Harrogate – A readers tale.

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So I may have been extremely disappointed not to have been able to attend Harrogate after all due to ill health, but I was very lucky that a lovely friend of mine, Steph Rothwell WAS going and agreed to write me up a little diary/observation piece on how she got on. Next year it will be me for sure folks along with my other good friend Hayley but for this year here is what Steph had to say!

 

Friday
I arrived late Friday morning at my first crime event. For the 1st day I was on my own and was getting more nervous by the minute on the way up to the hotel. It was an absolutely beautiful day and when I arrived there were many people listening to the Dead in Deutschland  panel and many more all sat about  on the lawn. There were two huge tents on the lawn, one for refreshments and one where the bookshop was and signings done.
More or less straight away I spotted Mel Sherratt who had previously told me to join them. I went over ,passing Val McDermid on the way and she quickly introduced me to Rebecca Bradley, Nic Ford, David Jackson, Pam Mcllroy and Elizabeth Haynes. I stayed with the little group until it was time to go into my 1st panel.
I had booked in for four panels on the Friday: Victorian Crime Fact or Fiction, Social Media Who Are You, Touching Evil and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. After each of the events had finished the authors who had taken part would then go into the tent to do the signings.
I knew that the authors would sign books but didn’t think there would be just one book shop. I had expected different publishing houses to have their own stalls. All the authors who participated in the event had books for sale in the shop.
Part way through the day I collected our goodie bags which we received for booking all day Saturday. Big mistake! Carrying 2 bags containing a dozen books and two bottle of Theakstons old Peculier in 80 degree heat was a bit of a challenge.
I enjoyed all the panels I attended today but Social Media and Standing on the Shouders of Giants stood out. The former for the row that broke out after a challenge from an audience member over events that happened last year. The latter? I now need to read every book by everyone of the authors that took part.
Saturday
My husband came with me today and when we arrived shortly before the 1st panel everywhere looked very quiet, nobody on the lawn or in the tent. When we want into the hotel we realised why. Everybody was in the queue to get into the ballroom to see Ian Rankin in conversation with William Mcllvanney. This was probably one of the most popular panels and was the only one that I attended that finished with both clapping and cheering.
My favourite panel of the weekend was up next, Val McDermid talking to Sue Black. It was funny, quite graphic, and both participants had great respect for each other. I will be reciting bits from this for weeks to come.
My remaining  two panels of the day were New Blood ( more books to buy) and Vera another which was very popular. We finished our weekend with a glass of pimms on the lawn whilst Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn sat signing books for a very long time.
I came away from the festival with 3 bags crammed with new books, memories of great panels and memories of people I had met. Hopefully when we go next year for the full weekend we will have many more.
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If you would like to follow Steph on Twitter clickety click here  https://twitter.com/sjroth21
Thanks Steph! Sounds brilliant and I can’t wait to find out for myself.

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

So its after midnight and Indie Author week is officially at an end. Thank you so much to Sharon, Simon, Jack and Terry for taking part and having such fun with it. I will run another one in a few weeks where you will be able to hear from the tremendously talented Rachel Abbott amongst others. Keep an eye out for that!

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Thats for later though so I  thought I would let you know whats coming next week – and perhaps ask some questions of you, those readers who end up here, to help make the next batch of blogs just as fun.

On Monday you will be able to read the Harrogate Diary of Steph Rothwell – a lovely friend of mine who agreed to jot down some of her experiences when it became apparent that I would too unwell to attend after all. Thanks to Steph and a lot of other people including the lovely author Leigh Russell, I felt like I was there a lot of the time anyway. As a first time visitor Steph had great fun. Look out for that on Monday.

On Tuesday I will be talking about twisty tales – I DO love a book that floors you at some point with a major twist that you just didnt see coming. Now don’t worry – no spoilers will be found in this piece – whats the point of a jaw dropping twist in the tale if someone tells you about it first? I will however be telling you about a few of the books that have literally blown my mind and given me those “facepalm” moments so you can enjoy them for yourselves. And possibly drop a few hints about reviewing books and not dropping spoilers. A rant I went on a while ago – I’m sure it can be found in the archives somewhere! Included in this will be Erin Kelley’s “The Burning Air” , Tina Seskis and THAT book “One Step Too Far” amongst others. And of course no twisty tale story would be complete without a nod to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”. What one book made your jaw drop to the floor? Do tell.

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On Wednesday I will tell you about 6 books that made me cry. Real tears. For a long time. How often does a book make YOU cry? And which one book would you say really tugged at your heartstrings? Two of the books I will mention are very recent reads – from Tom Vowler and Tony Black. Then you have The Book Thief. Of course. Anyone who DOESNT cry at The Book Thief has no heart. If you want to know what the other three are then join me next Wednesday.

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On Thursday its publication day for Chris Ewan and Dead Line. Join me then for a Q & A with Chris, see a review of the book and why you should be reading it. Also on Thursday there are two other great books released – One I’ve just completed and one I’m reading right now – Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin and Precious Thing by Colette Mcbeth. I will direct you to reviews on those and let you know when you can read more about them. But Thursday will be mostly about Dead Line – and yes I will talk about the ending but No I will not be giving ANYTHING away. Trust me though  – its worth the wait.

