Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Self Published’

Self Published Sunday: Glaze by Kim Curran

We are delighted to welcome author Kim Curran to Self Published Sunday. Not only has Kim taken the time to answer our questions, she has also provided us with an excerpt from Glaze and a fantastic giveaway!
GlazePetri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE…or destroy it.

Glaze is your first self-published novel, was there anything in particular that prompted you to make the decision to self-publish?

Initially, I had hoped Glaze would get your normal, traditional publishing deal. And my agent sent the book out to a handful of publishers with that intent. However, it quickly became apparent that they either had something similar in the pipeline or they had doubts about the market for YASF. Combined with this was my realisation that the topics in Glaze were (sometimes eerily) starting to happen. The social network in GLAZE is accessed via a chip in the brain that creates an optical overlay – and I’d written it before I’d heard a thing about Google Glass. The first chapter features a riot in London – and it was written long before the London riots. And I realised that I was going to have to move super fast to ensure the book stayed topical. And that’s the beauty of self publishing. I was able to move as fast as I liked.

Plus, I really loved the idea of trying a new approach to publishing. And Glaze seemed to be the perfect book to do that with. It’s about disrupting the establishment after all 🙂

Glaze is a truly scary look at social media, where did your initial inspiration come from?

The initial spark came from watching this TED video on the Filter Bubble.

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

In it, Eli Pariser talks about how the filter through which we experience the internet is so designed around our personal interests that, in an attempt to be totally relevant, it risks cutting us off from the wider scope of topics. This really scared me, as it’s something I do personally: if someone on Twitter tweets something I don’t agree with, I unfollow them; if someone on Facebook bangs on about topics that don’t interest me, I defriend them. I started to wonder how this might work if it was done on a social level. If all of our relationships with each other and with our society was controlled and ‘filtered’. And so the idea for Glaze was born.

Prior to the start of Glaze, Petri is already socially isolated, how important was this to the decisions she made throughout the novel?

For me it’s Petri’s desire to ‘belong’ that is the main thrust behind the whole book. She’s an outsider looking in on a world that feels out of reach. And in my teenage years (and still today) I felt that intently. Even when surrounded by friends, I felt someone how isolated. And all it would take would be one of those days when everyone seems to have ‘in’ jokes that you don’t get and that sense of isolation could become crushing. And so I wanted the network to become a metaphor for that experience. It’s the ultimate ‘in crowd’!

I liked the fact that they had a physical barrier on the use of social media in schools; do you believe that the abundance of teenagers using smart phones affects their education and social interactions?

That’s a really fascinating question. There’s a genuine fear that our ‘always on’ culture is affecting our attention span and our ability for prolonged thought. But then, people said the same thing about books! Of course, smart phones and access to social media is changing the way we consume information and how we interact. However, whether that change is negative is unclear. I think it’s just change. And that’s a neutral thing.

What I really do worry about, however, are the changes that are taking place in our education system. It feels to me that we’re moving to an old fashioned view of what it means to be educated. Which is to have your brain stuffed full of facts and figures. For me, education is so much more than this. It should be about sparking a passion for ideas and encouraging young people to question their world and what has shaped that (whether that’s history or physics). And it’s this attempt to erode that space to ask questions that I think it the real danger in our schools!

Is there one form of social media that you personally cannot live without?

I wouldn’t say live without – as I do often wish someone would save me from myself and ban me from the internet! But I love Twitter so very much. Since going freelance to focus on my writing it’s become my work chat, my social group and my source of news and gossip.

Glaze, as mentioned above, is a little bit terrifying, I admit that while reading Glaze, I felt a little bit uneasy about accessing my own social media; did you experience this while writing it?

Absolutely! I started to question the motives of everyone I interacted with online. And I got the sense that everything I was sharing online was being watched (because IT IS! ☺ )

This paranoia was combined with the fact that as I was writing it, it all seemed to be coming true! I was sitting in an office in East London when the riots broke out. And that was after having written the riot scene at the beginning of the book. Then all the news about GCHQ started to break. And finally, Google Glass was announced and I started to get seriously worried someone was hacking my brain!

Is there one message you’d like readers to take away from reading Glaze?

Question who is in control of your information.

Which five words would you use to persuade someone to read Glaze?

Argh! This is so hard.

Try a twisty, thinky, tech-thriller. 🙂

What have been the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of self-publishing?

The whole process has been incredible! I thought it was going to be so isolating but the truth is it’s been one of the most supportive and collaborative experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve been really lucky that an imprint called Jurassic London got excited about the idea of Glaze and wanted to publish limited edition hardbacks. And so I was able to work with Jared Shurin – the editor there on that. Glaze was also edited by Amy McCulloch at Puffin, plus I had amazing copyeditors and proof readers. And so I had a team of people around me to help make the book better.

And then, when I reached out to bloggers #TeamGlaze was born and I was overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm. It’s been such a humbling experience and I sort of feel that Glaze belongs to everyone who’ve helped me in that journey.

It’s also been really empowering to take control over my career. Ultimately, all the choices made, have been mine. Which is terrifying, but also really rewarding.

Honestly, the only challenging thing was making the decision to do it. Which was a really tough one. I thought people would judge me and think I’d somehow failed. But the support I’ve had has blown me away.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m just finishing up the final edits on Delete ¬– the final book in my Shifter trilogy. And I’ve started a new book for young adults that I am so exceptionally excited about I can hardly sleep. I can’t tell you much about it, beyond the fact it’s tonally very different from anything I’ve written before. It’s a series of letters between two girls and…actually, that’s all I can say without giving it all away. The working title (exclusive here) is We’ve Only Just Begun. So, watch this space! 🙂

Excerpt

I sit on the least damaged of the seats and start to swing. The rusting chains are damp from the morning’s rain but the seat is dry, which means someone has been here before me. Kiara climbs up on the warped, burnt-out seat and pushes back and forth, her long, dark hair splaying out behind her, then catching her up on the upswing.

We swing in silence for a while.

‘What’s it like?’ she says.

‘What’s what like?’

‘The blank chip. Can you feel it?’

‘Not really. At first, I could see the company logo, floating in my eyes. You know, like when you stare at the sun too long. Three faint triangles drifting around. But I don’t even notice them now.’ I look down. I was hoping that I’d feel something with the chip. Get some kind of feed. The time and date. My location. Something. Anything. But after the logo faded, there was nothing.

