Uthan

Uthania Jackson
image of Uthan Book Cove
Follow the adventures of Uthan as he goes on his first holiday and encounters the magic of a world under the sea.
Mum, Uthania, was inspired to write this story after discovering video selfies of Uthan after they came back from their holiday together.


A Lovely Read

This is a really lovely read about a boy who goes on holiday and is told that he will be able to spend some time with turtles. It starts with how excited he is to be going and what he needs to pack and ends with how much he loved his holiday and cannot wait to go back. It’s a simple story that I think many children will like and it’s a good book to have a conversation about holidays and trips out. I can definitely see many children and adults reminiscing about their own journeys that they’ve been on and really enjoyed.

The illustrations are a nice mix of handdrawn and computerized which brings a nice feel to the book overall. It makes it nice and easy to see what is going on as well. I definitely think that the colours jump off the page nicely. The illustrations are very pretty and would definitely appeal to children. I would definitely recommend this book.

Uthan Book Tour Banner

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 18
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Armour Piercing

Peter Aengenheister

A defecting Russian space scientist, awaiting debrief, is in a Warwickshire safe house that comes under attack by an assassination squad. He escapes with plans for a conspiracy involving key members of secret services across the Western world. The only person he knows in the UK, or could possibly trust, is Pete Armour, the man who was to be his de-briefer. Killed before he can reach safety, he has hidden the secret papers where only Armour could ever find them. Armour becomes the target when he and a female newspaper reporter find themselves thrust together and on the run from at least two secret service agencies and British Intelligence, who seem more hell bent on killing him than helping him. And there is a price to pay. There’s always a price to pay. This is the first of the Armour trilogy. A gripping read. Fast-paced, a thriller packed with action, twists and turns.


Peter Aengenheister’s Favourite Spy Thriller Books

I tend to go by authors rather than individual books… Frederick Forsyth, John le Carre, Tom Clancy and Ken Follett…. All the usual suspects, but I also really like the Shardlake Series by C.J. Samson, and I have to say I am slightly influenced by Wilbur Smith too.

It’s all in the detail!

So, it is fair to say that I like a story that builds and is as authentic as possible in its facts and plausible in its drama. It’s great to have a lead role character who is facing the odds and manages to come through it in the end by hard work or guile. The bigger their nemesis, or the odds stacked against them, the better.

I think all the authors I have mentioned above follow a similar formula, and in doing so they have created their following.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 264
Genre: Spy Thriller
Age: Adults
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Cries of a Dying Waterhole

Wa’qaar A. Mirza

It was that one fateful meeting in Arlington cemetery that started a chain reaction. The outcome that no one could predict. Covert operations, hostages, chaos around the planet, world leaders at loggerheads… and this was just the beginning. Can Harry Firstone – despite his colourful past – pull off a geopolitical coup that could bring change to the social imbalances across world? Just as the spinning plates of his emotions start to wobble with incredible consequences. Does truth have any value? And is there anything that money can’t buy? Politicians, media, bankers. We live in a world where we choose to believe in lies, but it’s in the dirtiest of swamps that beautiful lotuses bloom. This book is set to inspire you. It will make you get up and do something good. Let your conscience take you on a roller-coaster ride and uncover something you never thought you could.


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I think it’s the fact that you have given life and personality to characters and then you are their puppeteer, you can do what you like and you are the master of their destiny. You can give them flaws as well as powers. But I suppose the most favourite thing is transforming the readers into another world, your world. That’s fun, taking people on a journey that you control giving them enjoyment.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
It has to be Jon, the protagonist. He has so many personal issues and his complex personality and still remains focussed in his challenges and goals. He is real and has the weaknesses that any human has often not found in hero characters. That’s what I like, a sensitive person, but who sees the bigger picture

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I really like jasmine tea and mint tea one they are both good for you, (but you need to drink more water) and second it’s quick and easy to make and available everywhere you go. It’s not heavy and you can have several cups without doing any damage to your health, I always add a slice of lemon and sometimes honey. Never add honey to boiled water, its bad.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes, I am sure we all do. I check my emails and take calls, it’s bad I know and does break the thought; I am getting better and with my work, is hard to lock your self away for a day.