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Finally on Friday I will be all about that wonderful writing duo Mark Edwards and Louis Voss. Join me for a Q & A with them and see a review of their latest release “Forward Slash” which you can get hold of now if you don’t want to wait! Also I will look at some of their other books – and of course I’m not going to be able to resist talking about “The Magpies” again – Mr Edwards solo novel and some of you may remember how much I liked that one! So that should be a great ending to the week.

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So there you go – going to be a fun week for me and I hope for you too. Have a great weekend folks and I’ll see you next week.

Happy Reading!

Indie Author Week……..Terry Tyler.

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Today on Indie Author week meet Terry Tyler, who I affectionately refer to as “Queen of the Coffee Cups” and a lovely lady who also happens to be a terrific writer. As with previous posts I posed the same questions to Terry and here is what she had to say.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No.  I used to write stories alot as a child, and in my 20s, but I haven’t always wanted to be a writer as such, I just liked writing stuff, as opposed to drawing stuff or sewing stuff or cooking stuff, I suppose!  I can’t pretend it was a major yearning or obsession.  I wrote my first novel 20 years ago; I wasn’t working at the time and I just thought, I wonder if I could write a novel.  I discovered I could!  I’ve always written stuff to amuse my friends, though.  I’ve got stacks of daft sketches and funny poems and articles knocking around.  Of course, once I’d written the first novel I had those ‘getting published and becoming an internationally best-selling author’ fantasies like we all do, but I think there’s a big difference between wanting to write, and wanting to ‘be a writer’.

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

Very.  Is that enough?!  Oh, okay, I suppose you want me to elaborate!  It’s all about realising that you have to spend a lot of time on it – time that before you self-published you might have spent watching telly or in the pub or whatever.  You have to try different things, not plug away at things that don’t work, think ‘outside the box’, research, have a bit of initiative.  It gets harder and harder all the time – there must be 10 times as many self published books out there now as when I started.

How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

I’d just like to say that book bloggers are totally wonderful human beings, ha ha!!  To be honest I don’t know how important they are in attracting readers, as I don’t know where most of my sales come from.  I would expect they contribute a lot, though.  I remember once, a while back, Maria Savva interviewing me on her blog about my first book, You Wish, and the sales rocketed for the few days after she posted it.  Few things sell a book better than marvellous reviews – and the ones from book bloggers tend to be of a very valuable quality, because you give a little of the story and discuss its strengths and weaknesses in such a way that someone like me who reads a book for enjoyment only probably wouldn’t!  Book bloggers and reviewers – we love you, and sing your praises long and loud!

ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

I don’t really have any hobbies as such.  Writing is what I do.  When I’m not writing I like to go for long walks, though I don’t do so very often.  I like visiting places of historic interest, but I hardly ever do that, either.  Mostly, though, my relaxation tends to involve a bed, some pillows, and a crime/historical drama/thriller TV series.  Most evenings I spend half an hour sitting in the back porch and smoking tabs whilst playing backgammon on my Nexus 7 – does that count as a hobby??!!

 

 

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I’ll be honest – I would never have picked this book up if I hadnt “met” the author on Twitter and found her to be a lovely person – its not really my sort of thing. Or so I imagined. Well I was wrong. It was wonderful – a great day’s reading. Five women and a “Wishing stone” form the basis for this story, Ruth having obtained the stone by nefarious means finds herself in all sorts of trouble! Its insightful writing and it has a great style – you immediately feel comfortable with the prose. The leading ladies are women you can relate too – My favourite was Petra but they all have everyday issues and worries. There are some twisty turns and it may not turn out quite how you expect. Lovely. I’d better get Ms Tylers other books pronto!

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This review comes from a previous contributor to this week – Mr Jack Croxall

We’ve all fantasised about being rocks stars; the bellowing roar of an arena filled with thousands of adoring fans, smashing up expensive guitars on stage, epic champagne-fuelled parties – surely it’s the dream existence? Well, in Terry Tyler’s Dream On, a group of wannabe rockers realise the music scene isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Having spent a large proportion of my formative years playing guitar in a small-time band, I immediately identified with central character and band member, Dave; his lusting over Gibson Les Paul’s and recurring daydreams of playing Wembley are very reminiscent of my (and I’m sure many others) mindset when I was practicing dodgy chords in my teenage bedroom.

Throughout the novel, the grimy side of the music industry is portrayed perfectly and the pressures of ‘real’ life versus musical ambition is an enthralling theme, transmitted through some excellent writing.

Of course, this isn’t just a novel for wannabe rockers, the characters are written superbly and there will almost certainly be at least one any reader can identify with. The book also has some excellent funny moments too; so often comedy in books falls short of the mark but not here.

Overall, a brilliant read – give it a try, you won’t be sorry you did!

Also available by Terry Tyler: Nobody’s Fault. The Other Side. Full Circle.

