Aye Write – Getting to Know the Authors. With Rod Reynolds.

Today I’m getting to know Rod Reynolds (Yes everybody can have a good laugh at that one) but he’s appearing at Aye Write and so he has to do this interview. Because I said so. And sometimes he lies! (Nothing is my fault)

Thanks Rod!

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

Black Night Falling is the second book in the Charlie Yates series, sequel to The Dark Inside. Charlie is a disgraced reporter from New York City who gets a call from an old acquaintance begging him for his help in investigating the murders of two young women. The kicker is that Charlie it means going back to the south, to Arkansas, a place he barely escaped with his life just months earlier. Reluctant as he is, his conscience gets the better of him and he accepts the call.

On arrival in Hot Springs, Charlie finds his contact has disappeared and that the town is a den of crime and corruption, run by mobbed-up politicians and racketeers. More than that, there is no record of the murders his friend talked about. Sensing the place is rotten to the core, Charlie investigates anyway, but the closer he gets to the truth, the closer it takes him to danger – and to the past he thought he’d outrun…

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in Camden, in north London, with my mum and two sisters. Family life was really normal – I was a pretty typical boy, in that all I wanted to do was play football or computer games. No one in my family wrote books or anything like that – it was never something I thought about as a kid. I was always a big reader, though, and my mum always encouraged that. The first books I really remember being obsessed with were The Famous Five.

Academic or creative at school?

Academic, definitely. I was a decent student but never really had much interest in creative subjects. At university I studied history, which was my favourite subject.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

Professional wrestler.

**Pauses a moment to laugh quite a lot**

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

When I read my first James Ellroy book, The Cold Six Thousand. I’d never read anything like it and it completely blew my mind. I remember thinking if I could ever write something a fraction as powerful as that, I’d be thrilled.

Who are your real life heroes?

James Ellroy, David Peace, Hunter S Thompson, Eddie Vedder, Scott Weiland, David Simon, Michael Mann…and on and on and on. Although in truth I’m not much of a hero-worshiper. A lot of my family work in the public sector and, I know it’s a cliche to say it, but people who do jobs like doctors or nurses or teachers – people who literally change other people’s lives every day – are the people I admire most. Not least because I don’t think I could ever do what they do.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

Well there was that time at CrimeFest…no, wait, you were involved in that. So what about that time at Crime In The Court…er, no, wait, you again. How about First Monday when…nope, still you.

Let’s go with when my ‘friends’ took me to a Spanish water park in a ginger Morph suit on my stag do. That was pretty embarrassing.

I refer you all to the “not my fault” comment in the introduction…

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone a friend. I detest DIY and am terrible at it.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

I could get a sunburn from a reading lamp, so let’s say night owl.

A book that had you in tears.

I don’t think a book has ever made me cry. Which is odd because since I became a dad, I cry at the drop of a hat.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Tall Oaks by Chris Whittaker and Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

You’ve met me – do you seriously think anyone would listen to advice offered by me?!

Well no not anyone with the sense they were born with anyway…

About the Book:

And now I stood here, on a desolate airfield in the Arkansas wilderness, a stone’s throw from Texarkana. Darkness drawing in on me. Cross country to see a man I never imagined seeing again. On the strength of one desperate telephone call…’

Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.

Read my review HERE

Follow Rod on Twitter here:

You can purchase Black Night Falling by clickety clicking right HERE

Purchase Tickets to Rod’s event at Aye Write HERE

See the full Aye Write Programme HERE

Happy Reading!

 

Say Nothing Brad Parks – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: March 2nd from Faber and Faber

Source: Review Copy

Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead.

It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. A man who warns the judge to do exactly as he is told in a drug case he is about to rule on. If the judge fails to follow his instructions, the consequences for the children will be dire.

The tension in Say Nothing is palpable – and that is what you want from a decent thriller, for it to actually feel like you are right on the edge of a cliff..

This novel featured many nail  biting cliff hanging moments and is written beautifully to drag the reader into an impossible decision making process taking place within the pages. Judge Scott Sampson is stuck between a rock and hard place, from the moment he and his wife Alison realise their children are gone, you are hook line and sinkered into the rest of the tale which bangs along at breakneck speed, barely giving you a chance to breathe.