How do you research your books?
I have travelled very much and worked in the circle of political elite and ultra rich, this has helped. I read many journals and articles and books on poverty, on actions of the government. I think I subscribe to around 8 major journals like the Harvard Business review, National Geographic, New Philosophy and many others. I did a lot of reading on the all subjects in the in book and looked at the issues facing the planet form the views of the best in the world, such as Monbiot, Rosling, Franklin, Bartlett and Chomsky to mention a few. Spent 3 months just reading about why we are in this mess in the world. Spoke to bankers, politicians, and other professionals. Can’t find any novels on my subject that I wrote about, it’s unique. I spent time with philanthropy movements to get their take on things.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I think I am a plotter, I have a game plan, I know where the book and readers are going, but sometimes you just go for it in a chapter and your imaginations just runs wild, I guess like most writers your both depending how you feel that day, but very strategic in writing.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Well I love the ‘back to future’ films, I think the ability to go back and forth in time is crazy, just imagine how much good and bad could be done, must be the most amazing experience ever. I could spend a day in the land of pharaohs and then a day with the greatest people lived. I would love to interview those that have made and ruined this planet. May be giving them some ideas.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Robert Langdon, Dan Brown’s books. He is all I would like to do, combine science, art, history, politics etc. etc. Really is an amazing, solving problem with just a thread of history. The ability to solve problems under pressure is a skill I love and have I think.


Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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The Secret Life of Moles

Liz Burgess

Liz Burgess has always held a keen interest in nature, especially small furry mammals!
Long fascinated by their secret activities at home in her own back garden, and the fields surrounding it, she decided to explore this special underground world, and find out more about moles and their other little friends. Liz Burgess lives in South Yorkshire and The Secret Life of Moles is her first book for children.


This is a wonderfully written story about a mole who wants to find a new home but comes across an issue straight away. Unfortunately his home is in the middle of a garden owned by humans and they do not like the mole hill he creates. Thus to ensure that the moles disappear, they put a hose into the hole to wash the moles away. Undettered, the mole returns to the garden the next night and talks to his friend, the Hedgehog and asks if he knows what happened. The story unfolds to leave lots of wildlife animals helping the moles create a new home for themselves in the garden so that the humans do not try and wash them out again!

It’s a lovely story of friendship and teamwork. I loved the fun descriptive words the author has used for the different animals that you come across too – such as house tigers for cats and barking tigers for dogs! It’s laid out in a very child-friendly way. However, with very little pictures – and the ones that are there being black and white – I would believe this book is better for an older audience, perhaps children who are just thinking about learning to read themselves or who want longer picture books as the story is also quite wordy. So probably perfect for kids between 5 and 8.

All in all, I definitely recommend this book as even as an adult I really enjoyed the story and I am positive that children will enjoy it too!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 40
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Anna and Evan meet Charles Darwin

Tanya Hutter and Lina Daniel

Join Anna and Evan on a magical adventure to the Galapagos Islands where they meet Charles Darwin, discover unusual animals and learn some interesting scientific facts.
This engaging and educational book is ideal for young children to encourage curiosity and interest in the natural world and science.


This is such an informative and entertaining read. I really think it is a great introduction to science and I am definitely interested to see what other adventures Anna and Evan get up to. In this book they meet Charles Darwin who very helpfully explains why some animals are the same but also very different due to the environment that they live in. (Such as the difference between African Elephants and Indian Elephants). It’s all laid out in a fun, explorative way and throughout the book are little descriptions of the pictures on the page and I think that this could be a really great book to inspire children to start asking more questions about the world in which we live in.

Alongside such a brilliant story are beautiful illustrations. They’re really vibrant and colourful and depict the different animals really well. I also loved how the siblings return home and we get to see the drawings that they made of their time in the zoo. Once again showing that once we’ve learnt about the world, we can then explore it further with creativity. Lastly, but certainly not least, I also love that it has a little biography of Charles Darwin at the back of the book.

