Meet the Author: Jennifer Gilmour

 

Jennifer Gilmour is a force to be reckoned with; not only is she an author of two books, she works tirelessly to raise awareness of domestic abuse and change things at a National level to improve the support abuse survivors are given. Her debut book, Isolation Junction was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and is a fictional account of Rose living in an abusive relationship and her fight to break free. This is FREE on Kindle between 8th-12th Jan 2018. Jennifer’s second book, Clipped Wings is a compilation of survivor’s experiences. It is a pleasure to meet her on the blog today.

“Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.”

 Extract from Isolation Junction

 

Jen G reading

Jennifer Gilmour – Author

 

What was your original inspiration to start to write?

I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle (see photo below) and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.

cycle_of_abuse

I knew I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book but a message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse.

How do you focus and not let your work with domestic abuse affect you emotionally?

Originally I didn’t look after myself and worked on Isolation Junction, blog posts and research even if I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t switch off to what I felt needed to be exposed and couldn’t understand why something so common was hidden so well. It did take its toll on me and I am happy to admit and address this. The solution was simple and that was to train myself to channel my thoughts and focus on my current happenings and not letting my mind wander. It can be still a challenge but I feel like I manage myself better and take a healthier approach.

How do you direct people who may need support after reading your books?

At the end of my books there is a message from me which include the UK 24-hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline, which is 0808 2000 247. There is also a support page on my website; http://jennifergilmour.com/support/

I do receive a lot of messages and I have personally referred to local centres, once I directed someone in Africa to her local support service. I have been a listening ear to many as well, the first step is telling someone about what’s happened to you and so I urge anyone to speak to a ‘safe’ person or service. ‘safe’ meaning someone who isn’t involved with the perpetrator or who you most certainly can be trusted and will help you.

What do you do aside from writing?

I am a mum of three which keeps me pretty busy when I am not writing; I have a 5, 7 and almost 2 year old. As a family we enjoy the hobby Geocaching which gets us out and about, learning about the local area as well as having some fun. It can get rather competitive, if you haven’t heard of it Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
I am also a Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant which brings in most of my income to support my work in the domestic abuse sector including my writing. You can find out more about that on my other website: https://jennifergilmour.jamberry.com/uk/en/

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is the Harry Potter series, it took me to a different world away from my reality growing up as a child, teen and adulthood. It started my imagination going as I have been writing from a young age and it was all fantasy writing and poetry.

What is your favourite drink?

That’s hard because I have a cup of tea (breakfast tea) four times a day and I can’t go without my tea. But I have a Dolce Gusto machine and I absolutely love caramel latte.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Favourite place to write has to be a lovely local café that does amazing coffee (to keep me going) and scrumptious cake. Although, we have a lovely big bay window that we plan to add a couple of individual chairs and a little coffee table, I imagine using this a lot and can see myself writing with the sun beaming through the glass

Jennifer Gilmour

About the Author

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Links:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Isolation Junction; UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

Advertisements

My Best Reads of 2017

New Goals

It is time to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018. Reading challenges are over and new ones are beginning. I exceeded my goal of 42 books in the Goodread’s challenge by reading 63. The goal for 2018 is 52 starting with The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. There have been many good books published last year and I discovered lots of new authors thanks to online book clubs especially The Fiction Café Book Club.  My TBR list has grown exponentially with books I would never have found without this positive, active book community.  I tried to choose my top 10 but this proved impossible.

My top 15 books read in 2017

 

 

These are in no particular order.


The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
This is the third book of one of my favourite series, The Seven Sisters. It is set in a  rambling bookshop, the countryside made famous by Beatrix Potter and has a main character I would love to talk to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This was recommended to me by a friend but I kept putting it further down my TBR but this was a decision I regret because it is a unique book, full of action and vivid imagery. My full review can be read here

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds

This is an original plot with a fiesty main character. A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 


Regan: Snatcher of Souls by R. McDowall

It is dark, well written love story. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Meet the Author post with Rebecca McDowall can be found here

 

 


Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Set in my favourite places –  York, Whitby and a bookshop this had to be included in my top reads. I loved the characters and it made me accept that maybe, poetry is accessible and can be enjoyable.

 

 

 


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I was impressed by the film so immediately read the book. A review will be posted soon but it is a must read.