At the heart of it is an intriguing and thought provoking theme – how far as parents would you go to save your children, well all the way of course, but this tale also has a lot of twists and turns that make it more edgy and dynamic – and the ultimate resolution was perfectly plotted to maximum effect.

It is the ultimate moral dilemma – whatever Scott does there will be consequences and as the couple try to find a solution, you will be utterly gripped and totally rooting for them. Great characterisation, genuinely riveting storytelling and a bang on target writing style means Say Nothing really is a top notch read.

Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Say Nothing clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

Latest Reads: Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

Publication Date: Available Now from Orbit.

Source: Review Copy

GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Rock and Roll.

This book is brilliantly entertaining, rip roaring fun and adventure, set in a fantasy world that is extraordinarily creative, beautifully engaging characters plus Moog. MOOG. I say no more – read it live it love it.

ANYWAY fans of fantasy need to look out for this novel – it is old school in its thinking but bang up to date modern in its writing, as such it will appeal across many levels. The pop culture humour is spot on (not the easiest to pull off and actually be hilarious) all mixed in with dark  fantasy elements that personally I love, some deep set themes running through the narrative and a banging good ending.

Really excellent construction here, tight plot, clever expansion of the characters, hugely addictive and just like a little book dance of joy. I was up all night with this – laughing out loud at times, enjoying the adrenalin rush of the fight scenes but mostly just caught up with this merry band and their ongoing quest.

Kings of the Wyld is a character driven, high octane, full of beans fantasy epic. Loved it.

Highly Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Kings of the Wyld clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

March Book Watch: Follow Me Down Sherri Smith.

Publication Date: March 21st From Titan Books.

Source: Review Copy

Mia Haas has built a life for herself far from the North Dakota town where she grew up, but when she receives word that her twin brother is missing, she’s forced to return home. Once hailed as the golden boy of their small town, Lucas Haas disappeared the same day the body of one of his high school students is pulled from the river. Trying to wrap her head around the rumors of Lucas’s affair with the teen, and unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect.

All the while, she wonders, if he’s innocent, why did he run?

Big fan of this one. I seem to be on a run of really excellent books at the moment.

Follow Me Down is a taut and atmospheric psychological thriller/small town drama which is enhanced by its main protagonist, Mia, who is divisive and multi faceted – as she hunts for the truth surrounding her brother’s disappearance she will challenge your ability to sympathise with her whilst absolutely making sure that you do.

Set in its majority over 16 days, each day brings Mia new challenges, both personally and in her search for Lucas, that will keep you utterly gripped as events unfold. The author writes so beautifully, both in her portrayal of a sibling relationship haunted by the secrets of an unstable mother and in the deep seated mystery elements surrounding the death of a teenager – all levels of Follow Me Down bring something new to the table.

The character dynamics are all hugely fascinating – from the tiger mother to the pot head student who nobody pays attention to, all of those you will meet within these pages whether peripherally or more deeply have emotional resonance – in a town full of secrets Mia faces down a wall of assumptions. Her own actions are informed by her own demons, her familial relationships and the small town vibe she thought she had left behind her – as the puzzle begins to unravel  Sherri Smith takes you on a twisted and eloquent road to the truth.

Nuanced and riveting, Follow Me Down intrigues and enthralls from first page to last.

Highly Recommended.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Follow Me Down clickety Click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Latest Reads: Walk Away by Sam Hawken

Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Review Copy

Former combat medic Camaro Espinoza is trying to put her past behind her. She knows she’s done bad things – but they were always for good reasons.

Then her calm, anonymous life is interrupted by a distress call from her sister Annabel. She’s become trapped in an abusive relationship with petty criminal Jake Collier, and she needs Camaro’s help.

Camaro has always protected Annabel, and she won’t stop now. But the situation is more dangerous than she realises. Jake has a sibling of his own, an ex-Marine named Lukas who is as unhinged as Camaro is uncompromising. And he and Jake are planning a much bigger crime.

As the federal marshals pick up Lukas’s trail, and a bounty hunter with a debt to settle closes in, Camaro’s smart enough to know that standing her ground is the last thing she should do. But even with a freight train like Lukas barrelling towards her, if there’s one thing she can’t do, it’s walk away.

