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Bella Osborne Writer’s Tip

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. In 2016, her debut novel,’It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Her novels are often serialised in four parts ahead of the full book publication. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

Today Bella is sharing her writing tips for aspiring authors.

I think specifics will be personal to each writer but I believe all writers can benefit by surrounding themselves with like minded people. Only other writers know what it’s like and they are an incredibly supportive bunch. So my advice is to look up organisations for your genre and local groups and seek out your tribe..

Read more about Bella and her writing journey

How I wove fact and fiction into The Lace Maiden by Evie Grace

Evie GraceOn the book tour for Evie Grace’s new book called ‘The Lace Maiden’, Evie talks about she wrote about fact and fiction in her story.

As a writer it’s all too easy to be sucked into doing hours of research because it’s so fascinating, but what do you do with all those amazing snippets of information? When I was writing The Lace Maiden, I was sorely tempted to include them all, but then Louisa’s story would have read as a series of facts and dates, like an academic history book. I had to rein in my enthusiasm and plan how to weave fact and fiction together.

Fact can be defined as something that is perceived to be true, rather than being the actual truth. When I was researching the history of England’s smugglers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, I was aware that the information I read wasn’t often written as it happened, the facts having been altered over the years by the telling and retelling of real events. Therefore, some of the sources I was looking at were probably fictional, something feigned or a product of the writer’s imagination.

My interest in Deal – the town in which I set The Lace Maiden – and the smugglers who ran contraband from France to the Kent coast was piqued by the story of the Aldington gang who came to the fore in the 1820s. Some accounts of smuggling romanticised the bravery and enterprise of the men and women who ran goods while others told what I think is a more accurate tale of threats, skulduggery and violence.

I was keen to link Louisa’s story in The Lace Maiden with the Aldington gang, but I didn’t for two reasons.

Firstly, they were just too unpleasant – they hid the bodies of their adversaries in wells, for example, and murdered Revenue officers. There was no way I could feel any respect or empathy for them, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed writing about them – I hope my readers feel the same!

Secondly, having read more about Deal and how its fortunes rose during the Napoleonic Wars, I decided this was a more exciting era in which to set The Lace Maiden. Involved in shipbuilding and equipping the naval fleet, Deal was a thriving port and army town.

The Lace Maiden

Many people moved in, the population expanding rapidly. The bootmakers, ropemakers, market gardeners, chandlers and provisioners flourished. The smugglers found lucrative work in smuggling illegal imports of cognac, lace and silks from France to England and taking escaped French prisoners of war and gold in the opposite direction across the Channel. After Napoleon was defeated, trade dropped off and the people of Deal suffered greatly from an economic depression with many families becoming dependent on the poorhouse to save themselves from starvation.

When writing about Deal, I chose to use some real places, some of which can still be found today on a stroll through the town, but I also added fictional ones when the story required them. For example, the Three Kings on the seafront where Nelson once stayed is now the Royal Hotel, but there is no evidence that a building in Walmer that was once known as the Rattling Cat was ever an inn. I liked the name so much though that I turned it into one and moved it into Deal.

I’ve had a lot of fun weaving fact and fiction into The Lace Maiden, and still have plenty of information to use in the next book in the series, The Gold Maiden.

Happy reading!
Evie x

You can ‘The Lace Maiden’ from Amazon

The Choice By Claire Wade

The Choice‘The Choice’ is the latest book by Claire Wade.

Everything you ate was monitored by the government. Every step you took was counted. Your children were weighed every day at school. Neighbours reported on neighbours and no one was safe from judgement. Sugar was illegal, and baking was a crime.

A thrilling page turner from the first page, ‘The Choice’ is reminiscent of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ with its controlling dystopian world that makes for scary realistic reading.

The story is seen through the perspective of Olivia, mother to Matthew and Mia and wife to Danny and that’s all she’s feels is worthy off. Having to give to give up her dreams of her bakery when Mother Mason came into power, her life lacks drive and happiness and she finds herself under constant stress that she will do something wrong jeopardising her family.

They leave in a world, where every thing that we enjoy such as sugar, cakes, sweets and alcohol have been banned in a bid to rid people of illness, which in theory is good but in the controlling manner that it’s delivered does make for frustrated reading. In fact, they are not just banned but they are illegal and if they object to these laws, they end up in the Box of Shame, shaming them for the alleged crimes.

As a debut, ‘The Choice’ is a well crafted and interesting story, looking at a world in which the things that we enjoy most being taking away from us, to serve a greater goodness, but in doing has created a fearful and vulnerable society, who’s diet, shopping, social media and every single aspect is controlled and monitored.

