Archive for September, 2012

A Weekend With Mr Darcy

Victoria Connelly

Katherine Roberts is fed up with men. As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she knows that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice and that in real life there is no such thing. Determined to go it alone, she finds all the comfort she needs reading her guilty pleasure – regency romances from the pen of Lorna Warwick – with whom she has now struck up an intimate correspondence.
Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, Jace, and a job she can do with her eyes shut – her life has hit a dead end. Robyn would love to escape from it all but wouldn’t know where to start.
They both decide to attend the annual Jane Austen Conference at sumptuous Purley Hall, overseen by the actress and national treasure, Dame Pamela Harcourt. Robyn is hoping to escape from Jace for the weekend and indulge in her passion for all things Austen. Katherine is hoping that Lorna Warwick will be in attendance and is desperate to meet her new best friend in the flesh.
But nothing goes according to plan and Robyn is aghast when Jace insists on accompanying her, whilst Katherine is disappointed to learn that Lorna won’t be coming.
However, an Austen weekend wouldn’t be the same without a little intrigue, and Robyn and Katherine are about to get much more than they bargained for. Because where Jane Austen is concerned, romance is never very far away…

I am an Austen fan, I enjoy her books, but with the wealth of material out there to read I don’t re-read them all that often. Books about books I also enjoy and if that comes packaged in the form of a good story so much the better. This novel is a good story, does relate back to Jane, her life and her books, and does use the themes of her writing in its own weaving. On top of all that I thought this sounded like a bit of a giggle and it was that too, in particular the scene at the conference where Jace rides into the dining room on a horse!! I will leave it to you to find out more…

The blurb above covers the beginning of the story well and to tell you more I would have to include a huge spoiler! I saw it coming a few paragraphs early, but you can’t talk about the story much without giving the game away so I won’t do that.

Victoria has written interesting characters, I liked both Katherine and Robyn. Katherine has been a bit battered by her love life and brings that to the situations she finds herself in. As an Austen lecturer she is very knowledgeable and her thought s are often turning to Austen and Darcy in particular. She gives voice to that feeling that we might all have that it is unfortunate that there is only one Mr Darcy and no-one else quite seems to measure up. Robyn on the other hand has got stuck in a rut in her love life but is much more naïve than Katherine, and although she also is in love with the thought of Darcy she is romantic enough to believe it is possible (although maybe not for her…).

There is more than one love story in this story, which I enjoyed, shifting the focus between the two women also allowed Victoria to use different parts of Austen, falling in love with the wrong people, the help of chaperones, waiting for the right time and the right man, overcoming deceit, dealing with first impressions, following your own heart, not settling for second best and so on. I could see Persuasion, Emma, Pride and Prejudice themes all coming out. These themes are often there in romantic literature but with this being an Austen book you can’t help but feel this is not accidental. More than one love story also provides more good looking men to read about too!

Verdict: So in short, if you enjoy Austen (but are not snobby about it) and enjoy a good romance then you should definitely read this. A great light read.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 2010
Format: eBook
Pages: 453/387KB
Genre: Chick Lit
Age: Adult book review
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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What’s Left Of Me

Kat Zhang

NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Chronicles.
Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart?
When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind

This is a love story. But it is not a romance. Imagine that you have two minds, sharing one body. You and your other self are closer than twins, better than friends. You have known each other forever.

Then imagine that people like you are hated and feared. That the government want to hunt you down and tear out your second soul, separating you from the person you love most in the world.

Now meet Eva and Addie. They don’t have to imagine.

Since reading this I have wondered more than once how it would feel to share my body with another personality or soul; someone that knew me inside out and was constantly there. It’s an amazing and yet slightly chilling thought to be honest! This story is told by Eva, the silent ‘twin’ or soul, inside Addie’s body. It’s a very intriguing premise and I found myself quickly bonding with Eva and Addie as they try to make sense of their world. Both their souls have been born in to one body but they are expected to ‘settle’ after a few years with the more dominant personality eventually taking over and living a full life while the other just quietly fades away. However, Addie and Eva never truly settled. Eva is there in Addie’s mind and her thoughts and never went away. I really felt for Eva, who as the recessive soul, has to take a back seat and just accept everything Addie says and does when you can see that she clearly is desperate to be able to take her place in the world and know the freedom that Addie does. The relationship between them is touching and at times frustrating. Eva always backs down and never forces Addie into anything and yet Addie cannot exist or manage without Eva.

