Guest Post: Alison Knight

1960S BLOG POST

IMPRESSIONS OF THE 1960S- THE MAN ON THE MOON AND BUBBLE CARS

They say if you remember the sixties, you weren’t there. Well, that’s probably true for the beautiful people and rock stars who embraced the drug culture, but as I was just achild then, my perceptions of that time are more sugar-fueled than drug-addled!

In recent years, I’ve spent a lot of time in my memories of that time as I wroteMine, a novel based on real events in my family in the late sixties. A few things stand out from 1969 in particular:

In July 1969, while on holiday in Somerset, we sawthe brand new, super- sonicConcorde on one of its test flights. It was so different from other airplanes, so sleek and modern! I always wanted to fly on Concorde one day, but it wasnever to be.

The same month,the first man landed on the moon . My mum woke me up to watch it live on our little black and white TV. “You’ll be able to tell your children that you saw it happen,”said Mum . Flash forward a generation and I proudly tell my ch ildren about it. Were they impressed? Of course not! They had more technology in their mobile phones than the Apollo rockets. My grandchildren are equally unimpressed.

The Representation of the People Act 1969 changed the age at which a person in the UK was regarded as an adult. It reduced from twenty-one years to eighteen years. My sister was eighteen in 1969, so was one of the first affected by the law. It was a double -edged sword for her because, when she suddenly found herself alone with a small childof her own to care for, she was regarded as an adult and wasn’t given any support. If the law hadn’t changed, she would have been regarded as a child and she and her baby would have become the responsibility of the state. She might have lost her baby as having a child out of wedlock was regarded asa bad thing and social services had the power to put both my sister and her baby into care and could well have separated them. Thankfully, we had lots of family who stepped forward to support them and mother andchild remained together. How different from the attitudes and the support available to young mums today.

While visitingone of my uncles in June 1969, I had my first experience of watchingcolour television.Like most people, we hadablack and white TV then, so seeing the Wimbledon tennis tournament in colour was quite a shock. It was sogreen!

Unusually for the sixties, my dad had acar phone.He worked as a chauffeur for a company director and in his company Jaguar there was a box attached to the dashboard with a Bakelite phone receiver and circular dial. To make a call, you had to dial the radio operator and ask them to put you through to a landline number. I remember my mum using the phone to call my grandparents to tell them to get the kettle on as we were on our way to see them. We’d lose the radio signal when we drove into the Blackwall Tunnel. Finally, I mentioned Bubble Cars in the title of this post, so I’d better tell you of one of my favourite memories from the 1960s. My mum had a big win at bingo and used the money to buy a lovely red Bubble Car. It was so cute– a little round car, with a door at the front and only two seats. I was very small at the time and used to sit on the parcel shelf at the back (no health and safety considerations in those days!). One day, the Bubble Car broke down in the Blackwall Tunnel between East and South – East London, causing a large traffic jam. To clear the gridlock, four men picked up the car and carried it out of the tunnel. My mum was so embarrassed she soldit the next day.

So, those are some of my memories from the 1960s. I remember it as a time of laughter and music and amazing possibilities. But it was also a time when Victorian attitudes still prevailed i n a lot of aspects of life; when you were born into a class and were expected to know your place; when women were still regarded as second-class citizens andfeminism was just beginning to gain support.What are your impressions of the 1960s?

My book,Minȩ is set in London in 1968-69. It explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics and shows how ordinary people can make decisions that lead them into extraordinary situations. Here’s the blurb:

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.

Lily’s dreamsof a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinary path that could destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story ofclass, ambition and sexual politics.

BUY LINK– Mineis published by Darkstroke Books on 25th November and is

available for pre-order now: mybook.to/mineknight

INVITATION TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined: The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions. For your free ticket, go to:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/darkstroke- defined -tickets – 125793372363

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY– ALISON KNIGHT

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund – raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties, Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full -time. Her first book was published a year aftershe completed her master’s degree.

