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Welcome, Jean Gill…

jean sm~head and shoulders 

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

After a career teaching English, and writing when I could find the time, I wanted to write full-time. I now live in Dieulefit, a small village in Provence, where we moved from Wales in 2003 after my husband retired (and is the subject of my memoir How Blue is My Valley). My claim to fame is that I was the first woman to be a secondary Headteacher in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire.

From 2008, I also worked as a photographer. Life brings surprises if you’re open to adventures, so I learned dog-training with top international Michel Hasbrouck, and then, two years ago, I trained as a beekeeper. Which means I live with a Nikon D750, two scruffy dogs, a couple of beehives and a man. We also have five children between us so life has been pretty hectic.

What is the title and genre of your book?

Song at Dawn is Book 1of The Troubadours Quartet, historical fiction set in 1150 Provence.

Jean sm Song eBook cover

How did you come up with the story?

I was reading books about the troubadours, who lived and worked in this very region where I now live, and I came across the sentence, ‘Rumour says there was a female troubadour touring the south of France with a large white dog.’ How could I not write that book? Poetry, a feisty woman and a big white dog! I could see Estela in a ditch, on the run, and the Great Pyrenees at her side, and that’s how the story begins.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank you and all credit to my amazing designer Jessica Bell http://www.jessicabellauthor.com/book-cover-design-services.html  Yes, that’s one of the things I love about Indie publishing – never again will feel disappointed at seeing the cover a publisher has chosen!

Designing The Troubadours covers was the first time Jessica and I worked together but she understood straight away that I wanted a branded look for all my books, a series look for The Troubadours (three were already written) and finally the individual cover. An impossible task with 18 published books, of different genres, but she pulled it off!

Jean ms troubadours no text

Jessica is free to choose any of my photos if she wants and, for Song at Dawn, the dog on the cover is one of my own Great Pyrenees, Bételgeuse. The 12th century fortified village is also my photo, of Poët-Laval, a 12th century stronghold of the Knights Templar, right next door to me.

I wondered if we’d made a mistake having fantasy adventure vibes rather than a straight ‘authentic history’ medieval tapestry-type cover, given that the period detail is as accurate as a year’s research can make it, but when a reviewer said the book’s ‘like GOT but with real history’ I thought, ‘Yes! We got the covers right.’

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Believe in your own work. If you don’t, why should anyone else? And I’m a big fan of the approach; ‘Don’t get it right, get it written,’ with the P.S. ‘THEN redraft as often as it takes to get it right!’

What is your writing routine?

I’m a morning person, writing either at my desk in a corner of the living-room, where I can look at the garden and listen to Metallica or troubadour music, or outdoors with my laptop. I write about 1,000 words in one session and I try to always stop at a point when I know what comes next. I’m sure that’s why I never get writer’s block (touch wood!)

Do you have an editing process?

I really hate editing but nobody else can make my choices for me, even though I have a great professional editor. I write the book first, only looking back to check details or re-arrange parts and insert foreshadowing. When I finish (hooray moment!) I re-read and edit the whole book (ouch moment!). Then I let my husband read it; he has the knack of picking out a wrong note or something that just doesn’t work. Then my close group of writer-friends read it and feed back. Their feedback is essential and I call them alpha readers because beta readers is demeaning to such top quality writers. Then I consider all the suggestions, make my changes and send the typescript off to my editor for the final polish. She too will make suggestions on content so the pain is still possible.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Editing!

Where can people find you on the internet?