Hybrids, as those who do not settle are known, are in fact the norm the world over, apart from their country where they are considered a threat to society and feared and must be dealt with. There wasn’t enough world building for me to be able to grasp or fully understand why the hybrids are such a danger to society and a bit more explanation would have been great. However this is the first in a trilogy so I’m hoping for more information as the story develops.

The characters are well developed and Addie and Eva’s personalities so different from each other that although the author had to constantly switch between Addie and Eva’s thoughts and voices it was easy to tell who was who. It’s cleverly done. However I did find myself frustrated by them at times and their responses appeared to be immature, more like 11 or 12 year olds rather than the 15 year olds that they are supposed to be.

Addie and Eva are accepting of their situation and the fact that they ‘act’ every day, as they pretend for everyone’s benefit that Eva has gone and it’s just Addie. However they discover that they are not alone, there are other hybrids there with them and that it may even be possible for Eva to speak and move again. But making the choice to learn more leads to putting themselves in a dangerous situation where their lives are at risk.

I won’t give any more away, but I got stuck into this book pretty quickly and had it finished within a couple of days.

Verdict: It’s an interesting premise and is well written by Kat Zhang. I’m looking forward to book 2 and how things develop for Addie and Eva.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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The Templeton Twins Have An Idea

Ellis Weiner

Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometimes confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins-adults-named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, I said kidnapped. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn’t? )

This book really appealed to my sense of humour. After a (if I may say so) rubbish blurb and a slightly more informative front flap, I started reading. The illustrations and layout of the book are quirky and clever and the story was funny. The story starts off with the twins, Abigail and John being born. Twelve years on, their mother dies leaving them with their Dad who is a professor at a university. What I forgot to tell you was, when the twins were born the professor had just given one of his students an F. The student was very sad so he tried to talk him into giving him a C but of course the twins were being born so he left without giving the man what he wanted. Now all he wanted was revenge on the professor and the twins. So you think this story is going to be about the student’s quest for revenge but it turns out, however, that this is just a sideline. The story is more about Cassie the ridiculous dog, the one-man helicopter and the twin’s hobbies, as well as how the twins outsmarted the evil student. They cleverly foil kidnap, revenge and manage to persuade their Dad to get a dog along the way.

At the end of every chapter the narrator asks the reader some questions about the previous chapter which were by far the best bits in the story. They were generally so hilariously funny that I was sent straight into fits of giggles. My favourite part in the whole book was when the narrator asked the reader: “How do you think the twin’s lives would have been different if they had never been born?” This and other silly questions were my personal highlights of the book.

Verdict: This is an off the wall, slightly crazy, story of two normal twins… or so you think. I would recommend it to 8-14 year old girls and boys. I loved this book and I think I nearly wet myself laughing at one point in the story. It definitely has the LOL factor!

Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Publication Date: August 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 232
Genre: Humour, Mystery
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Daisy
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Defiance

C J Redwine
Rachel’s world is confined to the protective walls around her city. Beyond them are violent wanderers, extreme terrain, and a danger straight out of legend: a beast called the Cursed One that devastates everything in its path.
When Rachel’s father goes missing, she is desperate to search for him. But her attempts to flee the city bring her to the attention of its overbearing ruler. His efforts to control her make the world within the walls seem as dangerous as that outside.
Her only chance at escape is Logan. Once her father’s apprentice, and now her only protector, he feels that helping her might mean losing her completely. But if he can put his feelings aside, they might be able to save more than Rachel’s father. They might be able to break down the walls, and set their people free.

Like the thick stone and steel walls which surround the city of Baalboden, the archaic rules of the society are as restrictive to the people as they are protective.

Under the guise of Protection women are brought up to be dependent on the males in their life and obedient to them. Designated to the care and responsibility of a Protector, usually their father and later, a husband, women have no autonomy. Instead all decisions, from where a woman can go to whom she can marry, are made for her.

