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Chloe Esposito

Chloe Esposito author photo (c) Charlie Hopkinson.jpg

    Before putting pen to paper and writing the ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’ trilogy, Chloe Esposito was an English teacher. ‘Bad’ is the second book in the trilogy.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I have always wanted to become a novelist and used to write in secret in my spare time. When I hit 30, I suddenly became aware of my own mortality and thought, ‘S**t, I had better get on with it! It’s now or never. I enrolled on the Writing a Novel course at the Faber Academy. When I had 21 literary agents offering to represent me and my work, I realised I had to focus on writing. I was beyond delighted to quit my job as a management consultant and become a full time author.
  2. Can you tell us about you latest book ‘Bad’
    ‘Bad’ is the second book in the ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’ trilogy featuring my badass anti-heroine, Alvina Knightly. Alvie has been described as uncensored, unhinged and unforgettable and she is an evil identical twin. Bad continues where Mad left off, and follows Alvie to Rome where she embarks on a life-or-death cat and mouse chase with her hitman boyfriend, Nino. I like to think of it as an x-rated version of Finding Nemo. It is a darkly comic and sexy thriller: ‘Fleabag’ meets ‘Kill Bill’.
  3. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    I love any story that begins ‘Once upon a time…’ I was a massive bookworm as a child and love reading bedtime stories to my daughters (if they are good).
  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Gillian Flynn and Stephen King. Oh and Patricia Highsmith even though she is dead (!?)
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I would start it seriously much earlier and bypass the boring years spent as a management consultant writing endless business reports.
  6. What made you write female fiction?
    Having my two daughters had made me a feminist. I wanted to write a novel with a strong, complex female character who breaks all the rules and stereotypes to prove that girls can be just as bad as the bad boys, if not more so.
  7. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    Wuthering Heights.
  8. Bad

  9. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Emily Brontë
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Wuthering Heights’
    The complete works of Shakespeare
    ‘The Bible’ because I have never read it and I probably should have and it’s incredible long so will keep me busy…
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Reading. In order to write well, you first need to read everything. Then get a writing group for regular feedback on your work.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My laptop. I am pretty low maintenance.
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the of the website?
    I am writing ‘Dangerous to Know’ at the moment and am really excited about how the Alvina Knightly trilogy will end! I am also very excited about the movie of ‘Mad’, which is currently in production at Universal Studios!

Follow Chloe Esposito on Twitter Chloe Esposito for updates.

You can buy Bad from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Claire Allan

Claire AllanA native of the Maiden City aka Derry, Claire Allan was a journalist before she turned her hand to writing books. Now she’s The Irish Times bestselling author of eight women’s fiction titles and ‘Her Name Was Rose’ is her debut thriller with Avon Books.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    Hello! I’m a 42 year old, mum of two (one son, 14 and one daughter, 9) from Derry. I worked as a journalist for 18 years while also writing women’s fiction which was published by Poolbeg Press. I decided to make the leap to writing full time two years ago, which was mildly terrifying! I’ve always written and always loved to read so from a very young age I hoped to one day be a writer. As a journalist I worked for the print media because I wanted to be paid to write for a living. I decided when I was 29, after a very dear friend passed away, to sit down and write my first novel. And the rest is history.
  2. Where do you get your ideas from?
    Ideas can come from the strangest of places. Sometimes it’s a snippet of a conversation, or I can see an interaction between two people which makes me wonder what their story is – and I love making up a story for them. When it came to ‘Her Name Was Rose’ the first line “It should have been me” just popped into my head and refused to leave. I became obsessed with building a character and a story around that line and it developed from there. At the same time, I was intrigued by how social media has changed how we grieve collectively. And how we portray ourselves. It was fun to tease a story out from that.
  3. If you could rewrite any book, what would it be?
    Oh Gosh, of my own books? I look on my first book ‘Rainy Days and Tuesdays’ and can see how I’ve learned so much since then. It’s a very raw and ready book in a lot of ways and it has the most “me” in it. I do find it difficult to read, because it raises a lot of emotions for me and my previous experience of post-natal depression. But also, technically, I can see how it could be made a better book. If it’s a question about any other writer’s book? I wouldn’t rewrite any, but I would have loved to have written ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ (Marian Keyes) or the brilliant ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ (Gail Honeyman).
  4. Her Name Was Rose