Loved this – it was fast, thrilling, addictive and totally cool beans.

It has to be said that I have not read the first in this series but that genuinely made no difference, in fact it felt like it could easily be the lead in, also Camaro is a bang on main protagonist – loved her. I’ve seen the comparisons to Reacher everywhere, but I would ignore that if I were you – seriously, Camaro, she’s got her own game going on thank you very much.

ANYWAY moving past that, the main story involves a sister in trouble, a pair of brothers that ARE trouble, a hot headed out of control Marshall, various other players and Camaro. Who will take the lot of them on and not even need a sit down.

I love thrillers like this because they are truly involving, you rock along with the characters, immersed in every moment, then Sam Hawken throws the odd unexpected spanner into the works making you crazy, then you head into a rapidly escalating conclusion that is proper edge of the seat stuff.

Its not rocket science – it is an adrenalin rush of entertainment with some well drawn and compelling characters, a proper dose of storytelling and a beautifully deft touch when it comes to dynamics and dialogue.

Definitely recommended for fans of ye good olde thrilling thriller with huge doses of that x factor thing that no reviewer ever had actual words for.

Enough said.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Walk Away clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

Her Perfect Life Sam Hepburn – Blog Tour Review

Publication Date: Available Now from Harper Collins

Source: Netgalley

How far would you go to create the perfect life?

Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. The perfect life.

Her new friend Juliet doesn’t exactly fit in. She’s a down-on-her-luck single parent with no money and not much hope.

So just what is it that draws Gracie and Juliet together? And when the cracks start to appear in Gracie’s perfect life, can both of them survive?

Her Perfect Life was an intriguing read, following the “friendship” of two very different women, one who seemingly has everything, one who seemingly has nothing. As such it was a clever, involving character drama with a psychological thriller twist as motivations and truths start to emerge.

To be honest it was the friendship angle that interested me most – as a reader of many psychological thrillers there are not many surprises – but Sam Hepburn has written a multi-layered and compelling portrait of two different women who come together, a toxic manipulative friendship develops, seeing it as we do from both points of view makes it endlessly fascinating.

Well written, you get sucked into the tale very easily, Sam Hepburn throws plenty of intrigue and twists into the tale, as it unfolds it gets ever more addictive – towards the end of the book I could barely put it down even though it was a  slow burner it was highly involving.

Overall a really good addition to this popular genre and one that as a reader you can take many different things from and a well constructed plot that manages not to be utterly obvious – as such I would definitely recommend it.

Find out MORE

Follow the Author on TWITTER

To Purchase A Perfect Life clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

Ones to Watch in 2017: Ragdoll – Daniel Cole.

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Happily a victim of Daniel Cole and Ragdoll today reposting my original review. Out tomorrow! Go get it if you just like to rock along with a book….This book is rocking.

Publication Date: 23rd Feb 2017 from Trapeze

Source: Review Copy

Six victims: one body

Controversial detective, Nathan Wolfe, has just been reinstated to the force after months of psychological assessment following accusations of assault. A veteran to the job, Wolfe thinks he’s seen it all, until his friend and former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and gleefully leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet – a corpse that will become known in the press as the ‘ragdoll’. With six victims to identify, the stakes are raised when Wolfe’s ex-wife, reporter Andrea Hall, is anonymously sent photographs from the crime scene along with a list of six names… and the dates on which the ‘Ragdoll Killer’ intends to murder them.

The final name on the list is Wolfe’s.

Ha! Ragdoll is Fast, funny, brilliantly unpredictable and scarily horrific.

Loved it.

One of those books that a lot of people are talking about and you go hmm. Can it really be that good? Well if you like your crime novels to be indecently clever, terribly addictive, with a twist of horror and a huge dose of dark humour then yep it really can be that good.

It was.

