Sunday, 28 February 2016

'The Last Thing I Remember' Blog Tour: An Author Interview with Deborah Bee

Deborah Bee studied fashion journalism at Central St Martins. She has worked at various magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Times and the Guardian as a writer, a fashion editor and later an editor. Currently, she is a Creative Director in luxury retail.

A very warm welcome to you Deborah, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
Thank you for inviting me!

For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
I live in Somerset at weekends and in London during the week. I have to be in London for work – I work in Luxury Retail – so Monday to Friday I'm in a tiny flat near the river Thames. If I stand tiptoes on a chair I can nearly see it. In summer when the windows are open I can hear the rowers splashing up and down practising for the Boat Race. It’s quite a quiet part of London but near enough the centre for art galleries and theatres. Somerset is the opposite of London. Our house is in a village with maybe 20 other properties. We are surrounded by fields full of sheep and great big oak trees. There are no street-lights so it gets properly dark at night. The church next door is C14th. It’s all very rural – lovely in summer, muddy in winter. My heart is in Somerset.
Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I have always loved a good story so I guess books like Tom’s Midnight Garden got me hooked on reading. And I love a good twist at the end. Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books made me want to climb trees and find Moon Face. But I guess that didn't fuel The Last Thing I Remember much. My Dad used to read to me The Cat in the Hat. I can recite that almost word for word. I think enjoying reading more than watching TV was a good start to becoming a writer.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
I'm really new to fiction so no, not really. All I can say is that when you are creating an entire world, you have to concentrate really hard. So my routine is to remove anything that could distract me; emails, phone, internet, children asking for meals, kitchen sides that need wiping down, AGAIN – I have to get them out of the way, then hunker down. Writing in hotels is fabulous – you don’t even have to make your bed – but that’s obviously a luxury I can’t afford often. Writing on planes is great too – until WIFI really gets going.

Where do you do your writing best?
I have taken some long weekends in Scotland – there’s this amazing cottage overlooking the sea that I stay in when I can. There is no one to talk to and just a horizon of waves. It’s usually cold when I go, so I don’t even want to go outside. I also really like writing in bed. But don’t tell my osteopath. He’d stop treating my sore neck.

What helped you to decide to base your current novel’s storyline on a girl who had been in a coma after being mugged?
I wanted Sarah’s memory to be a blank sheet of paper that she had to rediscover through almost going back in time, so that she only finds out what shaped her life at the same pace as the readers. And I wanted her to piece her life together through hearing what other people said, (unreliable witnesses) and being unable to respond. The British are so good at not saying what they think, unlike other cultures. Stiff upper lip and all that. So being effectively dumb was an extreme representation of that. Having researched Locked in Syndrome, I was fascinated by how people are told that the coma victim may be able to hear, so be careful, and yet they forget – even the medical staff.

When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the scenes that you are actually writing about?
Hard question. I think maybe you become the characters. You have to really imagine that you are there. I've probably salvaged many memories and re-imagined them in my story. I've leant my forehead on many a wallpaper-covered wall, listening to grown-ups arguing or discussing things that children are considered too young to hear. 

How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your book?

I've stolen many identities for The Last Thing I Remember. It’s so much easier to get a true response for dialogue if you have got a real person in your head. One of the nurses is based on a friend at work – my friend is very sensible, reliable, practical – if I think to myself ‘What would Beth say’ it helps so much. She even has the same name in the book. I checked to see if she minded and she said she didn't, so long as she didn't do anything embarrassing. I blackmailed her for weeks afterwards. Kelly’s patois changed after I went on holiday with my sons’ friend who kept saying “I'm not even lying.” Deadpan. Still make me laugh.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting you book accepted and published?
I was incredibly lucky. I sent it to an agent who loved it. They sent me a text when I was in the back of a cab. I cried. I think if I’d known how difficult it is for most first-timers, I would have quit before I’d even started.
Did you have to undertake any research for your novel?

I read anything I could find about coma victims. I watched real-life hospital dramas where it’s properly harsh – not like Holby City, where everything looks clean and orderly. I used to live in North London, so I knew what the cultural mix is like. But I want to stress that it’s not a novel about comas or proper medical facts – it’s about people, and how they deal with crises – from the mum who cares too much what other people think – to the next-door-neighbour who can never find her own car in the car park.

What is your favourite book and why?