Every movement is chaperoned and traceable and the punishments for non-compliance are extreme; the last woman caught visiting the market without her protector accompanying her, was subjected to capital punishment.

While her peers were playing house Rachel, a motherless only child, was training with knives, swords and a bow. When her cohort’s educations focused on their future role as wives and mothers, Rachel was encouraged to think for herself.

Impulsive, often to the detriment of those associated with her and despite the potential repercussions, Rachel has no qualms about dropping everything, scaling the wall that encloses the city and searching for her missing father Jared.

As the only other person with the conviction that Jared still lives, Logan should be a natural ally in the search for Rachel’s missing parent. But an animosity exists between them, born out of hurt pride, humiliation and awkwardness.

While Rachel is impetuous, Logan is a deep analytical thinker, considering the best and worst case scenarios for every plan of action. Don’t be fooled by his attention to detail, nerdy focus on his inventions and awkwardness around the opposite sex. Logan is a hot boy with a sword and he knows exactly how to use it.

I really don’t know how to effectively express my love for this fantastic debut.

CJ has crafted a pacey, action packed, kick-arse, pseudo-historical dystopian, with fantasy, sci-fi and Steampunk elements. Thrilling, heart in your mouth action, sits side by side with uncomfortably honest narration, emotive, gut retching scenes, profound observations and an almost poetic descriptive prose.

Rather than being uncomfortably full and sickly from taking a bite out of every pie you are left with the experience of having tried a wonderfully unique flavor combination that experimental chef Heston Blumenthal would be proud of.

A romance junkie at heart, I simply adored the developing relationship between the two main protagonists. A foundation of friendship, turned sour by defensive pride, our protagonists have to wade through misunderstanding and miss communications before acknowledging that their uncomfortable, passionate responses to each other are formed from love, not hate.

Not only has CJ created two flawed but immensely likeable characters whose chemistry sizzles off of the page. But by writing a first person, dual narrative she has given us front row seats to the toe curling, breath catching action

Verdict: I feel like CJ Redwine sat down with a checklist of my favorite fictional ingredients, seamlessly combining them together in to one spectacularly decorated, mouthwatering treat. All that was missing from this surprising gift was an out of tune rendition of “Happy Birthday ”.

Review and interview questions by Caroline

Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 403
Genre: Speculative fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author

Big Book Little Book is delighted to welcome C J Redwine to talk about Defiance, work-life balance and sticky buns!

C.J. Redwine loves stilettos, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website.

What was your inspiration for Defiance?
For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like creature living underground with the capability to destroy our world if anyone accidentally released him. Then one day I saw a picture of a fortress and it reminded me of a city-state. I said “What if we lived in city-states again? Why would we do that?” One idea collided with another, and Defiance was born.

What attracted you to write a pseudo-historical society rather than one in which the inhabitant attempt to rebuild?
I’ve always loved reading about the medieval times, and I thought it would be fun to come up with a scenario in which we’d have to revert to that in some ways (though we still retain the knowledge gained before the apocalyptic event that destroyed society, so we aren’t totally turning back the clock). I’m always far more interested in swords and catapults and horse-drawn wagons than in guns and cell phones and fancy cars.

Logan’s inventions, made of wood, copper and cogs, have a definite Steampunk feel. Was it a conscious decision to include steampunk elements to Defiance or was it a case of the best fit for the world you had created?
It was a case of what materials would actually be available to him, and what he could somewhat realistically do with those materials. But I’m a definite fan of steampunk, so it was fun to give a little nod to that.

I loved reading both protagonists point of view. I understand that you initially wrote from single viewpoint. What prompted you to include Logan’s perspective?
I realized that Logan had an equal stake in the trilogy (both with his backstory and with his actions) as Rachel, and so he deserved a chance to tell his story. Plus, he was going to do some REALLY cool things while apart from Rachel, and I wanted the reader to be able to see that.

If Defiance came with a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Hans Zimmer, Red, In This Moment, Evanescence, and One Republic

How is work progressing on the rest of the Courier’s Daughter trilogy?
Book two is in edits right now, and book 3 is begging me to write it! 🙂

Was there a particular book, person (author or civilian) or event, which inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing stories in second grade after I read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was my first fantasy book, and it just cracked my imaginative world wide open.