  5. You originally wrote female fiction for Irish publishers Poolbeg, what made turn to write thrillers?
    I fell into it by accident. It was never really my intention to write a thriller and to be honest, I would never have believed that I could have. I loved writing women’s fiction and I’m very proud of the books I wrote and published with Poolbeg and I’m eternally grateful to them, especially editor Paula Campbell, for her support over the years. But I did want to write something a little darker. It was put to me by an editor that f I wanted to go darker, I shouldn’t do it in half measures. She gave me permission in a way to unleash my dark side and I found writing a book so completely different to anything I had done before to be a brilliant experience. It was great fun to be a bit evil!
  6. What do you think makes a good book?
    For me it is the combination of a pacey plot but with lots of heart too. I like my books (both that I write and read) to be character driver and to pull at the heartstrings in a myriad of ways. If the reader can relate to the characters in the book (even the bad ones, because no one is simply either bad or good, there are shades of grey in everyone) that goes a long, long way to making a book work for me.
  7. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    There’s no secret that my literary hero is Marian Keyes. I read ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ when I was a 21 year old student in Belfast and I have read each and every Marian book since. I feel as if I’ve grown up with her. Her books opened up a new world to me – of serious, but jaw-droppingly funny takes on life. Of real characters with real flaws. On a personal level, Marian has inspired me not only with the longevity of her career but the way she has battled her personal demons and helped others by being so very open about those.

    It was a real dream come true when she read ‘Her Name Was Rose’ and agreed to endorse the book. I had to pinch myself.

  8. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Oh my, that’s a hard one! (A brilliant one, but a tough one). I tend to get star-struck around authors but I’d love to get Marian Keyes, Jojo Moyes, Anna McPartlin, Kate Beaufoy and Rowan Coleman all in a room together and talk books. If I could bring back a writer from the dim and distant past, it would be amazing to have Jane Austen in the room, or Emily Bronte – but I fear she might be a bit too emo for me.
  9. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
    Genuinely it was to go throttle at everything you write. Let your mind run wild. Don’t be constrained by the person you are day to day, or who you think you should be. Don’t be cautious. Write and love it.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Well, the aforementioned ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ which is my go-to read when I’m feeling a bit meh and it picks me up every time. I think I’d also bring ‘Wuthering Heights’ which I keep meaning to re-read. For a new book, I’d bring ‘The Book of Love’ by Irish writer Fionnuala Kearney which will be released in October. I’ve had a sneak peek and it is just the loveliest, most life affirming, beautiful book. I could read it 100 times and not tire of the story.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Read, read and read some more. In your genre and in others. See how other authors get it right, or wrong. Pay attention to structure and what keeps you turning the pages. Pay attention to how dialogue is written. You can’t write without knowing what works.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    I’m trying to think of a really, really inspiring answer but the truth is probably a can of Diet Coke to keep me caffeinated
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    Yes! While all eyes are on ‘Her Name Was Rose’, I’m also working on my second thriller ‘Apple of My Eye’ which is about a mother’s obsession with her daughter – and which will be published by Avon in January 2019. I’m also playing with a few ideas for a third thriller. It’s at the exciting stage where new characters are just starting to form in my head.

Follow Claire Allan on Twitter Claire Allan for updates or check out her website at Claire Allan

You can buy Her Name Was Rose from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Jane Corry

Jane CorryJane Corry was a magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her Sunday Times bestselling psychological thrillers, ‘Blood Sisters’ and ‘My Husband’s Wife’. ‘The Dead Ex’ is her latest book.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    My name is Jane Corry and I write psychological suspenses. They are about families whose lives suddenly change without warning. I am published by Penguin. My previous two books ‘My Husband’s Wife’ and ‘Blood Sisters’ got into the top 10 of the ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller list. I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I began with poetry and little stories from about the age of three or four. After university, I became a magazine journalist for many years and then, after my first marriage ended, I took a job as a writer in a high security male prison. This made my writing darker! I then got married again which made me very aware of how family relationships can change. I wrote ‘My Husband’s Wife’ on the strength of this. A friend of a friend put me in touch with an agent who then sold it to Penguin.
  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘The Dead Ex’
    Vicki is an aromatherapist with a troubled past. One wet windy night, the police come knocking at her door. They ask when she last saw her missing husband. Vicki tells them it was five years ago. When they leave she picks up her mobile and calls him. Scarlet’s mother is a drug addict. Scarlet is taken into care at the age of eight. Each of my main characters tells her story until we get to the point where the two of them meet.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’d ask other writer friends like BA Paris, Kate Furnivall and Teresa Driscoll. I’d also invite Martina Cole because I interviewed her once and thought she had some great tales about the underworld. If it was possible, I’d also like to invite the ghosts of writers have passed away such as Helen Dunmore and Mary Wesley.
  4. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The mole had been working very hard all morning, spring cleaning his little home.”This is the opening line from ‘Wind In The Willows’. It was the first book which my father read to me. Now he is 94 and I read poetry to him.
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I’d have stopped being a magazine journalist in my thirties and begun writing novels earlier. It requires a leap of faith to give up a steady job and do something that’s quite uncertain. Bit it was worth it!
  6. Who’s your favourite villain?
    My cousin Rachel in Daphne du Maurier’s novel with the same name. Some might say she’s not a villain at all but I’m not so sure….
    The Dead Ex
  7. What made you decide to become a thriller writer?
    It was partly my time in prison (see answer to question one) and also because I love creating twists and turns. I’m one of those annoying people who likes to guess what’s going to happen at the beginning of a book or drama.
  8. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    The complete editions of ‘Trollope’. ‘The Bible’. ‘Palgrave’s Golden Greasury’.
  9. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    ‘Gone With The Wind’. My second husband recently took me on a road trip to the southern states of America. We were lucky enough to visit Margaret Mitchell’s house. It was a dream come true for me. I’ve always admired her.
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Viewpoint. Readers need to be inside the character’s head in order to believe the story.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My dog. He sits on the sofa behind me and tells me when it’s time to get up and have a walking break along the beach! We have to wrap up warm as it’s really cold at the moment!
  12. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’m currently writing next year’s book for Penguin. I can’t say anything about it right now but I live it in my head every day while writing. Actually, I will give you a clue! I became a granny two years ago and it’s changed my life.