 

 

 


A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

An uplifting funny read that is deeper than your average romance. A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 


Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

I can not believe it has taken me this long to read any Alice Hoffman’s books. It is magical, well written with characters that remain with you long after you close the book.

 

 

 

 


Sleepers Castle by Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine is one of my favourite authors and this is has become one of my favourites with the Welsh setting, plot and characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift/The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

I could not choose between these two psychological thrillers. Louise Jensen is an author to follow if you enjoy a good twist. Reviews can be found here and here.

 


Strangehollow by Emily Hare

I purchased a copy through Emily Hare’s Kickstarter campaign this year. It is a stunning collection of illustrations of the creatures and tales from Strangehollow.

 


Soulweaver by Heidi Catharine

Technically, this should be in next year’s list because it is not released until later this month but I received an ARC. A review will be posted shortly but it is a thought-provoking, magical read.

 

 

 

Dead Woman Walking

 

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

Another one of my favourite authors. She excels in original plots, twists and suspense. I am looking forward to her new book this year The Craftsman.

 

 

 

 What books have you enjoyed in 2017?

Happy reading and may 2018 be full of good books and happiness.

 

 

More book reviews for Christmas

It is Christmas Eve! How did that arrive so quickly?  There is just enough time to squeeze in  a quick collection of reviews of other books I have read this Christmas.

Romance

Christmas stockingTitle The Christmas stocking and other stories

Author Katie Fforde

This is a gentle, delightful collection of stories for the festive period by a popular author.  They are perfect length to read with a cup of tea when you can snatch a few moments.
I enjoyed them especially A Dream Christmas but prefer the author’s longer work where you can connect to the characters more.

 

Mistletoe coveTitle Christmas at Mistletoe Cove

Author Holly Martin

Holly Martin has written a festive romance that made me make wish wishes did come true. The characters are relatable and I had my fingers crossed throughout that life would be perfect and nothing bad would happen to the fun loving pair. It has the funniest smouldering sex scene I have ever read. It is worth reading purely for that.

 

Christmas WishTitle   A Christmas Wish

Author  Erin Green

A Christmas Wish is a treat to curl up with on a cold day, in your snuggly socks and drinking hot chocolate.
On Christmas Eve Flora finds herself staring at the steps of a house where she was abandoned as a baby in 1984. Unsettled in her life she decides she needs to discover her history and her links to the village. With the help of policeman, Joel who literally crashes into her life, she delves into the secrets and rumours of Pooley.
The festive air, charming characters and possibility of romance along with the mystery of her parentage makes you read just one more chapter.
I look forward to reading more books by Erin Green.

 

Non-fiction Books

HarkTitle Hark! The Biography of Christmas

Author Paul Kerensa

This a well presented and written non-fiction book about the history of Christmas throughout the ages. It is easy to read and it’s gentle humour makes it a joy.

It is ideal for Christmas fanatics like me to have in their stocking.

 

 

 

Chistmas flandersTitle Christmas: a biography

Author Judith Flanders

As a lover of Christmas, I thought I knew what this time of year was about and the origins of our traditions but this book opened my eyes to how little I really knew. This is an in-depth exploration of Christmas and takes you through the evolution of Christmas including religion, festivities, books, gifts and decorations.  It is a perfect read for those who get excited at the first sign of decorations in the shop or are always on the look out for more knowledge to impress friends and family especially over the Christmas dinner.

It is a book, I long to have a physical copy of on my bookcase to dip into every year.

 

What festive books have you been reading?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and many books arrive in your stockings.

Merry Christmas and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: We will always have Christmas by Jenny Hale

We will always have Christmas

Title We will always have Christmas
Author Jenny Hale

Blurb

An enchanting story about the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson – the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington…

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family and create some magical memories of her own along the way?
This is a delightful read and is perfect to help you get in the mood for the Big Day or relax with when you need to take a break from the chaotic preparations.

Jenny Hale has captured Christmas in the pages of this book with her descriptive festive scenes and taste bud tingling food.  By the end of the story I longed to be in the kitchen of the bakery eating cake and drinking hot chocolate.

This is book that can happily be reread next year when you need a festive fix.

Thank you NetGalley for sending me an ARC to review.