Like the BBLB team, and many of our readers, you are a busy mother (of FOUR no less!). How on earth do you manage to fit your writing in around a busy home life? Do you treat it like any other job, 9-5 with set childcare, or is it a case of catching time whenever you can? How do you maintain your work-life-balance?
I am probably super un-balanced, so…I won’t give advice on that aspect, lol. But I fit it in around my toddler’s naptime and then after bedtime at night. And at least two days a week, I head to the local bookstore after my hubby comes home and write at the coffee shop for a few hours.

In your personal and writing life do you associate more with Logan, planning to the nth degree or are you more impulsive and spontaneous like Rachel?
I’m much more like Rachel than Logan. I fly by the seat of my pants half the time, and thinking through science and logic like he does just breaks my brain.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
Music! I build a playlist specific to each story.

One of the reasons we created Big Book Little Book was to share our passion for reading with children. Which books have you particularly enjoyed sharing with your own children?
My toddler and I love reading Goodnight Moon together every night as she goes to bed. For the boys, I’ve loved introducing them to Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

In Defiance as grandfatherly Oliver comforts Rachel he says
“It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that…So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.”
How close is this piece of advice to your own personal ethos?

Oh, I believe that wholeheartedly. It’s one of the messages I hope readers take away from this trilogy. Sometimes hope is the hardest, most slippery thing to hold on to, but it’s always worth it.

What is the most important or memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
The only way to truly fail is to quit, so if you really want to do something, don’t quit.

As our Novel Nibbles feature will testify, I am a little obsessed with recreating food from my favorite books. Are any of Oliver’s baked goods based on actual recipes?
I was really close to my grandfather on my mother’s side. I had a very rough childhood, but he was my rock. He showed me what quiet, unconditional love looked like, and I based Oliver on him. He always baked for us, and one of his favourite treats to make was sticky buns! They’re like yeasty rolls with cinnamon and raisins inside and then they’re drizzled in a sticky maple-cinnamon syrup after they come out of the oven. I don’t have his recipe, he died before I could get it, but I wanted to honor what he meant to me by putting him in a book.

I would like to send out a huge thanks to C. J for stopping by to answers our questions and for writing such a fantastic addition to the YA dystopian genre. Now please excuse me while I scour the internet for bun recipes!

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Chelsea Wives

Anna-Lou Weatherley

This is Desperate Housewives meets First Wives Club set in the glamorous borough of Chelsea. On the King’s Road, revenge is sweeter than champagne…
They are the ultimate ladies who lunch: Imogen, the beautiful ex-model, Calgary, the glamorous, former fashion editor, and Yasmin, the feisty ex-party girl.
But life isn’t all champagne and canapés. Plagued by personal tragedy and united by failing marriages, they mastermind a shocking plan to turn the tables on their husbands.
Set against a backdrop of exotic locations, designer boutiques and London’s high society scene, these Chelsea Wives are about to join forces and risk it all for the ultimate revenge…

It’s always fun to read something completely escapist and in stark contrast to your own life and Chelsea Wives certainly came up trumps on that score! I picked this up for my kindle whilst browsing for a few new reads and thought this sounded fun. It doesn’t disappoint.

Our leading ladies are Imogen Forbes, Calvary Rothschild and Yasmin Belmont-Jones. Each of them is stinking rich and living the lifestyle with bells on! There is lots of mention of brand names, famous restaurants and the like… If you are into fashion and designer names then you’ll feel right at home here -and if you are not– well it’s a wonderfully escapist entertaining read anyway! In spite of their wealth, they are all utterly miserable and unhappy in their marriages for varying reasons. I expected to dislike the characters and to find them shallow and vain but in fact the author has developed them well. They have depth and are likeable. They are all desperate to get out of their individual situations and when one of them makes a plan to get back at her husband the other two jump on board immediately for their own personal reasons and a great story plays out.

As I learned more about their marriages and the situations they were in I found myself rooting for them and wanting their plans to succeed – even if they weren’t legal! As you get to know their husbands it becomes rather satisfying to see the women eventually get their revenge in one way or another. There are some funny moments too.