The Great Gatsby because the characters are written so well. A Prayer for Owen Meany because the twist at the end takes you right back to the start. Heartburn by Nora Ephron, for the hilarious dialogue in the face of a domestic catastrophe. Pinter’s Betrayal for telling a story backwards and shifting empathy for the character. To Kill a Mockingbird for Boo Radley. And Catcher in the Rye for Holden Caulfield, who expresses his character so well through dialogue. I realise that’s way too many and nothing like my book, but they are all my favourites. Damn, forget Dangerous Liaisons, for the structure – told through letters – genius.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy undertaking in order to get a break from your normal routine and your writing?
I write all day as part of my day-job. Fiction is my hobby. I've got my day-job to thank for my ability to sit down, put in my headphones, and write. Radiohead, since you ask. Always. I once saw Thom Yorke at Paddington station. I nearly thanked him. But that would've been odd. I was listening to Radiohead at the time.

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I have two on the go. One is very commercial and one is difficult – like The Last Thing I Remember. My agent would probably want the commercial one – I don’t know. The difficult one is easier to write.
Deborah, to conclude our interview can I ask if there is another question that I should have asked you within this interview and what would be your answer?
You should have asked me ‘What is your favourite quote from an author,’ just so I can get a laugh out of the back row. Harold Pinter was asked for his favourite question from the public. He told an anecdote about a woman who brought her six-year-old son to a book-signing. She introduced Pinter as a very good writer. Her son asked her if Pinter could even do Ws.

Deborah, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

Hard questions are always fun! Thank you for taking time to ask them.

Release Information:

Published by Twenty7 

Ebook, 3rd March 2016, £4.99 
Paperback, 28th July 2016, £7.99

Book Synopsis

The Last Thing I Remember is the startling debut thriller from Deborah Bee, with TV rights already optioned by Alan Moloney’s Parallel Films Imagine waking up and being unable to move, unable to see, unable to communicate. Your past is a blank piece of paper and you don’t even know your own name. But you can hear. And the only way to piece together your life is to listen to the people around you…

 Hello. Hello? Where’ve they gone? This is me thinking. I have woken up and I’m not there. I can hear. There is a buzzing sound and a rhythmic heaving, in out in out, and a click, click, click, click. But there is no me. My body has gone. I have disappeared. This is me thinking. That is all I can do.

Sarah is in a coma. She was mugged. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn’t deserve any of it. She’s a nice girl from a nice family. She’s a victim. That’s what they say. 

Kelly is in the waiting room. She’s just a kid. A typical schoolgirl. Bullied a bit, probably. She doesn’t know anything. That’s what they say. So why is she there? Why does she keep turning up? 

Can Sarah remember what happened to her, and work out who is it that keeps coming into her room at night?

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, 25 February 2016

'Sisters of Salt and Iron' by Kady Cross

Release date: 29th March 2016
Published by:Harlequin Teen
ISBN No:978 0373211760

Lark Noble is finally happy. She's trying to move on and put the events of the past behind her: the people who avoided her because she talked to the ghost of her dead twin sister, the parents who couldn't be around her any-more and even the attempt she made on her own life. She finally has friends people who know her secrets and still care about her and she has Ben, the cute guy she never saw coming.Wren Noble is lonely. Unable to interact with the living, she wants to be happy for her sister's new-found happiness, but she feels like she's losing her. It doesn't help that Kevin, the very not-dead guy she was starting to fall for, seems to be moving on. Then Wren meets Noah, the spirit of a young man who died a century ago. Noah is cute, he's charming and he makes Wren feel something she's never felt before. But Noah has a dark influence on Wren, and Lark's distrust of him drives the sisters apart for the first time in their lives. As Halloween approaches and the veil between the worlds thins, bringing the dead closer to the world of the living, Lark must find a way to stop whatever deadly act Noah is planning, even if it means going through her sister to do so.

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'The Summer Before the War' by Helen Simonson

Release date :24th March 2016 
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN No:978 1408837641

East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England's brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.
When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more free thinking - and attractive - than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape, and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

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'This Must Be the Place' by Maggie O'Farrell

Release date: 17th May 2016
Published by: Tinder Press
ISBN No: 978 0755358809

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life.
A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway.
He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses continents and time zones, giving voice to a diverse and complex cast of characters. At its heart, it is an extraordinary portrait of a marriage, the forces that hold it together and the pressures that drive it apart.
Maggie O'Farrell's seventh novel is a dazzling, intimate epic about who we leave behind and who we become as we search for our place in the world.

