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Victoria Walters

“VictoriaVictoria Walters has always loved creating stories. Her first book was handwritten when she was sixteen years old, and was closely modelled on the Sweet Valley High series. Victoria studied sociology at Warwick University and has since worked for a business publisher and as a Waterstones bookseller. Her debut novel was called ’The Summer I Met You’ and ‘Random Acts Of Kindness’ is her new ebook series.

  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 all! I am a womens fiction author with one novel published (The Second Love Of My Life) and I’m now writing a serial called Random Acts Of Kindness, which is being released in four eBook parts with part one having just been published. I am also a Waterstones bookseller, and I live in Surrey with my cat Harry!
  2. Can you tell us about your new book series ‘Random Acts of Kindness’
    It’s about three very different women who discover that kindness can change your life.

    Abbie has fled London and the humiliation of not being able to make rent after being made redundant. Louise, seriously unlucky in love, has thrown herself into her career at the local hospital. And Eszter, who has travelled from Hungary with her daughter Zoe, hopes to fulfill her husband’s dying wish… to reunite his family.

    Set in the small Surrey town of Littlewood, it’s hopefully a heart-warning and life-affirming story.

  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    It with be fun to start a womens fiction one and I’d invite authors like Cathy Bramley, Cressida McLaughlin, Lisa Dickenson who share my agent and it would be amazing to have authors like Paige Toon, Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern if we’re dreaming big. Lots of cake and book chat, it would be awesome!
  4. Random Acts Of Kindness

  5. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Writing the first draft because I just love the freedom of telling yourself the story. Editing is tricky and involves other cooks but that first draft is just you and a blank page!
  6. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    Oh wow that’s tough! Either ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’ or ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.’ Two of my favourite books!
  7. Your quite prolific on Instagram, what’s your top tip to take the perfect photograph?
    Definitely think about your light especially if you’re using your iPhone like I do – natural light is best but not direct sunlight, and always edit the photo to make it as good as you can.
  8. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Elizabeth Bennet.
  9. What do you think makes a good book?
    One that makes you feel something.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Only three?! Oh no!! Can I cheat and bring all of the Harry Potter series?! That along with ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and ‘Jane Eyre’.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Keep writing. The more you write, the better you will become. There is no secret, just keep trying, and don’t be afraid to move on to a new story because it’s all good practice.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    I have to listen to music when I write so either CD player or Spotify!
  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.
    Parts two to four of Random Acts Of Kindness are coming soon so make sure you pre-order!

Follow Victoria Walters on Twitter Victoria Walters for updates or check out her website at Victoria Walters

You can buy the Random Acts of Kindness books 1-4 from Amazon

Diane Allen

Diane AllenDiane Allen was born in Leeds, but raised at her family’s farm deep in the Yorkshire Dales. After working as a glass engraver, raising a family, and looking after an ill father, she found her true niche in life, joining a large print publishing firm in 1990. Rising through the firm, she is now the general manager and has recently been made Honorary Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She is the author of ‘For a Father’s Pride’ and ‘The Mistress of Windfell Manor’, and its sequel, ‘The Windfell Family Secrets’.

  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
    Up to two years ago I was the manager of a publishing firm dealing in large print and unabridged audio. A mother of two grown-up children, with families of their own I had started to go through the feeling of empty-nest syndrome a few years earlier. So to fill in my evenings as my husband watched the football, I decided to try and write a book. This, after many pit-falls, turned into books, now being six published and a seventh in the pipe-line.
  2. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’m true to my trade, so if I was to start a book club it would have to be one based on Family Saga’s. Authors on my list would be June Tate, Helene Wiggin, Rosie Goodwin, Annie Murray, Margaret Dickinson and I would have to re-print the best saga writer ever, the wonderful Catherine Cookson.
  3. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Starting a new novel, you have a basic out line and roughly know the ending. But how you get there is entirely where your imagination takes you.
  4. Why did you decide to write historical fiction?
    I have a great love of local history. My book shelf is full of books written about my home in Yorkshire. I also love the Victorian period, being an avid collector of all things from that period. I could not have written anything other than historical fiction to bring my two loves to life.
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    Definitely, pay more attention to English grammar! I’m so busy telling my tale, my grammar seems to go out of the window. Making me spend more time on proof-reading than actual writing.
  6. 'The Windfell Family Secrets

  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” From ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier.
    It just captures you straight away.

