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My Top Five Leading Ladies By Jaime Raven

The RebelToday on the book tour for Jaime Raven’s new book called ‘The Rebel’, Jaime talks about his top five leading ladies.

There are five very special women in my life – but they only exist on paper.

They’re the leading ladies in the four books I’ve written for Avon/Harper Collins, the latest of which, The Rebel, is published this month.

These women mean a lot to me because I created them and then spent months getting to know them. I decided what they looked like, how they behaved, what they said, and whether they were single or in a relationship. And I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.

They have their faults, of course, but then nobody’s perfect – not even those people who are figments of our imaginations.

My leading ladies all have distinctive personalities and characteristics. Four of them are ‘goodies’ and one of them is very, very bad. Her name is Rosa Lopez and she features in ‘The Rebel’. But more on her later.

First let me introduce you to the leading ladies in order of appearance and tell you a bit about them.

LIZZIE WELLS (THE MADAM)
‘The Madam’ was my first book for Avon and the main protagonist is a prostitute named Lizzie Wells who is jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. Tragically her son died while she was in prison so on her release she seeks revenge against the people who framed her. Here’s what I like about Lizzie. She’s tough, tenacious and down-to-earth. I also think that as a character she’s original, engaging and plausible.

BETH CHAMBERS (THE ALIBI)
Beth is a crime reporter and single mother who risks her life by going up against one of London’s most ruthless gangsters. This particular character is very close to my heart because I loosely based her on myself. Before becoming a full time writer I was a journalist and spent much of my career reporting crime stories across London for national newspapers. Fortunately I didn’t get into as much trouble as Beth does.

SARAH MASON (THE MOTHER)
Sarah is a detective inspector with the Met police. She’s divorced and has a 15-month-old daughter named Molly. But Molly is abducted and the kidnapper sends Sarah sick text messages and video clips that pile on the agony. What I admire about Sarah is the way she overcomes her fear and panic to go in search of Molly by herself. A true heroine.

LAURA JEFFERSON AND ROSA LOPEZ (THE REBEL)
Laura Jefferson is another Met detective and she’s married to a teacher. She’s one of two leading ladies in ‘The Rebel’. The other is 28-year-old Rosa Lopez, a contract killer from Mexico who flies into London to murder police officers on behalf of a notorious criminal.

The two come up against each other in a momentous battle between good and evil. At the same time they each have to deal with their own personal demons.

I like to think I’ve created two memorable characters in Laura and Rosa. Laura is smart, pragmatic and honourable. Rosa, on the other hand, is brutal, wicked and sly. But she also becomes vulnerable when she suddenly finds herself on an emotional roller coaster.

There was a time when women in crime fiction novels seemed to feature only as victims or damsels-in-distress. But not anymore.

They’re now among the best fictional crime-fighters and most outrageous villains. And I firmly believe that’s exactly how it should be.

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

The Fear Book Tour – Extract

The FearToday I’m hosting the book tour for C.L Taylor’s brand new book, ‘The Fear’ and I’ve an extract from the exciting book.

We are sitting so close that, when he just changed gear, I had to lean to my left to avoid his forearm brushing mine. A wave of panic courses through me. The last time I was in a car with this man we were driving through France. But Mike doesn’t recognise me. He did a quick sweep of my body as I rounded the van, a casual appraisal any man might do to a woman he’s never met before, but there was no spark of interest when I opened the passenger door and got in. Why would there be? I’m a grown woman, not a child.

As he navigates his way back down to the road and up the muddy track to the barn he chatters away about nothing in particular – the weather, the flooding, the news. I nod and shrug but I’m not really listening. I can’t stop staring at his face.

He’s forty-nine now and his hair is more grey than black, but it’s still thick and wavy, cut short above the ears and at the nape of his neck. Deep lines stripe across his brow and fan out at the corner of his eyes. He looks old and tired.

I was afraid that all the feelings I’d had as a teenager would come flooding back and overwhelm me, but I don’t feel love or desire. Not even hate or fear. What I feel, as I look at his long, thick fingers curved over the steering wheel, is revulsion.
 
‘Here we are then.’ He pulls on the handbrake and turns off the engine. We’re in the yard. Parked up outside the barn.

This is just a small taster from an exciting book that was unsettling and exciting in equal parts.

You can pre-order The Fear from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd March 2018.

Guilt By Amanda Robsonn

Guilt’Guilt’ is the latest book by Amanda Robson.

When the body of a woman is found stabbed to death, the blame falls to her twin sister. But who stabbed who? And which one is now the woman behind the bars? Zara and Miranda have always supported each other. But then Zara meets Seb, and everything changes. Handsome, charismatic and dangerous, Seb threatens to tear the sisters’ lives apart – but is he really the one to blame? Or are deeper resentments simmering beneath the surface? As the sisters’ relationship is stretched to the brink, a traumatic incident in Seb’s past begins to rear its head and soon all three are locked in a psychological battle that will leave someone dead. The question is: who?

On Saturday, I started Amanda’s second novel and was unable to put the book down until I reached the page.

Compulsive, edgy with complicated characters, this book was the perfect book to curl up with.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is cleverly seen through the perspectives twin sisters, Miranda and Zara and Zara’s lover, Sebastian.

The story starts at the present tense, right at the moment that one of the sisters kills the other one in self defence and from that point on, the reader is kept on their toes as they try to follow the clues and figure out which sister is the killer and which one has ended up dead.

