author interview

Author Focus – Bev Spicer @BevSpice

bev christmas 2014

I’m very pleased to have novelist Bev Spicer on the blog today. I have read three of Bev’s books and enjoyed all of them very much. My reviews are here:

The Undertaker’s Son

Angels

My Grandfather’s Eyes

Bev’s new novel ‘What I Did Not Say’ is out now and you can read an excerpt on her blog.

full size Jpeg what I did not say kindle

You can also connect with Bev on Twitter.

Tell me a little about your writing history/background. What inspired you to write?

I’m not someone who can say I always wanted to write. I did enjoy project work at school and also wrote short stories to terrify my sisters (they liked end-of-the-world scenarios – the scarier the better!). But it was only when I moved to France in 2008 and couldn’t get a teaching post at La Rochelle University, that I decided to try writing. My first attempt was called ‘A Taste of Lemons’ and was the story of a girl trapped in two parallel universes. I believed it was brilliant but was sensible enough to listen to criticism (it hurt – the first book is a labour of love). Thank goodness I didn’t publish it. I might go back to it one of these days and give it a ruthless edit.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I can never stick to a plan. Rather, I have an idea centred around one or more characters. So the problem for me is balancing the freedom to invent and the discipline necessary to produce a plot that has integrity. Endings are the most interesting part of writing, for me. I love the subtle balance required to give the reader just enough to bring everything together.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is like anything else in life: you learn how to do it by doing it! Advice rarely makes sense unless you have experience and can relate to what people are trying to tell you. And if you have experience you know that your writing can always be improved. When I started writing I had tunnel vision. I was unable to take criticism well. The thrill of creating something just took me over. I suppose I would say that it’s better to keep moving forward and at the same time be prepared to go back and edit work as you improve as a writer. And listen to criticism – it really does help to have other writers give you feedback on your writing. The negative stuff is usually more helpful than the praise, even if it is poorly delivered or downright brutal there will be truth in it. I put a YA novel on a writers’ website in order to get feedback before I published. A couple of people said nice things about it and offered constructive criticism. One person slammed it in an angry tirade of abuse. He hated it and told me exactly why. I must admit, I was shocked. My first reaction was to dismiss what he said, but I didn’t publish and still haven’t. The book is verbose at times; the fear in the first chapter is over-stated. It will be a better book because of the hefty dose of criticism it received on a public forum for authors. I must say though, that I try to give criticism as kindly as I can – you have to KNOW that you are trusted.

And of course it’s important to read, read, read.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just published my new novel ‘What I Did Not Say’.

Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she hasn’t seen for fifteen years. In her bag there is a package she must deliver. As she travels south, she remembers Jack Banford, a boy who captured her imagination as a child and made her believe in a future that could never happen. Now it is time for her to set the record straight and finally put the past behind her. ‘What I Did Not Say’ is a story of loyalty, cruelty, and love at all costs.

Who is your favourite author and what is it that you love about their work?

I must say that I enjoy a lot of different authors. If I had to choose one, it would be Margaret Atwood. When I read ‘Cat’s Eye’ I was thrilled and terrified. She captures the venomous nature of childhood friendships and is a master of conveying mood.

Who would you choose to have over for dinner and why?

I’m going off piste on this one… Someone who can cook, obviously. Probably Jamie Oliver because he’s fun, friendly and doesn’t make a fuss. He’s made a huge difference to society’s attitudes to food and nutrition too.

Desert Island Books – what five books would you choose to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

‘The Nation’s Favourite Poems’ (BBC) – I have two copies to dip in to, ‘Oryx and Crake’ (Margaret Atwood) – I have to move on from ‘Cat’s Eye’, ‘Ghost Story’ (Peter Straub) – it’s terrifying, something by Shakespeare – probably ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ (I’d learn all parts and perform the whole thing on the beach), and I know this will sound pretentious but I learned Latin at school and I enjoy a good challenge so I’d take ‘The Iliad’ and work out a translation – after all, I’d have plenty of time and no one to tell me I was wrong.

Tell us something unusual about yourself.

I don’t know whether it’s unusual, but I love astronomy and astrophysics. Can’t get enough of ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’, ‘Does God Play Dice?’ or quantum theory in general. Oops! I’d need more than five books on my desert island…unless there were multiple universes.