‘You know, you’re lucky.’

‘What?’ I look back up at Kiara flying back and forth.

‘Glaze. It’s not all that. I’m thinking of having the chip removed.’

‘What? Why?’

She leaps off mid swing and lands badly. I jump down and try to help her back to her feet. She sits in the mud and laughs.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask, meaning the ankle she’s cradling.

‘No, not really.’ Her smile fades. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

I know she’s not talking about her ankle.

‘You remember when I was off school last month?’

‘With glandular fever?’ I say.

‘Yeah, only it wasn’t glandular fever. Unless you can get that from a stomach pump.’

‘What are you on about?’

‘I tried to kill myself.’

She says it like it’s perfectly normal. Like she’d just tried a new nail varnish. Or she has a crush on someone. I find I can’t breathe and slump to the floor next to her.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she says, leaning back on her hands and looking up at the clouds. ‘I did a really crappy job of it. Apparently it’s really hard to OD on ibuprofen. Who knew?’

‘Kiara, I… I… Why?’

She closes her eyes and tilts her head back further, as if she were sunbathing. Only there’s no sun out today. ‘The doctors say I’m depressed.’

‘Well, duh!’ I say. ‘Award for stating the obvious goes to the doctors.’

‘I guess. But I always thought being depressed meant feeling sad all the time and not being able to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad. I just don’t… feel. Anything.’ She sits up again and rubs her muddy hands on her skirt. ‘I used to care about things so much, you know? My art. Music. But now, it’s all noise. And without it I feel empty. And I didn’t want to go on feeling empty.’

‘I wish I knew what to say.’

‘Don’t worry. No one knows really. Mum says I’ll get better soon. That it’s a phase. Dad’s ignoring it, pretty much, trying to carry on as normal. He can’t cope with the fact I’m not his happy little Kiki any more. My doctor wants me to take some pills. “Happy pills”. He actually called them that. Literally. Happy pills. Can you believe that?’

‘And you don’t want to take them?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t really know anything any more.’

‘Has this got anything to do with Pippa?’

Kiara laughs. ‘No. Poor Pippa. Can you imagine her dealing with this?’

I laugh too. But it comes out as more of a groan. ‘Yeah, she’d make a right drama out of it.’

‘No, it’s not her. I can’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. No, it’s just… life, I guess. My life. It really does suck.’

I turn away and sigh. ‘Tell me about it.’

‘I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you lately, Pet. I wanted to tell you, I really did. But…’

‘It’s fine. I get it.’ I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of relived.

We both sit and watch the clouds float past overhead.

‘So, what’s that got to do with having your chip out. I mean, can you even do that?’

‘Apparently there’s a clinic you can go to. It’s not as easy as having it put in. But nothing ever is, right?
‘And you’re going to?’

‘Maybe. It’s weird. Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything. You know, what my opinions are.’ She presses her hand to her chest. ‘I’m stretched out in all directions spread too thin. Like a pancake person.’ She laughs again, and this time, it sounds a little more like her real laugh. ‘But it could just be me. Mum did always say I was contrary.’

‘Why don’t you turn it off? Then when you feel better you can go back.’ I can’t get my head around the idea of someone choosing not to be on Glaze. Especially when I know I can’t. Like Ethan.

‘Yeah, but I’d only turn it back on again. I have no willpower.’ She shivers and wraps her arms around herself.

‘You want to come back to mine?’ I say, standing up. ‘Zizi will be there, though. She’s working on some big project.’
‘Won’t she go totally Metro for you bunking off?’

‘Nah, I’ll tell her I’m taking a stand against patriarchal institutions or something.’

‘Your mum’s cool.’

‘Hmm. Too cool.’

‘I have to be home normal time or Mum will call the police.’

‘We still have a couple of hours. And I’ve had enough of the police for a lifetime.’

She takes my hand to get to her feet then tucks it under her arm, linking us together. ‘What was it like? Being arrested?’ Her eyes light up and I realise now it’s the first time I’ve seen them like that in too long.

Kim PicDublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete.
She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
To find out more about Kim and her work visit www.kimcurran.co.uk
To view the full tour schedule visit A Daydreamers thoughts here

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
Signed copies of Shift & Control
Glaze Bookmarks
Glaze badges
Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Unravelled: Two Wars. Two Affairs. One Marriage.

M K Tod

unravelledTwo wars, two affairs, one marriage. 

In October 1935, Edward Jamieson’s memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward’s past puts his present life in jeopardy. When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves. And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage. With events unfolding in France, England and Canada, UNRAVELLED is a compelling novel of love, duty and sacrifice set amongst the turmoil of two world wars.

This is a novel based on turbulent times and dealing with conflicting emotions. We meet Edward and Ann, a Canadian married couple, in the year of 1936 when Edward has been invited to attend the unveiling of the war memorial at Vimy Ridge, one of the places Edward fought in during the 1st World War. For Edward this invitation sparks a flood of carefully buried memories and emotions of fighting in the trenches and his role in the Signals. Through his flashbacks we are flung into the violent, unstable and vital role of front line soldiering in this hideous environment. Tod eloquently describes the sights and smells and laces them with the strong mix of emotions that must have been experienced at the time, fear and courage walk hand in hand and the struggles of survival were movingly written.

Edward also remembers his lost French love Helene and his motivation to go back to Vimy Ridge and face all the difficulties from his part is largely motivated by his desire to see her again and to find out what happened to her. From this springboard we jump into finding out about Edward’s marriage to Ann and his conflict about his longing to find Helene despite having a wife and children.

As time moves on in the present and the 2nd War looms Edward is again assaulted by recollections of the hardship and those lost, accompanied by the fear of what might happen to those he knows now. As this time Edward is called into service behind the scenes, training people to work with The Resistance in Europe, the look at the war is very different, but again utterly fascinating. There is an abundance of detail woven into the story telling, and it is done with skill and compassion for the terrible situations.

Despite all his faults I really liked Edward. I felt for him in his difficulties and wanted him to overcome the challenges that came his way. In my imagined world of that era his reserve and stoicism fit right in. I found it took longer to like Ann, but she won me over as she copes with her husband’s reactions to war, his affair and plays her own part in helping others in WW2, counselling bereaved women. As Edward and Ann’s relationship is further tested it is easy to see how they represent the struggles of many families in wartime. This novel being set in Canada made it a little different from other war novels I have read set in Europe and I was caught up in the fresh perspective this gave.