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'Rare Objects' by Kathleen Tessaro

Release date: 12th April 2016
Published by: Harper
ISBN No:978 0062357540

The stunning new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Perfume Collector. When Mae Fanning, a clever, headstrong girl from the wrong side of town, secures a job at a tiny, exclusive Boston antiques shop it is the fresh start she desperately needs. The shop opens a window to new world, one peopled with characters as rare and rich as the artefacts around her. But the day that enigmatic socialite Diana van der Laar walks in, Mae's hidden past returns. As a moth to a flame, Mae is unable to resist her world of heady, seductive glamour, power and dangerous lies. Yet, like the rare objects in the shop, very little is what it appears - Diana included. From Jazz-Age New York to Boston in the grip of the Great Depression, Rare Objects is a rich and gripping story of what it means to reach for a braver, bolder life.

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'The Strawberry Girl' by Lisa Stromme

Release date: 7th April 2016 
Published by: Chatto and Windus
ISBN No:978 1784740580

Summer 1893, and the Norwegian fishing village of Åsgårdstrand is preparing for the arrival of well-to-do guests and bohemian artists from the city. Local girl Johanne Lien dutifully gathers berries for tourists and poses barefoot for painters as ‘The Strawberry Girl’.

Johanne becomes a maid for the wealthy Ihlen family, whose wayward daughter Tullik recruits her as a go-between in her pursuit of the controversial painter Edvard Munch. Before long, Johanne is drawn into the raw emotion of Munch’s art and his secret liaison with Tullik. But when she is asked to hide more than just secrets, Johanne must decide whether to take the risk…

Lisa Stromme brings alive the tumultuous love affair that inspired one of the most famous paintings of all time, in a vivid and bewitching story of innocence, creativity and desire.

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'RMS Titanic - The Wider Story' by Patrick Mylon

Release date: 4th April 2016
Published by: The History Press
ISBN No:978 0750961363

What more can be said about the ill-fated RMS Titanic, a ship that has achieved almost mythological status throughout the world? In truth, not a lot. But what about her sister ship, the railway stations and the boat trains that served her, the vessels that sent ice warnings and those that responded to her distress calls?

Here Patrick Mylon explores many of the lesser-known aspects of Titanic’s legacy, telling the wider story that developed around the disaster. Using rare and previously unpublished images from his collection of White Star memorabilia, he places fresh emphasis on the vessels, events and locations Titanic encountered during her short life.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

'Warrior Witch' by Danielle L. Jensen

Release date: 3rd May 2016
Published by: Angry Robot
ISBN No:978 0857664693

Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil that they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything… and everyone. But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.

Everything is at stake, in the heart-stopping conclusion to the acclaimed Malediction Trilogy.

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'Falling For Wonderlust' by Jane Williams Le Cerf

Release date: 29th February 2016
Published by:,Austin Macauley Publishers
ISBN No:978 1785548444

Vivienne Laurence is catapulted into the world of the rich and famous when she takes on a job as Personal Assistant to an extremely wealthy French aristocrat, the Comtesse Celeste Laisalle. Falling For Wonderlust recounts Vivienne's exploits set against an exotic backdrop of excessive wealth and glamorous locations. But it is also a tale of personal development and self-knowing.
Enjoy exploring the transition from normal everyday living to moving in the circles of the rich and famous and having an almost limitless amount of money to spend but, there is a different price to be paid which becomes apparent as the story unfolds.
Falling For Wonderlust will transport the reader into a fantasy world of opulence and decadence set against a backdrop of luxury living in different European cities, a real chocolate box of delights and escapism. But it becomes apparent that money doesn't perhaps guarantee happiness and people will be people however much wealth they have. The complex relationships between the main characters, adds a frisson that will keep the reader transfixed to the last page.

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'Children of Earth and Sky' by Guy Gavriel Kay

Release date: 12th May 2016
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN No:978 1473628106

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates , a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the Grand Khalif at his request-and possibly to do more-and a beautiful oman, posing as a doctor's wife in her role of a spy.
The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the clever younger son of a merchant family -with ambivalence about the life he's been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif-to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.
As these lives entwine, their fates-and those of many others-will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...