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To find out more about Terry click here. http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

To follow her on Twitter click here. https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

To purchase any of her amazing books clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1374736301&sr=1-2-ent

Thanks Terry! Tomorrow to finish off Indie Authors week the lovely Sharon Sant, author of the Sky Song Trilogy and Runners. Happy reading folks!

 

Indie Author Week – Simon Jenner.

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Today our Indie Author week is all about Mr Simon Jenner – author of the brilliantly entertaining Ethan Justice series of books (reviews later)  and yet another all round nice guy. As with Mr Croxall yesterday I asked Simon the same series of questions. Here is what he has to tell us.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I always enjoyed writing stories at school but mostly I think I just wanted to shock my English teachers by pushing the boundaries.  I started to write my first novel when I was eighteen and so have definitely always been attracted to creative writing.  Unfortunately I have never been good at seeing tasks to their conclusion and the minute boredom set in I dropped the project and moved on to my next ‘big thing’.  This pattern was repeated over and over again during which time I began at least fifteen novels that were never completed.  At the ripe old age of 48, my 10 year old son asked me to write him a story about some mystical animals he had drawn pictures of, and this fun exercise seemed to rejuvenate my creative juices. I actually had it printed as a book for him using the wonders of Print-On Demand and seeing the finished  object was so satisfying that I’ve not been able to stop writing since. Better late than never.

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

In a word ‘Hell’.  Self-publishing has leveled the playing field somewhat but it is a double-edged sword. It is easy enough to hit ‘Publish’, but it’s also easy for every other writer out there which makes the playing field immense. When I self-published my first book, I thought having written it and then having it edited and formatted meant the work was done. Amazon’s huge marketing machine would do the rest, surely? Unfortunately not.  The realisation that marketing is harder and more time consuming than the creative process is a hard pill to swallow and the work required to get the word out is not to be underestimated.  There are so many avenues to investigate, to try, to tweak, to move on from. Where are the readers who might like my books? Who do they listen to for their book recommendations? How can I reach them? It’s a needle in a haystack and I’ve barely scratched the surface despite a lot of time trying! Still I’ve met some great people along the way so that’s the upside and it makes the world of trying to write for a living a less lonely place.

How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

They couldn’t be more important.   For an indie author (without a budget) to make an impression he/she needs the assistance of anyone willing to spread the word.  The fact that book bloggers and reviewers are willing to invest their precious time in reading and sharing their opinions still amazes me and I couldn’t be more grateful. With so many books for readers to choose from, discoverability is a huge problem for indie authors so this is where book bloggers really help out. By getting the word out to their followers who trust their opinions, there is hope for the author that their book will not just sit collecting dust on the virtual book shelves. Reviews are also a key factor in a reader’s decision making process, especially for indie authors, so bloggers and customers leaving reviews can make all the difference as to whether a reader takes a chance on a book or not. To anyone reading this, please make an indie author’s day and leave a review after reading their book!

A short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

Childhood: at 8 years old, I was shipped off to boarding school – was I that bad as a child? You’d have to ask my parents, although I did burn down the house (accidentally) and fracture my skull by jumping on a car as a teenager. I hope my son is not as wayward.

Work: I trained as a Civil Engineer, then got made redundant. I qualified as an accountant, then got bored so set up my own accountancy firm – why? Who knows. I started writing seriously – ie, I now finish books – and love it, so please check out my books, shameless I know.

Spare time: who has any? When I’m looking for inspiration to work harder, I’m an avid tennis fan. When I’m looking for creative inspiration, I’m a huge movie fan. I did take up karate aged 40, but it turns out that was too old, so now I just coach my son. Other than that, I enjoy time with my family, the odd bit of DIY and putting the world to rights over a glass of wine.

Learn more about Simon here : http://simonjenner.com/

Follow him on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/simonrjenner

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One of my blogposts talked about Genre Reading and getting out of your comfort zone, and occasionally trying something a bit different. Well thats what I did with “Ethan Justice” a novel that perhaps I would not have picked up in the ordinary course of things but now I have I’m glad I did. It was one of those enjoyable books that kind of flows over you, pulling you along with it and when you are finally done you realise you’ve had a great time! John Smith, pretty much living off his parents and basically drifting from day to day, suddenly finds himself having to reassess his life. Then a night of drunken debauchery with a high class prostitute sends him tumbling into a whole new world – one of shadowy goverment agencies, pyschotic killers and well, just general mayhem.

The writer has a great style – it took me  a few pages but then it kicked into high gear and we were off. The only time you hear a “first person” side is from the most evil of the characters…so evil you will LOVE him and that is a clever tactic that works really well within the context of the rest of the novel. Savannah the stereotypical “hooker with a heart of gold” turns out to be perhaps less stereotypical than you would expect and John Smith – yes you heard me, and yes that humour is worked well into the book – is interesting and engaging. I’m not sure what genre you could put it in safely – a lot goes on in this book and its all highly entertaining – spy thriller might be the closest I could come but really its just terrific fun and if you’ve got a rather boring Sunday ahead, this would be the perfect solution.

