Saturday, 30 April 2016

'The Darkest Magic' by Morgan Rhodes

Release date: 13th July 2016
Published by: Razorbill
ISBN No: 978 1595147615

In the second instalment of "New York Times "best-selling author Morgan Rhodes's highly acclaimed Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, danger looms and the mystery deepens as two warring evils vie for possession of one elusive, powerful book. 

Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca's spirit to Ancient Mytica--the same book that their enemies would kill them for. 

Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down. 

Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca--and the remarkable book in their possession. 

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Canal Boat Cafe' by Cressida McLaughlin

Release date: 28th July 2016
Published by: Harper
ISBN No:978 0008136031

Summer Freeman returns to the waterside village of Willowbeck to rescue the Canal Boat Café, her late mother’s picturesque narrowboat, which has run into choppy waters. A family friend, Valerie, has been trying to keep things afloat, but the coffee machine is jammed, the cake offerings are paltry, and not all of the locals want to see the café succeed.
Help comes from the boat next door, in the shape of handsome wildlife photographer, Mason and his naughty Border Terrier, who are showing more than a passing interest in Summer and her adorable Bichon Frise, Latte. But is Mason being honest about himself? Or does he have something to hide?
As her life and the community of Willowbeck begin to entwine, Summer finds herself setting sail on a new adventure. Will the anchor of a steady life on land be too strong, or can Summer learn to cut loose and embrace life afloat?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Ruby Flynn' by Nadine Dorries

Release date: 2nd June 2016
Published by: Head of Zeus
ISBN No:978 1784082208

County Mayo, Ireland, 1947.
In the worst winter in living memory, Ruby Flynn is rescued from the tiny cottage on the Atlantic coast where her family has perished. She is one of the storm orphans, taken in by nuns to be educated for a life in service. Now she must find her own way in the outside world.
The FitzDeane family have a thriving shipping business in Liverpool and they also own beautiful Ballyford Castle in Mayo. When Ruby is appointed as their nursery maid, a dangerous attraction to the young Lord FitzDeane begins to grow. Soon the tragedies and secrets that link her family to his will threaten to overwhelm them.
The darkest sins cast the longest shadows.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane' by Ellen Berry

Release date: 14th July 2016
Published by: Avon
ISBN No:978 0008157128

In the beginning…
Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.
Forty years later…
On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.
But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Summon Stone' by Ian Irvine

Release date: 19th May 2016
Published by: Orbit
ISBN No:978 0356505206

The Merdrun, cruel warriors blooded by thousands of years of slaughter, are gathering in the void between the worlds. 
Their long-hidden summon stone is waking, corrupting good people as well as bad, and turning arcane places into magically polluted wastelands. If it is not destroyed it will create a portal and call the Merdrun through. 
In a nightmare, a nine-year-old girl sees the Merdrun leader - and he sees her. If Karan and Llian are to save their daughter and their world, they must find a way to stop the greatest warrior in the void.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'This is Now' by Ciara Geraghty

Release date:5th May 2016
Published by: Hachette Books Ireland
ISBN No:978 1444725872

Afterwards . . .
The first thing Martha thinks about is having a drink. There are six reasons why she shouldn't; she wrote them down over a year ago. Two of the reasons are the same. A name. She didn't think she'd ever see him again.
Roman, a fourteen year old Polish immigrant, is on the run. From the police. From Jimmy and his gang. He understands now, what it means to be caught between a rock and a hard place.
Tobias, old and alone, lies in a hospital bed in Dublin where the memories of Dresden are insistent visitors.
And for Cillian, the detective investigating the robbery, the past is like a current, pulling him back, reminding him of all he'd had. All he'd lost.
Each of the four is running from the moments that brought them here. To a place where the past cannot be undone and the future cannot be known.
A place called now.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Sunday, 24 April 2016

'Flamecaster' by Cinda Williams Chima

Release date: 5th May 2016
Published by: Harper Collins
ISBN No:978 0062454904

Set in the world of the New York Times best-selling Seven Realms series, a generation later, this is a breathtaking story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death. This dazzling beginning to a new series is indispensable for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and a perfect starting point for readers who are new to her work.
Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now he’s closer than ever to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. With time running out, Ash faces an excruciating choice: Can he use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the ruthless king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Florence Grace' by Tracy Rees

Release date: 30th June 2016
Published by: Quercus
ISBN No:978 1784296179

Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It's a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fifteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Paris Secret' by Karen Swan

