Give Away Alert!

How would you like to enter a draw to win a signed copy of Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley her latest novel? 

creature comforts

All you have to do is follow my blog and comment on this post saying where you will enjoy this novel if you win. I will randomly pick the winner and then announce the winner on Monday 13th July in the evening. I will then contact Trisha and she will send you your signed copy directly to you address.

Good Luck Everyone.

Michelle xx

   

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Interview with the amazing Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley AUTHOR PICNow, this is truly a great honour. Trisha Ashley who is the author of many romantic comedies has agreed to answer some questions for my blog. I am a massive fan, so this is very exciting news.

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I have to mention here that out of all her novels that I have read so far, this is my favourite. I read it on the lead up to Christmas every year. It really gets me in the mood for Christmas and describes how I wish Christmas could be. Although, I have my wonderful husband to share Christmas with so I do not need to house sit to find a new romance!

I hope that by putting this interview together I can help inspire my readers through Trisha Ashley’s own words, as well as using her advice myself for my writing.

I also have an exciting give away…..so keep reading to find out more!

Here is the interview with Trisha, I would like to thank her for taking the time to answer these questions. I appreciate it and I hope my readers do to.

1) What inspired you to become a writer?

I wanted to be a writer and painter from being a little girl and realised that all I needed to do to be a writer was read a lot and get on with life, so I went to Art College. I still paint, which gives me immense pleasure, but the writing has become the dominant strand.

I think being an early reader helped me become a writer, because I quickly wanted to create characters and stories of my own. Some of my poetry appeared in my local newspaper when I was ten or eleven and I won a prize for a short play a couple of years later. I was also much encouraged by my brilliant English teacher at secondary school, Miss White.

I completed my first novel, which was for young adults, when I was eighteen. It was truly dreadful, but I did have kind and encouraging comments in the publisher’s rejection letters, which softened the blow a little.   After this I moved on to satirical novels, full of dark humour, but although I was shortlisted for the Constable prize for unpublished novels, I still didn’t find a publisher. It wasn’t until I was taken on by a top London agent that my career really took off. She encouraged me to add a strongly romantic element to my novels and soon afterwards my first romantic comedy, Good Husband Material, was published.

2) Describe a typical day in the life of author Trisha Ashley?

I like to start work very early in the morning, because that’s my most creative time. And I don’t hang about waiting for inspiration to strike: I’m quite prepared to arm-wrestle Muse into submission every morning – and I always win.

After an hour or so, I have a break for breakfast and to have a quick catch-up with my emails, Twitter and Facebook. For very many years I have been part of the 500 Club with authors Elizabeth Gill and Leah Fleming. We called it that because we made a pact to email each other every day as soon as we’d written at least five hundred words, or done a significant amount of other work, like research for a new book. We’ve all travelled on the same rollercoaster through years of being traditionally published and have supported each other through the ups and downs. And here we all still are today: well published and working away on new novels and still emailing each other every day.

After this diversion, I’m back to work, until Dog insists I take him out. (Someone else takes him for a long early morning walk during the week.)

Unless I’ve got a deadline hanging over me, I like to do something else in the late afternoon for a while: potter in the garden, play with the dog, paint, go for a swim.

3) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have vision problems and am most comfortable writing in my office – which is actually just the dining room end of my living room – where my desktop is adjusted for maximum ease of working. When I moved to this house a couple of years ago I earmarked the long room at the back, overlooking the garden, as my office. Until I’d unpacked, I worked in the dining room…and then I discovered I liked working there best. My son, who moved and set up my office three times, said he wished I’d decided that before he lugged everything to the other end of the house and back…

4) What is your writing process?

I write directly onto the computer, though I print everything out all the time. I need to see the words on actual paper.

Thanks to that wonderful English teacher I mentioned earlier, who got me onto a short typing course, I learned to touch type at fifteen, so I don’t have to think about it. Over the years I’ve progressed from typewriter, to word processor to computer and I’m currently playing with voice recognition software, in case I lose more vision.

5) How do you come up with your ideas?

I don’t see any point in writing a novel unless there’s something I’m burning to say, new ideas to explore. And my characters experience all the ups and downs of life – for example you will find themes in my novels relating to divorce after a long marriage, infidelity, the death of a loved one, miscarriage, breast cancer, abusive relationships – a life is a journey through light and shade and a novel would be a mindless bit of froth if it only skimmed happily over the darker elements. However, the resolution of my books will always be positive and, I hope, uplifting. I want my readers to feel happy when they’ve spent a little holiday in Trishaworld, not harrowed.

I have no idea where my ideas come from, though. Once I begin a new novel they emerge and weave themselves into the story and around the characters, just as the characters also slowly weave themselves around my heart, so that I really care about what becomes of them.

6) From your novels, do you have a favourite character?

I love Sappho, the tall, bossy heroine of one of my early books, The Urge to Jump (currently out of print, but watch this space!). She’s so sure of herself and also certain she knows what’s best for her friends. But she’s so very kind hearted that I’d love to have a best friend just like her.