I found that in this novel the experiences of Edward as a soldier and his struggles in his personal life are interwoven in a very realistic and compelling way. Equally Ann has much to cope with and her dilemma’s and hardships are so believable.

Verdict: It was a great blend of personal journey’s and world wide drama.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Tod Publishing
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 442/698KB
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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Self Published Sunday: Interview with David L. Atkinson

This week we welcome David L. Atkinson.

inceptusIn this fifth Steele novel, Patrick tackles the person who has been surreptitiously dogging his footsteps over a number of his adventures. This is not without risk, and when the focus of his love, Naomi Kobayashi, disappears, Patrick’s ability to function is seriously affected. We begin to find out more about the man himself as the adventure takes him to Eire, France, the USA, before he returns to resolve the issue in the UK. Will Patrick finally rid himself of a deadly enemy? Can our hero rescue his love, or is it already too late?
Inceptus is another tension-filled, action-packed Patrick Steele adventure with the support provided by the team he has developed over the years

What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing seriously about four years ago although I have written poetry for many years. I began writing because I’d reduced my work to part time and knew that I wanted to produce a novel.

What is your writing process?
The only things I tend to do is a brief outline that includes beginning situation and central characters and title pages, acknowledgements etc.

What prompted you to self publish?
I had submitted about 8 times with the usual rejection letters then saw an article in Publisher’s Weekly recommending Completely Novel and I’ve never looked back.

Tell us a bit about your self-publishing journey – just how did you do it?
I have half answered this question above but there was further justification in the blogs I’ve read from fellow indie authors. Added to that it seemed to me that anyone who is a celebrity can get published because their name is going to sell books irrespective of quality. The growth of self-publishing and the scope that is available for marketing has kept me in the indie game.

Can you tell us about the challenges and the achievements you have experienced in your writing and self-publishing journey?
The challenges have honestly been very few, mostly around formatting which varies between companies. Similarly, I have not had many achievements of any great significance apart from selling books in the USA, Canada and Europe.

We hear a lot about collaboration in self-publishing – do you work with other people (editors, marketers, publicists etc) when publishing your works?
I have worked with three different people on editing – that is all the collaboration in which I’ve been involved.

How do you get feedback on your work? How valuable is it to read the comments and reviews of others?
I am not one for looking at reviews because I believe that writing is an art and the reviews are almost entirely subjective. I will write irrespective of what people think. Those reviewers who criticise grammar or punctuation are like someone criticising the brand of paint an artist uses. Those who criticise style and content are entitled to their opinion but obviously it won’t coincide with mine.

Have you considered traditional publishing?
Yes. I still would like to be published out of a sense of vanity, I suppose, but I’m not that desperate.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Would you recommend self-publishing?

To answer in reverse order I definitely believe that self-publishing is the way to go. Advice for aspiring writers – well writing a book is rather like eating an elephant – you can only do it one mouthful at a time. Seriously though, if you’re writing a novel write the first 3 chapters before you review your work. I have spoken and read about many people who have written their first chapter, reviewed their first chapter and started again and they’ve done this several times! If you write the first three then review the beginning you will be happier with the style and content and are more likely to continue rejuvenated at your prowess.

Just for Fun:

If your book was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

Jason Statham

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?

Mark Knoffler

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Write at home or outside?

Home

Pen or PC?

PC

Email or letter/postcard?

email

And the all-controversial: print book or ebook?

Yes – both. My experience is that people who like reading have both.

image003Born in Sunderland, David L. Atkinson went to college in Bradford where he trained to be a teacher, a profession he followed for 34 years. After leaving the teaching profession he worked in a bank before taking up retirement. He remained in Yorkshire where he now dedicates his time to writing. David always had the ambition to write and eventually began writing in 2009. He has now completed five novels and is working on a sixth. He blogs daily at http://david-latkinson.blogspot.com, where you can find short stories, poetry and recipes, as well as commentary on the writing process.

Inceptus is available to buy from CompletelyNovel (here).

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What Endures

Katie Lee
what enduresJason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.
An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.
But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.
A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.
Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.
Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,
With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?

When I started What Endures I was expecting a candy floss read; boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy loses memory, boy and girl fall back in love, culminating with a cheesy Hollywood ending. Every now and then I want the pure escapism and comfort of a light, sweet and predictably fluffy story. While I would have been happy to sate my sweet tooth with a rush of sugar, Katie Lee had other ideas, giving me more substance to chew over.

After four agonising weeks of constant bedside vigil, Megan’s prayers are finally answered and Jason wakes from the coma caused by the horrific head injuries he sustained in a car accident. Doctors predict that while physically Jason should make a full recovery, the return of his memory is less certain.

While Megan has the experience of loving Jason for her entire adult life, Jason can’t recall a single memory of the previous ten years with Megan. Ten years of ups and downs, of heartbreak and healing. Laughter and tears, all wiped out in an instant. Not only that, but having lost all memory of his adulthood (reconciling with his stepbrother, independence from his controlling father, his glittering sporting career), who is post-accident Jason? Will he fall for Megan? And without the experience of their life together, is Jason still the man Megan fell in love with?

What Endures was an emotional journey, not only through the couples experience of Jason’s physical and emotional recovery, I was frequently teary-eyed as I empathised with Megan’s’ heartbreak and Jason’s bewilderment, but also through the exploration of a realistic long term love story with all of the inconvenience, hard made decisions, compromises and hurts of “real life”.