 Everywhere! 😊

Song at Dawn, Book 1 of the award-winning Troubadours Quartet is available free to subscribers who sign up to Jean’s newsletter here http://eepurl.com/AGvy5

Contact jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

IPPY Award for Best Author Website www.jeangill.com

Blog www.jeangill.blogspot.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/writerjeangill

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/writerjeangill

The Troubadours Page https://www.facebook.com/jeangilltroubadours

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619468.Jean_Gill

Watch the book trailers on youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/beteljean

Jean sm twitter banner 2016

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East Coast author event poster

 

 

A lovely day was had at The Loddon Swan Hotel last Saturday (25th Feb) where I joined some lovely authors to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

 

 

 

East Coast author event~Sandra Delf reading1

Sandra Delf

East Coast author event~Helen reading

Elizabeth Manning-Ives

East Coast author event ~ just starting

Enid Thwaites and Sandra Forder on the left

East Coast author event~Get Writing stall

East Coast author event ~Darren and Aisha 2017

Darren Barker and Aisha Khalaf

Me at the East Coast Author event at The Loddon Swan 25th Feb 2017

Suzan Collins

East Coast author event ~Cath Pickles and Worzel    East Coast author event~Worzel

Cath Pickles and Worzel

Thank you to the authors for giving their time and to The Loddon Swan for hosting us and looking after us. Thank you.

 

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Delighted to have been interviewed by Richard Hardie and you can read here what has kept me so busy http://richardhardies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/suzan-collins-deja-vu.html#comment-form

 

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Welcome Lynda Stacey…

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name)

Ha ha… do I use a pen name. No, I don’t write under a pen name. Most day’s I’m so busy Lynda Stacey author picI’d forget who I was if I had two names, so…. The name Lynda Stacey, really is me.

I’m the Sales Director at a stationery and office furniture company in Doncaster. It’s a position I’ve held for the past 25 years. I’ve seen the company grow and develop over the years and I’m very proud to be a part of it.

During my life, I’ve also been a oral surgery nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a Scuba Diving Instructor, who was qualified to teach people from taking their first underwater breaths, to being instructors themselves. People think I’m a little crazy, I have no problem jumping in the sea knowing there are sharks below. I love every minute of it.

However, in 2008 I was involved in a car accident. My shoulder was badly damaged and I had no strength in my right arm and had to stop teaching, although I do still dive for myself.

It was then that I began ‘playing’ at writing. I’d always had an interest in writing and like many other people had said for years that ‘one day I’d write a novel’. My brother even bought me a word processor 25 years ago and gave it to me with the words, “You keep saying you’ll write a book, get on with it.” Well… I finally did.

What are the titles and genres of your books?

The title of my debut novel is House of Secrets.

I always write romantic suspense, with a true villain at the centre of the story. I do believe in love, but I’m also very aware that life isn’t always simple.

How did you come up with the stories?

It was my birthday and my husband took me to stay at Wrea Head Hall for the night. The moment I walked in through the front door, I could feel the history seeping out through the walls. It was as thought the hall was talking to me, asking for a book to be written and to be fair, a house like that deserves a great story. So, I’ve given it as much intrigue as I could possibly imagine.

Your book has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

I always wanted the hall to be on the cover. It’s a beautiful place and the owner of the hall gave me the permission to use the photo, he’s also been extremely supportive. But other than that, I was happy to let Choc Lit do the rest. Berni Stevens does most of their covers. She is a fabulous designer and I just knew I’d be in for a treat.

Lynda Stacey~Front cover

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

YES….Keep writing. Write every day, even if it’s only a few words. And join a writing group. I became a member of the Romantic Novelist Association in 2013. They have a New Writers Scheme. As part of your NWS membership, you are offered a critique service on your work in progress. This was invaluable. They also have an annual conference, where you can meet editors or agents on a 1-1 basis. This is where I first met Lyn Vernham, director of Choc Lit and where she first became interested in my work.

What is your writing routine?

I work full time. My writing in sporadic and some nights my laptop doesn’t land on my knee until seven or eight o’clock. But I always try and write something.

Most of my writing is done on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I wake up early, around 6am and can sometimes get two or three hours writing done before the rest of the house (meaning the husband) wakes up.

Do you have an editing process?

