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Rain Walking

 

 

 

 

Dog stands by the door, feet planted, tail still
While I put on wellingtons and a mac
Dog’s eyes say: ‘Terriers hate the rain; don’t you know nuffink?’
Collar and lead on, we set out
Past the village store, open all hours
Past the house with the broken gate
Where lives a woman with a broken heart
Past the post box, unleashing love and hope
And bills (but nobody wants those)
And to the footpath, muddied and brown
Moving through fields of overripe wheat
Looking up I feel the kiss of clouds
As rain, fine as sea spray
Mists my nose, cheeks and eyelids
Field after field, until dog and I are bound for home
Each wetter than a paper boat

 

 

16.08.19 Beverley Harvey

 

Book Review : Beware the Cuckoo by Julie Newman

Blurb: They were reunited at his funeral, school friends with a shared past. A past that is anything but straightforward. A past that harbours secrets and untruths.

Karen has a seemingly perfect life. An adoring husband, two wonderful children and a beautiful home. She has all she has ever wanted, living the dream. She also has a secret.

Sandra’s once perfect life is rapidly unravelling. The man who meant everything to her had a dark side and her business is failing. To get her life back on track she needs to reclaim what is rightfully hers. She knows the secret.

As the past meets the present, truths are revealed – and both women understand the true cost of betrayal.

Review : In this dark thriller, Julie Newman skilfully weaves a tale of intrigue and suspense. The narrative spans several decades, mainly the recent past and the seventies, and the key characters are three schoolgirls and one sinister and wealthy businessman.

Overall, ‘Beware the Cuckoo’ is the story of one woman’s struggle to outrun a lifetime of misery and abuse at the hands of not only a male perpetrator but a bullying and monstrous woman. To say much more would spoil the plot, but at the mid-way point, there’s a subtle shift in tone as we focus more on the recent past and themes of blackmail, financial skulduggery and revenge smoulder throughout the action.

I found the character of Karen terribly sad and her story a tough read in places, particularly some of the detailed descriptions of her abuse at the hands of Bill.  There are no laughs in this book, but if you like a twisty and unpredictable read, you’ll get much out of this novel and I’m looking forward to reading other novels by Ms Newman.

Beware the Cuckoo – OUT NOW

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beware-Cuckoo-Julie-Newman/dp/1911129910/

Watch this space for exciting news of Julie’s forthcoming release ‘Cast No Shadow’ published by Urbane on 26th September 2019

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Book Review : Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

I loved Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech and was excited by the idea of the deliciously titled Call Me Star Girl which has been creeping up my TBR list since it launched. I was not disappointed.

Two words: Obsessive Love. For this is what Ms Beech’s brilliantly written, poignant and just plain creepy novel boils down to; the ripple effects of what can happen when people love too much.

Call Me Star Girl is a captivating story with a timeline that spans one fateful Night. Cleverly, the author manages to weave in a lifetime of pent up struggle and emotion, told through the eyes of Stella, a mid-twenties radio presenter, and her mother Elizabeth. It’s a story about love, obsession, secrets, shadows and regrets.

Events take place during Stella’s last ever radio show, with flashbacks that span both her own lifetime and her mother’s. This is a book about women for women with the nature of mother/daughter relationships at its heart. The male characters are indeed pivotal to the action but we scarcely care what they think, and they win little to no affection.

I loved Louise’s narrative style; its lack of flowery prose is just right for me as it is evocative, rather than descriptive. I read one review that had described the book as repetitive and in some parts it is, but in a deliberate and artful way that illustrates how Stella’s life is spinning out of control and the desperation she feels, with much of her inner dialogue reminding me of someone who suffers from anxiety or OCD.

Regards plot, there are myriad twists and turns and you’ll find your sympathy vacillating from one character to another as the facts emerge and overall it makes for a tight and tense read.

The ending is shocking, utterly unpredictable – and absolutely right. I loved it.

Published by Orenda and out now https://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Star-Girl-Louise-Beech/dp/1912374633/

Eden Interrupted: the wait is over

#Review: “Another beautifully crafted piece of life drama by the talented author of Seeking Eden. I’m in awe of this writer’s ability to see into the minds of such a diverse cast…I loved every page. This is a compelling page turning read, a must to take on holiday.”