Verdict: A lovely read. I will be seeking out this indie author’s future work.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 346/462KB
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Via blog tour
Challenge: Debut Author
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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Sarah Honeysett

Please give a warm Big Book Little Book welcome to Sarah Honeysett.

severe-discomfortMarried for over thirty years, Lyn and Terry Walker bicker their way through an enforced early retirement in the house where they raised their two sons, resentfully supporting and depending on each other. Injured in a road traffic accident some years previously, Lyn takes comfort in her role of ‘Nana’ while husband Terry, unfit for work after two heart attacks, bitterly resents his loss of status as a skilled working man. But an anonymous letter triggers an investigation into their disability benefit entitlement by the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Walkers’ income is cut in half as a consequence. Worse, they are told they must repay over of fifty thousand pounds.
They seek help from the ‘Solent Welfare Rights Project’, where Terry’s case is allocated to awkward young trainee Sally Archer and office comedian, Toby Novak, while Lyn’s caseworkers are political activist Martin Connolly and veteran adviser, Hilary Carrington. The team will need all of their experience and ingenuity if they are to win the Walkers’ cases – but can they possibly succeed?
Topical and controversial, Severe Discomfort presents a sympathetic, claimant’s-eye view of the complex Social Security system and the tea-fuelled world of a cash-strapped independent advice project, with its eclectic workforce, peeling paintwork, second-hand furniture and eternal optimism.
Read the opening chapters and order the book at: http://www.completelynovel.com/books/severe-discomfort–1

What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I wanted to give a voice to some of the people I’d seen in crisis during my work as a benefits adviser: I’d written a lot of serious reports about the Social Security system, but nothing to capture the imagination of someone not already involved with that line of work. Of course, I can’t write about real clients or their cases, but ‘Lyn’ and ‘Terry’ can be found in the waiting rooms of Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres the length and breadth of the country every day of the working week.

What is your writing process?
‘Severe Discomfort’ started as odd episodes written during my husband’s weekly evening at the pub with his chums! These were stitched together, reviewed, distilled and rewritten, during the damp days of last summer until I had the finished story. I wrote something most days, and often spent all day writing! I’m currently redrafting a story with more ‘cases’ from the Solent Welfare Rights Centre, which I started immediately on finishing ‘Severe Discomfort’ and its sequel. That’s been happening spasmodically, but I’ll be more systematic about that when the nights draw in and the weather stops me gardening again.

What prompted you to self publish?
Impatience! The benefits at issue in ‘Severe Discomfort’ are being phased out over the next few year; the argument over whether this is right or wrong is happening right now and I want my book to play a part in that debate.

Tell us a bit about your self-publishing journey – just how did you do it?
Impulsively! I didn’t really want to use Amazon – they were getting panned for their tax affairs at the time and so hardly seemed a suitable vehicle for this project – and I couldn’t afford to squander hundreds of pounds on a glitzy ‘vanity publishing’ package. Trawling the Internet, I stumbled on CompletelyNovel’s website and really liked the friendly, co-operative feel of it, the eco-friendly ‘print-on-demand’ scheme for producing proper paperback books, and the quick, helpful responses I received to my queries.

Can you tell us about the challenges and the achievements you have experienced in your writing and self-publishing journey?
My biggest challenge is that I’m quite shy and not comfortable self-promoting, so I tend to apologise when asking people to read or review my books: it’s a lot easier now I’ve decided to donate any profits to Stoke-on-Trent CAB and I’m lobbying for a good cause. I’m genuinely proud of finishing ‘Severe Discomfort’ and its sequel, as I’m not great at completing projects. I’m also chuffed to have done quite a decent job of the cover and typesetting, thanks to CompletelyNovel’s online toolkit.

We hear a lot about collaboration in self-publishing – do you work with other people (editors, marketers, publicists etc) when publishing your works?
I’m sure I should, but apart from involving a trusted friend as proofreader, it’s been largely a solo project so far.

How do you get feedback on your work? How valuable is it to read the comments and reviews of others?
I tried the first draft out on close friends and family, and had some really helpful suggestions for edits from them. When I promoted the paperback through a campaigning organisation for disabled people, I got a couple of super reviews on Amazon and a request to make the book available as an ebook for better accessibility.
Best of all, I’ve had praise for my writing from people I really respect and who I can trust not to flatter me. One friend even declared that reading the book had made him ‘a better person’, which was extremely touching.

Have you considered traditional publishing?
I did try to interest several literary agents in ‘Severe Discomfort’ in the autumn of 2012 but as it didn’t fit neatly into any genre, and was quite open about its political nature, I wasn’t especially surprised to be rejected.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Would you recommend self-publishing?
Definitely, but don’t be haphazard and nervous about marketing and promotion as I’ve been. It’s no good being shy; if you’re proud of your work, tell everyone you know and don’t apologise for doing so!

Just for Fun:
If your book was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

It would suit the book to cast ‘unknowns’ in all the roles, although there are a few jokes about a certain character bearing a passing resemblance to George Clooney, so…?

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
It would have to include Uprising by Muse for Sally Archer and some Abba for Lyn, plus a few chords from Puccini’s Tosca at key moments in Hilary’s story.

Tea or Coffee?
Tea. Gallons of it!

Write at home or outside?
At home, on my own or in the evening. Especially J’s pub nights!

Pen or PC?
PC at home and work; pen for proofreading and notes on the narrowboat.

Email or letter/postcard?
I use email a lot, but when time permits I love writing, and receiving, letters.

And the all-controversial: print book or ebook?
I’m a Luddite at heart – it’s because I wanted to produce ‘real’ books that I opted for the CompletelyNovel publishing package

DSCN3517About Sarah: After working in Welfare Rights and Housing for twenty-five years in Hampshire and then Staffordshire, I took voluntary redundancy from Stoke-on-Trent Citizens’ Advice Bureau in the spring of 2011 to set up as a self-employed gardener. And there I was, fork, trowel and spade at the ready, when the ‘summer’ of 2012 came along… ‘Plan A’ was effectively rained off.
Missing my colleagues, clients and the world of welfare rights advice, I started to write about it. A few months later I had the first draft of Severe Discomfort and when the final version remained utterly resistible to several literary agents, I found CompletelyNovel online and through them self-published this first book and its sequel, Continual Supervision.
I rejoined Stoke-on-Trent CAB at the beginning of August 2013 in a training role, and I’m now donating any profits from sales of Severe Discomfort and Continual Supervision to this organisation, as right now we need all the help we can get.
I also write a light-hearted gardening blog with an occasional splash of social commentary at sarahhoneysettsgarden.blogspot.co.uk and comment seriously on Social Security policy at raggedskirt.blogspot.co.uk

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Self published Sunday: Interview With Emma Louise

We are delighted to welcome Emma Louise Dagnall to Self Published Sunday. The Mistake is Emma’s debut novel and was self published through CreateSpace on Thursday 13th June 2013.