Verdict:This story does have a happy ending and if you need an entertaining escapist read then this book does the job perfectly! It’s available in both paperback and Kindle formats and although I read it mainly tucked up in bed and on the sofa, it would be the perfect accompaniment to lounging on a sunbed with a cocktail in hand.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 448/620KB
Genre: Chick Lit
Age: Adult book review
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Carnival of Souls

Melissa Marr
Enter the Carnival…
In a city of daimons, strict class lines control every aspect of life. At the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls where, once in a generation, anyone can fight for their chance to join the elite.
Kaleb is of the lowest caste; Aya is ruling caste – but female. They both face bleak futures and, for each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
Mallory lives in the human world and knows little of The City, beyond the threat it poses her and her family. But soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls…

I was really excited to read this book. I think few write ‘dark atmosphere’ better than Melissa Marr on the YA scene and ‘Carnival of Souls’ certainly didn’t disappoint.

The book is based in two very different worlds, the world that we live and The City. After winning a war that lasted for years within The City the Daimons banished the Witches to our world and that is where they stay. The City is so well described that it almost takes on a life of its own and you feel you know it in the same way as you do the characters. I really felt as though I was there and could hear the noise and smell the smells of the ‘Carnival of Souls’, which takes place a night within the city.

It is the characters that really make this book. It is a true ensemble cast and as the book moves on you get to know all four main characters very well, how they think and how they react to what goes on around them. Although the story focuses around events in Mallory’s life, Kaleb, Aya and to a slightly lesser extent Belios all seem just as important. This works very well as I honestly didn’t have a favourite. The fact that the book is written from multiple points of view is what makes it so special. It allows you to get to know more than one character and how they think instead of seeing everybody through just one person’s eyes.

Apparently this book wasn’t planned; Melissa Marr just had an idea and then ran with it. This is a perfect example of why you should be able to do just that. It’s a very strong start to a new series and I am very much looking forward to the next one.

Verdict: Fantastic setting and a brilliant ensemble cast. I can’t wait for more!

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Defiance Blog Tour

Defiance Blog Tour Schedule
30th of August Heaven, hell and Purgatory
1st of September Debra’s Book Cafe
2nd of September A Daydreamer’s Thoughts
3rd of September Planet Print
4th of September Debra’s Book Cafe
5th of September Book Angel Booktopia
6th of September Teen Librarian
7th of September The Pewter Wolf
8th of September YA Indie Princess
9th of September Us!
10th of September Excellent Reads
11th of September Bookaholics
12th of September Serendipity Reviews
13th of September I want to read that
14th of September Totally Bookalicious
15th of September This Fleeting Dream
16th of September Realm Of Fiction
Check out our fellow UK bloggers as they explore the dystopian world of Defiance

The Big Book Little Book team are delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Defiance.
Please come back and visit us on Sunday, when Caroline will be sharing her thoughts on Defiance and interviewing Defiance’s author, CJ Redwine, about the Defiance universe, her writing process and sharing books with children.

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Grandma Bendy

Izy Penguin

Grandma Bendy is the bendiest grandma.
She has twizzly arms and super stretchy legs!
In the past Grandma Bendy used her skills for bad and was an excellent burglar. When her own house is burgled she realises how unhappy she makes people and gives herself up.
Many years later, when Grandma Bendy is released form a bendy-proof prison, she discovers that no one really likes her. However one day her neighbour has locked her keys in the house and Grandma Bendy is able to come to the rescue and reach in through the letterbox.
She realises that she can use her skills for good and to help other people

We really enjoyed this book – that is me and my two girls (4 and 2 years) – Grandma Bendy kept our attention all the way through. It has bright, colourful illustrations with lots too look at. We particularly liked seeing where Grandma Bendy’s arms were going next!

The story is about Grandma Bendy, the bendiest Grandma in the world! She begins by using her bendiness for bad! She becomes a burglar, but is caught and put in prison and once she comes out she decides not to use her bendy powers any more until she realises she can use them for good. She sets about helping people and makes them, and herself very happy. This was a great morality tale.
It provided us lots to talk about, initially to understand the story (going to prison wasn’t something we had talked about before!) and then about good and bad and choosing how we behave. This is great for discussing choices and consequences in a very non-judgemental way, rather than in that heat of the moment kind of way that it usually seems to happen!