Honestly, this is a great book to introduce some curiosity into children!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 30
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Monumental Secret of the Crucifixion

Julian Boyle

Throughout the history of Christianity there have been those claiming a monumental secret. Often centered around the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris and associated with French esoteric circles like Debussy who wrote in a review:
“Perhaps it’s to destroy that scandalous legend that Jesus Christ died on the cross.”
But even Canon Alfred Lilley came back from St. Sulpice questioning the crucifixion. There must have been some documentation in the church that convinced these people of something portentous. BUT now searching links between the history of Rome and the latest Biblical research, we finally reveal the extraordinary facts that prove exactly what the monumental secret was and its validity making the revaluation of Christianity, as we knew it, inevitable.


TEN THINGS YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WRITING

1. GO TO BED. This is not a silly answer, it is very true. The reason I place it first is that it actually relates to my writing which is mainly non-fiction. I do nearly all my reading and research in bed. I should add that there are generally three times a day I go to bed. Once going to bed at night: secondly at siesta time: (my mum was Spanish so it comes naturally) and thirdly I often wake up around 3 am, get up, have a cup of tea and go back and read. This night one is a real test of the book as I either read pages and pages or it is so badly written that I drop off after a page. I have just struggled through such a book by a well-known Professor of Middle Eastern Religions (who shall remain nameless in case I meet him.)

I get my fiction from films so I mainly read non-fiction, related to historical subjects. You may think that being in bed is restrictive – but only in how bad my handwritten notes are. I write in the back of the book listing pages where there was something interesting. Here is the back page of my copy of Friedrich Nietzsche’s autobiography ‘Ecce Homo’ (behold the man) Pilate’s words when the flagellated Christ was brought before the rabble.

You see how bad my scribbles are. I was writing a play about the tumultuous relationship between Nietzsche and Richard Wagner. And as I read I marked interesting statements or events. Then when I started writing I would write, Wagner accusing Nietzsche of being rude – so I look at the back of my books and find here – 14 Rudeness (top right) – turn to page 14 and insert it into the writing to make Nietzsche reply, “Rudeness should not be undervalued, it is the most humane form of contradiction.”

Or alternatively there is a statement where Nietzsche ‘attacks’ Wagner, -17 Attack (top right) – and I wind the conversation round to it. “My friend you are applauded by a culture that confuses the artful with the rich and the late with the great.” The part in italics is his written words. So you see how the basics of the play all come from my research in bed.

We put the play on in Edinburgh and the official Review wrote ‘How anyone could write such an intelligent, seem-less script analyzing the complex ideas of the composer Richard Wagner and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is beyond me. “ But the thing is, it is beyond me too – I have shown you the mechanism but I still don’t quite know how it all came together, it just seemed to happen, thanks to all that preparatory reading in bed which maybe sank in to my subconscious as I fell asleep. Performing the play was both scary and exciting as it has music section that synch with the dialogue. The ending was tremendous as it used the 2001 theme that Straus wrote for Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Sprake Zarathustra” while Nietzsche goes mad on stage. As most of the play takes place in the Turin Lunatic asylum, we were able to film it cheaply. An American Philosophy magazine wrote glowingly saying it was ‘Masterful’ and now it is used in US Universities as a teaching aid. – https://goo.gl/ofmqeo

2. MAKING FILMS. Of course when I am not writing I am making films as that is my main job. Writing is extra. I either am directing my own films or editing or shooting special Fxs for friends like Terry Gilliam. I also direct Pop videos. You might remember Kate Bush’s ‘Cloudbusting’ with Donald Sutherland, which I directed. After that I got lots of girl singers asking me to do their video. But then Iron Maiden got in touch to do their clip ‘Can I Play With Madness’ and I lost all my girl singer requests and only got Heavy Metal Bands instead.

3. HUSTLING. Of course making films requires a lot of hustling to get them off the ground. I am totally useless at the process. I couldn’t even sell a bottle of water to someone lost in the desert. That is why I really enjoyed doing the play ‘Twilight of the Gods’ as one writes it, casts it, hires a venue and go straight into production without all the hustling.

4. SPORT. I play football twice a week and squash. One of the football games is with a bunch of celebs, like Alan Davies and Mark Stong, the game is organised by the playwright Patrick Marber. I think I have a hunters instinct and where I don’t like running or swimming back and forth, if you give me a ball to chase I am off on the hunt. I have been injured the last few months and from not playing I got a clear understanding of the difference between squash and football. I miss the squash running and chasing the ball down, the physicality: while football is a team came and in defence (where I play) it is about making rapid structural decisions about your own position and moving your fellow defenders around you. These decisions are too quick to be made consciously so clearly they are being made by the right side of the brain. I am very, very left sided, brain wise, and I think football is one of the only activities I do where I know I am using the right only to make decisions. And I am missing it.