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'The Darkest Goodbye' by Alex Gray

Release date: 3rd March 2016
Published by:Sphere
ISBN No:978 0751554915

When an elderly woman is found dead in her home, newly fledged DC Kirsty Wilson is called to the scene. It appears that the woman had a mysterious visitor in the early hours of that morning - someone dressed as a carer, but with much darker intentions. It soon becomes obvious that this was not death by natural causes - it was murder. Before she can catch her breath, DC Wilson is thrown in at the deep end as another body turns up; this time the victim is a well-known drug dealer from Glasgow's mean streets, and there's no question that this was a brutal execution.
The two cases appear to have nothing in common, but when another vulnerable person is murdered in their sleep, the police realise that it's only a matter of time before the next victim emerges, and Detective Superintendent William Lorimer is called in to help DC Wilson investigate. This case is big and it's about to get more personal than either of them could have imagined...

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'Sisi: Empress on Her Own' by Allison Pataki

Release date: 8th March 2016
Published by: Dial Press
ISBN No:978 0812989052

Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cut-throat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows.

Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together, or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself?

Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria’s “Mad King Ludwig” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe’s grandest sites—from Germany’s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England’s lush shires—Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided.

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'Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt' by Marie Vandenbeusch et al

Release date: 26th April 2016
Published by: Yale University Press
ISBN No:978 0300218381

Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt introduces readers to three thousand years of Egypt's ancient history by unveiling its famous leaders-the pharaohs-using some of the finest objects from the vast holdings of the British Museum. In an introductory essay, Margaret Maitland looks at Egyptian kingship in terms of both ideology and practicality. Then Aude Semat considers the Egyptian image of kingship, its roles and its uses. In ten additional sections, Marie Vandenbeusch delves into themes related to the land of ancient Egypt, conceptions of kingship, the exercise of power, royal daily life, and death and afterlife. Detailed entries by Vandenbeusch and Semat cover key works relating to the pharaohs. These objects, beautifully illustrated in 180 color photographs, include monumental sculpture, architectural pieces, funerary objects, exquisite jewelry, and papyri. The rulers of ancient Egypt were not always male, or even always Egyptian. At times, Egypt was divided by civil war, conquered by foreign powers, or ruled by competing kings. Many of the objects surviving from ancient Egypt represent the image a pharaoh wanted to project, but this publication also looks past the myth to explore the realities and immense challenges of ruling one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen.

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Saturday, 20 February 2016

'Sword and Verse' by Kathy MacMillan

Release date: 25th February 2016
Published by: Harper Collins
ISBN No:978 0062324610

Raisa was just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. Before she was taken away, her father had been adamant that she learn to read and write. But where she now lives, literacy is a capital offense for all but the nobility. The written language is closely protected, and only the King, Prince, Tutor, and Tutor-in-training are allowed to learn its very highest form. So when she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to replace the last Tutor-in-training, who was executed, Raisa knows that betraying any hint of her past could mean death.
Keeping her secret guarded is hard enough, but the romance that's been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn't helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground rebel army—to help liberate the city's slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

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'When I Was Invisible' by Dorothy Koomson

Release date: 5th May 2016
Published by: Century
ISBN No:978 1780893365

‘Do you ever wonder if you’ve lived the life you were meant to?’ I ask her. 
She sighs, and dips her head. ‘Even if I do, what difference will it make?’ 

In 1988, two eight-year-old girls with almost identical names and the same love of ballet meet for the first time. They seem destined to be best friends forever and to become professional dancers. Years later, however, they have both been dealt so many cruel blows that they walk away from each other into very different futures – one enters a convent, the other becomes a minor celebrity. Will these new, ‘invisible’ lives be the ones they were meant to live, or will they only find that kind of salvation when they are reunited twenty years later?