the mistake A romance novel set in West Didsbury, Manchester where a bride and a groom celebrate their love on their wedding day. However, cracks begin to show. Will their happy day turn out the way they expected it? It just goes to show that brides should never keep secrets… This is part one of two. The sequel which is called The Regret will be available in October 2013.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I read a lot, mainly romance novels such as Nicholas Sparks, Paige Toon, anything that catches my eye really. I enjoy watching films as I’ve done a Film degree. I also enjoy blogging on www.emmaiswriting.wordpress.com

What inspired you to become a writer?
It all happened back in the good old days of 1997 when I was about to turn seven years old. A book was published and that book changed my life. It sounds silly, I know, but I wouldn’t be a writer if it hadn’t been published. Then came six other books and I feel madly in love with the characters, the magic and Daniel Radcliffe. I am of course talking about Harry Potter. I’m known to everyone as “The Harry Potter Girl” because I’m that obsessed. It helped me through the bullying during high school and J.K Rowling allowed me to believe that dreams do come true. I love Hogwarts and I’m honoured to have read the books and watched the films. It was after that when I began to write. My Nanny D always gave me pens and paper whenever I went to her house, she’s the best. She’s a huge inspiration to me.

What was your inspiration for The Mistake?
The inspiration for both The Mistake (my debut novel) and The Regret (the sequel) came from a Fiction seminar during my second year at Edge Hill University here in the North West of England. My tutor, at the time, asked us to write for five minutes about flowers. I instantly thought of a bouquet that a bride was holding but she wasn’t just your average bride. She had a dark past, one that I was about to reveal to all…

Tell us about your book?
The Mistake is a romance novel with a large helping of drama – I love it! It is a love triangle between Daniel, Nina and Thomas. There are a lot of home truths to be told and it is left on a huge cliff hanger. I have so many people hating on me on Twitter because I left it that way *laughs* but the sequel, The Regret reveals all and it’s kind of another cliff hanger. I’m mean, sorry!

What research did you do for this book?
Most writers tend to visit places, either abroad or where they’re from but I did no research for these two books in terms of visiting places. My research would have to be books. You can learn a lot from a single paragraph and you don’t even realise it. Nicholas Sparks is the reason I write romance so I’d have to say that he is my research. I love that man.

Are any elements of your book based on real life experiences/people?
Yes! Lucy and Christopher who are the parents of Thomas and Daniel are based on my best friend Lucy and her boyfriend of six years Christopher who you may have spotted on CBBC as a presenter. They’re two of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I love them both to pieces. They’re the definition of love and I’m honoured to have included them in my first two novels.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on The Regret. It is with my editor at the moment, but whilst it’s there, I’m writing something new. It’s called Business Love and I have no idea whether I’ll publish it or not. For now, it’s a bit of fun and I’m inside the head of the witty main character called Laura who is a bit of bossy bitch!

What is your writing process?
I don’t really have a routine, I just write whenever I want. I’m always reading because I write a lot of book reviews for my blog. I stick to my laptop for writing. On the odd occasion, I’ll use my owl notepad to jot something down.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
Music distracts me too much! But I have often listened to The Script whilst I’m writing. They’re a band from Ireland and they’re just beautiful. You may have seen the lead singer Danny on The Voice UK. I hate coffee so I stick to tea. I’m a big tea lover. My friend got me PG tips one Christmas, says it all really.

What prompted you to self publish The Mistake?
Sending your manuscript to an agent or publisher takes time off your hands. They say that you can’t send to more than one agent/publisher at a time because what happens if two accept you? How do you choose? It looks unprofessional on you then. I decided to self-published because I wanted to be in control of everything when it came to my debut novel and I’m only twenty-two. Self-publishing means you have to have a lot of balls (sorry!) and a strong back-bone. You’re doing it alone. You have no team to support you. It’s you, and your book going at it alone. I’m grateful to have people on Twitter and through my University who have been very supportive but you’re always going to receive some haters. I’ve got them now on Amazon and their petty reviews are quite upsetting but they’ve not got the balls to do what I’ve done. If only people knew how hard I’ve worked, they may understand.

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The main challenge was writing a unique piece. I’ve never read about a wedding before, so I decided to go with that. Publishers want something brand new, something fresh that’ll make people want to read more and more. When it came to self-publishing, I struggled to get people on board but once I grew a readership, it just flowed afterwards.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Oh, all the time! I overcome it by going to see my nephew. He’s currently three months old and he’s smiling all the time. He’s very beautiful and because he needs attention, it takes my mind away from my writing. Last week, I told him I had to go back to work and he started crying. He’s too cute, right?

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I’m going to say the same thing that Nicholas Sparks tells his readers… READ! Read a lot of the genre you wish to write in. Read. Read. Read until your bank balance has dried up.

Why did you choose to write your particular genre?
I would say that The Mistake is romance/drama but it is also young adult. I’m a young adult so it’s easy to reach across to people my own age. My book isn’t aimed at a certain age. My Nan is 82 and she’s read it!

How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always read romance novels, so that helped me to write in the romance genre. I was inspired through Nicholas Sparks and the way he takes a simple love story between two people and makes it completely fresh like it’s never been done before.

What books have inspired you?
Overall, it has to be Harry Potter. That started my writing career off. My favourite book from the series is *thinks for ten minutes* The Order Of The Phoenix. That’s when the readers begin to learn about the connection between Harry and the bad ass Voldemort. Also, I love Gary Oldman so I couldn’t wait to see him in the film!

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
I read a lot of Roald Dahl, yet sadly on the year that I was born, he passed away. His books are beautiful. I love The Twits!

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Pastures New by my wonderful friend Julia Williams.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
I’m always texting my friend Hannah from High School about books to read. The last one I told her about was Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon.

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
J.K Rowling and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Just for Fun:

If The Mistake was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)
A reader of mine sent me a collage of the actors who I’d love to be in the film. I have no idea how she knew because I have kept it to myself.
Daniel – Neil Patrick Harris (Barney from How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas – Ben Affleck
Nina – Courtney Cox

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Jessie J and The Script

Paper, Audio or eBook?
Paperback! I won’t even both explaining how much I dislike Kindles…

Tea or Coffee?
Tea please with milk, one and a half sugars

Slippers or barefoot?
Slippers in winter and barefoot for summer

Shower or Bath?
Shower

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Never tried it

Email or postcard?
Both – email for important things and postcards because they’re fun!

emmaiswritingI am Emma Louise and I currently twenty-two years old. I have a Bachelor Honours Degree in Joint Creative Writing & Film Studies, and I also have a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. When I’m not writing, you can find me reading, watching films/reality TV or blogging. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and I collect key rings. I can be found on Twitter @EmmaIsWriting and also at my blog: www.emmaiswriting.wordpress.com

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Self Published Sunday: Renhala Extract

We are delighted to welcome Amy Joy Lutchen as she shares an extract from her debut novel,Renhala. The first book in her urban fantasy series.