Alisonco-manages Imagine Creative Writing with author Jenny Kane. She teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreatsfor writersas well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS– ALISON KNIGHT http://www.alisonroseknight.com http://www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk http://www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/ http://www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942 @Alison_Knight59 on Twitter

Haunted Magpie

Thrilled to join Random Things Tours for this blog tour.

Synopsis

Eccentric, headstrong and engaging, Isabel Flores Montserrat is a cross between a highly charged Precious Ramotswe (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) & Phyrne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).

When 33-year-old Isabel Flores Montserrat quits a promising career with the Spanish police to run her mother’s holiday rentals agency in rural Mallorca, it seems that her crime-fighting days are far behind. Basking in the Mediterranean sunshine with pet ferret, Furo, she indulges her passion for local cuisine, swimming in the sea and raising her pampered hens. However, when a young florist goes missing, Isabel is once again seconded by the National Police to help solve the mystery. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in her own village with a sinister spate of animal disappearances. When another islander vanishes, Isabel and the local police chief, Tolo Cabot, must hunt a potential serial killer using their unorthodox investigative skills. With the clock ticking, they urgently need to find answers and restore harmony to the island once more.

Bookish Opinions

This has been my first read by this author but I definitely want to read more. This has been a great read from start to finish. I have definitely been left wanting more.

I love Isabel, she is the perfect sleuth in this book. The writer has given her a great personality and made us feel as though we know her.

This has been an interesting and unique read which I highly recommend as it has been a fun and easy read.

I have devoured this book in just one sitting and immediately added others by this author to my TBR.

Unwrapping the Best Man

Thrilled to join Rachel for this one.

Unwrapping The Best Man (Mills & Boon Dare) by [Rachael Stewart]

She’s spicing up Christmas
…starting with the best man!

After lusting after brawny, gorgeous Jackson Black for six years – Caitlin’s craving is finally satisfied on the deliciously naughty night of their best friends’ wedding. But just as Cait thinks she’s broken through Jackson’s fiercely-guarded defenses, he leaves during the night. Now Cait’s ready to play dirty. Because the only thing worse than a sexy Grinch stealing your heart is if he breaks it…

Well this one has made me blush unsuspectingly. I wasn’t prepared for how steamy this book was going to get.

I have devoured this book in sitting. I have really liked main character Caitlin and how she has just gone to get exactly as she wishes.

I had absolutely no idea where the author was going to take this book. It has definitely been a rollercoaster read.

The author has painted a clear picture in my mind of the characters and I’ve really enjoyed how this has played out.

I definitely recommend Rachel’s books. A great read.

Pigeon Blood Red

Synopsis

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job: retrieve his gangster boss’s stolen goods, and teach the person responsible a lesson.

But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu. There, the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory, when innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in a crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, hunter and prey develop an unlikely respect for one another.

Soon, he is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the very people who have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

Bookish Opinions

This has been a book which has been shorter than I had initially anticipated and one that I haven’t been able to put down.

I have literally been so addicted to this book that I have devoured this in just one sitting.

I have loved the authors style of writing and definitely been captivated. I am also keen to read more by this author.

This book has an intriguing plot, Rico is a great main character and I have loved following the journey with him.

This is definitely a book that I could imagine as a film. I highly recommend this book.

Q&A Martin Bodenham

Absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity for a Q&A with Martin Bodenham, author of Crime and Justice as part of the Damp Pebbles blog tour.

What type of books do you enjoy reading? 

My favourite genre is crime thrillers. I’m a lazy reader, so I prefer short chapters, which I can graze on when I have a few minutes. Crime thrillers tend to have short chapters as they help maintain the pace. I once watched a documentary on a well-known thriller author (whose name escapes me). I remember him saying all thriller novels and movies have about fifty or sixty chapters/scenes in order to maintain the pacing. He was right. Now I can’t stop myself from counting the scenes of every thriller I watch.

 

Who are your favourite authors? 

My preferred authors are John Grisham and Michael Connelly. They both have an easy flowing, conversational writing style. It looks easy. Believe me, it is incredibly hard to achieve.