 

Happy reading!

Book review: Moonlight over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Moonlight over Manhattan

Title Moonlight over Manhattan

Author Sarah Morgan

Blurb

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi’s temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.
Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.
Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

For those who love romance, there is nothing like a Sarah Morgan book to make reality fall away and transport you into the lives of her characters. In this book, you find yourself in Manhattan near Christmas with Harriet. I instantly felt a connection with quiet, shy Harriet who is more comfortable talking to the dogs she walks than people. Her love life is going nowhere fast after some disastrous dates until she stumbles across Dr Ethan Black or Dr Hot as others describe him. I like how none of her characters are perfect and they all have relatable flaws; it makes them more real. The plot flows well and old favourite characters from Sarah Morgan’s other books make an appearance as an added treat.
This story hits the spot for a good festive read while curling up under the duvet with a luxurious hot chocolate.

Happy reading!

 

Festive book review: The Return of the Magi

How fast is December going? Christmas book reviews need sharing so today’s book review is for P.J Tracy’s Return of the Magi.

Return of the Magi cover

Title The Return of the Magi

Author: P.J Tracy

Publisher Penguin UK – Joseph Michael

Blurb

Warm your heart this Christmas with this wonderful festive tale from bestselling author P.J. Tracy – perfect for fans of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Emil Rice has a silver tongue and sticky fingers, the only problem is that his charm always gets him into trouble and he’s never been very good at not getting arrested. Twenty-two times he’s been caught and twenty-two times he’s sworn never to steal again, but it’s on his twenty-third arrest when Emil realises he may have picked up more than he bargained for. Sentenced to community service at a secure mental health facility, Emil is unwillingly befriended by two elderly female patients who believe he is the final part of a big cosmic plan that will change their lives forever… This heartwarming Christmas tale of kindness, friendship and redemption will be perfect for the cold winter nights!

I was recently introduced to PJ Tracy’s books by reading her crime novel Nothing stays Buried so  I was unsure what to expect from this Christmas short story. It was as different as chalk and cheese. Emil Rice is a smooth talking, small time crook who is facing more time in prison when he is given an alternative option – work in a secure mental institution for a year. He is soon stalked by two sisters who believe he is the third king from the Christmas story – the one they have been eagerly waiting for a long time. This is the beginning of the humorous and surreal mayhem. The   unique and loveable characters form a quirky, enjoyable read different to any I have read before. It is refreshing to read a festive story without a romantic slant. There isn’t a cosy kitchen oozing warmth and comfort in sight.

With its descriptions of the vibrant colours of the magi costumes against the institutional grey settings, light-hearted nature and seasonal plot it is easy to imagine it being adapted successfully to the screen. It could easily become a classic to be enjoyed annually as part of the Christmas tradition.

This book is on my list to be read again next year to prepare for the festive celebrations.

Thank you NetGally and Michael Joseph for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.

Happy reading x

 

#Beginnings #HelenJChristmas #book

Blog Blitz: Beginnings by Helen J.Christmas

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Helen J.Christmas for inviting me on the one day blog blitz to look at the book Same Face Different Place Beginnings by Helen J.Christmas

beginnings-review21

 

Title Beginnings

Author Helen J. Christmas

Blurb
Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people.
Her life is spiralling out of control yet on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.
Their daring escape across London eventually draws them into a place of hiding before Jake’s chilling story begins to unfold. He was the one vital witness to a sinister scene leading up to the death of a British MP and now those responsible want him silenced. As two young people, thrown together by fate they develop intense feelings for each other. It does not take long for Eleanor to realise that she will do anything possible to keep Jake alive.
Their tender love bond keeps you turning the pages as they live on a knife edge, desperate to escape London. Will they outrun the deadly enemies who stalk them? Or are the people at the top more powerful than they think?
Purchase on Amazon – http://apn.to/prod/B0078L8858
Author Biography

 

helen-j-christmas
Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place’ in 2011. Her first book ‘Beginnings,’ set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company, she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach.
Social Media Links –
Website: http://www.samefacedifferentplace.com
Blog: https://samefacedifferentplace.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.helenchristmas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFDPBeginnings
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5838032.Helen_J_Christmas
Pinterest Book 1: https://uk.pinterest.com/helenxmas/same-face-different-place-beginnings-book-1-by-hel/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenchristmas7/

#Christmasbooks #bookblogger

The Christmas countdown means festive book reviews

The countdown to the big day has begun in earnest with the arrival of decorations and Christmas music so it must be time for festive book reviews. There is nothing like a seasonal book to get you into the spirit of things with their tales of romance, family, disasters or humour. There are so many to choose from and I love seeing them line the shelves stores enticing readers with their vibrant, welcoming covers. I find them impossible to resist so my festive TBR is always overflowing and will keep me going until next year. Over the next few weeks I will share some of the ones I have read.