5. AVOIDING WINTER. I think it is my Spanish blood that makes me hate being in the UK over winter. In the old days I was tied to a desktop computer to write. This was also true for editing films. Originally, like on ‘Life of Brian’, we edited the actual film in an editing room. Then things changed to computer editing. Terry Jones and I bought one to edit his film, ‘Wind in the Willows’. It cost in all £65,000 plus five big heavy 9 gig. drives, costing, can you believe, £2,000 each. Forty-five gigs, we thought we were the bees knees. Of course after two years we had to throw the whole thing in the bin as we couldn’t even give it away. Now with my trusty laptop I am free to head south. I can write and even edit anywhere. I remember editing my film ‘Chemical Wedding’ on an aeroplane. And that is my very favourite place to write somewhere warm like Tenerife, just 4 hours away but under palm trees and dripping bougainvillea, with the sun glistening off the sea. I remember the Python’s going to the Caribbean to write ‘Life of Brian’. I think it was a tax dodge – but under those tropical skies they did a wonderful job. At home I have a study but I don’t write there. My bedroom is at the top of the house with a balcony overlooking London and I have put a desk up there and that is where I write. Perhaps I need to look up from my work and have a view. Perhaps it is one of my skills, having a good eye as I direct and light films. I can spot a good shot not intellectually but emotionally. I love places where the sun sets over the sea, for instance my favourite place in France is Biscarrosse Plage near Biaritz on the Atlantic coast, as you can sit and have your sardines with a glass of Bordeaux and watch that magical moment as the sun goes down over the sea. I was once in Goa, which also faces the sunset over the Arabian Sea. Nice place but you must take your mosquito tablets. On the first day I went down to the beach got a beer and sat watching the sunset. Nothing! I felt nothing at all. Must be the jet lag. But the second day the same. And there I was again on the third with my beer and feeling nothing. Something was wrong. I stopped taking the malaria pills. Next day the sun fell towards the sea, the beer in my hand glowed, my heart swelled, I was back to normal. Those bloody pills were dumbing down my senses. That is when I realized I was not reacting intellectually to visual beauty, but emotionally. This was weird for me as I am very, very left brained. I wondered how anyone could live like that without being inspired by visual beauty. In every place I go my family know I have a sunset bar. One of my favourite unspoilt villages in Tenerife is El Medano. Although it is actually on the east coast there is a projection into the sea and there is my Sunset bar where you will find me at around 6.30 with my glass of wine.

6. THE PUB. Working on the computer all day makes you feel a bit isolated so I tend to pop in the pub in the evenings, not to talk but just to be around people. I have some pretty rough pubs I like to go in as you get more animated people in them. But if there is a time limit on my work I will take the laptop with me and write there with a glass of wine and a sandwich. Posh pubs don’t let you eat your own food in them. I was watching football on the TV in the Boston, one of my rough pubs, and a Film Director friend, Sam Miller came in and spotted me in the corner. I told him I was in the corner because I was having oysters with my wine and the locals would be a bit put off by me slipping live oysters down my throat. Sam plays football in my celebs game he enjoyed telling them with great glee how he found me in the corner of the rough old Boston, sipping wine and eating oysters.

7. LECTURING. I do several types of lecturing, sometimes in Film Schools like the London Film Academy or the Havana Film School. Other times in Universities like Sheffield or Penn State in America. In these academic institutions I talk on a variety of subjects, from Film Directing, Film Lighting and editing. But I also give informal talks to clubs and association and then I talk on more popular subjects like ‘Making Films with Monty Python.” I am now being invited to talk about crucifixion as I am now an expert after Crucifying the Pythons. Favourite amongst Python fans is that I was the Policeman who brought ‘Holy Grail’ to an end. Well we didn’t have much money and all the crew had to be extras.