Renhala Final Cover ArtKailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.
A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey’s history for her liking, opens Kailey’s eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.
She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a “giver”), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon.
On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she’ll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey’s realm shortens all life spans.
As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.

As an unexpected warmth flows into the room, running over my feet first, I freeze. It slowly crawls up my body, touching my hands and forcing them to reach forward. As the heat envelopes my head, I suddenly yearn to possess this deadly treasure, so I touch it, and the pole comes off the wall with one pull. I embrace it, suddenly feeling I will never be disconnected from my new lover, because it is me and I am it. I swing, and it is light in my hands. The metal whistles as it slices air, singing its song of perfection—perfect balance.

Suddenly, I am torn from my find by a peculiar noise accompanied by the faint smell of rotten eggs. I know the smell, and I run to the door, not wanting to be cornered in this room. That’s when I see it standing in the road, and it’s huge—at least eight feet tall and five feet wide, with dark brown skin and fur. I recognize the feet—all three of them, situated like a tripod, with the center leg slightly forward. Its full hideousness is far worse than its feet alone. The huge eyes that take up at least 50 percent of its head stare at me while its mouth, which seems to take up the other 50, quivers, drooling some dark liquid. I can’t be sure, but it looks like it’s hungry. It stares at me as though I’m a huge medium rare rib-eye steak. There are sprouts of fur here and there around its body, and its arms dangle below its waist. It wears a large loincloth and short pants, both shredded on the edges. There is also a band around its waist, somewhat resembling an extra, extra, extra large fanny pack. I stand, frozen with fear at the realization that I’ve been visited by yet another hideous creature. It was not a dream. The delicious meal I just ate starts creeping up my throat, but I swallow, keeping it at bay.

A noise escapes from behind the creature. Its ears quiver, and its head turns all the way around like an owl’s, then swivels back toward me. I’m amazed by its flexibility. Its skin seems to be in constant movement, and it begins moving toward me quickly. It’s so fast. And so big.

I grab the pole and stabilize myself, knowing I cannot outrun this abomination, and it’s time to prove I can take care of myself. Seconds before it reaches to grab me with its monkey-length arms, I duck and swing the pole out, but the creature jumps over me swiftly.

It lunges again quicker than expected, and I manage to somehow cut my leg with my own weapon. The flow of blood freezes me, vulnerability creeping up on me like a dark shadow. The creature makes the jump toward me. I fall directly down, sticking my pole spade straight up in its direction with my eyes closed. My movement is unexpected—by both of us—so the creature comes down slightly crooked as my blade nicks the inside of its leg.

Black ooze runs down its leg, dripping onto the dirt. Black ooze. Before I lose myself to the visions, I notice the tears in its eyes. This big, ugly creature—surely sent by Satan himself—is crying, and reeks of regret?

“Ow! You hurt Bu! How could you? Bu was only going to help you.” Its voice is undeniably male and youthful as it wipes the dark ooze from its mouth on the back of his hand, then proceeds to lick some off.

“Oh, gross,” I say, totally disgusted. I hold the pole weapon out in front of me.

The tears are as big as his eyes as they roll down his cheeks, and I find myself feeling bad I hurt him, even if he was going to rip my throat out. I get closer to him, just out of arm’s length, and say, “You were going to eat me! Is this a trick? You feign pain, I come close, and then you eat me?”

He then does something unexpected—giggles. It’s then that I feel it—purity. Purity of heart and soul is spewing from him, like rays from a sun, warm and soft as cashmere.

“Wait,” I say as I sniff the air. “You smell like chocolate.”

Amy Luchen author photoBorn in Chicago, Illinois, a few days prior to watching her first movie, at a drive-in theater. Yes, drive-in theater. And yes, her mother believed she was possessed by the devil after said first movie.
Grew up in the Chicagoland area and graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she simply became a number, but decided it was a good number.
Loves cooking (mostly candy-cooking), gardening (putting holes in the ground for perennials, DONE!), designing and constructing jewelry (everything from silversmithing to lampworking), and living with her wonderful husband, two children, black Labrador, and frog—and maybe even the chipmunk family that likes to destroy her aforementioned perennials.
Also hopes that you enjoy her writings, and won’t criticize her for her aversion of eating things in multiples of three.

To learn more about Amy and her work you can visit her Facebook page (here), her Website (here) or her Goodreads Authors page (here). Alternatively follow and converse with her onTwitter (here).
Renhala is avaliable to buy now from
Amazon.com (here)and Smashwords(here).

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My Kindle Romance: Novellas

I think that it is fair to say that I have a teeny tiny book addiction *hides To Be Read pile and credit card statements.* But my addiction doesn’t stop at stock piling books in case of a zombie apocalypse. Oh no, my reading habits also border on excess.

It is not uncommon for me, once hooked by a story, to read a book in a single sitting. I’m not so much a fast reader as a persistent one, and I’d rather be sleep deprived due to reading, than tossing and turning in bed wondering what is going to happen next. Because I recognize my own weaknesses, and my occasional premeditated decision to read a book in its entirety, and I also need to get some sleep, I love reading novellas.

The other fantastic things about novella is how they can either give you a taste, for a writers style, or a particular genre, or provide additional content to an already beloved fictional world.

Not to mention that they are cheap, most of the novellas I’ve bought have been less than a pound, and many authors provide novellas as examples of their work, or as extra content, for free.

Below are a selection of novellas I have enjoyed recently.

Submerging yourself in a genre.