Oh, and I spent most of my weekends as a teenager with my father on a Welsh mountain learning to fly gliders. Cold, wet, and wonderful.

Find a copy of Bev’s latest book here.

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#AuthorInterview: June Moonbridge @JMoonbridge

On the blog today, all the way from beautiful Slovenia, is lovely author June Moonbridge. June has previously had books published in her native language but ‘Racing Heart’ (Safkhet Publishing) is her first novel to be published in English – a really impressive achievement.

June Moonbridge

June Moonbridge has many names and many faces too. Although living in the same area, she was born and raised in one country  and is now living in another.

She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in mainly male-dominated businesses; at first in automotive and later steel products. She can choose the best steel for your project, but don’t, please don’t, ask her which lipstick to use.

She started to write in high school and was criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is, that didn’t stop her. Under different pen names, she had stories published in magazines, and then went on to publish three books.

After having two children, and learning that her second child has autism, she married their father and carried on working. Work and family life left her with little free time. But the desire to write didn’t die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write a novel in English and her first submission to Safkhet was rejected… 

For what happened then, re-read the third paragraph, second sentence above…

Tell us a little about your writing history. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. And that lead to the obvious – writing. I started in high school but my teacher hated everything I wrote. Nothing was good enough for her. But stubborn as I am, I didn’t let that put me down. I wanted second opinions from people that didn’t know me, so I used several pen-names, wrote some stories and got back positive reviews; some of my stories were published in magazines. That was how my first publisher found me – I have three books already published in my own language.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

The original title for the book was different. When I ‘made it up’ it made sense to me as it was linked with the main female character’s name, but the publisher decided to changed it and, in the end, I think the new name sounds great, and goes really well with the story.

Who is your favourite/least favourite character in ‘Racing Heart’?

Favourite character in Racing Heart…hmmm… gosh… I should say both leading characters, but somehow Henry Dame has grown into my heart, but strangely enough he is my least favourite character too.

What was the hardest part of writing for you? Were there any particular issues or hiccups when writing ‘Racing Heart’?

The hardest thing was to accurately express the feelings of losing a child. I’ve always said that I would never use my personal feelings in my stories, but to write these scenes, I really had to search my heart and find and re-experience the feelings I had when I realised my son’s condition. At the time I felt I’d lost him.

What are you working on now? 

My WIP is a romantic suspense story again, but set in a completely different world. The protagonist goes on her dream vacation but ends up in a nightmare. She has to … oh… look… I’m writing a blurb… 😉

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write when you have the time and the desire to write. Don’t feel guilty when others seem to be writing more than you and writing more often. If you can’t write on a particular day or don’t have time – it’s just that and nothing more. And… toughen up. You’ll need a thick skin in the future.

Tell us something unusual about yourself.

I’m a Gemini and that means nothing is usual about me… but one thing that stands out is that I was deliberately shot with an air rifle when I was eight years old. Luckily the shooter hit me in the cheek and not in the temple which is what he was aiming for. I didn’t even realise I’d been shot. I thought I’d been hit by a stone because some children nearby had been throwing stones at some pigeons. We only realised what had happened two months later when my cheek started to change colour and my mom took me to the paediatrician. I had an X-ray and we saw the pellet in my cheek.

You can find June on Facebook, on Twitter and on her website

Racing_Heart 2(1)

At twenty-five Desire Hart has experienced almost too much.

Changing everything in her life – her identity, her hometown and her country of residence, Desire is determined that nothing will stop her finding her missing son. Not even love.

One spring evening she meets the golden boy of F1 racing, Lorcan Shore, and finds herself falling for him. Struggling to suppress her feelings, she realises he could help her get closer to the child she believes is her long lost son.

But nothing goes according to plan. Her identity is revealed by the press, Lorcan has a terrifying accident, and the trail to her son finishes in another dead end. So Desire does what she does best – she runs away.

Set against the glamorous backdrops of Monaco, Paris and Nice, ‘Racing Heart’ mixes romance and mystery as Desire struggles to come to terms with her past. Will she learn to accept love into her life again?

Find a copy here