 

An oldie that I must mention is Deliverance by James Dickey. Many remember the movie that was made soon after the book came out in the early seventies. It is still one of the best thrillers I have read.

 

Finally, I must mention Red Notice by Bill Browder. It is actually non-fiction, but the book reads like a thriller.

 

Do you have a writing routine? 

Because I used to commute into London for many years, I am an early riser. Most of my writing is done in the mornings, often before 8 a.m. when the phone isn’t ringing and there are few distractions. When I am writing the first draft of a novel, I set myself a target of 1,000 words a day so I can finish the rough version in three months. I have tried writing with the radio on, but it prevents my thought process. I prefer complete silence or quiet instrumental music in the background. My one rule is that I must have a strong espresso around eleven each morning to keep me going.

 

 

Where do you find your inspiration? 

Some of my ideas have come from my first career in corporate finance. The corporate takeover world is full of big egos and larger than life people. Some of their characteristics I have “borrowed” for characters in my novels. As for storylines, I like to read news headlines and obituaries, both of which are great sources for plots and character arcs.

 

When I came up with the idea for Crime And Justice, I had recently seen a documentary on the use of DNA matching and its use in exonerating people in old cases. It made me realise how much we have come to rely on that forensic process, almost without question. I wondered how easy it might be for the results to be manipulated.

 

 

 

Do you know the ending when you begin to write? 

 

Yes. I am very much a plotter. Once I have a story idea, my next step is to create a paragraph or two for each of the fifty or so chapters. That becomes the outline of the story. I spend quite a lot of time at this stage, reordering the plot, looking for gaps and thinking of twists. Only when I have a complete outline of thirty pages or so, do I begin to write the novel. That way, I know I have a story that hangs together. Usually, as I write the book, new thoughts come to mind, which I try to weave in for greater depth. The outline has to be an organic thing. It cannot be too rigid. Some of my best plot twists have come from new ideas as I write the book.

 

 

How long does it take you to write a book?

The best part of a year. Normally, once I have a story idea, it takes me about a month to create the outline. Once I begin writing the book, I aim to complete the first draft in around three months. Then I leave it for a few weeks before beginning the revision process. That can involve several months going over the book, rewriting sections, correcting errors and deleting redundant sections. Only when I am absolutely sick of reading the draft will I send it to a couple of beta readers for their feedback. After that, I send it to my publisher and the editing team there begins its process. A year flies by in no time.

 

Do you read your reviews? How do you cope with good/bad reviews?

Of course. I read all reviews. Early on as a writer, you learn that your work will not be everyone’s cup of tea. While it’s always welcome to receive positive reviews, there are some gold nuggets to be found in the negative ones. If there are recurring themes/comments, I try to learn from them so I can make sure I don’t repeat the same thing on future novels. That’s how I learned not to include too many technical details in my financial thriller novels. Some reviewers of my first novel mentioned how the technical content slowed down their enjoyment of the story. I made sure I scaled back on the technical stuff in later novels, hopefully, without detracting from their authenticity.

 

Do you have a favourite character you have created? 

It would have to be Detective Linda Farrell, who heads up the investigation into the rape allegation against the mayor’s son in Crime And Justice. I love her rebellious character, her disdain for arrogance, and her unstinting search for justice. While she makes mistakes and takes decisions that appear reckless at times, her heart is always in the right place. I’m hoping she might become my first serial character.

 

 

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? 

Do it for fun, not money. Most writers don’t earn more than minimum wage!

 

Enjoy the process. Listen to editors. Don’t be precious about your work. None of us has a monopoly on good ideas. Editors can turn a good story into a great one.

 

 

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Crime And Justice, although based around a charge of sexual assault, is really about Detective Linda Farrell’s search for truth and justice in the face of political corruption and corrupted evidence. If you like Lynda La Plante’s Jane Tennison, you’ll love Detective Linda Farrell.

 

 

What key challenges do you face when writing? 

Once I have a story idea, I don’t have a problem writing the book or creating characters. However, I am not one of those authors whose heads are filled with story ideas. I find I dismiss most of the ideas I come across because I ask myself, “Is this idea strong enough to devote a year’s effort to?” That’s a tough but realistic hurdle. Only when I am certain the story is worth the effort, will I begin the process.