A Riverting AffairA Riverting Affair:
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast-Lily Lang
Rose Verney wants to fulfill her father’s dying request: to complete construction of the teleportation device he designed. Knowing just who can help her succeed, she seeks out Sebastian Cavendish, her father’s brilliant former student. Sebastian hasn’t left his home since he returned from the Civil War. He’s a broken man, his prosthetics a reminder of the terrible destruction his inventions brought to the battlefield. He wants nothing to do with Rose and her father’s masterpiece, but when she barges into his abandoned lab and begins construction, it’s everything he can do to resist getting involved. Especially when she charms her way into his monstrous heart.
Demon Express-Candace Havens
Professor Maisy Clark, professional demon hunter, is on the trail of an evil scientist responsible for the deaths of hundreds. Julian is worse than the monsters he creates, but he’s also obsessed with Maisy and willing to kill anyone who gets too close to her. Just when she thinks she has Julian cornered, the sexy Marshall Jake Calloway insists the investigation is his, and everything goes to hell. Maisy came to Texas to corner the scientist whose macabre experiments have taken so many lives, and Calloway is just another distraction she doesn’t need. Julian is her responsibility, one she’s not about to share. Even if Calloway can help, Julian will know Maisy is falling for the Marshall, and she’s not willing to risk his life. The
Clockwork Bride-Patricia Elmer
When engineer Aida Mulvaney attends a masquerade ball at the home of a staunch Luddite earl with a personal vendetta against her father’s company, she doesn’t expect to end the night married to the earl’s son Julian Capshaw, a brilliant engineer in his own right. The marriage will allow both of them to pursue their love of science, without interfering parents and ridiculous social stigmas. Though they escape to the Continent to start new lives, Julian’s father will have none of his heir’s disobedience. Before long, a marriage begun for the sake of convenience becomes a union of passion, but will it survive the machinations of an earl determined to destroy everything they love?

What first attracted me to the genre of Steampunk is the uniquely beautiful esthetic, that wonderful combination of historical elements, corsets and top hats, combined with fantastical technologies and modern scientific thinking.

Although only a small collection, of three novellas, A Riveting Affair gives a fantastic taste of Steampunk romance. This eclectic anthology features a fairytale retelling, a more traditional feeling historical romance and a paranormal romance, with blimps, steam engines and teleportation devices, in locations as varied as New York, London and Texas, all wrapped up in a copper wire and mahogany package.

While I enjoyed all three tales, I was particularly fond of Demon Express. The kick arse, monster hunting heroine, a Stetson wearing hero, and a detailed and intriguing back-story, had me craving a full-length novel. I will certainly be checking out the authors back catalogues for such.

Verdict: A tasty plate of Steampunk treats.

Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Revisiting beloved worlds.

die for herDie For Her- Amy Plum
Set in the romantic and death-defying world of the international bestselling Die for Me trilogy, this digital original novella follows Jules, a brooding, immortal French artist who has fallen in love with his best friend’s girlfriend.
Jules Marchenoir is a revenant-an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save human lives. He’s spent the better part of the last century flirting his way through Paris, but when he met Kate Mercier, the heroine from Amy Plum’s Die for Me trilogy, he knew his afterlife had changed forever and he had found the love of his life. Until Kate fell for his best friend, Vincent. Now Jules is faced with an impossible decision: choosing between his loyal friend and a love truly worth dying for.

For fans like myself, the desire to reread the series prior to the final installment is strong, however the means are lacking (the TBR pile is teetering). While the publication sits between book 2 (Until I Die) and, the highly anticipated, finale of Amy Plum’s Revenant’s trilogy, If I should Die (Oh my gosh I CAN’T WAIT!!!!), It is in actual fact a fabulous little recap of the events from the very beginning of the series.

We get to delve even deeper in the romance of our favorite French couple, learning more about the strength of Vincent’s feelings for Kate, and discovering just how and when Vincent feel in love from the outside perspective of the man who knows him best, Jules, his best friend and fellow revenant.

Last, but in no way’s least, we are treated to an enlightening look at mind of gorgeous, too many women, too little time, Jules Marchenoir. We learn more about his strength of character, his loyal friend ship and the depth of his feelings belied by his flirtatious exterior. I was certainly fooled by his fun front and I look forward to a point in the future where I can reread the series with this added perspective.

Verdict: While only a sixty-page novella, this little look at the revenant world is a mini revelation.

Discovering new authors

sleeping hansomeSleeping Handsome-Jean Haus
Paige should have never agreed to do her best friend’s project. Reading to a boy in a coma is just plain creepy, but her English teacher somehow thinks her acting skills make it the perfect community service match. But when she finds the boy’s journal hidden among his books, things turn from creepy to interesting.

This predictably sweet, but satisfying novella was the perfect between novels palate cleanser.
Though Zach’s painfully candid diary entries, Paige comes to learn as much about her own self-absorbed and shallow nature, as she does the silent young man lying supine beside her.

Verdict: A feel good, hug of a novella, with a surprising amount of character development. The perfect bedtime story.

Posted by Caroline

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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Leyland Perree

We are delighted to welcome Leyland Perree to Self Published Sunday to talk about his children’s book, The Great Reef Race.

Leyland author photoLeyland Perree is a freelance children’s’ author. His illustrated picture books include Frog on the Log, The Goat that Gloats and Toad’s Road Code, all of which have achieved international success.
The Great Reef Race is his first book by Ghostly Publishing, and his first collaboration with illustrator Stuart McGhee, who, we’re happy to say, survived the ordeal
Leyland’s inspirations and ideas stem from a childhood love of rhyme and imaginative storytelling from the likes of Dr. Seuss and Spike Milligan.
Leyland lives in Devon with his wife and son.

Tell us about your book?
It’s about an annual underwater race that takes place on and around a reef. The story features many different humorous and colourful sea-creatures bought to life through Stuart McGhee’s unique illustrations. The story itself is written in verse (which I tend to fall naturally into – again, a throwback to my love of Dr. Seuss and Julia Donaldson). The two central characters, Eel and Ock, are (for me) reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise, but the real show-stealer has to be a certain sea-snail – I shall say no more!
The Great Reef Race is published by Ghostly Publishing, and is available from their online bookshop. You can also pick it up from Amazon and Waterstones.

What was your inspiration for The Great Reef Race?
All three of my previous children’s books contain a moral of some sort. For my next book I wanted to tackle the notion of working together to achieve great things, so I began to think about creatures that could have different skill-sets. I settled on an octopus (many limbs, but potentially clumsy) and an eel (no limbs at all, but fast and agile). How could they help one another? I had an idea about them collecting clams from the seabed, and a title came to me: “The Great Clam Caper”. But after that I was fairly stumped and struggled to find a starting point. Still, I liked the title and began to bounce a few others around of much the same ilk. “The Great Reef Race” came quickly and naturally, as did the first verse;

“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!’