These include

You can catch up with the festive reads I have already posted here

Share your favourite or worst festive reads below. I can always squeeze some more on my TBR pile or maybe your suggestions will help me decide what to read next.

Happy reading!

 

 

Book review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part one by Audrey Davis

The weather has finally turned wintery which means it was perfect for snuggling under warm blankets and read the ARC of Audrey Davis’ new book I was given in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One

HattieHastingscoverBlurb

Some people just won’t take death lying down … ! 

Hattie Hastings is happily married, even if husband Gary drives her up the wall at times. When tragedy strikes, she is left alone and heartbroken, with only an assortment of family and friends to prop her up.
Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate times.
Hattie can’t convince anyone that Gary has returned. Not even best friend Cat – now free from the cruel and controlling Stewart – will believe her.
Why has Gary returned? And what will Cat do when her slimy ex-husband tries to worm his way back into her affections?
The Haunting of Hattie Hastings will make you laugh, cry and count down until Part Two …

This is the first book of a fun-filled trilogy about life, death and letting go.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings is a delightful and enjoyable read that made me chuckle  with its gentle humour and quirky observations as well as the unfortunate timing of Hattie’s husband Gary haunts. If ghosts exist, this is how they would appear unlike the romantic versions Hollywood depicts in their films, such as Ghost.  All the characters are highly relatable and I was quickly drawn into their lives as they cope after his sudden death. The close relationship between Hattie and Gary is refreshing to read.

If anyone has had conversations about whether they would haunt their other half, family or friend after  death, this is a book to read. It is fun, captivating and the only downside is having to wait for the next installment to discover what happens next.

This book is perfect for when you need to take a break from the hectic Christmas preparations and makes an ideal alternative to the festive reads that are in abundance.

I look forward to reading part two and I have another author to watch and more books to add to my ever growing TBR list.

This book can be purchased from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2yrBiP1

Audrey Davis

Audrey Davis

About Audrey Davis

Scottish-born Audrey studied journalism in Edinburgh more decades ago than she cares to admit. She cut her writing teeth on provincial newspapers (using a typewriter) and a London-based video magazine (another sign of her advanced years).

Engagement to her now-husband Bill took them to Singapore, Australia and Buckinghamshire, England, before they settled in Switzerland in 2002. Along the way they had two boys, both all grown-up and living in the UK.

Her journey to becoming a published author began with an online Writing Fiction course. It took well over a year but, in June 2017, Audrey published her debut romantic comedy novel, A Clean Sweep. It was quickly followed by a shorter and darker prequel, A Clean Break.
The idea for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings came from nowhere, just a random title that popped into her head and from there grew into Part One of a trilogy. It comes under the same genre, but has some poignant scenes and – hopefully – lots of laughs! Audrey admits to being a worrier, and has always used humour as a defence mechanism, as her friends will attest.

When Audrey isn’t writing, she loves shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Strictly Come Dancing (a strange mix, she knows). Her interests include cooking (and eating pretty much anything apart from oysters), travelling and going to the gym. OK, the last one is mainly to compensate for her passion for food!

Audrey would describe herself as a ‘pantser’ rather than a ‘planner’, preferring to run where a story takes her and scribble copious notes along the way. She’d love to write a page-turning thriller, but fears her natural tendency to see the comic side of life might be an obstacle.

Website – https://audinsuisse.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/audbyname

Have you read The Haunting of Hattie Hastings or Audrey Davis’ other books? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Happy reading and keep warm!

 

Meet the Author: Rebecca McDowall

We are pleased to have author Rebecca McDowall visit our blog to talk about reading, writing and her debut novel, Regan: Snatcher of Souls.