I tend to edit as I write. But once I don’t feel as though I can do any more, I send it to Jane Lovering who offers a critique service. She’s amazing and brutally honest, but well worth listening to. If she says the plot is too complicated, or a character isn’t working, she’s normally right.

http://www.janelovering.co.uk

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

What I enjoy most is getting lost in the story. I love it when the characters come to life, they take on a personality and start doing their own thing on the page. I can write a chapter and then sit back and think, “Where did that come from?”. A few pages later, the character tends to do something else and I start nodding and laughing, saying to myself, “So, that’s why you did it.”

Are you writing anything at the moment?

I’ve just completed my 3rd novel. Currently called Broken Hope. I’ve put it down for a few weeks and will go back to it and re-edit it again, before sending it to Jane.

And I’m researching a possible time slip that I’ll base around the mining community. I am after all a miners daughter, so I kind of see the subject as my heritage. I also lived through the miners strikes of 1984, so have first hand knowledge on what it was really like.

Where can people find you on the internet?

Well…. I’m all over the place really. You can’t miss me. I have a page on Facebook, a twitter account, a webpage, an author page on the RNA website and an author page on the Choc Lit site.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lyndastaceyauthor

Twitter: @Lyndastacey

Website: www.Lyndastacey.co.uk

RNA: http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/

Oh… and you can find my e-book HOUSE OF SECRETS on Amazon and all other platforms. It’s a bargain at just £1.99

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes… please love the book ha ha… I put my heart and soul into writing House of Secrets. If you did enjoy it, I’d love for you to leave a review and to know your thoughts.

And if you ever get the chance, go to Wrea Head Hall. It’s just outside of Scarborough and I can guarantee that you’ll have an amazing time. 

Wrea Head Country House Hotel, Scarboroughhttp://www.wrea-head-hotel.co.uk/

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

Well, my book is e-book first. But hopefully, I’ll get enough reviews to get it into print. Already, House of Secrets has 16 reviews, 13 of them are 5 star and 3 of them are 4’s… it’s so much better than I could have wished for. I’m so happy and grateful to everyone who takes the time to write the reviews.

Lynda Stacey~Front cover

https://goo.gl/6InvHl

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Welcome Sandra Delf…

Can you tell me a little about yourself (inc a pen name f you use one)? Sandra Delf~author pic~head and shoulders

I have lived in Lowestoft for most of my life apart from 6 years in Australia and 3 in London. I left for Australia on my own at age 21. I have 3 children who have all now flown the nest.

I don’t use a pen name despite have a very boring name. If I did and someone called me by it I don’t think I’d answer anyway. Also, my book is about letters written by my father and a pen name, therefore, would not really fit.

What is the title and genre of your book?Sandras cover~Keep Smiling Through

My book is called Keep Smiling Through. It is a non-fiction history book containing letters written from prisoner of war camps during World War Two.

How did you come up with the story?

These letters, written by my father, Cyril, had been in a cupboard in my house for several years before I read them. Once they were put into date order I found there were interesting stories running through them.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Yes and I wanted the cover to state clearly what the book was about. I found an image of a prisoner of war camp on the internet and set about gaining permission to use it on the cover.

I passed it on to my cover designer, Jen Moon, with a description of what I was looking for. She did a wonderful job with a very unglamorous subject.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Just keep going. If you are writing non-fiction make clear notes of where you find your information

What is your writing routine?

I write in the mornings when I am fresh and keen.

Do you have an editing process?

Not really. But I do save all my research and edit it subject by subject. As far as the letters are concerned I transcribed them onto the computer as I read them.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

Seeing the final result is wonderful.

I dislike learning to use new technology but it is a necessary a tool.

Are you writing anything at the moment?

Yes I enjoy writing fiction and have a new project, a book containing 5 short stories about long separations. Also, I am hoping to get some feedback from Keep Smiling Through and will be carrying out some research to try and find out what happened to Cyril’s prisoner of war companions. If so I hope to write about it.

Do you belong to any writers groups?

Yes, I belong to: The Waveney Author Group, Writer’s Corner and Lowestoft U3A Writers Group.

Where can people find you on the internet?