7) Writer’s block, how do you cope with this when and if it happens?

 I find it hard to understand people who say they have writer’s block. In every book there are places where there’s at least one big lump of granite blocking the flow of the narrative, but you just sit there at the desk until your mind slides off sideways round it and the ideas rush on: this is what lateral thinking is for. And presumably you were burning to say something when you first started the novel, so think about that and refresh that enthusiasm from time to time.

8) Finally, what are your top three tips to anyone who wants to become a published writer?

1) Decide what kind of novel you are going to write – for example, thriller, romantic comedy, literary, crime – and read as many recent examples of that genre as you can lay your hands on. (And in your first novel it’s much better to stick to one genre, rather than go skipping gaily over several.)

2) In fact, if you’re a writer there’s a strong probability you will have been reading voraciously all your life and your early writings may well reflect the styles of the authors you were reading at the time. We try out various writing voices before, finally, finding our own strong voice.

3) Get a grip on the basic nuts and bolts of technique before you start – you don’t need a degree in creative writing, or go to evening classes, or read a million books on the subject of writing. I’d read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones for inspiration, Stephen King’s book On Writing, because he tells it how it is and The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook by Margaret James and Cathie Hartigan, which clearly explains the tools you need to build the framework of your novel. What you fill it with is up to you…

Here is a link to Trisha Ashley’s page on amazon. Her latest novel Creature Comforts is out now. (See my next blog for the exciting give away I mentioned above.)

You can get in contact with Trisha Ashley on her Facebook page or her Twitter page.

It has been an immense pleasure to read in Trisha’s own words the answers to my questions and to get inside the head of such a brilliant writer.

Thanks again, Trisha!

Make sure to take a read of my next blog…..give away alert! Especially if you are a big fan!

Michelle xx

 

Interview with the lovely Dani Atkins.

194821_290822314396144_1072178908_oThe wonderful Dani Atkins, who is the author of two amazing novels Fractured and The Story of Us agreed to an interview.

And yes, I did jump around the room from excitement when she agreed. My husband did look at me a little weirdly, but to get inside an authors head just for a few minutes is an amazing opportunity, especially a writer like Dani. 

I would like to thank Dani for taking the time to answer my questions. I very much appreciate it as a writer myself and I hope this interview will inspire my readers to. So here is my interview with Dani Atkins. Enjoy!

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I actually can’t think of a time when I haven’t wanted to be a writer. It just took me a little longer to achieve than I had anticipated. Even as a child I would always be scribbling away at short stories and poems.

My biggest inspiration was definitely my father, who spent most of his life saying that “one day” he would write a book. He was a great raconteur, had a wicked sense of humour and led an extremely interesting life. If he had ever written a novel, I am sure it would have been a success. It was from him I inherited a love of reading and stories, which eventually became a desire to write.

  1. Describe a typical day in the life of author Dani Atkins?

I had a very idealistic image of how it would be to work as a full time author. I thought I would sit down at my desk at nine o’clock each morning and then work continually until around five each afternoon (with an indulgent hour off for lunch, of course). It didn’t take long for me to discover that I’m nowhere near disciplined enough for that! I have a tendency to get horribly side-tracked and it can sometimes take me ages to finally “get going”. I do begin each day by walking my dog (Dusty, a four year old border collie) and I find this gives me an excellent opportunity to think about what I want to write that day (which is about as much forward planning as I ever manage to accomplish). I particularly enjoy planning dialogue whilst on these walks, and will often be found saying my characters’ words out loud to the open fields as we go. I’m sure that anyone I happen to meet must think I’m totally crazy – I know my dog does!

For some reason I seem to be much more productive during the afternoon and early evening. This means my poor long-suffering husband is normally on dinner cooking duties each night. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind, and this has saved us from a life of takeaways.

  1. Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have an office at home where I choose to write and I use an old-fashioned desktop computer (I have tried writing on my laptop, but I don’t get on with it nearly as well for some reason). My desk is beside a window which looks out onto my back garden, which is another source of distraction (although very useful to know when it has started to rain and the washing needs to come in off the line).

Our Siamese kitten Elsa has a bed in the office, although frequently decides to sit on my lap while I work, until the continual jostling as I type annoys her so much that she retreats to her bed.

Dusty the border collie usually joins us in the office, which means that there is very little actual floor space left when he is sprawled out beside me. Getting in and out of the room is a bit like tackling an obstacle course.

Writing is very much a team effort: the cat, the dog and me!

  1. What is your writing process?

I set myself a daily target of between 1000 and 1500 words a day (some days this just doesn’t happen, on others I end up surprising myself). I get a little grumpy if I don’t manage to reach this target, probably because I know that if I’d turned off the internet and been more disciplined, my day could have been a lot more productive. I begin each writing session by reading back everything I wrote the day before, so that I have a feeling of continuity and rhythm to my work.