8. FAMILY LUNCH. My Spanish mother always liked us to all get together for lunch and even after she died we still get together for a Sunday lunch or an evening birthday celebration. My brother and I; our wives, our kids with their spouses and the grandkids. At Christmas there were 15 who sat down to dinner. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, the Spanish way, which works out great because as most families go through several partners, nowadays the family come to us for Christmas Eve and then to the other halves for Christmas day. Works perfect. The other good thing about Christmas Eve is that we can have Father Christmas come after dinner. My house has a pitched roof at the front but a flat roof at the back so Father Christmas appears on the roof and all the kids are told he is on the roof. They run out and from the front it looks like he is walking on the pitch of the roof. We adults take turns in donning the costume, and it was my turn this year. I gave such a great performance, I fooled everyone under 4 years old.

9. SHOPPING. As I do quite a bit of cooking I also pop down the shops and shop for the basics. Our High street has about 8 charity shops and a car boot sale every Saturday. My wife loves the Charity shops and I have been amazed at the sensational clothes she has bought there. So I have found myself, after shopping for the food, joining her in her quest for a bargain, and have pulled some great bargains for myself.

10. PHOTOGRAPHY. I am not an avid Photographer but there are moments where I feel I must capture the image. We can be walking along and suddenly something gets me. Here for instance we were walking along the beach at Hollywood. (No not Hollywood, Los Angeles as there is no beach there, but, Hollywood Florida.) I said to the wife, “Stand on that wall.” And got this classic picture. You cant see she is on a wall but at ground level it would not have worked.


Publisher: Chippenham Books
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 217
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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The Rock ‘N’ Roll. ‘N’ That…

Steven J. Gill

“Rock ‘n’ roll is a nuclear blast of reality in a mundane world where no-one is allowed to be magnificent.” The former manager of The Runaways said that. The mad bastard. And Johnny Harrison swore by it. He had to. Almost forty, fully paid up member of the rat race and bored sh*tless. He had to believe in something. Then something happened. Something magnificent. A once in a lifetime band dropped out of the sky and right into his lap. A band unaware of just how great they could be. A band that had no idea what was about to hit them. A band that needed someone to light the fuse. That someone was Johnny Harrison and the truth was he needed them so much more. They were his ticket out. That’s how it is with THE ROCK ‘N’ THE ROLL. ‘N’ THAT. Buy your ticket and take the ride.


TOP FIVE THINGS ABOUT WRITNG THIS BOOK

1) An incredible sense of achievement when I typed ‘The End’. Writing is a discipline and you need great levels of perseverance which is not easy when you get tied up in knots with narrative cup-de-sacs.

2) When I ‘outed’ myself as an author/writer, the levels of support and admiration from friends really was quite something. My favourite comment from a friend who read an early draft was “I’m really glad it’s not shit!”

Quite possibly the best back-handed compliment I’ve ever received.

3) Seeing the hard copy of the book was a proper head spin moment.

It arrived just after Xmas and I’d just placed a sizeable Amazon order which by my reckoning had all been delivered. Upon openings the package, I was stunned to see my name on the cover of a book. An actual book!

And do judge a book by the cover, because the artwork is brilliant and I’m biased about the story but I know it will hook people in.

4) I’m enjoying talking about it no. The gestation period feels so long the relief is now palpable and I can take a step back and talk about it.

5) And lastly, the best thing about writing my book was seeing the narrative unfurl and take unexpected directions. I knew the ending from the outset but not the journey it would take to get there. It’s great to surprise yourself because you know that you’ll also be surprising your potential readers!


Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: January 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 217
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Hidden Colours

Nillu Nasser

Each evening, nestled in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the immigrant circus comes to life.
When Yusuf fled Syria, he lost everything. Now the circus, with its middle-eastern flair, is the only home he knows. When the lights go on, the refugees dazzle their audience, but off-stage tensions flare.
Ellie is passionate about the circus and drawn to its broken people. Even so, if she wants to keep her job at the newspaper, she must head up a campaign against it.
One night, in the midst of a show, two young circus boys come to blows. With the circus at risk of closure, Ellie must convince her readers that we can have compassion for those we fear, or Yusuf will be forced to uproot again.