To be honest, I found the story to be frightfully realistic and could actually see these changes coming into effect somewhere further down the line, now that menus want to contain calorie information.

I really enjoyed Olivia and really felt an empathy and connection as she struggled to find her way in the new world now that her passion was cruelly taken away from and her frustration was equally understandable. The character Mother Mason who was the Prime Minister was also interesting as the names evokes a kind and homely elderly lady but who is a controlling tyrant imposing strict regimes and laws

A gripping story that makes you take for granted the luxurious items that are part of everyday life, ‘The Choice’ is a dark and atmospheric story that really pulls the reader in, as we join a world who don’t have decisions to make when it comes to lifestyle choices.

You can buy ‘The Choice’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Act Of Adam Campbell By Andy Jones

The Last Act Of Adam Campbell‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ is the latest book by Andy Jones.

A year can go quickly. Particularly when it’s your last. Adam had a good life: a job he enjoyed, a nice house, a loving partner and a bright six-year-old daughter. Then he cheated on his partner. Then she kicked him out of their home. And then he was given approximately twelve months to live. Despite the devastating news, Adam is determined to turn his life around before it finally runs out. Help comes in the form of an ex-junky, a cantankerous train driver, a nun experiencing a crisis of faith, and a teenager intent on losing her virginity – all living on borrowed time, all desperate to feel alive before their time is up.

My first review of 2020, is of Andy’s latest book and to be honest, this book should come with a warning, a packet of tissues plus tea and chocolates to help you recover from the end of it.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Adam Campbell, who is coming to terms with being terminally ill and wants to spend his last days with his ex-partner and 6 year old daughter called Mabel. To help deal with the idea of dying, Adam joins a group for cancer sufferers like himself. It’s just as he’s settled into this circle of friends when the leader is tragically killed in a traffic accident. Without a leader, the group decide to continue and in doing so, come up with an idea of creating a Shakespeare play including the major deaths from the writer’s books. The idea is inspired by Laura, the youngest member of the group, who’s tired of people treating her like a delicate little flower and wants to experience relationships and sex for the first time. She finds herself turning to Tom, a man close to her age who she connects with, thinking that he’s the one, but he’s wary with being a reformed drug addict. Other members of the group include Pat, a kind nun with a dog for company, Erin, a bubbly mother who sees the best in everyone and retired men Vernon and Raymond.

The multiple characters in the story give an interesting insight into the story, as they are all at various stages of the illness that they know will claim their lives much sooner than they had ever imagined. They all have dreams of living longer, travelling and having families, this is all tragically being taken from them. As the group connects, we see the dynamics change, as they support each other and form a strong bond but as the group gets smaller, a part of them also dies as they wonder who will be next. With each sad moment, Andy thoughtfully includes a lighter moment to reset the reader’s emotions. Through the various narratives, we seen relationships challenged, reconciliations and beliefs questioned.

Adam is a great character, he’s determined to spend his last days being a fun father to Mabel and really struggles when it affects him emotionally and physically and this does make for upsetting reading as she tries to understand his illness as whilst he tries to protect her from it all. His relationship with Heather, his ex is also a difficult one as he tries to repair the relationship that he lost with her even though they never fell out of love.

From the outset, this story is a challenge to read. The subject matter being cancer and death is a difficult one and even though, Andy injects humour and warmth into the story, with relatable characters, you still come away heartbroken. The story is extremely well researched and really does go into the detail the ordeal of cancer and not only the affects the illness has on life but also the medication that is treating it. A poignant and reflective story on new relationships, and what could have been, ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’ is a life affirming and tender story that highlights the fragility of life and the importance of making every second count.

You can buy ‘The Last Act Of Adam Campbell’ from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 28 May 2020.

Cover Reveal – Never Saw You Coming By Hayley Doyle

Never Saw You Coming

I’m excited to be revealing the cover to Hayley Doyle’s debut book called ‘Never Saw It Coming’.

What the back cover says –

Zara Khoury believes in love – so much so that she flies from Dubai to Liverpool to be with a man she barely knows. It’s a risk, but she’s certain that uprooting her life for Nick is the new start she needs.

Jim Glover is stuck. Since his Dad died, he’s put his dreams aside and stayed at home in Liverpool to care for his mum. Trapped in a dead-end job, he’s going nowhere – that is, until he gets a phone call that just might change his life..

Zara and Jim aren’t supposed to meet. But then fate steps in, and when their worlds – and cars! – collide, the real journey begins…

A gorgeous tale about taking risks and living life to the full – perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Josie Silver.

You can pre-order ‘Never Saw You Coming’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from 2nd April 2020.