Rebecca McDowall Author

Rebecca McDowall is a 24-year-old author from England. Currently living in the historic city of Abingdon with her partner and newborn son. She is in the process of completing the final year of her degree in BA Publishing Media at Oxford Brookes University whilst working on the sequel to her debut novel Regan: Snatcher of Souls. Rebecca suffers from multiple chronic illness and runs an award-winning blog detailing her battles with these conditions where she tries to bring laughter to gloomy days.

 

What is your favourite book?

 

Sabriel by Garth Nix is my favourite book and is one that I find myself coming back to multiple times throughout a year.

 

Who is your favourite author?

 

J. K. Rowling! Her Harry Potter series taught me to fall in love with reading at a time when I was quite successfully pretending I was unable to read, due to undiagnosed severe Dyslexia. I admire the way she writes and treasure her books. I’m quite the Potter fan, and follow her other works with passion.

 

Who is your favourite Harry Potter character?

 

Luna without a doubt is my favourite character, though I think my love and appreciation for her character has grown as I’ve aged. The innocence that I perceived in her when I was child, and I adored, I now see as a willingness to believe in the possible, whether proven or not, or doubted by many. It’s an attitude that I admire.

 

Which house would you be in?

 

I would see myself being put in Ravenclaw.

 

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

 

Most defiantly; I would say George. R. R. Martin has had the greatest influence over my writing style. I hadn’t previously considered switching character viewpoints chapter to chapter until I started reading A song of Ice And Fire, this was a game changer for me. If I had not of come across these books I think my work would have been significantly weaker.

 

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

 

Cafes. The majority of Regan: Snatcher of Souls was written in my local hometown pub. They serve fantastic Camomile tea there, and I drunk my weight in it. I’ve started working on book two and have recently found a niche independent coffee shop that I can relax and write for hours in.

 

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

 

I have written on and off for most of my life. In the early years it was lyrics and short stories. However, in 2011 I was in my final year of sixth form, for my English literature coursework I wrote what later became the final chapter of Regan. These pages never really left my mind and over the years I tweaked, edited and expanded until two years ago I started sending the finished manuscript out to agents out to publishers. It was a long road of rejections on both sides. For some publishers and agents they loved the novel but as I was a debut author they didn’t want to take the risk, in other cases the contracts offered didn’t suit me. Eventually I accepted an offer from Vanguard Press.

 

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

 

I write Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. This has been a natural style for me as this predominantly what I read. I very much believe that because I consume so much fiction in this area that my writing style has been heavily influenced.

 

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?

 

I have several illnesses – Dystonia, EDS Type 3, POTs, Autonomic Dysfunction, Non Epileptic Seizures, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Endometriosis. I have had to learn to be strong over the years as my life has been turned upside down more times than I can count. For this reason, it was important to me that I created a strong female main character that was capable of saving herself.

 

Regan is definitely strong. What inspired you to write a protagonist with such a dark secret and past?

 

I have always been chronically ill and this is something that for a long time, and to an extent still does, feel like a dark secret. It is an aspect of my life that I feel needs glazing over. As my taste in books has always heavily leaned towards the fantasy side I think it was natural for me to take this feeling and deal with it, exaggerating its extent and applying it to a strong protagonist.

 

From the start of your book, the imagery is so vivid and dark, was it hard to visualise and create Regan’s world?

 

I have file after file on my laptop of different elements of her world. When writing it I found myself world building outside of what was needed for this book and staying into the territories of books two and three. What I found hard was choosing what elements to weave in and where about to do so. In Regan you’re not introduced to the Higher Ups until the very end of the book and that was a decision I wrestled with but it works best for the storyline.

 

Thank you Rebecca for joining us and can not wait for book two.

 

Regan: Snatcher of Souls is available now

Happy Reading x

Regan Snatcher of Souls

 

When Cassie falls head over heels in love with Daniel, she knows it will lead to disaster one day. Although she loves him with all her being, there is one problem…her being is not of the Earth, but of somewhere far more sinister. You see Cassie, otherwise known as Regan, is quite literally the Devil’s daughter and that could spell the end for not only Daniel, but the whole human race.

 

Available at:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/regan/r-mcdowall/9781784653019