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Relentless, the next in the Ethan Justice series of books started off great and then just got better and better. If anything I liked it better than the first one (always a good sign for things to come!) and once more we have a terrific adventure, peppered with humour, drama and of course a dark side…

This instalment finds Ethan and Savannah investigating a missing person and an underage sex ring and finding themselves in all kinds of trouble as usual. Once again Ethan finds himself facing a psychopath of epic proportions and in a deadly battle it is unclear which of them will emerge victorious…

I really enjoyed this yet again – although I’m going to have to have words with Mr Jenner if he persists in writing stuff that keeps me up all night – it was worth the rather accident prone day that followed whilst I wandered around sleepy eyed. Some dark yet current topics were covered in this novel, I would say in a realistic way. I love both Ethan and Savannah – a dynamic duo if ever there was one. Fast paced and unpredictable with a few twists in the tale its perfect summer reading. The bad guy is terrifically bad, the good guy is rather inept at times which makes for some highly hilarious moments and I look forward greatly to many more adventures.

If you would like to purchase Ethan Justice clickety click here. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ethan-Justice-Origins-ebook/dp/B0087S6AA6/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374654032&sr=1-2

If you have been clever enough to read that one already then clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ethan-Justice-Relentless-ebook/dp/B00DSDLYOM/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374654032&sr=1-3

Thank you kindly to Mr Jenner for taking part. Tomorrow you can hear from Terry Tyler – Coffee Cup Queen, lovely lady and amazing writer.

Happy Reading folks!

 

Indie Author Week – Jack Croxall

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Meet Jack Croxall – author of the wonderfully inventive “Tethers” (review a bit later!)  and all round nice guy. This week I’ve asked all my lovely Indie Authors who are taking part the same questions…Here is what Jack had to say about publishing and other stuff…..

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As soon as I read His Dark materials by Philip Pullman, (I think I was about fifteen) I wanted to be a writer. To create worlds like that and inspire vivid emotions in people is something I want to devote my life to trying to achieve. I’ve actually written a whole article on this very subject before!

 

How difficult is it to get your books out there?

It’s funny, as a first time author, I thought that, once Tethers was available on Amazon it was out there. How wrong I was! In reality, once your book is published, that’s when the real work begins. You have to get people reading your stuff any way you can, and that means free copies, giveaways, review copies etc, but also, you need to showcase your writing on other platforms. I write a lot of freelance articles and I also run a bookish blog (www.jackcroxall.co.uk). Whilst I love doing it regardless, I do hope that if people enjoy my writing, they might just look into my books as well.


How important are book bloggers and reviewers when it comes to attracting readers?

The online bookish community has been by far and away my most valuable marketing asset. After I released Tethers I found lots of lovely book bloggers who were willing to write honest reviews in exchange for a free copy, and hence spotlight my book to their extended network. On top of that, friends of online friends were also able to help me to achieve coverage for my novel that I wouldn’t have believed possible: features in local magazines, newspapers, BBC Radio appearances and even a review on the huge and most excellent website, MuggleNet. In short, any promotional success I have is really their success!

ALSO: give me a short “me” paragraph telling me about you – perhaps hobbies or interests outside of writing.

Gosh, I’m so used to writing about Karl and Esther that a ‘Me’ paragraph has caught me a bit off guard! Let’s see, well, I live in rural Nottinghamshire with my chocolate Labrador Archie. I like doing outdoorsy things, and obviously reading as well. I suppose my main hobby is playing the guitar, though – I play my six string without fail every day. I’ve been tinkering since I was about fourteen, and even went through a Rock phase in my late teens where I played a few gigs in a local band. Needless to say, we never took off!

 

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Review

So, my latest foray into the world of YA fiction, brought me here, to the Victorian setting of “Tethers”, an absolute gem of a tale, not only to read for yourself but as a story to read to others. In it we meet Karl and Esther, two friends who find themselves on a grand adventure having discovered a notebook with strange notations and a mysterious gemstone. Chased by those with nefarious purposes they embark on a journey to find a missing girl, and to discover the true nature of the gem..with some help from a glorious cast of supporting characters. This journey forms the basis for the book. I loved it I have to say – I may have been saying that in a lot of my reviews lately but it just goes to show that I’m picking the right books from the myriad of choice I have open to me. What I loved: Karl and Esther are terrific. Esther is a girl after my own heart with her flashes of temper and great insight. Karl, a little calmer, more likely to look before he leaps, is the perfect counterpart and they compliment each other beautifully. The story itself is well imagined, paced just right and has a real sense of place and time. I can’t actually find fault with it..if you want a negative – here’s one. It was over too quickly! Hoping the second in the series is not far away. I look forward to meeting Karl and Esther again.

 

If you fancy giving Tethers a go – and you should – clicky click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tethers-Jack-Croxall/dp/1484959833/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1374565490&sr=1-1

Available as paperback or Kindle download – so all readers should be happy. Thanks Jack!

 

Tomorrow Simon Jenner will be with us – author of the Ethan Justice novels and another terrific person to know. Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Loves Indie Authors…..Its Indie Author Week!