Follow Jane Corry on Twitter Jane Corry for updates or check out her websitel at Jane Corry

Louise Pentland

“LouiseLouise Pentland is a lifestyle and beauty blogger, vlogger, author and fashion designer. Her two YouTube channels have a total of over 3.7 million subscribers and her debut book, ‘Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter’ was a Sunday Times best seller. 2017 sees her turn her hand to fiction writing with the release of her debut novel, Wilde Like Me. She is also a champion for Gender Equality and female empowerment and in 2016, she was named as a United Nations Change Ambassador for Gender Equality.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I’ve always loved writing! English was my favourite subject in school, I achieved an A at GCSE despite my teacher, Ms Cramp telling me I ‘didn’t have the aptitude for the written language’. I guess my Times Number One Bestseller says differently- heh heh.

    In 2009 I began my blog ‘Sprinkle of Glitter’ and wrote articles on this regularly for many years. When books came into my life in 2015, it took a back seat for the author life but if ever I have a gap in books I’ll pick it up again. Now I love writing my books and was so proud to release my debut novel Wilde Like Me and that it got so much love from readers. I hope to write many more books in the future.

  2. What made you write female fiction?
    Pretty simply, it’s what I most love to read.
  3. You’re extremely popular on social media with over 2 million followers, how have you found social media has developed over the years?
    This is a massive question. In short, just like any industry, it has matured. It began is quite underground and mysterious, grew in following, people were frightened of it, traditional media began to understand and embrace it, corporations followed, now it’s a huge power for good (mostly). It allows us to connect and learn and progress and care. I’m excited for it’s future.
  4. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ by Helen Fielding.
  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    I can’t say I’ve memorised any opening lines I’m afraid, and I couldn’t possibly pick if I had.
  6. Wilde Like Me

  7. What piece of advice would you offer to aspiring bloggers?
    Produce content regularly so your audience can rely on you.
    Never lie.
    There’s no point trying to copy someone else because they are already the experts in their field, be your own unique self because nobody is as good at that as you are.
  8. If you were starting your own book club, what other authors would you ask to join?
    Lindsey Kelk, Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, JK Rowling,
  9. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    A book detailing how to get off the desert island with the least amount of strife.
    The Bible, because it would take me a really long time to get through it and I might find some good life answers.
    All 7 Harry Potter books for the same reason as above.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Quite simply, keep writing. Write everyday even if you think it’s rubbish. Ask people to read what you write so you become accustomed to that fear of judgement and read too. I hear a lot of people wistfully say, ‘I’d love to be able to write’ and I always reply, ‘You can, just start’.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My laptop and no children!! Generally my cats will jump up for a cuddle because if I’m writing, my lap isn’t full of a baby or little girl and the cats take their chances where they can!
  13. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I am so excited for the release of the second book in the Robin Wilde series, called ‘Wilde About The Girl’ which is out in August. It’s my best kept secret this year because I’ve been dying to spill all the details but I won’t spoil it for you (I think my publishing team would scrap me if I did!). I can tell you though that each character progresses on their personal journey, we have life and death (woah), romance where you’d least expect it, a secret snog in a cupboard and a bunch of new characters to love or hate! It. Is. Juicy.

Follow Louise Pentland on Twitter Louise Pentland for updates or check out her YouTube Channel at Louise Pentland

You can buy Wilde Like Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght

Sarah Breen and Emer Mclysaght. Photo credit Al Higgins

Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are the fabulous writing duo behind the hilarious, Irish novel called ‘Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling. The Novel’. A book that all women can relate to, at some stage in their lives.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    Sarah: Emer and I met studying media in Dublin. We hit it off immediately – I thought she was hilarious from day one – and we started hanging out whenever we could and eventually moved in together. Emer went on to work in radio journalism and I got into magazines so our professional lives never really overlapped, although we always dreamed of working together one day. In 2016 an Irish publishing company approached us about writing a book together and we decided to go for it.