I have a Facebook writer page.

https://www.facebook.com/Sandra-Delf-881404858618606/?fref=ts

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

I will be at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (Eafoc) on the 2nd and 3rd July in Kirkley, Lowestoft (details below). It would be great if people popped in to say hello. I will be situated at The Clyffe Hotel.  And if they cannot make it I will be at the Meet the Authors event 11th & 12th November at the Coconut Loft in Kirkley, Lowestoft.

As a member of the Waveney Author Group and part of our on tour programme I will be at Saxmundham Library 10.30am Thurs 7th July and Lowestoft Library 2-3pm Tues 20th September.

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

I felt excitement, relief and a great sense of achievement. And, immediately started thinking about my next project.

Thank you, Sandra. You have been a marvellous guest and I look forward to seeing you at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (EAFOC) this July in Kirkley, South Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Sandras cover~Keep Smiling Through

https://goo.gl/t7MFj7

And if you would like to come and meet Sandra and get a personalised signed copy please visit the website for more details: www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk

 

 

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Welcome, Pat Casselden…

Can you tell me a little about yourself? Pat~head and shoulders

I am a 67 year old wife, mother and grandmother, now retired after spending many years working with adults with learning disabilities.

I write fiction under my pen name of Tricia Cass which is a shortened version of my full name and have just written a story for an anthology, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, under my own name, Patricia Casselden

What is the title and genre of your book?

My book is titled ‘No Going Back’ and is a story of Drama / Crime / Family and LovePat's front cover~25th May 2016~green text~used snipping tool

How did you come up with the story?

‘No Going Back’ is totally fictional. It started in my mind as a short story when I attended a Creative Writing course at my local college.

As the characters grew, the story evolved.

It has a lovely cover. Did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank-you. Yes, I knew roughly what I wanted and met with a local Artist who came up with the cover. I loved the colours and felt it was perfect for the context of the book.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Look for writing groups / courses where you get advice and support. The local Library is a good place to get information.

Believe in yourself and enjoy.

What is your writing routine?

I don’t actually have a routine as I write when the mood takes me. I can get lost in my writing so I try to clear anything pressing before I start.

I like background noise when I write – it seems to help my concentration.

Do you have an editing process?

I did most of my own editing for ‘No Going Back’ as it was my first book and I had no idea of how to go about things. I had invaluable help once I found out more about the process and I will use an Editor for my next book. The cost involved will be well worth it when I think of the blood sweat and tears I used up this time.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

I love getting lost in my work.

I love discovering how my characters come to life and take me off track.

I love it when one chapter flows into another (This doesn’t always happen)

I get excited when I’m nearing the end.

I get frustrated when my ideas get blocked.

I hate it when my brain won’t switch off when I’m trying to sleep.

Where can people find you on the internet?

Facebook:

Pat Casselden: https://www.facebook.com/patriciacasselden49/?fref=nf

Tricia Cass: https://www.facebook.com/Tricia-Cass-Author-100423340370911/?fref=ts

Twitter:

@patcasselden

@triciacassauthor

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes – I will be at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (Eafoc) across the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July in Lowestoft (details below). I would love it if people stopped by to say hello so don’t be shy.

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

So proud I can’t describe it – it’s a lifetime dream come true.

I love all the positive feedback I’ve had.

Thank you, Tricia. You have been a marvellous guest and I look forward to seeing you at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (EAFOC) this July in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

And if you would like to come and meet Tricia and get a personalised signed copy please visit the website for more details: www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk . Alternatively, if you are unable to come  to the festival here is the link to buy a copy on Amazon

Pat's front cover~25th May 2016~green text~used snipping tool

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Going-Back-Tricia-Cass/dp/0993493475/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466250135&sr=1-1&keywords=tricia+cass

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Welcome Ellie Holmes…

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (inc if you use a pen name and why)Paula Guyver

I was born in Essex but made in Cornwall and use those two places as the source of inspiration for my writing. Like most people, I juggle commitments to family and friends, a part time job and my writing so my days tend to be hectic and my nights are long.