  8. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell. Followed closely by Catherine Earnshaw from ‘Wuthering Heights’. They are both strong women who know their own minds.
  9. What do you think makes a good book?
    A good opening line, a good plot and believable characters.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Leo Tolstoy, ‘War and Peace’, ‘Jane Austen’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and James Joyce, ‘The Dubliners’. I have in the past started all three but never had the patience or time to finish them, which is a terrible sin in my eyes.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Plot building, so often I read a book that sags in the middle. A plot must be strong enough to continue to keep you intrigued with every turn of the page.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Coffee, I live and function on coffee.
  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.
    The third book in the Windfell Series is to be published this next summer entitled Daughter of the Dales and I am about to start work on two books set in Swaledale.

Follow Diane Allen on Twitter Diane Allen for updates or check out her website at Diane Allen

Sam Carrington

Sam Carrington By James Huntley‘Saving Sophie’, was Sam’s debut psychological thriller, published in September 2016. It became a Kindle eBook bestseller, with the paperback hitting ‘The Bookseller Heatseeker’ chart at #8. Sam was named an Amazon Rising Star of 2016. Her next psychological thriller, ‘Bad Sister’, publishes in October 2017 in ebook and December in paperback.

  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 live in Devon with my husband and three children. I worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time I qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree I went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. My experiences within this field inspired my writing. I left the service to spend time with my family, and to follow my dream of being a writer. I began writing short stories, then decided I wanted to move on to novels. The first manuscript I produced is now my ‘novel-in-a-drawer’ one, as although it gained agent interest, it didn’t get published. I entered the opening chapters of my next novel, ’Saving Sophie’, into the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger award and it was longlisted. This novel became my debut psychological thriller, published by Avon, HarperCollins. My second, ‘Bad Sister’ was published in ebook on October 5th and will come out in paperback 14th December.
  2. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’d love to have authors of varied genres at my book club. I used to only read crime and psychological thrillers before I joined my local book group seven years ago. Now, thanks to the members putting forward an array of books, I have pushed myself and sometimes read out of my comfort zone! So, with that in mind I’d like some crimies – Val McDermid would be great, Sharon Bolton – as she’s one of my favourite authors, then from the psychological genre, Louise Jensen and Lisa Hall (who is hilarious) and from the historical genre, Anna Mazzola, whose novel ‘The Unseeing’ proved to be one of the most-talked about novels in our group (we spent a long time discussing the book club questions, rather than just drinking wine!) I’d love some dark, horror types too – so Stephen King would be fab, alongside Chris Carter, whose novels I found to be pretty scary.
  3. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    When I get that germ of an idea that grows and takes shape in my head – then the early excitement of getting the first chapters down on the page (or on screen!) The first draft of a novel takes me about six months – I enjoy this first stage more than editing.
  4. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    I hate mentioning books in a negative way – so won’t name it! But yes, there was a particular book that everyone I knew was raving about and I couldn’t wait to read, then when I did, it kind of fell flat for me. I’m not sure quite what it was, the style of writing, or the ending that didn’t work for me. It was made into a film and it was one of those very rare occasions where I preferred the film to the book.
  5. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    No, I don’t think I would. Looking back, the way my journey progressed was about right – I learned about rejections, I wrote a novel that is now in ‘the bottom drawer’ and kept at it until I had written something I was proud of. Everything that happened along the way either made me a better writer, or helped me develop personally. I also had time to learn more about the publishing world along the way. I wouldn’t change it.
  6. Bad Sister

  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    Ooh, I’ll often pick up books in shops and read the first lines, deciding there and then whether I’m going to buy it. So, there have been a lot of favourites, or ones that have gripped me from those opening few words. An example would be:
    ‘When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily’.
    This is the highly shocking and emotive beginning to Alice Seabold’s ‘The Almost Moon’. I was never sure how I felt about the novel, but that opening line stayed with me.
  8. From books and films, who has been your favourite bad guy?
    All-time favourite has to be Hannibal Lecter (from the books, film and TV series!) I think Hannibal’s complex character is pure brilliance and for me, he’s the most chilling character ever written. He is closely followed by Joe Carroll (played by the excellent James Purefoy) from the TV series, ‘The Following’. Charismatic, intelligent, completely creepy – all of which makes for compelling viewing!
  9. What do you think makes a good crime book?
    An unusual crime, lots of red herrings, pacey and suspenseful writing, great characters (I don’t have to like them, but I do need to be intrigued by them/their motives), an ending that leaves some things to the imagination.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    I’d take some from my TBR pile – I have about one hundred on my various shelves at home that I need to read! Three I haven’t got to yet are:
    ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep’ – Joanna Cannon
    ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ – Gail Honeyman
    ‘Broken Monsters’ – Lauren Beukes (Although that might set my nerves on edge if I was alone on a desert island!)
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think that’s going to be personal and specific to each individual writer. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. For example, one thing I need to develop is my description – I often leave out details in favour of faster pace, however for my reader to build up a picture and visualise the place and characters, this needs to be weaved in. I do have several ‘how to’ books on writing and there are plenty of writing courses to help develop your skills. Ultimately, I feel the more you write, the better you’ll become and if you take on board feedback and constructive criticism, then the process might be quicker!
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Coffee.
  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’ve written book three – it is due to go to my publisher very soon! This story follows Alice and Deborah – who are both mothers trying to find their way through a tragic event. Alice is the mother of a young man who is responsible for the death of Deborah’s son, who he came into contact with through an online gaming community. Connie Summers returns as the psychologist who is helping Alice manage her guilt – but Alice is convinced she can help Deborah through her grief, because in her mind they have both lost their sons.