 

If this book happened to become a movie/series- who would you like cast? 

You have hit upon something here. When I create a character, often I will try to think of an actor for the role at the outline stage. That way, I can more easily visualise each character as I write. That said, I try not to share those thoughts with the reader. In my view, authors can become too descriptive. I like to leave a lot of room for the reader to create his/her own visual image of the main characters. It makes them more real.

 

However, if you really want to know who was in my mind as I wrote Crime And Justice, here they are:

 

Detective Linda Farrell: Sandra Bullock

Clark Stanton (crime lab manager): Edward Norton

Jeff Peltz (corrupt fixer for the mayor): Michael Kelly

 

What have been the highlights of writing this book? 

I had a lot of fun researching the DNA matching protocols within crime labs and I learned much about the US DNA databases. It’s a fascinating world. After I wrote the novel, Netflix brought out a documentary called How To Fix A Drug Scandal. It’s about the criminal actions of two employees at US crime labs and the effect their actions had on the legal process. I took a lot of encouragement from this as it highlighted similar issues brought up in my novel.  You can’t just make stuff up as an author. As the late, great Tom Clancy once said, “The difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.”

What if we could no longer trust DNA profiling, the silver bullet of our criminal justice system? For years, we’ve relied on it to solve decades-old crimes, convict the guilty, and liberate the innocent from death row. But what happens to that trust when a crime lab scientist is leaned on to manipulate the evidence or, worse still, lose it altogether?

 

Ruthless Seattle mayor, Patti Rainsford, announces her candidacy for state governor. She’ll do anything to succeed. When her son is arrested for the rape and assault of a seventeen-year-old girl, Rainsford’s political career is in jeopardy.

 

Detective Linda Farrell is assigned to investigate. After twelve years working in SPD’s sexual assault unit, her career is drifting, not helped by the single-minded detective’s contempt for police protocol and the pressure of her failing marriage. The high-profile rape case is a rare chance to shine and maybe even get her life back on track. Nothing will stop her seeking justice for the young victim.

 

With a mountain of personal debt and his wife’s business on a knife-edge, Clark Stanton is facing financial meltdown. Then a stranger offers him a lifeline in return for a favor. As the manager of Seattle’s crime lab, all Clark has to do is make the rape kit evidence against the mayor’s son go away.

 

 

About Martin Bodenham:

Martin Bodenham is the author of the crime thrillers The Geneva Connection, Once a Killer, and Shakedown. Crime And Justice is his latest novel.

 

After a thirty-year career in private equity and corporate finance in London, Martin moved to the west coast of Canada, where he writes full-time. He held corporate finance partner positions at both KPMG and Ernst & Young as well as senior roles at several private equity firms before founding his own private equity company in 2001. Much of the tension in his thrillers is based on the greed and fear he witnessed first-hand while working in international finance.

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MartinBodenham

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/martin-bodenham-8228307

Website: https://www.martinbodenham.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/martinbodenham/

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/38jJq90

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3n1kLKz

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2IcS4LS

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/32oUnlX

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3p99Yjx

 

Harper’s Heroes

Oxford Street, London 1915

Sally Harper quietly battles to keep Harpers afloat in the difficult days of the war, whilst husband Ben is working all hours for the War Office.

Beth Burrow is fighting concern for her husband Jack, now at sea with the Merchant Navy, and the fear she may never see him again and be blessed with a child.

Driven to exhaustion, Maggie Gibbs, is now working as a nursing assistant on the battlefields in France. With the everyday horrors of the casualties of war to contend with she suffers her own personal tragedy when her fiancé’s plane ditches in the sea.

Can the Harpers Girls and their loved ones survive the perils of war and find a path to future happiness?

A heart-warming saga following the lives, loves and losses of the Harpers Girls. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes and Dilly Court.

I love Rosie Clarke books and this one has been no different. I have been completely hooked from very early on in this book and found that this is another gorgeous gem that I have devoured in just one sitting.