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'The Apartment' by Danielle Steel

Release date: 3rd May 2016 
Published by: Delacorte Press
ISBN No:978 0345531070

They come together by chance in the heart of New York City, four young women at turning points in their lives. Claire Kelly finds the walk-up apartment—a spacious loft in Hell’s Kitchen. But the aspiring shoe designer needs at least one room-mate to manage it. She meets Abby Williams, a writer trying to make it on her own, far away from her successful family in L.A. Four years later, Morgan Shelby joins them. She’s ambitious, with a serious finance job on Wall Street. Then Sasha Hartman, a medical student whose identical twin sister is a headline-grabbing supermodel. And so the sprawling space, with its exposed brick and rich natural light, becomes a home to friends about to embark on new, exhilarating adventures.
Frustrated by her ultra-conservative boss, Claire soon faces a career crisis as a designer. Abby is under the spell of an older man, an off-off-Broadway producer who exploits her and detours her from her true talent as a novelist, while destroying her self-confidence. Morgan is happily in love with a successful restaurateur who supplies her room-mates with fine food. At her office, she begins to suspect something is off about her boss, a legendary investment manager whom she’s always admired. But does she even know him? And Sasha begins an all-work-no-play residency as an OB/GYN, as her glamorous jet-set sister makes increasingly risky decisions.
Their shared life in the apartment grounds them as they bring one another comfort and become a family of beloved friends. Unexpected opportunities alter the course of each of their lives, and as they meet the challenges, they face the bitter-sweet reality that in time, they will inevitably move away from the place where their dreams began. 
This vibrant, tender, and moving tale pulses with the excitement of New York City, as Danielle Steel explores twists of fate, and the way that sometimes, in special places, friends can be the family we need most.

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'The Silk Merchant's Daughter' by Dinah Jefferies

Release date: 25th February 2016
Published by: Viking
ISBN No:978 0241261163

1952, French Indochina. Since her mother's death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule - and her own family's involvement shocks her to the core...
Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she's always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?
The Silk Merchant's Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial era Vietnam.

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'Alter of Blood' by Anthony Riches

Release date: 10th March 2016
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN No:978 1444732016

The ninth novel in the thrilling Empire sequence leads Centurion Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians to the battlefield that was one of Rome's most disastrous defeats.

The Tungrians have no sooner returned to Rome than they find themselves tasked with a very different mission to their desperate exploits in Parthia.
Ordered to cross the river Rhenus into barbarian Germany and capture a tribal priestess who may be the most dangerous person on the empire's northern border, they are soon subject to the machinations of an old enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage their plans before they have even set foot on the river's eastern bank.
But after their Roman enemy is neutralised they face a challenge greater still.
With two of the Bructeri tribe's greatest treasures in their hands they must regain Roman territory by crossing the unforgiving wilderness that was the graveyard of Roman imperial strategy two hundred years before. And capture by the Bructeri's vengeful chieftain and his war band can only end in one way - a horrific sacrificial death on the tribe's altar of blood.

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'Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City' by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

Release date: 29th March 2016 
Published by: Ballantine Books Inc.
ISBN No:978 0804187183

Even 150 years after unification, Italy is still a divided nation where individual regions are defined by their local cuisine-- mirrors of their culture, history, and geography. But the cucina romana is the country's greatest stand-out. In Tasting Rome, journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill capture Rome's unique character and truly evolved food culture-- a culmination of two thousand years of history. 

The recipes here, each selected for the story it tells, acknowledge the foundations of the cuisine and demonstrate how it has transitioned to the variations found today: cacio e pepe is not only a peppery condiment for pasta, but also a filling for suppli, fried rice balls; pollo alla romana is served as a summer platter of peppers stewed with chicken, but also de-boned and on hearty sandwiches. Parla and Gill focus, too, on cucina ebraica to highlight the role Rome's Jewish communities have had, bringing dishes such as hraimi con couscous, which incorporates spicy amberjack, and matzoh fritters,pizzarelle, with honey and pine nuts; celebrate the authentic quinto quarto ("the fifth quarter") offal, and luscious verdure, which grow all over; acknowledge the baked pizzas and breads that anchor everyday eating; and explore the ever-changing culture of sweets and cocktails. 

With its forgotten recipes, beloved favourites, and street food innovations, the book transports all the flavours of Rome into your kitchen. Narrative features revealing bits of history and gorgeous photography that highlight both the food and its hidden city will immediately inspire you to start Tasting Rome.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Stylist Blog Tour: An Interview with the Author Rosie Nixon

Rosie Nixon has been joint Editor of HELLO! for the past five years where she relishes the role of hands-on editor with a love of all things celebrity, royal and fashion-related. She previously held senior positions at glossy women's magazines including  Grazia, Glamour and Red. In her career she has been lucky enough to attend a multitude of glamorous award ceremonies, premières and showbiz weddings all around the world. Ever discreet and protective of the big stars she has worked with, Rosie's experience has undoubtedly enabled her to write her debut novel, The Stylist.
A very warm welcome to you Rosie, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us today. For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why you like living there?
I'm a born and bred Londoner, grew up in North London, now live south of the river (don’t ask my parents about this migration). I'm married and have two boys under the age of two, we live in South West London with our crazy cat, Archie. You can never become bored of living in this city, as there’s always something new to discover. I still get a buzz when I walk over Waterloo Bridge and admire the view. London is in my blood.

