so every year I end up getting the suit on and going round all the kids parties, churches, schools. It’s a lot of fun. Christmas in Japan is a poor imitation of Christmas in Western countries, so part of it is nostalgia because it’s over by midnight on Christmas Eve as everything turns to the New Year celebrations that we have out here. 

JRR:  Sounds like you have a lot of fun every year at this time!  Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thanks to everyone who’s taken a chance on my book. I hope it will warm your heart. And if you like it, please let me know.


About the Author:

CP Ward is a writer from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan. This is his first Christmas book.

Contact CP Ward:
Website

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Blog Tour: Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner

Today I am part of the blog tour for Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner: I interviewed her!  There is also an INTERNATIONAL giveaway going on.  Be sure to check that out!

Book Description:

When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

A girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love.  But those from whom they expect support are manipulating them both because their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After a stormy youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery.  That is, until he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation.  To follow his heart, he’ll have to face his demons again, outside the security of the monastery. Is it worth the risk?  Can he beat them this time? Or will they finally destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the abbey.  All she wants is to learn how to manage her unusual abilities so that she is not a danger to those around her.  When she comes into contact with Prospero everything threatens to spiral out of her control.  Whether she leaves or whether she stays, how can she possibly avoid destroying – yet again – those she has come to care about? 

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice.  He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war.  Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for.  He knows what he has to do but is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

Buy Strand of Faith NOW:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Books2Read Universal link


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

I guess there’s no such thing as a typical author, but I’m certainly not typical. I have a degree in Civil Engineering although I’ve never worked in that area.  I’ve mostly worked as an accountant and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).  I’ve run my own accountancy business for many years, where I provide financial management and financial modelling services to public sector organisations.  How that led to becoming an author, I’ve no idea.

In my spare time I like to keep fit so I swim regularly and I’m also an archer, something I enjoy very much.  I’m actively involved in my local church where I manage the sound system (the minister is my husband – so I have the power to turn his mic off if he preaches too long!). I also have a couple of voluntary roles, one as trustee with a local youth theatre and the other advising a genealogical organisation.

JRR: I also worked the sound system at one of my former churches for a while and it’s hard work! (Turning off that mic can be tempting….  😉 ) Now, Did you always want to become an author?

No, it happened to me by chance.  The story developed in my head and eventually I had to write it down to stop the characters taking over my life.  That didn’t work, by the way.  Once I got them out of my head and onto paper they started taking over even more of my life!

JRR: What inspires you to write? 

Pretty much anything! I can hear something, or see a picture or read something and an idea just develops. I dreamt one of the scenes in Strand of Faith and the rest of the story grew from there. I’m definitely a pantser not a plotter and I find the story unfolds on the page. Sometimes I’m surprised by the direction it goes.

JRR:  What does your writing process consist of?  Do you research, do you hand-write or type, do you have a playlist or do you need silence?

I don’t have a playlist but I don’t need silence.  I’m quite happy to be interrupted and I find it quite easy to get back to work again. I type because my handwriting doesn’t keep up with my thought process – I can type much faster. I research when necessary but once I start research something there’s always a danger it will be hours before I get back to writing!

 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?

I don’t think there’s any one author that has influenced me more than another. I read extensively as a child and I still do today. I couldn’t pick any one author.

JRR: Oops… Who are some of your favorite authors as an adult?

 I have quite a list – some of my favourites include Neil Gaiman, Terry Prachett (Discworld), Jodi Picoult, Annette Marie (urban fantasy), Jodi Taylor (Chronicles of St Mary’s), Sarah Woodbury (After Cilmeri time travel fiction), Trisha Ashley (romance), Diane Gabaldon (Outlander), Anne McCaffery (Dragonrider series).  But there are many, many more. 

JRR:  If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?

My Dad would be one of them, definitely.  He died five years ago which was before I started writing or had any idea about publishing so I’d really like to share all this with him.  He influenced at least one of my male characters. I’d love to spend time with Neil Gaiman, because I’ve read so much of his work and it ranges over so many different areas. And that leads me on to my third choice, Terry Pratchett.  I could (and have) read his Discworld series over and over again.  Spending time with someone with that level of imagination would be fascinating.

JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

Umm…My TBR pile currently has 25 books in it and that’s just the physical pile.  I don’t think there’s any one stand out book that I’ve always meant to read, just a whole lot that have tempted me. I started the Goodreads reading challenge to encourage me to work through the physical pile this year, but much of what I read is eBooks. Using an eReader means I can adjust the font size if I need to instead of having to hunt for my reading glasses.

JRR: Yes, too many books and never enough time!  What made you choose the paranormal romance genre to write your first novel?

I didn’t choose it, not exactly.  I just wrote Strand of Faith and its sequels and then tried to work out what genre it was.  Paranormal romance seemed to be the closest fit for something that is really cross genre.

JRR:  Where did you get the idea for Strand of Faith? Did you base any character off anyone you know?

The idea started when I dreamt one of the scenes in this book, and then developed in my mind and on paper.  It felt like the characters were telling me their story and I was writing it down.  Some were more reticent than others! No character is based directly on someone I know, but I can see some of my friends’ characteristics in some of my characters. 

JRR:  What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Finish it!  It’s very easy to start something and not nearly so easy to plough on and finish it.  It applies to everything, not just writing.  I felt a tremendous sense of achievement when I finished the first draft of all four books in the Choices and Consequences series.

JRR:  Is there anything else you would like to share?

I really hope you enjoy reading Strand of Faith as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  My plan is to release the other three books in the series over the next fifteen months or so.  I’d love it if, at the end of Strand of Faith, readers were eager to read the rest and impatient for the next release date. If you want to look out for them:

Book 2 – Thread of Hope, to be released spring 2019
Book 3 – Weave of Love, to be released autumn 2019
Book 4 – Cloth of Grace, to be released spring 2020

Or sign up for my newsletter at www.racheljbonner.co.uk to be sure you don’t miss out.

JRR:  Thank you for your time with this interview Rachel! And now we know when to look out for the rest of the series!!


About the Author:

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Target shooting only, honest.  Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

Contact Rachel:
Twitter @RachelJBonner1

**International Giveaway!**

Win a signed paperback copy of Strand of Faith, a set of bookmarks (3 styles plus a business card) featuring the cover art, and a canvas print (40cm by 30cm) of the original cover art. **Open Internationally**

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*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.

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