Source: Waterstones  https://www.waterstones.com/books/reviews/isbn/9781912666386#review-121868

 

Happy Publication Day to me! Eden Interrupted finally launched today. It’s been a long time coming. My publisher, Urbane, has had an incredibly busy year and I’ve been happy to wait my turn. Today the wait is over.

So how does it feel to unleash Book Two? Short, official answer; pretty cool, thanks. Longer view? A bit flat and somewhat of an anti-climax. This time there’ll be no big launch party spent guzzling champagne with my beautiful friends and family; well, you only write your debut once…

It’s nerve wracking, too. Will anyone like it? Will anyone review it? Will anyone even read the darn thing?! There are no guarantees, except that it’s out there in the ether now, and I feel as naked as a bare lady on a nudist beach – but more about my holidays later.

So what can readers expect of Eden Interrupted? First things first: it’s the sequel to Seeking Eden so readers will have a better experience if they’ve read the latter. That said, it makes perfect sense as a standalone novel – but possibly without the depth in some storylines.

There are several familiar faces, but – plot spoiler alert – not everyone from Seeking Eden makes it across to Eden Interrupted. In addition, there are plenty of exciting new characters on the block; like Chloe, a forty-something divorced mum, with an angst-ridden teenage son. Poor Chloe is trying to juggle a new business, a new house and a new relationship – never mind Jake’s grand scale teenage meltdowns.

At the other end of the village, we meet Nigel and Rosemary Bradshaw, and their six year old daughter Iris. But there’s more to this family than meets the eye.

At least we can rely on Ben and Lisa for some light relief…can’t we? Just don’t mention the M word to Lisa…

Finally, Martin and Jan take the plunge and move to Eden Hill after a dramatic life event forces their hands – but as is usually the case, it’s not all plain sailing for them either.

To all the people who have pre-ordered the book – and to those yet to be persuaded, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as readers loved Seeking Eden. And if Eden Interrupted isn’t quite your bag, tell me (seriously, get in touch), but if it is, tell everybody and please consider leaving a review on Amazon, however brief.

Thank you to all the kind people who have supported me throughout the writing of both books; you know who you are – and I’ll never forget it.

Happy Reading… xx

Book Review: The Grass Below by Mark Mayes

Having read and enjoyed another of Mark Mayes’ novels, The Blue Box, I expected The Grass Below to come alive with original and stylish prose and to contain an element of fantasy or magic. But whilst the former is true, his latest novel is filled with a gritty and visceral realism that at times left me breathless.

The book tracks the story of Alex Wright, a timid dreamer of a boy raised in lower-middle class suburbia in the 70s. Mayes’ observations of the times are scarily accurate and will certainly raise a knowing smile of familiarity for readers of a certain age (me being one of them).

We soon learn that young Alex spends his time with a local gang of lads, but that he is often the butt of the joke due to being overweight and overtly shy. From the outset I felt that Alex was tolerated rather than embraced by the other boys. He is also bullied mercilessly by an older boy from a local thuggish family – and it is this sense of victimisation that forms one of the book’s overarching themes: Alex’s quest for truth and justice as a middle-aged man, single, childless and with no real career to speak of. This is the story of the worm that turned as Alex goes ‘home’ to right the wrongs of the past and to free himself of the guilt and shame and the ‘loser’ status that has always followed him.

The balance of the action is fifty-fifty between Alex the boy and Alex the man, and although there’s real darkness in the story, its telling is so vivid that – as in life – there are flashes of hilarity, too. For instance, an all-night drunken bender with the ‘old gang’ when Alex returns home will have you reading through your fingers with fascination and discomfort.

Throughout, there’s real tension and pace; I had a terrible sense of dread, whilst willing Alex on to do whatever was necessary to right the wrongs of the past. The ending is shocking and very satisfying and kept me guessing to the bitter end. The writing is immaculate and veers between anecdotal reminiscence to stream of consciousness chaos as Alex falls deeper down the rabbit hole in his search for the truth.

Overall The Grass Below is a brilliant follow up to Mark Mayes’ debut – and I personally preferred it.

 

Book Review: The Fish That Climbed A Tree by Kevin Ansbro

Where to start with the literary feast that is The Fish That Climbed a Tree? I was attracted by the reviews but wasn’t sure the book would be for me as (generally) I like to keep it real. BUT – and here’s the clever part – this fantastical tale of an orphan’s journey from young boy to adulthood was utterly believable and the characters became so real to me that I was wholly invested in them and their respective plights from the get-go.