Twins, Miranda and Zara are polar opposites of each other. Miranda is cool, collected and organised in life, whereas Zara is artistic, scatty and suffers from depression. Miranda is protective of Zara, having witnessed her sisters multiple suicide attempts, her sisters wellbeing is Miranda’s priority and this is quite a big responsibility on Miranda’s shoulders.

When Zara introduces Sebastian into their lives, Miranda can’t warm to him. Sneaky, manipulative with a nasty streak, it’s obvious that he’s had issues in life and his main goal is to come between the sisters relationship.

This story was an intensely thrilling story, with short chapters that made for snappy reading and the multiple perspectives, it was impossible to put down. Riddled with deceit, drama and suspense throughout, ‘Guilt’ is a cleverly written story that made for addictive reading.

You can pre-order Guilt from Amazon and will be available to buy good bookshops from 19th April 2018.

A Grand Old Time Book Tour – Extract

A Grand Old TimeSit back and enjoy an extract from Judy Leigh’s new book called ‘A Grand Old Time’.

Four is the luckiest number. Born on fourth of April, 1942. Fourth of five children. Four hundred thousand euros from the sale of the house. Four sausages for lunch today. Four had always been lucky for her. Her da had given her a four-leaf clover, dried between the pages of a book, when she was four years old. She’d had her son on the fourth of March. He’d been her fourth baby, the only one who stuck.

Fifteen is not a good number. Left school at fifteen. Hated school. Married Jim on fifteenth of July. Married life, from then onwards, until he died. Moved to Sheldon Lodge on the fifteenth of December. Room number fifteen. No, fifteen is definitely not a lucky number.

Evie was deep in thought when Mrs Lofthouse spoke to her. Mrs Lofthouse spoke for the second time, and the third, more loudly and with slow emphasis.

‘Evelyn. Your son is coming to see you today. Brendan? He is coming to see you.’

Evie blinked. She put on her best confused look and stared directly back.

‘I’ll just give your hair a bit of a tidy up. Brendan will be here at four.’

‘Four.’

‘Brendan – and his wife Maura. Lovely couple, Evelyn.’

Evie pulled a face. Maura was always stiff, polite, putting on a pretence of wifely perfection. Evie didn’t feel she knew her well at all, even after almost twenty years. Maura was humourless, starchy. She reminded her of the nuns at school, who insisted she must be called Evelyn and not her preferred abbreviation. She’d decided at four years old that ‘Evie’ was so much nicer, cheekier: it suited her much better than the more formal version. Evie was a chirpy name.

Maura could do with being chirpier, she thought.

You can pre-order A Grand Old Time from Amazon from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 3rd May.

Book Tour – The Inspiration Behind The Summer Theatre By The Sea

The Summer Theatre By The SeaToday on the book tour for Tracy Corbett’s new book called’ The Summer Theatre By The Sea’, Tracy reveals the inspiration behind the book.

In 2001, my local drama group put on a production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and I decided to try for a part. I went along to the auditions hoping to be cast as Helena or Hermia, one of the female leads – who got to wear pretty dresses and swoon over handsome men in tight breaches. Instead, I was cast as Puck, the mischievous goblin who flies around the forest planting spells on people, and who has a highly dodgy relationship with the King of the Fairies! Suffice to say, I wasn’t happy.

Rehearsals began and things went from bad to worse. I was asked to ride a bicycle, perform cartwheels, reside in a makeshift tree-house and wear shorts – something I hadn’t done since 1979. But a strange thing happened. I began to enjoy myself. I hadn’t realised the part was so funny. I was soon whizzing around the stage like a hyperactive child on speed. Opening night arrived and my blonde hair had been cut into a pixie style and dyed ‘fire-orange’. Along with my green make-up and matching green velour shorts and tunic, I looked quite the woodland nymph. My white plimsolls, spray-painted for the show, hadn’t quite dried, so I ended up with green-stained feet. But apart from that, the show was a massive success…well, if you ignored my encounter with the army netting in Act Two.

The set designer had managed to obtain a large ravel of camouflage netting from the British Army, which somehow I managed to get my ears stuck in. These were not my natural features, but the jugs on the thirty-inch donkey head made for the character of Bottom. The director had this brilliant idea that when Bottom awoke from his dream, he’d see Puck moving spookily about the stage wearing the Ass’s head. Rehearsals hadn’t been a problem, as we didn’t have either the Ass’s head or the camouflage netting. But during opening night, I moved forward to deliver my line and realised I was stuck. The netting locked tight, like a well-designed seatbelt, and I was yanked backwards. The Ass’s head swivelled ninety-degrees blinding my view and masking my mouth. For the remainder of the scene, my moves were confined to two steps either side of where I was entangled. By the time I got off stage, I was sweltering, my make-up was smudged, my voice was croaky and my nose was rubbed sore from horse-hair friction. Despite the Director assuring me that ‘no one would have noticed’, I remained sceptical. A green goblin wearing a back-to-front Ass’s head and stuck in army camouflage netting, is something most people would notice.

But playing Puck was great fun…although it did leave me with a strangely jaundice skin-tone from the make-up, bruised shins from repeatedly descending the treehouse ladder, and satsuma-coloured hair that needed bleaching. But other that, it was amazing. So much so, it inspired the idea for ‘The Summer Theatre by the Sea’.

You can buy The Summer Theatre by the Sea from Amazon