Follow Sam Carrington on Twitter Sam Carrington for updates or check out her website at Sam Carrrington

Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa AshleyPhillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist. As Pippa Croft, Phillipa also writes as the Oxford Blue series which is published by Penguin Books. She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surf boards and following ‘Poldark’ around in a camper van.

  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 been writing for 11 years and got started by writing online fanfic for a TV period drama called ‘North & South’, ‘Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles’ will be my 16th published novel!
  2. What is your new book about?
    It’s about Maisie, who quits her job managing a busy Cornish pub to run her parents’ inn on the Isles of Scilly. She’s looking forward to a proper family Christmas for the first time in years but can’t forget the previous Christmas – and the day she lost everything.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    My friends from the Romantic Novelists Association including Bella Osborne, Elizabeth Hanbury, Nell Dixon, Katie Fforde, Jo Thomas, Jill Mansell, Cressida McLaughlin, Alison Sherlock – so many fantastic authors. We’d have lots of wine as well as books.
  4. Who’s your favourite literary hero or heroine?
    Elizabeth Bennet. Ross Poldark.
  5. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    I have given up on a book that I was very disappointed in compared to the film. The only clue I’m giving is that Ewan McGregor was in it.
  6. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    Finishing!
  7. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. (‘A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens’) I also almost injured myself laughing so much at the opening chapter of ‘Notes from a Small Island’ by Bill Bryson.
  8. 'Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles

  9. What do you think makes a good book?
    An unputdownable read that doesn’t end with the unexpected death of a character you have invested in.
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Pride & Prejudice’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and something very long that I haven’t read yet!
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Developing confidence in their own voice and creating memorable characters.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Earl Grey tea.
  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’m currently writing ‘Spring in the Little Cornish Isles: the Flower Farm’ and have already started the third book in the series, ‘Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: the Starfish Studio’.

Follow Phillipa Ashley Twitter Phillipa Ashley for updates or check out her website at Phillipa Ashley

The Consequence of Love Book Tour – Writing About Love

The Consequence of LoveOn the book tour for Sandra Howard’s new book,’The Consequence Of Love’, Sandra talks about writing about love.

What do you do when you cannot get somebody out of your mind? You’ve been emotionally involved, lived and breathed and given your all to one person; he was everything to you, the one you truly loved. You’d joked and laughed and thought as one, involved yourself in his work; shared and stood by him in a crisis he found himself in, an eruption of frightening circumstances, which had eventually caused him to have to leave the country. You’d waved him away, loving his bravery and vowing fierce, unswerving loyalty all the while before he could return. He’d left your life and disappeared.

You’d kept in touch, but then suddenly and incomprehensibly your line of communication had gone dead. There seemed no rhyme or reason for it, but you’d lost all contact. The man you loved had simply vanished into thin air and your life had lost all meaning. Then when the months had gone by, a year, and you’d had to accept the fact that he could be dead, in some dreadful hole, in love with with or married to someone else, you’d finally lost faith and turned to another in your despair.

But the emotional ties with the past are too strong. You’ve married, settled down, had one child and then another, you have a good life, a good rewarding job, but still you cannot forget. There’d been no closure, no explanation, no chance to grieve, and in very private moments you still yearn and dream. The ties are unbreakable, the man you truly love is still in your blood stream and your husband knows.

I came to write ‘The Consequence of Love’ because I wanted to know what, my character, Nattie, would do if after seven long years with no contact, her true love returned to his homeland and sought her out. He would be desperate to find her again and explain, I wanted to know what had happened to him in all that time, why he’d disappeared, and of course the outcome, what would be the consequence of his return.
I knew him well, he was the hero of the novel I’d written over seven years ago called ‘A Matter of Loyalty’ and a number of readers had got in touch to say how much they too wanted to know how things had worked out.

The one thing I’ve learned about writing fiction is how impossibly hard it is to let go. The characters take over, they lead you by the hand, do things you wouldn’t have expected and lead you down strange and wonderful paths. They become part of the family. Some of them continued through my first three books and now, with ‘The Consequence of Love’, seven years on, we’ve been reunited again.

You can buy The Consequence of Love from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.