Ansbro sets out his stall immediately, opening on the grisly murder of the Reverend Ulysses Drummond and his fragrant, butterfly-magnet wife, Florence. The pair are killed by grotesque assassins who are the stuff of nightmares and I found them utterly terrifying; yet somehow, the author manages to inject wit and humour into even the bleakest of scenes.

The couple are survived by their ten-year-old son, Henry, an awkward and high-functioning child, who gets shipped off to his grandparents’ and sent away to school. We then chart Henry’s progress as he encounters a cast of beguiling characters. Look out for benign Bertie, the loathsome Sebastian (whom readers will love to hate), the lubricious Amber and doting father-figure/landlord, Mr O’Connor.

Throughout, the violence is shocking but never gratuitous, driving the plot at a cracking pace and ensuring that the reader is rooting for Henry every step of the way. The Magical Realism aspect arises from Ulysses and his celestial friends (see entertaining cameos by Voltaire and Darwin) as he follows his son’s journey, unable to rest or play with the other angels until his son is safe.

All the characters fascinate, but it was Henry who stole my heart and I found the ending very satisfying. I loved the author’s narrative style; rich in metaphors and similes – and the way in which he wove together the astral plane of the spirit world with the earthly land of the living.

To summarise, Kevin Ansbro’s clever and multi layered third novel is a joy from first to last page. The Fish That Climbed a Tree may have been my first foray into Magical Realism, but I doubt it will be my last.

Out now on Amazon in Paperback & Kindle:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fish-That-Climbed-Tree/dp/1912014327

 

In conversation with writer
Cara Hunter

Cara Hunter is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels Close to Home and In the Dark, featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Close to Home was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and Cara’s novels have sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Cara’s third novel, No Way Out, is out soon. Cara Hunter lives in Oxford, on a street not unlike those featured in her books.

 

Gripping, fast-paced and tense are just some of the adjectives that leap out of the many reviews garnered by Cara Hunter for her thrilling DI Adam Fawley police procedural series. Already a firm favourite in our house, the drama centres on DI Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Cara’s Debut, Close to Home, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and her novels have sold more than half a million copies worldwide. I caught up with Cara ahead of the launch of No Way Out, (Penguin, Imprint: Viking, Publishing: 18/04/2019).

BH: Cara, many congratulations on the success of Close to Home and In the Dark. I’ve read and hugely enjoyed both novels and I’m excited about Book Three in the series No Way Out. You must be delighted with the reviews and the speed with which the series has caught fire.

CH : I’m a bit overwhelmed to be honest! It’s been an amazing couple of years. It was about this time in 2017 that the great and unfailingly generous Ian Rankin was kind enough to give me a quote for the cover of Close to Home, and now I’m up alongside him in the short-list for Crime & Thriller book of the year in the British Book Awards. It’s like a dream come true.

BH: Close to Home was your debut; can I take you back to your first forays into fiction. Where did the idea for the Fawley series come from and how long did it take you to write Close to Home?

CH: There’s a nice story about that. My husband and I were on holiday in the Caribbean, and I was reading my usual stack of crime books. And each time I’d finish one (I read really fast – the legacy of doing English lit at university) I’d invariably chuck it on the sand and say ‘It was good, but the ending was a bit disappointing’. And in the end he just turned to me and said ‘Why don’t you write one of those things yourself?’. And so I did! By the end of that holiday I had a synopsis, and it only took a few months to write – it was amazingly fast once I got going.

BH: Cara, you write about police procedure and the operations side with great authority and insight. Where does your inside track come from?

CH: When I had my first meeting with my (now) editor at Penguin, Katy Loftus, one of the first things she said was that the book felt so authentic I must have spent hours talking to actual police officers. At which point I laughed out loud and confessed I hadn’t talked to anyone! All the research had been done online, or had seeped into my brain from all the crime I watch on TV. But I agreed with Katy that it was probably a good idea to check before we went live (!), and since then I’ve assembled a fantastic team of pro advisers, including a DI, a former forensic scientist, a QC, a doctor and a forensic psychiatrist. They read the first draft of each book, and they’re also on hand in the early stages when I’m planning the story, in case there are any procedural or legal issues that are crucial to the plot. I’ve learned so much from them – and I’m sure the books are better as a result.