Release date: 14th July 2016
Published by: Pan
ISBN No:978 1447280699

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.
High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea' by Jane Linfoot

Release date:14th July 2016
Published by: Harper Impulse
ISBN No:978 0008197094

Brides by the Sea, the cutest little wedding shop in all of Cornwall, has it all, including cake baker Poppy who lives upstairs. But wedding planning is not the piece of cake Poppy thought it would be, and when her best friend Cate’s wedding planner walks out, Poppy has to tie up the loose ends so her bestie can tie the knot.
Double-booked venues, ‘rustic’ locations and gorgeous but grumpy farmer Rafe have this wedding pro feeling like she could be Cate’s ‘something blue.’
Will the wedding, the shop and the cake all come crashing down on her? Or will Poppy pull it off to give Cate – and herself – the happy ever afters they deserve?
This is the first full-length novel in a brand new series set in Cornwall. Look out for the next books in The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea series,

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Letters from Lighthouse Cottage' by Ali McNamara

Release date: 14th July 2016
Published by: Sphere
ISBN No:978 0751558630

Sandybridge is the perfect English seaside town: home to gift shops, tea rooms and a fabulous fish and chip shop. And it's home to Grace - although right now, she's not too happy about it.
Grace grew up in Sandybridge, helping her parents sort junk from vintage treasures, but she always longed to escape to a bigger world. And she made it, travelling the world for her job, falling in love and starting a family. So why is she back in the tiny seaside town she'd long left behind, hanging out with Charlie, the boy who became her best friend when they were teenagers?
It turns out that travelling the world may not have been exactly what Grace needed to do. Perhaps everything she wanted has always been at home - after all, they do say that's where the heart is...

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Between You and Me' by Lisa Hall

Release date: 28th April 2016
Published by: Carina
ISBN No:978 0008194505

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened…
Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren't happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Friday, 22 April 2016

A Guest Post by the Author Fiona Harper: 'The Summer We Danced' Blog Tour Stop

As a child, Fiona Harper was constantly teased for two things: having her nose in a book and living in a dream world. Things haven't changed much since then, but at least in writing she's found a use for her runaway imagination.

Fiona lives in London, but her other favourite places to be are the Highlands of Scotland and the English countryside on a summer's afternoon. She loves dancing, cooking and anything cinnamon-flavoured. Of course, she still can't keep away from a good book or a good movie--especially romances--but only if she's stocked up with tissues, because she knows she will need them by the ending, no matter if they're happy or sad.

I am delighted to welcome Fiona to 'The Secret Writer' as part of the Blog Tour for her new book release entitled 'The Summer We Danced'. In the following guest post Fiona lets us in on some of the secrets that has led to her great love of dance and its influence within her latest novel!

Guest Post by the Author Fiona Harper

I've always been a sucker for a dance movie. Strictly Ballroom? Dirty Dancing? Save the Last Dance? Love ‘em all. Maybe it was because the dancing bug bit me as a teenager and I ended up getting a BA in Dance at university but, then again, maybe it wasn't, because I think appreciation of the perfect pairing of dance and celluloid began a lot earlier for me.

I've also always loved a good Hollywood musical. I blame it on the London weather. Too many rainy Saturday afternoons as a child, where I couldn't go and ride my bike outside, so I’d find something to watch on TV. Showing my age here, but since there were only a handful of channels, I’d often stump for a film on BBC2 – and that’s where I first met Fred and Ginger.

Oh, gosh! Where do I start? Fred glides through space like a hot knife through butter and Ginger? Well, she’s beautiful and sassy yet vulnerable and graceful at the same time. Right from the first time I saw 'Flying Down to Rio' I was hooked. I even did a whole project for my Dance GCSE on Dance and The Silver Screen, which included a section on every one of Fred and Ginger’s films, including hand-drawn illustrations.

So, when I had an idea for a story where my heroine was going to dance in a show, who else was I going to turn to for inspiration? I knew Pippa was going to return home to her village with her life in tatters, eager to hide herself away, but I also knew I wanted her to realise she couldn't let shame rule her life and that she needed to regain her confidence. What better way than to literally make her step into the spotlight and dance? To face her fears with everyone watching? And not just that, but she had to learn to work intimately with someone else, rather than keeping everyone – especially men! – at a safe distance.

