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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

Hold My Hand By M.J Ford

Hold My Hand‘Hold My Hand’ is M.J Ford’s debut novel.

When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared. Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether? And then another child disappears…

When I initially started this book, I found it a bit hard to get into, I found the to be chapters quite long, I prefer short and snappier that really pull the reader in. But, I persisted and I’m so glad that I did, as this book turned out to be one of the most twisted stories that I’ve read in a while and really did keep me on my toes.

The story is seen solely through the perspective of Josie Masters, who when she was little girl, witnessed a little boy being kidnapped. She was only witness to this crime and for years, wondered what became of the little boy. Now a woman, she’s a police officer and it’s now her job to find missing people and when thirty years later, an almost identical crime occurs to the one she witnessed, she becomes obsessed with the case, investigating it obsessively whilst resurrecting old ghosts and memories.

Josie is a great lead, she’s strong and determined and even though she has her own struggles and issues in life, she doesn’t let it distract her from her job. She’s smart and notices things around her, that her colleagues fail to notice which makes her such a dominant character and keeps the reader engaged.

There are smaller stories weaved through the main plot line and they are all so cleverly written with many shocks and twists throughout the tale, that connect seamlessly together at the end. The story is also riddled with many untrustworthy and dodgy characters that you regularly feel like you’ve solved the crime, only to be stumped in the way, once they prove to be innocent.

Riddled with deceit and suspense, ‘Hold My Hand’ is an engaging debut thriller, that flows at a fast pace and once you’re into it, it’s impossible to put down. A chillingly realistic tale about every parents worst nightmare, that will have you hooked to each page.

You can buy Hold My Hand from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Love Among The Treetops Book Tour – A Typical Writers Day

“CatherineOn the book tour for Catherine Ferguson’s brand new book called ‘Love Among The Treetops’, Catherine describes her typical writing day.

I’m lucky enough to be able to spend most of my working hours writing – although, in common with a lot of authors, I do supplement my income with another job. In my case, that means rising early and walking to my local cleaning job at a well-known home furnishings & women’s wear store! I do this four mornings a week for just an hour and a half, and the benefits are far greater than the extra money in my pocket.

First, it’s my exercise for the day (half an hour each way) and second, it gets me up and motivated and back at my laptop, raring to go, by nine-thirty. I like the social side, too – it can be quite a lonely life being a writer, closeted away for hours on end with just the laptop for company.

Now, when I said ‘back at my laptop for nine-thirty’, I did, of course, mean ten-thirty – after I’ve enjoyed a couple of well-earned coffees and some breakfast while watching ITV’s Lorraine, which is essential viewing if you want fresh ideas for new stories (or so I tell myself).

After breakfast, I spend about half an hour trying to resist checking the Amazon rankings but failing, catching up with e-mails and seeing what’s happening on Twitter Then I’m just about ready to start writing. (Just need to grab another coffee first.)

Hopefully, I will have made rough notes on the next part of my story the day before. This works well for me. It means I know where I’m going next in the book even before I sit down at the laptop – which makes it not half as scary as it otherwise would be!

I aim to write around 1,500 words per day and usually try to accomplish this by ‘lunch-time’, which can be anything from midday to mid-afternoon! By then, I find all the emotion of living the story with my characters has taken a bit of a toll on my energy levels. (I’m always amazed by how exhausting it can be, writing on emotional subjects – particularly when your main character has hit rock bottom. You feel all the see-saw emotions she’s going through and it’s almost as if you’ve been through it yourself!)

Love Among The Treetops

After that, I will stop for food and perhaps catch up on a drama on TV just to unwind a bit. Then often I’ll go for a walk.

I’ve learned that walking as part of my writing routine is really a no-brainer. The benefits are amazing. There’s the exercise and fresh air and the break from sitting at the laptop. But there’s also the magic that seems to happen when my mind is free to wander. Time and again, it’s when I’m out walking that the perfect plot twist or character will just pop into my head. If I’m having difficulty moving the story on, the perfect solution is likely to occur to me while I’m out for my walk.

