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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

Victoria Walters Writers Tip

Victoria WaltersAuthor of ‘Random Acts Of Kindness’, Victoria Walters shares her writing tips with budding writers.

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.

Paige Toon Reveals New Book Called Five Years From Now

Five Years From NowWonderful news, as Paige Toon has revealed her new book called ‘Five Years From Now’

What the back cover says –

What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

Can’t wait to read this one!

You can pre-order Five Years From Now from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 17th May 2018.

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

Our House By Louise Candlish

Our House‘Our House’ is the latest book by Louise Candlish.

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

I was curious about ‘Our House’. When I received a copy, there was quite a bit of hype on social media about Louise Candlish’s latest book and as I was a huge fan of her previous novel called ‘The Swimming Pool’, I was eager to dive into this book and see for myself.

The story is written as a dual narrative, written from the perspective of husband and wife Bram and Fiona and begins just at the point that Fiona discovers strangers moving into her house and telling her that they bought it. Confused as to what is going on, she tries to get in touch with Bram but he seems to have disappeared off the grid.

The story then flows in a past and present, with the circumstances leading up to the events and the aftermath leading to the couple’s separation.

What is particularly clever about the story, is the way the couple tell their sides of the story. Fiona’s is delivered through a podcast called ‘The Victim’ which is created in a similar style to the hit podcast ‘Serial’. Listeners are able to hear her side, conveying her emotions and disbelief to the public and they are able to engage with her through social media. Whilst, Bram’s is done in a more traditional method, written as diary entries, as he writes of his guilt and remorse at his actions.

When I initially began the book, I did find it a bit slow to start but the as story progressed and the drama unfolded, I found it hard to put down. The characters were fascinating and their background stories added a thrilling twist to the story. Fiona is quite a hard woman, after being repeatedly let down by Bram, she decides to call it a day on their marriage but wants it to be as amicable as possible for the sake of their two boys.

Bram is a complex man who’s life has been riddled with problems since his childhood. After being caught in an accident, his life suddenly changes for the worst and he fears that everything that he held dear, will be snatched away. As much as he tries to put his life in order, he is faced with drama and problems along the way. He tries desperately to be the perfect father and I found myself regularly sympathising with the poor man throughout the book.

A thrilling tale riddled with deception and drama, ‘Our House’ is a scarily realistic story that will send shivers through you. Unsettling from the start, the story is cunningly written and filled with double crossing and twists, that will have you checking your locks once more before bed.

You can pre-order Our House from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 5th April 2018.