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I write for the clarity it brings, that sense of immersion and wonder. I can take the time to weave intricate sentences or get the nuance just right without worrying that it is already someone else’s turn to speak. I can examine a thought carefully, tangibly, without it slipping through the fog of my brain like a wandering child at a funfair. In a world of constant change and fleeting lives, writing a book is an act of love and attention.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?

It’s so hard to choose, but in Hidden Colours my favourite character is probably Zul the Clown, one of my protagonist’s best friends.

Before writing Zul, clowns used to scare me: big red noses, white-painted faces, windsail trousers and giant shoes. Pennywise in It is murderous rather than funny. Heath Ledger’s awe-inspiring Joker in The Dark Knight is not a man you’d like to run into, even in daylight. They are not good-humoured buffoons performing slapstick and tricks; they are maniacs.

Towards the end of 2016, I read the story of a Syrian man called Anas al-Basha, who became a clown in Aleppo when it was besieged by fighting, to bring a smile to children there. He’d refused to leave the city and was killed by a strike at the age of twenty-four. My character Zul is based on Anas. I imagine his story continues here.

The Clown of Aleppo’s story made me aware of the humanitarian aspect of clowning. Clowns are compassionate and clever. They are artists, outliers and risk-takers. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They remind us not to take ourselves seriously, to pick ourselves up when something goes wrong. The more I researched, the more I was struck by their empathy.

Zul doesn’t have much page time, but when he does, my heart goes out to him. He’s such a lovely guy despite trying circumstances. Maybe one day he’ll get his own novel.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?

It has to be a cuppa of Twinings Everyday Tea, which is beautifully rounded and a delight. The problem is that the moment I’ve made the tea (it has to be the right colour), I get engrossed in work and forget all about it. Cold tea just isn’t the same.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes I do! Not stretching enough, especially if I’m in full flow. I know from other writers that it’s best to stretch regularly before your body begins to creak. I also often begin my writing days listening to music with lyrics, when I know my focus is deeper and my pace quicker when I listen to instrumental music. I write while my children are at school so I really do need to wean myself off that initial temptation to have a singalong.

How do you research your books?
By the time I’ve committed to a story idea, I know the main character’s dilemma and the themes. Often, snatches of key scenes play out in my head like a film. By the time I begin writing the book in earnest, I know where I can draw on my own experience and where I have gaps. That’s key to finding out what work is needed before the drafting begins.

Next I turn to travel guides and photo books for setting details, non-fiction books for topics and speak to friends who can deepen my knowledge. For example, my research pile for Hidden Colours included books on circus history and maps of Berlin. Sometimes I watch movies that are knwn to have elements of my new project. The internet opens up a wormhole of unfiltered information, causing hours to disappear with the click of my trackpad.

I love meandering research, how stories are shaped by a chain reaction to materials I come across, and how ideas morph into something new. Even so, fiction writers aren’t historians. My aim is to write believable and authentic stories. At some point you have to jump into the story and not look back.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I leave my pantsing for poetry. That is a freer form for me: more emotion than logic. For a novel, just letting my words rain down on paper without knowing where I’m going would be too kamikaze.

I like to figure out my characters and their desires, as well as the themes of the novel early in the process. Then I spend a few days thinking about what scenes might suit the story. I organise these in a way that would suit a novel’s arc. The beginning and end points often stay the same, but the middle often changes once I get under the skin of my characters. Then the story takes on a shape of its own.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I’d choose Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere or James Cameron’s Avatar. I write literary fiction, sometimes with elements of magical realism, but I also read fantasy, and who would choose to live in the real world when you could live in a fantastical one?

When Avatar first came out, I read news stories about how some fans became depressed at the thought that they would never be as entwined with nature as the Na’vi on Pandora.

Neverwhere is equally brilliant. I live in London and it made me see the city in a new light, reinventing well known landmarks, imbuing old streets and forgotten corners with magic.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I love female characters who are central to the story. Ones who may sometimes be confused or misguided, but are essentially brave and kind like Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood has just announced a sequel. Hooray!), Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird or Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter.

Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publication Date: December 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 315
Genre: Literary
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Lilith Gene

M. Cassol

Vesna, a Serbian PhD student in Art History living in Tuscany, is a master rock climber. The only thing she can’t get a grip on is her love life. Beset by terrifying panic attacks that strike every time she allows herself to be intimate with another woman, she strives to avoid the so-called mermaids in her life. Olga is a widened-eye nurse trainee in Sarajevo. It’s 1912 and Olga is all too keen to document her life and the world changing around her in her diaries. Olga’s passion for nursing is only rivalled by her love for her anguished boyfriend Gav. The arrival of the obscure Patient J.D. 347 at the hospital is about to change everything for Olga. Everything will change for Vesna too, when she meets the compelling art restorer Rafaella Guaritore. Rafaella holds the key to Vesna’s research into influential women painters of the Renaissance and the metaphorical Lilith Gene that all the rebellious ladies in art are believed to share. Will Rafaella hold the key to solving Vesna’s mysterious recurring dreams and find the root of all her anxiety? Or is the answer to Vesna’s problems hidden in Olga’s diaries?


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The learning curve that is researching for the plot. In “The Lilith Gene” I spent hours reading about history, art, science and the more I read, the more it changed the plot. It was almost like the story had it’s own way of conducting the development and the book turned out to be nothing like what I had in mind at the beginning, transforming into something far better that I thought I could produce.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
If I say that characters are like children, I will sound too cliche, but indeed all of them are special. In “The Lilith Gene” if I had to choose one, it would be Perzie. I don’t want to spoilt the plot too much, but she was based on a true magnificent woman and everyone should read about her. Her name is Milunka Savić and she was a Serbian war hero and an extraordinary lady.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?

When I have the privilege of having a day all to myself to write, I am stuck in a constant loop of “is it too late for coffee/too early for wine?”

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
When I am thinking, I tend to to be very fidgety with my fingers and my cuticles end up paying the price.

How do you research your books?
Internet. Human kind’s greatest achievement. But also tend to talk a lot with people that have been through situations that are featured in the book. For “The Lilith Gene” I had long chats with people that suffer from anxiety (so I could describe the real feeling of a panic attack) and also people that have tried ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic plant called the Vine of Spirits, so what I’ve written could be as accurate as possible.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am both really. With all the good intentions I had a straight forward plot in mind, but clearly the women that live in my head and are telling their stories trough me have other ideas and I end up in a complete different place.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s Amazon island. Not only it’s the lesbian paradise, I really would not mind looking a Gal Gador all day long.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?

I would definitely apply for the position of Uma Thurman’s side quick in Kill Bill. I can already see both of us, the Bride (AKA Black Mamba) and I, with matching outfits (although I would prefer a all red outfit and trainers instead of the yellow one) samurai swords, pursing the ultimate vengeance.

I would also need a strong killer name, being Brazilian would probably be something like “Amazonian Sucuri”.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: November 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 232
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Rage Has a Hold on Sammy

Angela Wiggins

Rage Has A Hold On Sammy is the story of an eight year old boy named, Sammy. He and his father are very close, even though his parents are divorced. Then one day, his grandmother calls; Sammy’s dad passed away. After the initial shock, Sammy’s behavior changes into a defiant, disrespectful child. How can he get over this terrible feeling that has a tight hold on him? Children that experience the loss of a parent have a difficult time? Some of those children become angry and hostile like Sammy. This book will help children in the same situation realize their not alone.


Rage Has a Hold on Sammy is a strong, moving book which could help a lot of children suffering with grief. In the story, Sammy is told by his mother that his father has passed away. Being close to his father, Sammy does not deal with his death very well. He ends up feeling angry, and betrayed, thus no longer caring about how his behaviour is affecting others. Throughout the story, it is easy to connect with Sammy and the people around him and in such a short book, Angela Wiggins did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life and really getting across how important it is to understand and recognise our feelings instead of letting them manifest and brew underneath the surface.

Along with an easy-to-follow story, the book is also full of very well depicted images of what is happening and how Sammy is feeling throughout. It would be the perfect book for children who are dealing with grief but also for those who may know someone who is acting like Sammy and cannot understand it. It’s a wonderful book for bringing empathy into children’s lives for sure. My only complaint, and it is very minor, is simply that I had hoped it would be a little bit longer and look a little bit more about how Sammy goes on to deal with his new emotions. Instead, I’ll simply have to hope there will be a sequel!

Publisher: Angela Wiggins Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 36
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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