I absolutely love the Harper’s girls and this has been a welcome return to visit the ladies.

This book has stirred my emotions and made me want to give each if they ladies a hug. They are so realistic they could easily be family.

Clarke pulls you into the pages and makes it completely impossible to put these books down.

This is another absolutely gorgeous book which is highly deserving of five stars.

The Stranger in my Bed

When Freya first met Phil, she thought he was the man of her dreams. He bought her roses every week, booked surprise trips to sun-soaked destinations, and showed her affection like she’d never experienced before. But over time the dream had become a violent nightmare. And now Freya is packing her bags, knowing it’s time she escaped their increasingly broken marriage.

But then Freya gets a visit from the police. Phil’s been in a horrific car crash and – as he comes around – it becomes clear that he remembers nothing since their blissful honeymoon two years before, back when their relationship was perfect. All he wants is to be happily married again.

Freya knows giving him another chance could be dangerous. But now he’s the one who needs her, it’s a chance to turn the tables, and to change the outcome of their relationship once and for all. After all, he will only know what she chooses to tell him…

But what really happened during those two years of marriage? And as they start over again, who is safe? And whose life is in danger?

This book is just absolutely fantastic! I have definitely been gripped by this one and it’s a book which has kept me up later than I’d hoped.

I have been completely unable to put this one down. This is completely gripping and unpredictable.

The author really pulls you into the story and as the tension and suspense builds it’s just one of those books you have to keep reading. I definitely haven’t been able to put this one down.

I have read previous books of this author, however they have been a different genre. The author definitely needs to write more thrillers. This has been my favourite yet!

This has been completely unpredictable and I have loved it. This is definitely one I recommend. Without a doubt a five star read for me.

Bright Lies

Thrilled to join Random things tours for this one.

She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free? 

Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. When Emily escapes from David’s luxury mansion, she’s penniless and forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley. 

Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 – and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies. 

David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future… 


This is definitely a chilling read that makes you think throughout. I haven’t wanted to put this book down. Emily’s character has pulled me in and I have wanted to follow her story.

There are parts of this book, which some readers may find distressing. With that said, I feel the author has handled this delicately and sensitively.

This is an engaging read which has kept me guessing where the author was taking this one.

Jack and Emily are a great pair and I hope the author will consider developing their story further. I’m curious whether David will want revenge and if we can delve deeper into Jack’s past.

David has been unlikeable and untrustworthy from very early on in this one. Although, at first I thought he was just to be deceptive.

I have loved the author’s writing, I have been engaged and addicted to this from early on. I definitely need to read more.

This for me is a four star read but only because I have wanted more. I have wanted to see the relationship between Emily and her mum heal, experience the aftermath of some of the scenes leading to the end.

Body Language

Thrilled to join Compulsive Readers for this one.

For fans of Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs comes a gripping debut thriller introducing Camden’s most exciting new forensic investigator.

Cassie Raven believes the dead can talk. We just need to listen . . .

People think being a mortuary technician is a seriously weird job. They can’t understand why I choose to cut up dead bodies for a living. But they don’t know what I know:

The dead want to tell us what happened to them.

I’ve eviscerated thousands of bodies, but never someone I know before – someone who meant a lot to me; someone I loved.

The pathologist says that her death was an accident.

Her body is telling me differently.

Bookish Opinions

This book is definitely perfect for Tess Gerritsen fans. The author actually pulls you in quite quickly.

I like that this is unique from anything I’ve read previously. I found that I was unable to put this one down and definitely want more.

I really like Cassie, I definitely think if I had her job- I would talk to the bodies as well. She is likeable and a character that I have wanted to be friends with.

This has definitely been an interesting read which has completely captivated me and been impossible to put down.

I have loved how the tension and suspense are built up throughout the book and I have been kept guessing.

I definitely want to read more by this author. Follow the blog tour:

Warwick’s Mermaid

Thrilled to have a Q&A with this author.

Q.What books do you enjoy reading?