What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child?
I was a huge Judy Blume fan. Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great, was the first book of hers that I read and she instantly spoke to teenagers in a language we could understand. She dealt with issues to do with body image, boys, friendships and parents so well. Roald Dahl’s books were firm favourites in our family, and I loved reading Charlotte’s Webb.

Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I was inspired to start writing my own diary when I read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole as a teen. This probably started my love of writing for my own enjoyment and not feeling you have to be deadly serious about it. I have a natural comic tone.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
No - being a mum to two boys under the age of two means that I have to fit in my writing whenever they are sleeping – which currently varies from day to day. I wrote most of The Stylist pre-babies though and much of it on my iPhone, whenever and wherever an idea or a bit of prose came to me. As a result much of it was on the tube, in taxis, in bed, or first thing in the morning before going to the office.

Where do you do your writing best?
For some reason I love writing on aeroplanes, a long-haul flight to LA (without children!) is my ideal writing scenario – no phone, no emails, no distractions – the words flow.’

What else apart from your obvious professional interest in writing, helped you decide to actually write a novel?
I was a prolific story teller and letter-writer as a child and kept a diary as a teenager – I was always finding a reason to write and dreamed of being Anne Frank, but with a less traumatic back story. Writing a novel was an ambition from an early age, so seeing The Stylist in hardback is like a dream come true.
How do you go about imagining and developing the lives and personalities of the characters that we read about within in your book?
Once I found the voice of my main character, Amber Green, I found that the ideas kept on coming and it all flowed. Writing became a compulsion and I couldn't wait to see where the book was going to take her. I worked out a rough plot for the storyline and within that framework I made things up as I went along, I think it’s important to let your characters’ personalities develop – there may be some twists and turns that not even you, the author, see coming. For me, that is one of the great pleasures of writing a novel.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting your book accepted and published?
I'm fortunate that my sister-in-law is a literary agent and was instrumental in getting my book accepted and published. My profile in the media clearly helped me land interest from publishers and a deal. I'm very grateful to all involved and especially the faith that the publisher (Mira, Harper Collins), have shown in me as a debut author.
 Did you have to undertake any research for your novel?
I've been lucky enough to travel to Los Angeles many times during my career and have covered the major awards ceremonies including the Oscars and BAFTAs. I've always been fascinated by the people behind the amazing gowns we see paraded so seemingly effortlessly on the red carpet and thought it would be a fun premise for a novel. There is a showbiz wedding in The Stylist and of course I've had a lot of experience of those during my role at HELLO! I couldn't help but be influenced by some of the situations I've been in when I wrote The Stylist, but all the characters are completely fictional.

What is your favourite book and why?
That’s just too hard to answer I'm afraid, I like so many books for a multitude of reasons – I have loved books that are light and humorous (like Bridget Jones’s Diary and the Tales of the City series) as much as those that have had a profound effect on me because they make you stop and think (like The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi). Plus some of the great classics (like The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird) are favourites too.
What are you currently reading?
I've just started reading Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallen, I loved her novel Getting Rid of Matthew and was hooked on this one from the first page. The opening page of a book is so important.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?

I bake a mean banana loaf, I always have music on and enjoy a jig around the kitchen to a classic dance anthem with my toddler, I'm a guilty internet shopper (for some reason new shoes relax me), and I always feel better and calmer after exercising.

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?

Yes, I'm currently writing a sequel to The Stylist. I'm having a ball, it’s set in New York and involves more fashion dramas, parties, hangovers and matters of the heart as Amber Green relocates to the city that never sleeps and navigates her first relationship.

Rosie, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would also like to thank you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

Thank YOU Calum!

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If you would like to find out more about Rosie and her writing, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram:

Twitter: @Rosie_Nixon
Instagram: @rosiejnixon