BH: In your books Oxford is more than just a setting; it’s like another character or cast member, even. Can you talk about the relationship you have with the City?

CH: I came here as a student, and now I’ve returned, many years later, to live here. I think your university town always has a special place in your heart – it’s like your second home. I certainly feel that way. And I set Close to Home only a few hundred yards from where I live – ‘close to home’ in every sense.

BH: No plot spoilers please, Cara – but what can readers expect from No Way Out?

CH: No Way Out returns, in many ways, to the territory of Close to Home. It’s centred on an Oxford family, outwardly happy and perfectly ‘normal’, who are struck by an appalling tragedy in the opening pages, when their house is devastated by a fire. After that the book unfolds in two parallel strands – the police investigation led by DI Adam Fawley that moves forward in the present, and a series of flashbacks that take the reader into the family’s past, and finally reveal what really happened. We also see more of Adam and his wife Alex, who love each other very much, but are struggling with a terrible fault-line in their relationship that threatens to tear them apart. I found writing those scenes really emotional.

BH: DI Fawley is very charismatic, and has great depth, including his own ghosts and tragedies: Who would you cast to play him in the TV series?

CH: I have the most immense soft spot for him! He’s strong and intelligent but he also has his weak spots and his vulnerabilities. As for who would play him, I still can’t decide. The person who I think looks most like him is actually Mark Carney (would you believe) the Governor of the Bank of England. Perhaps he could be tempted to a change of career!

BH: Now that would be a radical career change – although I’m sure Mark Carney has to act from time to time. Dare readers hope for a fourth book…and beyond?

CH: I’m in the final throes of work on ‘Fawley Four’, which is called All the Rage. And I really love this one. I’m contracted for five at the moment, so there’ll definitely be one more after that, and hopefully more!

BH: Finally, Cara, what are your three top tips for fledgling authors at an early stage in their writing journey?

CH: The first is to just write. Like everything else, you’ll get better at it the more you do it. So if that novel idea just isn’t coming, or you get bogged down in a cul-de-sac, just put it aside and write something else. A short story, a blog post, anything. Just keep exercising that creative muscle. The second is to share what you’re doing with other people. It’s tempting to keep what you write to yourself, but if you want to be published there will come a time when you have to share it, and it’s better to have got used to receiving feedback before you get to the stage of agents and publishers, who can be very direct (though, of course, for the right reasons). The last is to persevere. Writing is really tough. You spend a lot of time alone, it’s hard work, and even when the book is done getting it published can feel like an uphill struggle. The important thing is to keep going. If you want it bad enough….

BH: Cara, thank you so much for making time to chat to me in the middle of your busy launch period. I wish you continued success with the Fawley Series – and can’t wait to find out what happens next!

You can read more about Cara Hunter at :
https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/130642/cara-hunter.html
https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B077YKNJGN

You can also sign up to the new newsletter (just launched this week!) to get sneak previews, book recommendations, interviews with my pro team, and exclusive content https://www.penguin.co.uk/newsletters/carahunter/

 

In conversation with writer
Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. HER SECRET (2018) is her third novel and the sequel to NO WAY BACK (2017).

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch, relaunched with a new print-run in 2019, she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales. In January 2017, her keen interest in health and fitness led to the release of Smooth Operator – a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, drinking coffee, scoffing cakes, watching TV dramas and spending way too much time on social media. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

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Today I’m super-excited to welcome writer Kelly Florentia to my blog. Her novels include No Way Back and Her Secret, starring the inimitable Audrey Fox; her delicious short story collection To Tell a Tale or Two and her standalone novel The Magic Touch.

BH: Hi Kelly, thank you for joining me today. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Audrey Fox fan and I’m not alone. Can I kick off by asking if we’ll hear more from Auds in the future?

KF: Hi Bev, thank you so much for inviting me on your fabulous blog. I’m thrilled to hear you’re a big Foxy fan! Quite a few people have asked me if there are any plans for a third Audrey book. It isn’t something I’m thinking about at the moment, but I do think that Audrey’s still got a lot to give. So, watch this space.

BH: Kelly, I live in hope! Okay, let’s talk about The Magic Touch. I’ve just finished my copy and I absolutely loved it. But in your own words and without giving too much away, what can readers expect?