ANYWAY characters? Yep got some of those in here, some utterly fantastic ones, none of whom seem to follow your usual tropes or if they do they do so in irregular and unlikely fashion. With style. Wolfe well, you never really know what he is going to do. It makes it beautifully engaging. Taking a cue from a note from the author , I thought Wolfe was a bit Jack Bauer on acid with better occasional wisecracks. I fell a little in love. Emily Baxter his one time sidekick is  well, she just is. Then the whole police team around those two have their own little weather patterns and externally you have news people(including wife Andrea – oops I mean EX of course) and possible victims and what have you, all entirely fascinating. Even if some of them did make me want to hide under the bed never to emerge again.

The dialogue crackles, the plot is beautifully woven to keep you guessing, although I gave up guessing around the middle of the book and just went along for the ride. It was a topsy turvy joy of a read that never once let up  in quality or stimulation  and it was a rocking rollercoaster from start to finish.  With body parts. And blood. And death. And giggles. And Wolfe.

And WHAT an ending.

Ragdoll? Yep yep and yep. Is what I have to say. This time the hype for me was justified. Its just good fun people! Even if the subject matter is the stuff of nightmares. Oh and by the way, great take on human nature here. If you are thinking this is all popcorn no depth think again. Works on many levels. Many many levels. Can’t wait for more from Daniel Cole.

Look here he is on Twitter HERE

Order Ragdoll by clickety clicking right HERE

#Ragdollbook

2017

Happy Reading!

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Desperation Road – Michael Farris Smith – Blog Tour Guest Post.

Today I am very pleased to welcome author Michael Farris Smith, talking about writers who inspired him.

Guest Post – Michael Farris Smith.

Sometimes I wonder if I should feel guilt over being so hard on my characters, but then I’m reminded of the writers who have inspired me, and the courage and strength I always find in their stories because they situate their characters firmly between a rock and a hard place. And dare them to find a way out.

The most striking influence of this for me came from the late Larry Brown. As a beginning writer, and fellow Mississippian, I was inspired by Brown’s stories of down-and-out men and women in down-and-out towns, but I was just as influenced about what Brown had to say about writing fiction. His interviews were always full of thoughts about the guts and courage it took to sit down and write, the guts and courage it took to face rejection after rejection and keep trucking. And I learned from this. I learned perseverance and work ethic. And then I began to notice another word he seemingly used over and over when describing the grittiness of his stories. Sandbagging. This is the word he referred to when asked why his characters had to deal with so much. He said he liked to sandbag them, to pile on to see just how much they could take and how they would react. That made sense to me immediately, and still does.

Because in life, you don’t really find out about people until things go bad. It’s not a challenge to be a good person on the days when the sun is shining, and you get off work early, and you find twenty dollars in your pocket, and your favorite person has said something nice to you, and the bills have been paid with more than a little left over. But let the rain wash out the picnic, or let the boss make you put in a few extra hours on a Friday evening and you have to cancel a date with a pretty girl, or let the one nail in the middle of the road find the tire on your car, and that’s when the truth comes out. The real self revealed. And that’s what I want to find out about my characters. When it’s tough, when there is only a faint speck of light at the end of the tunnel, what will they do? How will they get out of it? Will they give up or keep fighting? Can they climb over the pile of sandbags?

I bet they will try.

About the Book.

 

Published by No Exit Press.

For eleven years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman penitentiary. His sentence now up, Russell believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.

Meanwhile, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben holding a pistol and a dead deputy sprawled in the middle of the road.

With the dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save—his own or those of the woman and child.

Find out MORE

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Desperation Road clickety click right HERE

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!

Aye Write -Getting to Know the Authors. With Daniel Cole.

Ragdoll is out this week – more on that tomorrow – YAY but the lovely author Daniel Cole is also appearing at Aye Write – ticket info and book info to follow. Gordon of Grab This Book and I are getting to know a few of the appearing authors  so keep an eye out on his site too. Today it’s Daniel’s turn. Having received his answers I kind of love him. So if you can, get along to Aye Write in Glasgow and see his event. By the way the book is blinking brilliant!

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it…

It’s called Ragdoll and in the category of books about serial killers and dismembered body parts stitched together, I’d say it definitely falls into the more light-hearted and entertaining end of the spectrum. It certainly isn’t a straight police procedural. It’s larger than life escapism, it’s got a whole cast of great characters, a very cinematic feel, and lots and lots of dark humour.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in Bournemouth and it was fine – thank you for asking.