    Emer: Having both worked in Irish media, writing for Irish women, we felt like we would be able to have a go at writing a novel. It’s the kind of thing you dream about when you’re growing up and your favourite subject in school is English and you’re devouring a few books a week.

  2. What made you come up with the concept for the ‘Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling’?
    We came up with the character of Aisling one day during a conversation about mascara – we decided whoever keeps the brown mascara industry going is also the person who hangs up signs in the office kitchen begging people to put their mugs in the dishwasher (always typed in comic sans!). She’s that friend who writes “suits you” under pictures of women holding babies on Facebook and knows the Weight Watchers Points in absolutely everything. Our friends soon got into it so Emer made a Facebook page, called Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling, where we could all share our “Aislingisms”. It gained a cult following and now has more than 50,000 members. The novel is based on what happens when Aisling gets sick of waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question.
  3. How do you find it, writing as an duo?
    Sarah: We couldn’t imagine writing any other way! Because we know Aisling so well, and know how she’d react in any situation, it’s easy for me to continue Emer’s thoughts and vice versa. We usually decide what needs to happen in the next few chapters and just go away and fill in the blanks. I’m always HOOTING at Emer’s work.

    Emer: And I’m always in bits at Sarah’s work. I think we compliment each other in our writing. Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling has a mixture of both very funny and very sad moments, and somehow between us we’ve managed to strike the balance just right. It’s like we were always meant to write this book together!

  4. Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling

  5. You have quite a following on your Facebook page, which provides entertainment, solutions and current affairs, how have you found the response to the page?
    We are incredibly proud of the OMGWACA group. It’s crazy to think that what started out as an in-joke about Aisling 10 years ago is now this warm, inclusive community that’s spawned so many real life friendships. It’s really only a matter of time ‘til we have our first OMGWACA wedding!
  6. As pointed out in the book, we all have a bit of an Aisling in ourselves. What defines you as an complete Aisling?
    Sarah: I reckon I’m about 40% Aisling – I religiously collect Boots points, I would never get off the bus without thanking the driver and nothing makes me happier than drying clothes outside on the line (the amount of electricity the dryer uses is shocking!). I think Emer is a bit more Aisling than me – I’ve seen her bring earplugs to a music festival and she will insist on queuing for a flight the minute the gate opens.

    Emer: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a good night’s sleep at a festival, or an airbed, or a lock for your tent! I would agree that I’m more of an Aisling, maybe 50%. It’s true that I don’t feel at ease until I’m safely in my plane seat and my carry on is safely stowed. I also indicate religiously on roundabouts and would be evangelical about the difference between tea towels and hand towels.

  7. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Sarah: Anything by Marian Keyes – ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ is a favourite of both mine and Emer. The entire works of Adrian Mole – he was SUCH an Aisling. And some kind of survival manual – I’d need to be able to distil my own gin or else I’d just walk into the sea.

    Emer: I hope that Sarah would let me borrow her ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ and her Adrian Mole. I’d also bring the collected tales of ‘Anne of Green Gables’, it was a real childhood favourite. And while we’re at it, a couple of my old Paula Danziger books. I think that reading funny women like her when I was younger really influenced my writing.

  8. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Sarah: Bridget Jones – I love how funny, real and relatable she is. That Aisling has been compared to her is incredibly flattering.

    Emer: Sarah beat me to it with Bridget. I’d also have to mention Adrian Mole again, he’s just the perfect amount of hero with a dash of ridiculousness.

  9. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    Sarah: “The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.” It’s from ‘Lullaby’ by Leila Slimani. How could you not want to read on?!

    Emer: “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium”, from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I just feel like it’s so loaded. It already gives away so much.

  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    It sounds like a no-brainer, but write the book you’d like to read. If psychological thrillers are your bag, hone your detective skills. Not every book has to be a work of literary genius. Just start writing!
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Sarah: Food. I like to reward myself after every paragraph.

    Emer: I write at a laptop but always have a good old pen and paper beside me for making notes to come back to. It might just be one scribbled word but it will be enough.

  12. And finally do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    We are currently writing the screenplay for the film adaptation of Oh My God What a Complete Aisling’, which has been such a joy. We are also putting the finishi’ng touches on the sequel, which is due out in September.

You can follow the ladies on Twitter Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght for updates. And don’t forget to check out the amazing ‘Oh My God What a Complete Aisling’ Facebook page, which started this whole adventure

You can buy Oh My God What a Complete Aisling from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.