KF: The Magic Touch is a romance with a sprinkling of the supernatural. Emma King, who’s reluctant to marry a second time, despite endless proposals from her lovely partner Harry, starts to doubt the strength of their relationship when she discovers a string of flirty texts on his phone. Of course, Harry denies everything, but Emma’s not convinced. Determined to find out who the other woman is, she sets off on a mission to unravel the truth with the aid of her best friend, her elderly neighbour, and her sister-in-law’s app, The Magic Touch. The story is quite light-hearted and has been described as a laugh-out-loud rom-com, but it does touch on some serious issues, including death, domestic violence, and health concerns.

BH: Congratulations on the reviews, Kelly; a straight five-star Amazon rating is phenomenal – you must be over the moon. Why do you think the book has struck a chord with readers?

KF: Yes, I’m absolutely delighted, the response has been amazing. I think it’s struck a chord with readers because it’s so relatable, and Emma is a very down-to-earth heroine. She has flaws and fears and makes mistakes. But I also think that people like the supernatural aspect of the story. Sometimes it’s nice to escape into a mysterious and intriguing world where a little bit of magic happens.

BH: Who or what inspired the idea for The Magic Touch?

KF: In a nutshell, it was mobile phone applications. I was intrigued by how much we rely on them – from keeping us entertained to booking a restaurant etc. Being a runner, I actually use several weather apps to plan my weekly runs. There seems to be an app for everything these days. So, I was sitting in front of the T.V. one night with my husband, marvelling at a new app I’d just downloaded when I turned to him and said, ‘What if there was an app that could predict your future, but with alarming accuracy?’ And The Magic Touch was born. Of course, I had to create a story around the app. I took a common scenario, discovering flirtatious texts on your partner’s phone, and combined it with people who were in a long-term relationship but unwilling to tie the knot. I was particularly curious about men who were eager to get married because usually it’s the other way around. So I did a bit of research and my story unfolded.

BH: Kelly, you’ve amassed an impressive collection of published work. How and when did you begin writing seriously?

KF: I’ve always enjoyed writing. I used to write poetry when I was younger and still have some of my poems stuffed in a drawer somewhere. But I suppose I started to take it a bit more seriously when I began writing and selling short stories to magazines. The stories were a success and the feedback was good. One thing that readers kept telling me was that they didn’t want them to end. So I thought I’d have a try at writing a full-length novel and the rest, as they say, is history.

BH: AM or PM? Tell me about your writing routine.

KF: Whilst I haven’t got a strict routine, I do most of my writing before 2pm, with intermittent social media breaks! I write at my desktop in my office but I edit anywhere, even in bed sometimes. Once I’ve got the first draft done, I work on subsequent drafts on paper, often over a few cups of good coffee in local cafe.

BH: What are you working on at the moment?

KF: A psychological thriller. It’s about a thirty-something divorcee who, on the spur of the moment, makes a wrong decision involving her best friend’s husband and ends up in a very tight spot, which has a detrimental impact on her life and those she loves. It’s about friendship, trust, and instinct, and features a hot, fit gardener. Also, look out for Emma and her in-laws from The Magic Touch, they make an appearance in this one, too!

BH: Any tips for fledgling writers just starting out?

KF: Firstly, get that first draft done. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because it may never come. You can work on fine tuning and perfecting your novel in subsequent drafts. I do about three drafts, sometimes four. Do make sure you read a lot and try to write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words. If the genre of your book is romance, sign up to the RNA New Writer’s Scheme. I did! Hook up with other authors online, they will support you on good days and bad, believe me. When you’ve finished your book, or even before, get a beta reader or a friend to read it for you; and make sure it’s someone who will give you an honest appraisal. I admit, no one likes to have their work criticised, but sometimes we can overlook things, mainly because we know the story and the characters so well, plus your own typos are hard to spot! A beta reader can point things out that you may have missed, or tell you if the story is working or not. And finally, don’t let rejection bite! I know it’s disheartening but it’s all part of the process.

BH: Brilliant advice, Kelly. Thanks so much for all your insight today and for talking about The Magic Touch.