Academic or creative at school?

Definitely not academic, so I’ll say creative… although I’m not entirely sure that fits either. I did manage to get through A-Level Music Technology without being able to read a note of music though, which is quite impressive in an incompetent sort of way, I suppose.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

I remember being so happy when I got accepted onto the Paramedic training course. I’d been working on and off in an investment bank (it took several attempts to escape). The whole shirt and tie office thing just wasn’t right for me so getting onto that course was my way out.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I started off writing screenplays. I think that was due to becoming a little frustrated with my favourite television shows and believing that I could do a better job. The US series especially, tended to have a lot of ‘filler’ episodes when there are 22 or more in a season. …Still do.

The first screenplay I ever wrote faded in to reveal the imposing hallway of an investment bank. The main character watched his boss enter through the unnecessarily Hagrid-sized doors below before throwing himself down the main staircase – a painful and bloody; albeit well worth doing way of getting a day off (an only slightly embellished version of real life).

Who are your real life heroes?

My heroes are the frontmen of my two favourite bands: Max Bemis of Say Anything and Ace Enders of The Early November. I’d also add to the list a few of my very favourite screenwriter/directors such as Joss Whedon, Shane Black, Alex Garland and Martin McDonagh.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

So many… Too many. Stand next to me for five minutes – ten at a push – and I guarantee I’ll say or do something stupid.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

I’m not sure my friends are any less useless than I am so… phone a stepdad.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Both. And I live in Bournemouth next to the beach to make the most of the sun when/if it ever comes out.

A book that had you in tears.

I am far too tough and manly (some would say intimidatingly so) to cry at a book. If you were really determined – you could put one of the old episodes of Scrubs on where Dr Cox has a proper meltdown and smashes up a hospital room – that should do it.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Both of the Alan Partridge books made me laugh a lot.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Don’t listen to me.

Ok. I won’t. Thanks Daniel! 

Purchase tickets to Daniel’s event HERE

See the full Aye Write Programme HERE

Come back tomorrow when I’m one of the victims on the Ragdoll Blog Tour and you can read my review.

About the book.

Six victims: one body

Controversial detective, Nathan Wolfe, has just been reinstated to the force after months of psychological assessment following accusations of assault. A veteran to the job, Wolfe thinks he’s seen it all, until his friend and former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, calls him to a crime scene and gleefully leads him to a career-defining cadaver: the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet – a corpse that will become known in the press as the ‘ragdoll’. With six victims to identify, the stakes are raised when Wolfe’s ex-wife, reporter Andrea Hall, is anonymously sent photographs from the crime scene along with a list of six names… and the dates on which the ‘Ragdoll Killer’ intends to murder them.

The final name on the list is Wolfe’s.

Follow Daniel on Twitter HERE

Order Ragdoll by clickety clicking right HERE

#Ragdollbook

2017

Happy Reading!

Getting to Know You with Gwen Parrott

Today I am very happy to welcome Gwen Parrott telling us a little bit about herself and her 1940’s Murder Mystery “Dead White”

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

‘Dead White’ is set in rural Pembrokeshire, South Wales, during the terrible winter of 1947. Della Arthur has just arrived off the train to take up a job as the Headteacher of the local school when she becomes disorientated in a snowstorm and is forced to take shelter in what she thinks is an empty farmhouse. The terrible discovery she makes there, and the bewildering lack of concern of the locals, drive her to seek the truth. As if the weather didn’t make life hard enough during that particular winter, Britain was still recovering from WW2, and everything was rationed. Life in the remote village of Nant-yr-Eithin is tough – no electricity, no transport apart from bicycles or a horse and cart, and every luxury nothing but a distant memory. It’s a world that is only 70 years ago in time, but it might as well be 200. However, Della is feisty, determined and self-sufficient, and despite only having the help of an Italian prisoner of war, and having to cope with a disturbed pupil and a very unwelcome guest, nothing is going to stop her finding out what happened.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in a very similar village to the location of the book, and although we had electricity, it used to fail regularly. I lived through two episodes of deep snow, when the village was cut off for six weeks at a time and my dad was the Headteacher of the local two-roomed school. As an only child I was adept at making my own fun. I don’t remember being lonely, because there was a real sense of community, and you were free to wander almost anywhere. My parents also included me in every decision and discussion, and my obsessive interest in people was sparked and encouraged by them.