Just a very quick post this morning to kick off Indie Authors week….those unsung heroes of the book world who provide us with great storytelling but are often overlooked by mainstream readers. This week we will hear from a few of them about writing, publishing and the general mayhem that comes with it all. Personally I adore discovering those little gems that are not immediately in the public eye – perhaps during this week you will find some too! Happy Reading folks!

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Books….Then come the movies Part 3: HARRY POTTER!

So there is no way on earth that we can have a week on movies and the books that inspired them without mentioning Mr Harry Potter. The creation of J K Rowling, Harry is now a worldwide phenomenon and it will endure for generations to come, I have no doubt! Admittedly my knowledge in this area is basic – I know lots of people will shout at me but I have never sat down and properly read the books – and the movies have been watched with half an eye with my young boys who of course adore all things Potter! However I’m lucky. My good friend Victoria is what is affectionately known as a Potterhead – so I will hand over to her and she will tell you about all things Potter! (No Victoria I DIDNT edit – your enthusiasm shines!)

Thanks Victoria. To see more of Victoria’s reviews click here : https://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/

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This may possibly be my most favourite subject.
Harry Potter is a series that WILL live on forever. JK Rowling is a genius. Nobody can deny this, wether you love or hate her, she managed to write a series of books that got the world, yes world, reading!
Kids that didn’t read started reading, and some of those are huge 500 + page books, adults started to read it also to find out what all the fuss was about.
Kids and adults alike then camped out in order to get their hands on the latest book. How often does this happen? Especially when it comes to kids books!

It’s not often. And how often do you come across a book, let alone series of books, that adults love and enjoy as much as the children.

The reason Harry Potter will live on forever is because of the fan base, the Potterheads, are the most loyal fans there are. We re-read avidly and as we grow up, we then read to our children and the magic of Harry Potter starts all over again for the next generation.

So as a huge bookworm, I’ve always absolutely hated any film adaptions that are made. I’ve sat there and moaned about parts missed or parts that aren’t portrayed right to how I saw it in my head. I’ve even been known to be so angry with certain film adaptions (The Time Traveler’s Wife) that I had to throw it it the bin!

But…. With Harry Potter I adore the films as much as I do the books. Why is that? The films do vary massively to the books yet I’m willing to accept this and still love them.

The detail in the films really are quite outstanding, in EVERY way! The ideas Rowling sets in your head whilst reading really do come alive on the screen. Each character looks exactly like what you expect, it’s incredible. The scenes are set perfectly, but, the castle is surely the most magical. As is the great hall, it’s absolutely spot on.

Now of course the films aren’t exactly perfect when it comes to what we greedily take from the books, but if we are really honest with ourselves, if they didn’t edit things out we would be sat in the cinema for 12 + hours (yes! I hear you Potterheads we would of managed that no problem, but its those muggles, you can’t deny them a little magic!) So of course in order to get them onto the big screen they of course have to do LOTS of editing, which does unfortunately mean we lose some of the best bits!

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What we miss from the books is that the Dursley’s actually treated Harry a lot worse. They sent him the most pathetic Christmas presents, we all remember that year with the dirty sock! (That’s if you read the books).
We don’t get to see the time that Dobby decorated the Room of Requirement in hundreds of Baubles with the caption “have a Harry Christmas” (a personal favourite), or just how big a part Dobby actually plays in the books. He is rarely seen in the films, compared to the books but actually plays a huge part in Harry’s school life, it wasn’t Neville who gave Harry the Jellyweed in Goblet of Fire it was our lovely Dobby. We never even get to meet Winky in the films another BIG part in Goblet of Fire, which is actually so far from the book it’s unbelievable, she is a drunk and sobbing mess. Which then gets Hermione setting up S.P.E.W (no I’m not telling you what that stands for read the books!).
We never fully appreciate Harry’s sarcasm in the films something I find quite sad as its really rather brilliant to Read and inagine. His and Ron’s humour shines through within the book and although we see snippets of this in the films I sometimes feel we could of seen more.
Harry really is an angry little teenager too, we can’t blame him his had such an awful start in life. But of course the books are always so much more detailed and we are told exactly how he is feeling at every stage, whereas in the films we have to work it out for ourselves by how he looks or by what he says.
Hermione’s character is portrayed really well in the films and I wouldn’t say there is too much that is massively different, of course there are some. Hermione is not only a geek, bookworm, nerd, teachers pet, whatever you can think of, she goes out of her way to help people. Remember Hagrid and Buckbeak’s dilemma in Prisoner of Azkaban? Well in the books Hermione goes out of her way to research and spend all of her time getting Hagrid ready to face the “jury”. As well as doing all her work and trying to get to two classes at one time! Lets also not forget those boys wouldn’t of survived without Hermoine and her books.

The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is really very special and although we do see this in the films, what we get from the books is something so much more. It really is remarkable just how much Dumbledore loves Harry.
It’s the same with a lot of the older characters take for example Mrs Weasley, she really does take Harry on as another son. Another brilliant example of this is, in the Goblet of Fire when the tournament starts, members of the champions families come to wish them luck and Harry has no-one, well in the book it’s Mrs Weasley and Charlie Weasley who are there to support Harry.