The Magic Touch https://amzn.to/2t2sU7J
No Way Back https://amzn.to/2HR5sVe
Her Secret https://amzn.to/2DaAsdd

Follow and read more about Kelly Florentia at:
Website https://kellyflorentia.com/
Twitter @kellyflorentia
Facebook @KellyFlorentiaAuthor
Instagram @kellyflorentia

 

Book Review : The Magic Touch by Kelly Florentia

The Magic Touch is the third book I have read and enjoyed by Kelly Florentia and it was a joy from first to last page. The author has an effervescent style and writes with such empathy that at times I felt I was reading someone’s journal as I could totally imagine her being in the same situation as her protagonist; in this case, Emma King, a talented but struggling illustrator, part time waitress and long-term live-in girlfriend of Harry Georgiades.

From the outset, I warmed to Emma and her resistance to be subsumed by Harry’s loving but somewhat overwhelming family. We soon learn that Emma and Harry have hit a rough patch in their relationship. The gloss is off, and thanks to an ambiguous text from another woman on Harry’s mobile, a degree of mistrust has set in. Emma’s suspicions are egged on by a circle of friends that includes slinky Ola, and psychic Caroline. The latter has launched a phone app ‘The Magic Touch’, that provides daily predictions, some of which are spookily accurate. Moreover, there are flashes of paranormal activity throughout the story that I personally found chilling.

Whilst romance sits at the heart of TMT, don’t expect twee and cosy. In common with No Way Back and Her Secret, TMT is an edgy, modern and quirky saga that leans away from the sentimental. I found myself giggling one minute and horrified the next – for example, we learn that Emma has experienced real trauma in a previous relationship. Then there’s the ‘Marc factor’; to say any more about this entanglement would be a plot-spoiler but suffice to say that this angle kept the pace and suspense going at a trot.

I loved the complexity of Emma and Harry’s relationship (it felt very real and grown up to me); pair this with Kelly Florentia’s vibrant writing style which provides just the right level of insight into each character, and it all adds up to a no-brainer five-stars.

Finally, eagle-eyed readers will note a brief reference to latter day heroine, Audrey Fox.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Touch-Kelly-Florentia/dp/1783757450

 

In conversation with writer Eva Jordan

Eva Jordan was born in Kent but has lived most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town. She describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel, and chocolate, and is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Eva is both a mum and stepmum to four adult children, all of which have provided her with some of the inspiration behind her three novels, 183 Times A Year, All The Colours In Between, and Time Will Tell– which take a delightfully funny, but sometimes tragic and poignant look at contemporary family life. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She also writes a monthly column for her local lifestyle magazine The Fens. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion.

Modern, witty and relatable are three words that capture Eva Jordan’s glorious writing style. Eva has written two bestselling novels to date: 183 Times A Year and All the Colours In Between, and is due to release Book Three in the series about Lizzie, Cassie, Connor and the rest of the Lemalf family, and I for one can’t wait to read the next instalment. I caught up with Eva ahead of next month’s launch of Time Will Tell.

BH: Eva, congratulations on the success of 183 Times A Year and All the Colours In Between. The reviews are amazing, you must be delighted.

EJ: Hi Bev, thanks for chatting with me and yes, thank you, I’ve had some wonderful reviews for both books. I’m really grateful when people take the time to read and review my books; it’s an amazing feeling to know your words have touched someone, whether it’s moving them to tears, making them laugh, or simply making the reader feel as though they are not alone in their struggles with life. I’m happy to read the less complimentary reviews, too, especially if the criticism is constructive, as sometimes it confirms the tiny nagging doubts tucked away at the back of my mind and I can learn from them. At other times I simply have to concede that my story just wasn’t for that particular reader.

BH: 183 Times a Year was your debut novel; had you always wanted to write fiction? In brief, how did it happen for you?

