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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

Jaime Raven Writers Tips

The MotherJaime Raven, author of ‘The Mother’ shares her writers tips for aspiring authors.

I always advise budding writers to read as many books as they can in their chosen genres. And while reading make notes. Study the different styles of writers, especially structure and descriptive prose. And they should keep telling themselves that they will eventually write much better books than any of those they’ve read.

Sofa So Good By Scarlett Moffatt

Sofa So Good‘Sofa So Good’ is Scarlett Moffatt’s life story so far.

Hiya, my name’s Scarlett Moffatt and I love random facts. Almost as much as I love sitting on me sofa. You might know me best from my most famous and celebrated sit thus far on the I’m A Celebrity throne. You might also know me from all sorts of other seats, most especially my Gogglebox sofa. Well this book is my attempt at telling me life story through a whole series of them! So I’d like you right now to stop what you’re doing and take a seat, whether it be in the comfort of your own home, on the top deck of the bus, on the tube (so you don’t have to make eye contact with anybody) or on the throne of the house (a.k.a. the toilet). I want you to get comfortable and get ready to laugh, cry and maybe even learn a bit, as I chat to you about some of the highs and lows of me life.

If you’re like me and are a fan of the nations sweetheart, aka Scarlett Moffatt then ‘Sofa So Good’ is the perfect book to curl up with.

In this witty and warm book, Scarlett speaks cleverly and frankly about her rise to frame, from simply watching television with her family to becoming queen of the jungle in winning the television series ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Me’.

With Scarlett’s quick wit and banter, she’s a warm and relatable character and her stories of childhood and meeting her hero’s really does make for entertaining and fun reading. Her quirky stories of family get togethers, first love and university made for really enjoyable and lighthearted reading.

But with every witty moment, there is a more serious tone to the book as Scarlett speaks honestly about her childhood, her bullying and solitude and how she found comfort and support in books and the escapism they provided. The book is also very informative as Scarlett is obsessed with facts and each chapter had a few random facts at the beginning, which I thought was a nice addition to the story.

In her writing, it’s admirable, her candidness about her battle with anxiety and confidence, she never shies away from the bad moments and provides reassurance that we all suffer from self worth.

I genuinely loved this book from start to finish. With being a fan of the reality star, I laughed throughout and could almost hear her voice, narrating the story.

Filled with wit and warmth, ‘Sofa So Good’ is the tale of Scarlett’s rise to fame. Pinpointing her highs, lows and the major turning points in her life, this book is an inspirational story that shows with a lot of belief and hard work, dreams can come true.

You can buy Sofa So Good from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Regulars By Georgia Clark

The Regulars‘The Regulars’ is the latest book by Georgia Clark.

Best friends Evie, Krista and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls with typical quarter life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent. Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well …gorgeous. With a single drop, each young woman gets the gift of jaw-dropping beauty for one week, presenting them with unimaginable opportunities to make their biggest fantasies come true. But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left: what are they prepared to sacrifice?

‘The Regulars’ is a fun and sassy read that really made for entertaining reading and really highlights the fact, of how important appearance is and the strong hold it has on a person’s life to achieve their dreams.

In this book, we meet best friends Evie, Krista and Willow, all at crossroads in their lives and all unhappy with where they were. Evie is trying to be a successful and respected journalist, whilst Kristie is struggling to be an actress and Willow just wants to be happy. So when, a kind stranger see Krista in distress, she offers her a liquid called ‘Pretty’ and tells her that one small drop will make her life much better.

Krista succumbs to the mystery of ‘Pretty’ and true enough, one small drop changes her life, she becomes stunningly beautiful and finally gets a break in an upcoming film.

Intrigued by the changes in their friends life, both Eva and Willow decide to try ‘Pretty’ and like Krista, their lives completely change.

Evie gets the chance to be part of a successful reality show, is able to showcase her talents and views and finally manage to catch the attention of one of her favourite authors and falls in love. Whilst both Eva and Krista embrace their changes, Willow becomes obsessed with it and in a strange way becomes embroiled in an illicit affair with her own boyfriend, as he isn’t able to recognise her.

As the girls embrace their new good looks, they face new challenges as they try to keep up appearances as well be truly happy with themselves.

This story is a witty and ballsy read that really entertained me. All the leading characters are complex and interesting with their own issues but I must admit I particularly loved Eva with her frank and outspoken views and was never afraid to speak her mind, whilst Krista had me regularly in stitches with her colourful language.

Fun from the very beginning, this book is a fiery, feminist story with strong female voices. Riddled with magic and filled with wit, ‘The Regulars’, is a confident and outspoken story that highlights the importance and power of beauty within.

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

The Sister By Louise Jensen

The Sister‘The Sister’ is Louise Jensen’s debut novel.

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend. When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home. But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger? There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie . . . Or was there?

I started reading ‘The Sister’ one evening and was unable to put the book down as I was completely captivated by the story.

In this book, we meet Grace, a young woman who hasn’t quite gotten over the sudden death of her childhood friend Charlie and why she suddenly disappeared one day leaving many unanswered questions behind.

Charlie had quite a troubled childhood, her mother was an alcoholic and she never knew her father and this seemed to have a real impact on Charlie’s life, she would love to find her father but has never delved into it for the fear of upsetting her mother.

When Charlie dies and Grace opens the memory box that they created when they were 15, Grace finds a strange letter from Charlie and decides to fulfil her dead friends’ last wish and look for her father.

So when Anna responds to the advertisement, claiming to be the daughter of Charlie’s father, Grace immediately warms to the young woman and takes her under her wing, when Anna is going through difficulties. Anna becomes a replacement for Charlie and both Grace and Anna become firm friends. But Grace’s boyfriend Dan can’t warm to Anna, he wants her away from the couple and this regularly causes troubles particularly when things begin to happen to Grace and he points the finger of blame at Anna.

The story alternates from past to present tense, about the first meeting of Charlie and Grace and how they became firm friends to the moment of Charlie’s sudden death.

Grace is an interesting character, she’s comfortable in her relationship but knows that the relationship is far from perfect. She misses her best friend, the only person that knew the hidden truth behind her own troubled childhood. She doesn’t judge her and sticks up for her, when other girls pick on her.

I really enjoyed this story, it was an atmospheric and suspenseful story from the very beginning. With a clever plot and an interesting mix of characters, ‘The Sister’ is a wonderfully twisted story, that will have the reader guessing throughout.

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