We never truly get to know Lockhart (Chamber of Secrets) through the film either. He was self obsessed, arrogant, egotistical and had us being sick in our mouths, yet we loved to hate him. He organised a dwarf dressed as Cupid to follow the kids round the school reading aloud Valentines notes. Poor Harry was rugby tackled to the floor and sat on by him. Missed that in the film didn’t you?
He also pops up in the Order of the Phoenix book, no really he does, see that doesn’t happen in the film either. (Not telling you! Nope, you will have to read them).

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With my favourite book The Half Blood Prince we see Harry spending a lot of time with Dumbledore, which is possibly why it’s my favourite. Even though we sadly lose him (I cried for hours) it’s brilliant to spend so much time with him in the books and gain more knowledge of him. We all remember the part where Harry uses a spell from the Half Blood Prince’s book/film and causes Draco to become really hurt. Well in the book Ginny DOES NOT HELP HIM! He hides it alone. We also don’t see anything that Draco is up to with birds and cupboards in the book, because well, we only ever follow Harry around.

The last two films are very special and I can see why they did it (money) but I also am so pleased they did two because it allowed more of the book to be shown than in earlier books when HUGE chunks were just missing. (Read the end to Goblet Of Fire and you will see just how different it is).
They were different and they missed parts out that still to this day really upset me, for example, when Harry saves the day and all is well, he goes back to Dumbledore’s office and Dumbledore’s portrait is there and has tears down running down his face, and Harry asks him more questions, he then, (and this is the most important) FIXES HIS WAND! I was furious they didn’t do this in the film because that wand was part of Harry. He also tells Dumberdore that he is putting the Elder Wand back where it belongs, but in the film he snaps it and throws it!!!!!!
Let’s also highlight that once Harry comes back to “life” he doesn’t run from Voldemort, he hides under the invisibility cloak whilst Neville is causing a commotion, then starts firing jinxes and curses at any death eater he can whilst trying to find Voldemort. He finds him in the great hall and reveals himself. He and Voldemort then face each other and Harry explains EVERYTHING. He then finishes Voldemort once and for all. The epilogue is pretty fantastic though and ended how it should of so I was very pleased with that.

The books are so detailed and so epic that you really feel as though you are living the story. Nothing will ever come close to them and I don’t imagine we will ever discover anything that will top Harry Potter.

The films although are different and lacking the detail that only books can portray, they are still absolutely magical and bring the story to life that little bit more. The films also help to bring more people to the books (I hope) because anyone who watches them and hasn’t read them, if they like them and it makes them slightly interested in giving the books ago then what does it matter too much if the films are different? Because by making the films they are allowing a wider audience to become part of the Wizarding world and allowing those that don’t read to fall in love with Harry also.

The films are also brilliant for those who maybe haven’t got time to re-read them when they want, but want to go back into Harry’s world and can by watching the movie.

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The films are so enjoyable and I love them dearly but I urge anyone who has only watched the films and never read the books to go out and read the books. They are truly magnificent and so incredibly detailed more than the films ever could be.

So I honestly love the films, yes they miss out my favourite parts or in some of the films, vital parts, but they are REALLY good and I wouldn’t have them changed. I like to think of them as a refresher of the books.

I really could of gone on and on some more (don’t groan!) but I must dash as I have a Potions Lesson with Snape (now you can groan)

 

 

Books…..and then come the Movies. Part Two.

So in my previous blog I talked about those well loved novels that are made into movies, either good or bad and I ended with two words. Jack Reacher. Now then, how many Reacher fans are there out there? Are you one? I am. I love those novels. I have followed Jack since his beginnings and a new Reacher novel is something to look forward to. I’ve often wondered over the years how well it would translate to screen – the stories do seem to be appropriate for a great action movie that also has a great plot – so I was pleased initially to hear that a movie was in fact going to be made. Who would play Reacher I wondered? My mind sifted through all those rugged actors, tall, well built, not so good looking or clean cut maybe but hey, Reacher is not supposed to be the handsomest of men. But going back the main thing about him, the one thing that is described over and over…the MAIN thing about how Reacher looks is his height. Yes? So please for the love of God, tell me why anyone, including the actor himself, would think that Tom Cruise would be a perfect fit. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong – I am not in fact a hater of Mr Cruise – his personal life and what some would call strange attitudes have no bearing on whether or not I enjoy his movies – and he’s actually a pretty good “action” hero – The Mission Impossible films are great fun. But he’s not now, nor will he ever be, an actor that can pull off Reacher. I had many online discussions about the possibility that Lee Child had just sold us readers out to the highest bidder, but you know thats probably not it. How much control can an author realistically keep over his character once he gives the rights to any movie studio? I find this a difficult one. I have no evidence that the Cruise controversy has affected Mr Child’s  readership – certainly I would not allow my annoyance at that to stop me enjoying future novels. I think its an interesting discussion. Some research tells me there ARE ways for an author to have some say over what happens to their characters in the visual medium, but many it seems choose to just go down the easy road. And thats fine. After all they own the characters and stories they create don’t they? How much do they REALLY owe their loyal readers. Writing may be an art form and a calling but its also a job. And when you are working who doesnt go for the highest paycheck possible?