Verdict: This isn’t a book we have read and re-read lots of times but it has a story that will last into the next few years and continue to provide a chance to chat about certain moral lessons for a while. I am sure that I will be bringing it out to use it for this from time to time, if not just to enjoy the story!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing
Publication Date: May 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Picture Book review
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Self Published Sunday: Clive Eaton

Please give a warm welcome to debut novelist Clive Eaton.

Clive Eaton initially trained as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force and worked on Vulcan bombers for a number of years.
He now works as a freelance international trainer in the area of business improvement, and his work has taken him to over 30 countries around the globe.
The Pyramid Legacy is his debut novel and the inspiration came when Egyptian authorities discovered a secret door inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although nothing was actually found on that occasion it triggered a ‘what if?’ question, and from there the story developed. Clive is now writing the sequel, which will be titled “Operation Stonehenge”.
The Pyramid Legacy was initially published as an e-book, but now is available as a paperback.
Clive lives in a very peaceful setting, with his wife Judy, in the heart of rural Norfolk, England, which he believes is an amazing place for getting in the right mood for writing.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m a freelance business management trainer and have delivered training programmes in over 30 countries across the globe.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I spend a lot of time writing training material, which at times is quite tedious. With all the travelling, and staying in hotels, I wanted to use my time productively, and writing novels, which I get an immense buzz from, started from there.

What was your inspiration for The Pyramid Legacy?
When I was a child I watched a movie (in black and white) which featured the Great Pyramid of Giza. I don’t remember the title of the film, but the images have stayed with me for years. Then, several years ago an attempt was made to see behind a secret door inside Khufu’s pyramid; without success. My mind started to race with ideas of what may lie behind the door – and so ‘The Pyramid Legacy’ was born.

Tell us about your book?
It is set in the near future, and the lead character, Ben Anderson, is a robotics engineer. He’s developed a machine with the capability of peering behind the secret door. What is found is a staggering image that results in murder, and a race to find other pieces of a complex puzzle. The image, which the Great Pyramid of Giza has been protecting for 4,000 years, places a big question mark over who the built the Pyramids in the first place.

What research did you do for The Pyramid Legacy?
I spent hours and hours researching all the different aspects within the book, including a field trip to the Pyramids themselves. Along the way I found more and more aspects linking some of the great monuments of the era, when the Pyramids were allegedly built, which resulted in a plot for the sequel.

Are any elements of your book based on real life experiences/people?
The characters are a composite of many people I have met in my life (e.g. I spent 7 years in the British Forces as an aircraft engineer) and I’ve given the lead character one of my personal phobias – but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.

If The Pyramid Legacy was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?
My wife, who is a consultant clinical psychologist, and fully understands where I’m coming from with my characters, has a very clear idea of who should play the lead role – Ewan McGregor. I’m inclined to agree.

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
My favourite band is The Who, and Pete Townshend has written some amazing stuff. In 1972 he wrote a song called ‘Relay’ where he envisaged a system for ‘spreading the word’. I guess today that system is the Internet. A sound track penned by a forward thinker like Pete Townshend would be awesome.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing the sequel to The Pyramid Legacy, which is titled Operation Stonehenge. The story developed from discovering a very clear link between the Pyramids and Stonehenge.

What is your writing process?
Once I have a concept for a plot in my head I write a detailed outline. Then I give the key characters 5 or 6 specific characteristics. I try to visualise the story like a film. This helps in both character development and building on the different aspects of the plot. Everything goes straight into a word processor, although I do use the ‘memo’ function within my mobile phone to jot down ideas which occur to me whilst I’m on the move.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
I like to write in silence, without outside interruptions. Living in rural Norfolk helps a lot. Frequent visits to the kitchen to grab a coffee is also part of the process.

What prompted you to self publish The Pyramid Legacy?
Apart from the ‘Dear John’ letters sent out by agents, I found out from my editor that it can take between 18 months and two years to get a book to print. With the Internet offering e-books I believe the industry is going to go through some massive changes. I didn’t want my work sitting on a hard drive waiting endlessly for agents just to dismiss it out of hand. So I took the plunge and self-published, but only after a thorough and professional edit.