Academic or creative at school?

Both. I can remember being quite sad when I had to give up Needlework in order to do Latin. Oddly enough, although Latin has been hugely useful right through life, crafting of all kinds has been my main means of relaxation. I suppose it was worth it – you can make a lot of progress in crafting by teaching yourself. Latin, not so much.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

Good question, because for many years I never really considered the possibility that writing could be anything more than a secret pleasure. Then, by a series of lucky events, I was offered the chance to help storyline and script a Welsh language radio soap for the BBC. I finally felt I’d come home, and it was a very valuable experience – and an incredibly steep learning curve.

Do you remember the first moment you wanted to write?

No, because I’ve done it ever since I could print my name. When I got pocket money, it was a really hard choice between a bar of chocolate and a shiny red exercise book to write down my latest epic. The exercise book won out very often. The sight of a fresh, unsullied page still fills me with joy – all those possibilities.

Who are your real life heroes?

People who sacrifice their own lives and comfort in order to devote themselves wholly to a sick or disabled loved one. I simply don’t know how they get out of bed in the morning. It’s humbling to consider their selflessness and disgraceful that they don’t get more help and recognition.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

Some years ago, my mother and I went down to the south coast to Sidmouth for a few days’ shopping before Christmas. The hotel held a quiz night and guests formed themselves into teams – some made up of whole families or people on a group holiday. Mum and I didn’t know anyone else so we just did the quiz for a laugh although it didn’t help that she’d left her spectacles in our room. When we’d handed in the answers, the quizmaster told us that two teams had drawn – a team of eight and guess who – us. The tie-breaker was ‘What bodily process goes at 150 miles an hour?’ – and I happened to know that the answer is a sneeze. We won a box of chocolates and a bottle of sherry, but quite frankly, I wish we’d stayed in our room that evening, because the team who lost took massive umbrage and were mortally offended at having lost to a team of two, one of whom had had to have the questions read out to her. They ignored us pointedly from then on. You could feel them glaring from the other end of the dining room. I actually heard one of them mutter ‘I bet she’s having an affair with the quizmaster!’ I laugh now when I think of it, but at the time it was quite disturbing – good copy, though.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

If it’s within my field of capability then I do it myself – otherwise I just shout for my husband.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Night owl, definitely. It is beyond me why people get up at the crack of dawn – there’s nothing happening! I also like being up late at night, with the sense of the world winding down, lives being lived behind lit windows, strange noises and lonely pedestrians passing by. It’s no coincidence that my favourite painter is Edward Hopper – he captures that mood so well.

A book that had you in tears.

‘We need to talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver. She has famously said that it’s a book that polarizes readers – you’re either on the mother’s side or the son’s side. And despite recognising the mother’s shortcomings, I’m with her and I feel for her.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

‘Lake Wobegon Days’ by Garrison Keillor. He could copy out pages from the phone book and I’d still find them funny. One of the reasons he resonates with me is that parts of his experience of childhood and community are familiar. It’s a mistake to think he’s a ‘cuddly’ writer and I so admire his turn of phrase and his cold, clear eye.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Leggings are not trousers – anyone who tells you they are is lying.

Thank you!

About the Book:

During the harsh winter of 1947, Della Arthur arrives at a remote Pembrokeshire village in the middle of a snowstorm to take up her new job as headteacher of the local primary school. Losing her way from the train station, she comes across a farmhouse and takes shelter there. After finding two dead bodies inside, Della struggles to discover the truth behind their deaths. She soon realises that in this close-knit community, secrets and lies lurk beneath the surface of respectability.

Della must choose who to trust among the inhabitants of this remote village – should she reveal what she knows to the sardonic minister of the local chapel, Huw Richards, or the Italian prisoner of war, Enzo Mazzati? Della finds herself under siege on all sides, and encumbered by an unwelcome lodger, a missing colleague and a disturbed pupil. It is only when her own life is threatened that she understands how dangerous her discoveries in the farmhouse really were.

You can purchase Dead White HERE

Happy Reading!