After that, the rest rolled along nicely without many bumps and ruts. The moral, incidentally, of this one is that playing fair and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
“The Great Clam Caper” may still happen. In fact, I know it will. Some ideas I have fade with the passing of time. Some, like that one, remain vivid in my mind. For now though, it’s in the bank for another day.

Why did you choose to write children’s fiction?
I didn’t, so much as it was an experiment of sorts that turned into something I seem to be fairly good at. As I said, the sideline took off. Now my adult fiction has become the sideline.
How did you choose the genre you write in? What inspired you to write it?
I always loved rhyme and verse when I was young. The sillier, the better. I guess I just fell into it naturally being a bit of a silly person myself.

What are you currently working on?
The next children’s picture book (Which Witch is Which?) is already written and with Stuart McGhee for illustration. Also written is the third Perree/McGhee collaboration “The Magic Custard Factory”, although I’m still tinkering with the ending of that one.
I’m also working on two children’s novels;
“Captain Mandible and the Deadlings”, is about inept pirates, annoying grandparents, ghosts, time-travel and cats that go “WOOFF!
“Roy and the Magic Wish Machine” (working title) is about a Toyland elf trying to track down a missing Santa Claus.

What inspired you to become a writer?
As a child I loved stories, from the nonsensical rhymes and wacky illustrations of Dr. Seuss to the fantasies of Enid Blyton and the blackly comic books of Roald Dahl. I tried my hand at writing, on-and-off, when I was young, but didn’t really find my confidence with it until I was in my late-teens/early twenties. Around that time I started writing roleplaying adventures to play with friends. Although I struggled to get to grips with the rules of the game for which I was writing, I found I enjoyed the writing aspect immensely. In the end I ditched the game and spent the next six years writing my debut novel; a sizeable tome of something like 287,000 words.
I continued writing adult fiction until the time my son turned one. Having become, at that time, a huge fan of Julia Donaldson, I decided to write a story for my son (and my own amusement). Having never intended to sell it, I decided in the end to “throw it out there” ¬¬– to see what happened. And it just so happens that the “sideline” took off. The Great Reef Race is my current (and fourth) children’s picture book. I still write fiction for adults, and in a way this has now become the sideline. I suspect that the two aspects of my career are destined to orbit each other forever.

What is your writing process?
Having slipped out of a routine for a while, I’m now back to writing three evenings a weeks, plus whatever I can grab inbetween times. I write in my office (spare bedroom) on my PC with the door closed and a hot (or cold) beverage within arm’s reach.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I work full-time and have a six-year old lad, so by the time I’ve got home, spent time with him, put him to bed and eaten, it’s often a good way towards what should be my own bedtime. Then comes writing or writing-related stuff like research, promotion, editing etc which often takes me into the small hours of the morning.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
As humans we can be so quick to compartmentalise things. At the risk of being controversial, I think sometimes writers whip out the old writers block trump card when all that is happening is that they are struggling a bit. More often than not, writing will be a struggle. It’s a deeply personal craft that often won’t flow as freely as you want it to. Now I’ve never experienced writer’s block, and I’ll bet that a good many writers (especially those just starting out) who claim to have had, haven’t either. According to my research, real writer’s block is, apparently, a deeply debilitating and mentally crippling condition that can cause gross anxiety, phobia and an inability to function creatively.
It is perfectly natural to hit a wall, now and again. It’s okay to struggle a bit. It’s not okay to keep banging into that wall like a fly against a windowpane. Try something else. Try going around – or going back. I’ve thrown a good two or three chapters away before now when I reached a dead-end in one of the novels I wrote, because I just couldn’t see a way forward. It wasn’t writer’s block. It was poor management. I lost sight of the horizon, got so caught up in the here-and-now that I allowed the plot to steer itself away from the point I should have been heading towards.
I guess until I experience it for myself, I’ll remain fairly sceptical that such a thing as writer’s block even exists. In the meantime, I’ll struggle a bit.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read “On Writing” by Stephen King. Love him or hate him, the guys knows his stuff. Nothing I can say here will outshine the gems of wisdom in that particular book. So I’m not going to try.

What books have inspired you?
Anything with Dr. Seuss or Julia Donaldson on the cover.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
Henry Hollins and the Dinosaur. I have fond memories of that book.

What are you currently reading?
Dead Game by Claire Kinton.

Just For Fun

If The Great Reef Race was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

Ha ha. Samuel L. Jackson as Ock. Jason Lee as Eel. Steve Buscemi as Mark the Snail.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
All three are valid formats. My heart lies with paper though.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot

Shower or Bath?
Bath

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Love it

Email or postcard?
Email

the great reef race“Far beneath the ocean waves
And in the underwater caves
Exciting news was spreading fast:
‘The Great Reef Race is here at last!”
When Eel and Ock join a host of other memorable sea-creatures in a thrilling, madcap, splash to the finish line, they soon discover that friendship, fair play and having fun are sometimes more important than winning.
Join in the fun as they wriggle, jiggle and giggle their way from page to fun-filled page – like only an Eel and an Octopus can!

The Great Reef Race is available to buy now from Ghostly Publishing (click here to purchase), amazon.co.uk(here), amazon.com (here) and from Waterstones.com(here)

You can learn more about Leyland and his work by visiting his website(here), his Goodreads authors page(here) or by conversing with him on twitter(here)

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Cover Reveal: Strong Enough

I am really looking forward to this debut from self published author Alexis Alexander.

strong enoughWe don’t meet people in life on accident, they are meant to cross our path for a reason; Reece Miller is beginning to understand what that really means.
At the tender age of 17, Reece experienced a trauma that finally left her broken and guarded. Her memories of that night are limited except for the feel and smell of the savior that crossed her path. With no name or even a mental picture of who he was, she has spent the last six years thinking of nothing but him and wondering.
Hardened by life, Reece has built a wall around herself. Unable to understand the feeling of love, let alone what it means to be needed or wanted, she pushes through life hiding; three people cross her path and slowly chip at the vacant shell that is, Reece Miller, one of them being her savior from that awful night.
Will Reece figure out who he is or his reason for being in her life before it’s too late? Or will she lose the one person meant to make her whole again?
A heartfelt tale of learning to trust, believe and love

Strong Enough is scheduled to be published in May.
To learn more about Alexis and her work visit her Facebook page(here).

Posted by Caroline

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