A. I have a fairly eclectic taste in books, like many people. In terms of romance, I like to readheart-warming stories, with strong characters who I can identify with. I also like to read crime, fantasy, classics and science fiction. I quite like a good plot twist, where I haven’t seen it coming, but I really don’t like cliff-hangers or where the main character dies unexpectedly.

Q.Who are your favourite authors?

A. Gosh, too many to mention. But a few of my favourite authors are Jane Austen, JRR Tolkien, Elizabeth Peters, Matthew Reilly, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer. An author I have recently discovered was Stephanie Garber who wrote the Caraval series– I loved these books.

Q.What was your favourite childhood book?

A. I was a big fan of Enid Blyton and read as many books as I could. I really enjoyed the Mallory Towers and the Famous Five books.

Q.What is your writing process/routine? Which part of the day do you usually write?

A. I work full time so, unless I have a deadline looming, I tend to write on a weekend and usually on an afternoon (I’m not a morning person…!). I re-read what I’ve written the session before and do a very basic edit, before continuing. I have to be quite disciplined because, as I am sure every author finds, I have so many stories in my head, it’s difficult to ignore characters when they are asking you to write their story. When this happens, I write the basic outline in a notebook and, as new ideas pop into my head, I add them to the outline.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. It can be from anywhere– a scene on television, an overheard conversation or snatch of news. As I mentioned above, when I get an idea for a new story, I write it in a notebook and from that little germ of an idea, I gradually add more details as they come to me. I tend to almost fully write a story or book in my head before I even start to write it down as a Word document.

Q.What is the most difficult part of writing?

A. For me, it is being able to do justice to the story. In my head, it is a beautifully complete story, like a technicolour film. However, capturing that on paper is hard and requires many re-writes and edits.

Q.Which scene of the book has been the hardest to write?

A. I think the scenes between Chloe and her mother were the hardest to write. Her mother, Claire, has trust issues of her own as a result of her marriage, and this has

Q.Which scene of the book has been the hardest to write?

A. I think the scenes between Chloe and her mother were the hardest to write. Her mother, Claire, has trust issues of her own as a result of her marriage, and this has had a significant impact on how Chloe views both herself and men in general. I wanted to create a believable andsympathetic character in Claire, despite the way she has treated Chloe in the past.

Q. How do you handle the emotional impact of a book when you are writing?

A. This book deals with some difficult subject matter but it is aheart-warming romance , so I had to balance the way in which I tackled the issue of domestic abuse. I think it was important not to shy away from the impact of domestic abuse, but the focus of the story was about believing in yourself and your own worth, and the healing power of love.

Q.What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

A. I hope readers take away a feeling of positivity and empowerment. Chloe eventually defeats her demons because she begins to believe in herself and in her own worth. Luke has given her the confidence to love not only him but also herself. This story, for both Chloe and Luke, is about being strong enough to open yourself to the possibility of loving someone.

Q.If this were made into a movie or series, who would you want to star in it? A. Ipicture Chloe as a younger Julia Roberts, and Luke as Chris Pine.

Q.What are you reading at the moment?

A. I’ve just finished reading Time and Time Again by Ben Elton– a really clever book exploring the notion that, if you could travel back in time, what one thing would you change to make the world a better place.

Q.How did you come up with the title for this book?

A. One of the first scenes I thought of for this book, was when Luke saw Chloe down on the beach and thought she was a mermaid, so the title Warwick’s Mermaid came from that initial scene. I wasn’t sure if the title would lead readers to think this was a fantasy novel about an actual mermaid, but I did a bit of a poll with readers through my Facebook page and the general consensus was thatthey liked the title, even though it wasn’t about a mermaid.

Q.What advice would you give to an aspiring author or an author hoping to be published?

A. That it is a difficult and extremely competitive market to be in and to try and break into. However,there are also so many opportunities now for different ways of publishing books, including self-publishing. I would advise aspiring authors to learn their craft, perhaps attend a workshop about the basics of structuring your novel, point of view etc. I learnt so much from a writing workshop that I wish I had known years before– including the fact that, once you’ve written your book, you haven’t