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The writing was the easy bit, apart from the painstaking editing etc. Publishing is the hard bit. It has been an enormous learning curve, and I still feel I’m probably on the lower slopes. But I feel I’m a fast learner.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Sometimes I get the odd block, but it is more about how to best execute a specific scene/chapter. The story is clear in my head, but the detail can sometimes cause the odd barrier. A break and change of scenery for a short while often overcomes the problem.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself, and don’t take rejection from agents as an indication your work isn’t up to scratch. It is a VERY subjective industry. How many agents must be kicking themselves for passing on the likes of JK Rowling, to name just one very successful author?

Why did you choose to write adult fiction?
I felt the best way to approach writing was to write something that I would like to read. If I don’t like it why would others want to read it? So that left adult fiction as the only option.

How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always tended to gravitate towards books which fall under three broad headings; suspense, thriller and mystery. So I embarked upon the task of trying to cover all three. Many reviewers of the book mention sci-fi, but my intention isn’t to enter the sci-fi market. However, to deliver certain aspects of the story I needed to take a small step into the near future.

How did you get interested in your chosen genre?
I’ve always enjoyed books which are littered with suspense and action, that take twists and turns, and at times make the reader think. The Pyramid Legacy covers a number of topics which can easily be the subject of great debate. My own philosophy is to always keep an open mind and never dismiss any idea, no matter how bizarre it could seem. I wonder if the likes of Henry VIII ever considered man landing on the Moon?

What books have inspired you?
The list is endless, but in recent years I’ve enjoyed reading books by Michael Cordy, Raymond Khoury, Sam Bourne, and the late Paul Sussman. I also read a lot of non-fiction, such as books by Robert Bauval.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
As a child the ‘Biggles’ series by Captain W.E. Johns. Total escapism for a young lad.

What are you currently reading? Raymond Khoury’s ‘The Templar Salvation’.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
‘The Colour of Blood’, by Michael Cordy. I’ve read all his books and not one has disappointed me. Come on Michael, where is your next one?

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
The aforementioned Captain W.E. Johns.

Just for fun…
Paper, Audio or eBook?

I’m still ‘old school’ and love the feel of book in my hands.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee first thing, tea in the afternoon. When arriving back from an overseas trip it has to be a cup of tea.

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Shower

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Yuk! Enough said?

Email or postcard?
Do postcards still exist?

For over four millennia the Great Pyramid of Giza has guarded a secret image; until NOW!
A prominent young Egyptologist is murdered by a colleague, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The authorities are keen to cover it up, but they know they can’t achieve total closure whilst English robotics engineer, Ben Anderson, remains in possession of a powerful image. An image, which suggests the Great Pyramid at Giza was not built by ancient Egyptians.
What the Egyptian authorities don’t know is that unless the true meaning behind the image can be established, along with other images which will later surface, the future of mankind will face the most serious threat imaginable. Anderson manages to escape Egypt at the earliest opportunity, together with his astrophysicist girlfriend, Samantha Gibson, but the authorities are quickly on their tail when it becomes evident they have arrested the wrong person. Keen to establish who really built the Pyramids, Anderson seeks to gain additional proof to support his theory.
As he and Gibson begin to discover a series of seemingly disparate clues, they soon realise that everything is far from straightforward. Whilst seeking additional resources, Gibson is unwittingly embroiled in the internal politics of the US military, with the result that she becomes a pawn in a vicious power struggle involving a corrupt senior officer. Her path crosses that of an ex-lover and her relationship with Anderson stretches to breaking point. As Anderson begins to see Gibson from a totally different perspective, his focus changes, and he pushes himself well beyond the limits of his comfort zone in an attempt to discover the truth. Gibson is now prepared to do anything to fulfil a lifetime ambition, but as her objective becomes almost within her grasp a virulent virus threatens to stop her . . . and Anderson has the antidote . . . together with a totally different agenda. And so an unprecedented race begins to finally reveal the true legacy of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Pyramid Legacy is a thriller, but also has a story of love and deceit deeply woven in

To learn more about Clive and his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

The Pyramid Legacy is available to buy in paper and ebook formats from Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Smashwords and iTunes for books.

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