By four, my working day is over, but that’s okay because I’ll be up at six next morning to do a bit of writing before I head off to my cleaning job.

You can pre-order Love Among the Treetops from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

Rachel Hore

“RachelRachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she teaches publishing and creative writing at UEA. She is married to writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons. ‘Last Letter Home’ 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.
    I write time-slip novels with a mystery at their heart and ‘Last Letter Home’ is my ninth. They are all standalone so can be read in any order. ‘A Place of Secrets’ had an eighteenth century historical aspect and ‘The Glass Painter’s Daughter’, a Victorian one, but otherwise I’ve concentrated on the twentieth century, especially wartime. I was originally an editor in a publishing house (HarperCollins), but when we relocated to Norfolk in 2001 I began to write and quickly became immersed. The first novel, ‘The Dream House’, was published in 2006. I’ve been published all the way through by Simon & Schuster, UK, and they’ve been great, so I’ve never even thought about changing publisher.
  2. Can you tell us about your new book ‘Last Letter Home’
    It begins in the present day, when Briony Wood, a young historian, goes on holiday with friends to Italy and is given a cache of old letters. When she tries to find what happened to the woman who wrote them, Sarah Bailey, she is drawn back into the Second World War past. We learn that Sarah lived in India, but returned to England with her mother and sister in 1938 and took a house in Norfolk. It’s there that she meets a German refugee named Paul and helps him when things turn out badly for him. The novel is about true love in the face of suffering and separation, but it’s also about the importance of family and of trying to do the right thing at a time when the world and its values has been turned upsidedown.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Oh, that’s a good question! I would worry that an author whose work I had enjoyed might not necessarily be a comfortable fit, so I’m going to cheat a little and name some writers whose work I love, but whom I’ve also met or heard speak. Hilary Mantel (‘Wolf Hall’) would be great – she is amusing and honest and offers insight. Jojo Moyes would be wonderful. Yvvette Edwards, whose novel (‘The Mother’) is brilliant, but who’s good company, too. Liz Fenwick (‘The Returning Tide’), Natalie Meg Evans (‘The Dress Thief’), Sarah Hall (‘Madame Zero’), who’s incredibly interesting about the short story form – I love reading and writing short stories.
  4. Last Letter Home

  5. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”. This is from Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’. It makes you feel that Cassandra Mortmain, who lives a bohemian life in a crumbling castle, is a girl you want to know.
  6. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Not their first line! A good first line is often written last. Erasing cliché from your prose is important. Try to say things in a fresh way. Read other writers’ work and observe how they do things. Acquire a book such as ‘Self-editing for Fiction Writers’ by Renni Brown and Dave King, which will help you improve your style.
  7. 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 very pleased to be teaching on a Creative Writing holiday in the Gers area of South-West France in July. It’s called ‘A Chapter Away’ and takes place in a beautiful old house with great food. I visited as a guest speaker last summer and have been invited back as a tutor for the week.

Follow Rachel Hore on Twitter Rachel Hore for updates or check out her website at Rachel Hore

Fiona Gibson Reveals New Book – The Mum Who’d Had Enough

The Mum Who’d Had EnoughFiona Gibson is back with a brightly covered book this year called ‘The Mum Who’d Had Enough’

What the back cover says-

Nate Turner has a nice life. He has a steady job as a driving examiner, and lives with his wife Sinead and son Flynn in a lovely house in a good part of town. Yes, it’s a very nice life.

Until one morning Nate comes downstairs to find Sinead gone and a note lying on the kitchen table, listing all the many things that Nate does wrong – or doesn’t do at all.

Now, somehow, Nate needs to show Sinead he can change – fast. But as Nate works on being a better husband and dad, his life changes in amazing and unexpected ways. And he starts to wonder whether he wants to go back to normal after all. Could there be more to life than nice?

I absolutely love the sound of this book and can’t wait to add it to my TBR pile.

You can pre-order The Mum Who’d Had Enough from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 14th June 2018.