I write under the pen name of Ellie Holmes which is a combination of my two grandmothers’ names. I decided to use a pen name because I also write darker, crime driven novels which I may publish under my own name in due course although I haven’t completely made up my mind about that yet. I might introduce a darker line of Ellie Holmes’ novels instead.

What is the title and genre of your book?Ellie Holmes front cover

My debut novel is called The Flower Seller and it is commercial romantic fiction.

How did you come up with the story?

Believe it or not, it was supposed to be a short story about a woman re-entering the dating game after many years of marriage. One hundred thousand words later you can see my imagination took over. It developed into an exploration of the idea that people are not always how they first appear which is a rich seam for a writer to mine.

It has a lovely cover, did you have any say in what you wanted the cover to be?

Thank you, that’s very kind of you. Yes, absolutely.  As an indie author the cover is so important. I chose the cover designer I wanted to work with – the wonderful Berni Stevens www.bernistevensdesign.com and wrote her a detailed brief.  My brief included my wish for the cover to be “eye catching and beautiful with rich colours” and she certainly delivered on that. I love it and count myself very lucky to have such a beautiful cover.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Do something writing related every day. Really it’s the only way. If you can carve out a few precious minutes each day you will be amazed by what you can achieve. But that doesn’t just mean writing. In addition to that it could be catching up on a webinar on an aspect of the writing business you need guidance on. It could be researching a topic for your next book. It could be choosing editors or cover designers if you are self-published.

If you are engaged in the business of writing and serious about what you are doing and have the commitment and the strength of will to keep going for longer than a few weeks you are a writer. Being a writer is not about having a deal or not having a deal. It is not about traditional publishing or self-publishing. It is about the commitment.

What is your writing routine?

I aim to write 5,000 words a week, a 1,000 words a day for five days, usually in the evenings. In addition, I write two blog posts a week.  The blogs I tend to write first thing in the morning. The one day a week I am at home (apart from weekends), I spend editing.

Do you have an editing process?

I usually let a piece of work sit for a few weeks before I start editing. When I do, I’ll read it through making a few notes about the flow, any loose ends I haven’t tidied up and the areas that need expanding upon. Then I start the hard work of working through it chapter by chapter until each chapter sings. Once I reach the end of the beginning (usually around the thirty thousand word mark for a full length novel) I’ll do an out loud read through of that section. It helps to improve the flow and sharpens up the dialogue when you hear it out loud. Then I repeat the process for the middle section and the final section. Before doing an out loud read through of the whole thing. My read throughs for The Flower Seller were accompanied by the loud snoring of my longhaired Dachshund Sasha, hopefully my book won’t have the same soporific effect on humans!!

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

I love the buzz when you have an idea and you start to develop it and suddenly the characters take over. When you are in the zone it’s almost as though you are taking dictation from them which is wonderful.

I don’t enjoy writing the blurb for the back of a book. I am a hundred thousand word kind of girl (fifty thousand for my novellas) sticking to 150 odd words is HARD!

Where can people find you on the internet?

People can find me at my website www.ellieholmesauthor.com

I am also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EllieHWriter  and Twitter @EllieHWriter

and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/EllieHWriter

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Yes – I am going to be taking part in a pop up book shop at the East Anglian Festival of Culture across the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July in Lowestoft (details below). I would love it if people stopped by to say hello so don’t be shy.

How does it feel to finally hold your book in your hands?

When I first held my book it was a bittersweet feeling. My mum had very much been looking forward to sharing the moment with me but she died earlier this year. My dad is also gone and I know he wanted this for me perhaps even more than I wanted it for myself. Then, as I remembered all the hard work that had gone into not just writing the book but creating it, I felt very proud.

Thank you, Ellie. You have been a marvellous guest and I look forward to seeing you at the East Anglian Festival of Culture (EAFOC) this July in Kirkley, Suffolk.Ellie Holmes front cover

The Flower Seller   http://goo.gl/UrHYRb

 

 

And if you would like to come and meet Ellie and get a personalised signed copy please visit the website for more details: www.eastanglianfestivalofculture.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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