EJ: My journey to becoming a published author has not been an easy one and although I always knew I wanted to be a writer, it didn’t come about quite as I’d imagined. I dabbled a bit when I was younger, had a few poems and short stories published. However, limited opportunities, inexperience, and bad life choices all held me back, as did a lack of belief in myself. Then came marriage, quickly followed by two beautiful children followed by divorce. That was my “Nodus Tollens” moment. I love this phrase, coined by John Koenig from his Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, it means “the realisation that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.”
Divorce was both difficult and unpleasant and financially life became very tough. My children were very young then, so I had to take jobs that fitted in around them – school holidays were an absolute nightmare; most of the money I earned went on childcare. I decided I wanted a different, better life, especially for my children. So, with the help of my parents (who babysat), I went back to college during the evenings. I studied English, History, Sociology, and Psychology for two years then applied to study for a BA Hons Degree in English and History. It was a full-time course over three years, and it wasn’t easy to find work that fitted in around the children and my degree. In 2009 I graduated with a BA Honours Degree in English and History and gained a first for my history dissertation, which was a study of civilian morale during the London Blitz of WWII. I felt immensely proud, as did my children and parents. After finishing my degree, I began working for the library service. By then I’d met and moved in with someone new who also had children, and ours became a blended family. During my spare time I started to pen my first novel – a thriller come love story based in 1960s London. However, trying to navigate my new life as a working parent and stepparent was both fraught and outrageously funny at times. I often felt like pulling my hair out and soon realised that there are many people enjoying but struggling with the same daily problems I was experiencing; a seed for a story was sown. I continued working on the novel I’d started but another story was calling me, so I abandoned that one and started writing what became my debut novel, 183 Times A Year. I self-published it as an ebook but several months later it was picked up and published as a paperback with Urbane publications, also responsible for publishing my second and third novels.

BH: What are the key themes of the two novels, Eva?

EJ: 183 Times A Year is an exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and friendship set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families. Initially it was the women in my life, including my mother, daughters and good friends who inspired me to write my debut, and they continued to inspire my second novel, as did the idea of modern family life in general, whether it’s the one you start out with, or the one you gain along the way. All The Colours In Between is a tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age, with a liberal sprinkling of humour.

BH: Your writing is very character led – which member of your ‘cast’ came to you first?

EJ: Two members of my cast came first, Lizzie the exasperated mother of her somewhat dysfunctional family, and Cassie, her angst-ridden teenage daughter.

BH: You’re a busy mum, what does your writing routine consist of?

EJ: It was a little erratic last year due to the health problems of both family members and myself. I’ve also been back and forth to London as my daughter is currently attending university there. My other half runs his own business consultancy and while he spends most of the week travelling, I’m at home doing the paperwork for the company, and fitting writing in between. I like peace and quiet when I write so I aim for at least a couple of hours each morning, but if that’s not possible I’ll fit it in when I can. I used to have a writing goal of 2000 words a day, but as 2018 was particularly difficult, often I wasn’t hitting my target, which made me feel a bit low, the focus tending to be more on what I wasn’t achieving rather than what I was. So, I decided to look at things differently, have a better positive mental attitude, and now I’m happy if I manage to write every day, whether it’s 500 words or 5000! Having said that, I’d got behind with my third novel and have been working up to sixteen hours a day to catch up – I even worked through the holidays.

BH: Your books are very contemporary; do you think it’s important for authors to reflect modern life as it is today?

EJ: Yes, it’s very important for everyone, not just authors, to reflect on modern life, including family and social values, what we are destroying/contributing to our environment, plus the impact of social media and modern technology on our everyday lives. We have more means now than ever to communicate with each other but in some ways we talk less. It’s also easy to focus on what we don’t have, too, but as my third novel – which steps back in time to the 1960s – shows, life has changed dramatically in the last fifty years or so. Generally, people have more in the way of material possessions than say, my dad did (who was born in the 1940s) growing up as a boy and a young man, but I’m not sure we are any happier for it.

BH: So, what can readers expect from Time Will Tell?

EJ: Time Will Tell is the third and final story concerning Lizzie Lemalf and her madcap family. There are, like the previous two novels, some humorous moments, however, there are some very dark ones too. After the death of a much-loved family member, Lizzie is struggling with life. She is also doing her best to keep her family together, especially as the recent death of a well-known celebrity has them all in a spin. The police suspect foul play; Lizzie and other family members suspect one another, which sets Lizzie on a journey to look for answers, only to find herself being dragged back to 1960’s London, and the former life of her father, that up until now she has never been privy to. Every family has its secrets. However, they also say the past comes back to haunt you. Surely the truth will out? Maybe, but only time will tell…

BH: Thank you so much for chatting to me today, Eva. I’ve loved the series so far and can’t wait for the next book.
Time Will Tell will be published by Urbane on 14th February 2019 and is available to pre-order on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Will-Tell-Eva-Jordan/dp/1911583948/ 

More about Eva :
Website: https://evajordanwriter.com/
Twitter: @evajordanwriter
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