I always have music playing quietly in the background when I write, but it has to be something I have listened to many times before, rather than something new. I need it to be background wallpaper and not so distracting that I stop and “tune in” to it.

  1. How do you come up with you ideas?

I wish I could tell you how and where ideas materialise, because that would take away a great deal of the angst of worrying about what my next novel will be about. Ideas pop up like mysterious gremlins and often from the strangest of places. Most of them lead to nothing, but there’s something about the good ones that stick like a barb and stay with you. They might hang around in your head in a vague half-formed way for a very long time (years in the case of my first novel Fractured), before finally making it to words on a computer screen.

  1. From your novels Fractured and The Story of Us, do you have a favourite character?

I have to really like my main protagonist on a personal level, because all of my books to date have been written in the first person, so when I’m writing I have to actually feel as though I have become them, and that wouldn’t be uncomfortable if I didn’t actually like them. Also, if I don’t like a character, or find them engaging, then the reader probably won’t either!

Out of Jimmy and Matt (from Fractured) and Richard and Jack (from The Story of Us), the man I would choose to sweep me off my feet would be Jack (winning over Jimmy by just a whisker!).

Strangely some of my favourite characters are often the incidental ones, rather than the major players. In The Story of Us I absolutely adored Monique (Emma’s French boss at the book shop). I found her totally hilarious, and I really adored writing any of the scenes which included her.

  1. Writers block, how do you cope with this when and if it happens?

There are days, every writer has them, when the words just won’t come – or they come out halting and stilted. I always know when this happens because I keep stopping and changing a word or a phrase here or there, instead of just letting the story unfold. I normally battle on, hoping that out of the pile of drivel I am producing, there might be something – anything – that could be salvaged. Invariably, when I go back and read it all again the following day, much of it gets to magically disappear with a press of the Delete key.

That’s the strange thing about writing, you just never know when you’re going to have a brilliant day, or a totally rubbish one. But if you walked away and chose not to write anything at all when you think you’ve hit a wall, well, then you’d never know if that was the day when something absolutely amazing would have materialised.

  1. Finally, what are your top 3 tips to anyone who wants to become a published writer?

 Firstly – and I’ve seen this advice from a great many authors – read. A lot. Most of us are fairly discerning when we read, you know when something is working and also when it isn’t. The more you read, the more you absorb about what makes an engaging story, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

The second thing is to just write. Don’t tell yourself that “one day I am going to write a book”. Do it. Do it now. It’s all too easy to allow yourself to think that you don’t have time to write, but you just need to be disciplined and determined. I am in awe of authors who manage to produce books when they have small children running around to look after, but it can be done. When my own children were younger I wrote in notepads in the car while they were having music or swimming lessons. When they were babies I wrote when they napped. I know of several authors who write on the commute to work, or during their one-hour lunch break at their desk. Don’t set yourself impossible goals, start with just 1000 words a day (it takes a surprisingly short amount of time to achieve that). If you do that for just one hundred days, that’s only three months, you’ll have a novel.

The third piece of advice is simple. Don’t give up. Keep writing and when you’re happy with it, start sending it out to literary agents. Persistence pays off… as does hard work and a whole lot of luck.

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Images above show the covers of Dani Atkins novels.

Here is a link to my review on Fractured. It is a must read for everyone.

Here also is a link to my review on The Story of Us.

Here you can find a link to amazon where you can purchase her books.

For more information and updates on Dani Atkins check out her Facebook page here. 

Dani Atkins has a third book coming out January 2016 called Our Song. So look out for it, I know I will be!

Michelle xx

Book Review – Fractured by Dani Atkins

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Book Title: Fractured

Author: Dani Atkins

Pages: 289

Blurb:

The night of the accident changed everything…

Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her friend’s death.

She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn’t work like that….does it?

The night of the accident was a lucky escape…

Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancé. loving family and friend’s around her, and the career she always wanted.

But why can’t Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?

Can two different stories lead to the same happy ending? Or will Rachel stay fractured forever?

Review: This is the first novel by Dani Atkins and after reading her second book The Story of Us I knew I had to read this to and then do a review, which Dani herself asked to see as she was keen to hear my view. This book is a romance which keeps your guessing all the way until the end.

Once the book arrived by post from Amazon the pages began turning and I was very nearly late for work the next morning. Right from the start I was hooked and fell in love with Rachel. Dani has a way with words that not only brings the characters to life but the whole world she is creating.

After reading the blurb I was interested to find out which of the two stories would be Rachel’s reality and would she get her happy ending. I have not read a book like this and it had me on the edge of my seat. Each chapter revealed something new and right up until the last  three or four pages I thought I had it all worked out. How wrong was I!

I am not going to give any spoilers away as this is one book that you have to read for yourself. However, what I will say is this story is amazing, one of my favourites. I have such praise for Dani who is able to link two life’s for one person together but each life has a slight differences but they are in someway still linked together. It is a geniuses of a storyline.

A MUST read for any romance lover.

Michelle xx

Link:

Dani Atkins FaceBook Page