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So how was the movie? I watched it. My inner voice that said it couldnt be THAT bad compelled me to see just how bad it was. To be fair it wasnt bad. It was pretty good as action movies go. Once I allowed myself to let go of the image of Reacher I had in my head I enjoyed it – as an action movie. Mr Cruise did his best. He captured to my mind the SPIRIT of Reacher in some senses. Still, the problem I had was that the wonderful actor Jai Courtney was playing the bad guy. And frankly he was MUCH closer to the image of Reacher I had in my head – so confusion reigned for a lot of the time. Standing at over 6 feet tall he is perhaps a little too clean cut for Reacher but if he had been given the role I would not have been nearly so dismayed! In some scenes, towering over Mr Cruise, it was difficult to remember that no, he’s not the good guy.  Anyway. I had a lot of fun with the film so it wasnt all bad news and if you are a fan of the novels this probably won’t distress you too much. After all, its not REALLY Jack Reacher its just a great action popcorn movie.

 

So. There are my thoughts on that particular adaptation. I would be interested to hear which adaptations you have been dismayed about…have you ever felt let down by a film version of a much loved book? The thing I most want to know is…which character has been destroyed for you by a particularly strange or insane piece of casting? Because in this readers opinion – casting is key when you are trying to bring a much loved novel to the screen.

Thats it for now folks! In part 3 I will be talking all things Potter. Yes Victoria, I’m going to ask you to contribute. https://victorialovesbooks.wordpress.com/ Your knowledge in this area far outweighs my own.

Happy Reading everyone!

 

Books……and then come the Movies. Part One.

So, my last little blog was about the tv shows inspired by books and how they can often be disappointing. This week my thoughts turned to movies and that is a huge subject. So much so that when I started writing this blog I knew that one post wasnt going to cut it. So this will be in several parts over several days. When a movie is made based on a popular novel, the pitfalls are huge. That old saying “You can’t please all of the people….” springs to mind. No matter how true to the source material they are, no matter how much thought goes into the casting, someone, somewhere will say – “well it wasnt nearly as good as the book and they left this bit out. Oh and this bit.” I know. I do it myself. And of course, some movies are so far removed from the books they are supposedly based on, that really you wonder why they even bother saying it IS based on that book. When it works though its terrific – those characters you have come to know and love pop off the screen and its sheer brilliance – in reality however my own opinion is it more often fails to live up to the reading experience than not. Occasionally, to be fair, it improves on it. My problem I believe is I tend to cast in my head if I’m reading a good book – and rarely if ever does the casting director agree with me! Who else does that? Come on, admit it, I KNOW you do. So lets look at a few…

 

I’m going to start with Stephen King. OF COURSE YOU ARE I hear those that know me well cry, who else? For years I watched every adaptation of a King novel going – both in the television and movie format. I despaired I really did. In fact until recent years “The Shining” was the only film I enjoyed – and we all know how much Mr King hates that adaptation, and it really doesnt do his novel justice. But hey, Jack Nicholson – can’t complain about that! He was scary. The book was scary. So ok we’ll let them get away with that one. Mr Kubrick was a genius. None of the others ever came close to capturing the sense and feeling of the books. Even “Carrie” which really tried its best. Then. A Miracle. That miracle was one Mr Frank Darabont. Any King fan will know the story “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption” and what a completely great little tale it was. But it WAS short. Mr Darabont and his crew took that little story and turned it into one of the most amazing movies that has EVER been made, let alone a book adaptation. Expanding the story, imagining a life, that movie is uplifting and awe inspiring and I have yet to meet a person who didnt like it, most LOVE it. Pure joy. Then, Mr Darabont obviously knowing he was onto a good thing,  took on “The Green Mile”. Originally published as a series in 6 parts I remember being desperate to get my hands on the next instalment – another tale of Prison life but with the old King twist, this was absorbing and heart wrenching in equal measure. Now of course you can buy it in novel form and read it start to finish – but back then you had to wait. I was interested to see the adaptation and wow. My God. Whoever decided that Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan should play the leading roles MUST have read the book. Readers, you remember the description of John Coffey from the book? Isnt Mr Duncan perfect? Everything pretty much about that adaptation was. Perfect. Finally (so far) for Mr Darabont, another short King tale – The Mist. With this adaptation he was completely true to the story……..until the end. Well. If you have read it you know that there is zero chance of Mr King’s ending satisfying most movie going fans – so what happened? Well. If you’ve seen it you know. How many gasps of shock do you think rang out around Cinema’s  everywhere when that was being shown? I’m guessing a lot. I know when I saw it everyone literally cried out. The tension was palpable. And I bet not many of us slept well afterwards…

So. There you go. Hopefully you will take my advice – watch the King adaptations that are GOOD and leave the rest for heavens sake. Just for me.

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I’m going to talk about one more set of books today – extremely popular novels that were made into extremely popular films. In this case I ADORED the films and hated the books. Hey, sometimes it does work that way you know! Vampire fans unite – Team Edward or Team Jacob? Well Team Jacob all the way for me! Yes its Twilight. The craze that swept the world, lovers of the books united to make these some of the most popular movies ever. And I LOVED them. Visually they were stunning – the casting was superb and all of them put their heart into it. Whereas in the novels the constant gazing into each others eyes and periods of time where absolutely NOTHING happened drove me crazy, when transferred to the visual medium they became much more emotive. It helped of course that the movie was peppered with good looking young people who were easy on the eye – even the villains – but still I felt this story much more when engrossed in the films than I did while reading the books. Not that the books were bad, don’t get me wrong…well loved by teenagers and adults alike, they were easy reads but too drawn out I felt. The movies took some poetic licence – the finale to “Breaking Dawn Part Two” was amazing – heart stopping action that had everyone on the edge of their seats. In the books it was a much more stagnant ending – which worked beautifully in novel form but might have been slightly boring in visual form. So no, I was not fond of the books and admittedly (sorry Twilight fans!) I skipped a lot of pages and didnt appear to miss much. In the cinema I lived every moment with Bella – superb storytelling and superb camera work made for a great cinema experience.

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Ok thats your lot for today. In “Part Two” I shall be talking about “When good books go bad” …those film adaptations that have caused controversy in the reading world when well loved characters get mangled in the pursuit of riches and it seems as if no-one has really given TOO much thought to the fans. Hey. It happens. Now of course, if  authors sell their book rights they can’t really be expected to worry that much about what happens to it next. Or can they? A point for discussion I believe. Prior to writing my next piece I would be VERY interested to hear opinions on that. SHOULD an author TRY and ensure that at least a nod is going to be given to those readers who have been faithfully following them, sometimes for years, before a movie adaptation is made? Or is it very much – ok you can use my idea and do what you want with it. If you are an author OR a reader, please do leave me a comment with your opinion – and perhaps an example of an adaptation you have loved or hated. I’m going to end with two words. Jack Reacher.

Books. Then comes the TV show…..

So, on Monday, Stephen King’s “Under The Dome” premiered in the U.S. and it got me thinking about when books you may have loved are turned into mini series or series in general. Later this week I will talk about film adaptations but for now, lets stick with television. I havent yet seen Under The Dome but I have to admit I have not been that enamoured of Stephen King adaptations in general when it comes to mini series. Bag of Bones, one of my favourite King books was on a while back – with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role. Anyone who has read Bag of Bones might wonder at that rather weird bit of casting. Mr Brosnan did his best of course, but really, with the changes to the story as well, it just didnt work for me. Now of course, you can’t expect television adaptations to be exactly the same as the novels – the visual medium is far different to the one you may create in your head while reading a novel – but personally I’ve always found that the best adaptations are true at least to the spirit of the story that inspired them.

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Another of my favourite series of books  – The Lynley Novels from Elizabeth George – became a very popular television show. I watched it. Again I wasnt too happy with the casting but hey, if I ruled the world and all that…but it was pretty good. It definitely had the SPIRIT of the novels in there, even though after the initial series the story took a very different turn than had happened in Lynley’s literary life, it still stayed fairly true to its source material. In the case of the Lynley mysteries it was very much a case of actors moving on and therefore changes having to be made to reflect that. At least they didnt cast a different actor in the role and expect you just to accept it – hey we’ve seen that happen yes? And doesnt it drive you mad? So in my opinion this adaptation was better than a lot that I have seen. Lets look at a (from this readers point of view) bad adaptation that still managed to be a terrific show…..

 

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Who reads Kathy Reichs? The Temperance Brennan novels are superb. Entertaining and absorbing I have yet to read one I disliked. Temperance has a cool name and a cool personality to go with it – so when I heard that they were to be the basis of the tv show “Bones” I was very excited. I watched the entire first series and found that it bore little to no resemblance to the books, apart from the name of the main protagonist. The “Bones” of the show was a very different kettle of fish to the Temperance of the novels – the supporting characters were all pretty much new – and yet I loved it once I was able to view it as a completely separate entity. Sometimes you have to do that because often tv adaptations are NOT that loyal, they simply take the bare bones – pun intended! – and turn it into something people will love to watch. Bones is going strong and although I left it behind a series or two ago you can’t deny its popularity or that it worked!

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So. I’m interested in opinions. Do you love it when a favourite book or series of books hits our television screens? Do you approach them with trepidation or a sense of anticipation? I am very much looking forward to seeing what they have achieved with “Under the Dome” – from reading articles in the media and from Mr King himself it seems as if this is going to be great. But will it actually be? We’ll see. Do you have a favourite book or series that then became a show you are obsessed with? How about Dexter? True Blood? Both great adaptations and shows I watch avidly. I wonder what will be next……