The dance in question, of course, had to be the iconic one of Fred and Ginger’s from 'Top Hat'. I couldn't think of anything more beautiful and romantic. And, of course, I got to watch loads of Fred and Ginger films and call it work. Could a job get any more perfect?

Book Synopsis

Shall we dance?
After a humiliating divorce and watching her former rock star husband leave her for a model live on reality TV, Pippa is determined to disappear. So she returns to the small Kent village where she grew up to make a fresh start.

Little did she know that would mean saving her beloved childhood dance school or falling for her old school crush Tom too!

If you would like to find out more about Fiona and her writing, the link to her website is given below:

Thursday, 21 April 2016

'Traitor Angels' by Anne Blankman

Release date: 3rd May 2016
Published by: Harperteen
ISBN No:978 0062278876

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.
Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.
Until one night the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young house guest, Antonio Viviani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?
When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life, or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father . . . and tear apart the very fabric of society.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch' by Audible

Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
An Audible Originals Production
Written for audio by Ruth Cowen

On the occasion of her 90th birthday, a unique and immersive account of the Queen’s life so far – from quiet beginnings to regal prestige, key events of her reign are re-visited by one of the most celebrated Royal commentators.

A brand new, original biography of Her Majesty The QueenElizabeth II: Life of a Monarch – narrated by Jennie Bond (former BBC Royal Correspondent) – is available to download exclusively at  

On the occasion of the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II, respected royal broadcaster Jennie Bond explores the life, both public and private, of the longest reigning British monarch.  Born a minor royal, Her Majesty is now one of the most recognisable women in the world – and this new recording takes the listener through the Palace door and into her life.  Admired by many, she has reigned through a period of unprecedented change, keeping the monarchy strong and consistent despite the end of empire, public scandals and private loss.

This newly-written and exclusive history from Ruth Cowen is narrated by Jennie Bond, the BBC royal correspondent for 14 years, with actors such as BAFTA winner Tim Piggot-Smith and Olivier award-winning Lindsey Duncan voicing the roles of other key figures including the Queen’s husband Prince Phillip. 

Featuring previously unreleased interviews, as well as extracts from diaries, memories and speeches, the Audible-commissioned production also intersperses real-life audio taken from actual moments of the Queen’s reign, including the Diamond Jubilee, as well as eye-witness observations, immersing listeners even more intimately in the story of this most remarkable woman. 

Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch has been written by Ruth Cowen whom has also written for BBC Radio 4 including In An English Pleasure Garden. She wrote and presented The Jewish Connection series on the Westminster Hour, alongside editing books, commentating for TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off and public speaking.

The renowned voice of Jennie Bond, the BBC correspondent who became famous over the world for reporting and commentating on the Queen throughout eventful years including the Windsor Castle fire, the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana and Diana’s subsequent death, takes us through this most remarkable personal journey of our longest reigning monarch.  Combining both Jennie Bond’s first-hand knowledge and Ruth Cowen’s meticulous research, the audio experience is a deeply engaging look into the Queen’s life.

Jennie Bond says: ‘’This is an honest and well-rounded portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II and The Royal Family which covers the highs and lows of her incredible reign. Since ascending to the throne at just 25, the Queen has governed over a constantly-evolving Great Britain, as well as taking on the roles of wife, mother, grand-mother and more recently, great grand-mother. This is a fascinating look at how she has managed to balance all of those roles while ruling the country. This was my first time working on an audiobook, though I do remember reading my books out loud when I was a young girl so between that and my years as a broadcast reporter, I’ve certainly had the practice! I found it challenging but thoroughly enjoyable, and it was wonderful to work with such a talented cast and crew. I hope everyone enjoys listening to it.’’

Tracey Markham, Country Manager at Audible UK, says, “We’re very excited to be exclusively releasing this brand new immersive biography of Queen Elizabeth II, an inspirational woman who is admired and respected the world over. Her remarkable life so far is beautifully narrated by one of Britain’s best loved broadcasters, Jennie Bond, on this very special occasion of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.”

The audio-biography, only available on Audible, is split into six episodes; ranging from a quiet beginning in ‘Sheltered Childhood: 1926 – 1947’, to ‘Coronation and Commonwealth: 1952 – 1953’, and the infamous ‘Annus Horribilis: 1992comment and what followed, to ‘Rebranding the Monarchy: 1997 – 2016’.

Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch was produced exclusively for Audible Originals by Kevin Dawson, of Whistledown Productions.

Elizabeth II: Life of a Monarch
Narrated by Jennie Bond

Cast list:
Tim Piggot-Smith (Edward VIII, Neville Chamberlain, Prince Philip, voice of the BBC)
Lindsay Duncan (Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II, both older and present day, Margaret Thatcher)
Sally Scott (young Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Elizabeth of York, young Queen Mother)
Edward Bennett (George V, Prince Charles, John Lennon, David Hare)
Miles Richardson (Winston Churchill, Alan Lascelles, voice of the Palace, Noel Coward)

Written for audio by Ruth Cowen
Produced by Kevin Dawson

'The Star-Touched Queen' by Roshani Chokshi

Release date: 26th April 2016
Published by:St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN No:978 1250085474

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...
But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.
A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Messenger By Moonlight' by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Release date: 26th April 2016
Published by: FaithWords
ISBN No:978 1455529087

When orphaned Annie Paxton and her brothers strike out on their own, they see an ad for the Pony Express that seems to answer their prayers: "Wanted," it reads, "Young, skinny fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders and willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." Without hesitation, Annie becomes a cook at Clearwater Ranch, a station along the Pony Express route, and the boys become Express messengers. Annie soon attracts the interest of two men, and is both flattered and baffled by their attention. One is a refined, dashing lieutenant. The other, a rugged ranch owner. When a routine Express mission goes awry, Annie must intervene. Racing on a moonlit adventure, she'll have to learn how to trust her instincts and follow her heart, even if she's conflicted about which way it's leading her.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Versailles' by Elizabeth Massie

Release date: 16th June 2016
Published by: Atlantic Books
ISBN No:978 1782399988

1667The civil wars are over. King Louis XIV crushed the nobility's rebellion against his father; the throne is his. But far from giving up, the aristocracy hounds his every step, waiting for the right moment to seize power for themselves. If they will not be loyal, they will obey, no matter the cost. To ensnare them, he must spin a web: the greatest palace the world has ever seen, Versailles, a prison of opulence where his power is absolute. Trapped by his invitation, lured away from Paris, the nobles have no choice but to play Louis' game of manipulation and treachery. Meanwhile, the court becomes a battlefield of tactical liaisons and salacious passions. The Queen, Theresa of Austria, must fight to keep her husband's attentions while he falls under the spell of his powerful mistress, the sister of the King of England, who knows full well that the power of desire can bring even a king to his knees. Versailles is not the paradise it appears to be; instead, it is a labyrinth of treason and hushed secrets, of political schemes and deadly conspiracies. It is a place of passion and death, love and vengeance. The King will take what is rightfully his.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

An Interview with the Author Annabel Kantaria: 'The Disappearance' Blog Tour

In 2013, British-trained journalist Annabel Kantaria won the inaugural Montegrappa Prize for First Fiction at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Her work caught the eye of London agent Luigi Bonomi and Annabel went on to secure a three-book contract with Harlequin’s MIRA. Her debut novel, ‘Coming Home’ (MIRA, May 2015 - ‘An utterly compelling story of loss and betrayal – I loved it’ – Judy Finnigan), is the reworked version of the prize-winning manuscript, and her second novel, ‘The Disappearance’, will be published by MIRA today, 21st April 2016.

Annabel studied psychology at Warwick University, graduating in 1992 with a BSc Hons degree. She spent six years working in publishing in London before moving to Dubai in 1998. In the early days in Dubai, Annabel worked as a freelance journalist and a radio producer and presenter before bagging the job of editor at the region’s leading woman’s magazine, Emirates Woman.

In 2007, Annabel left office life to work as a freelance journalist while following her dream of writing fiction. She’s written prolifically for publications in the UK and across the Middle East. Currently jobs include a regular slot for The Telegraph and a monthly column for Stylist Arabia, but fiction will always be her passion. 

A very warm welcome to you Annabel, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
It’s a pleasure.

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 Dubai, in the UAE. I’m originally from the UK, but I’ve lived here for nearly 18 years. Why do I like living here? There are plenty of reasons from quality of life to safety and security but, ultimately, what I love most about living here is the sunshine. Wall-to-wall sunshine and blue sky.

Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
I was a prolific reader. My first memories of reading for myself are of Dr Seuss, followed by a lot of Enid Blyton. I inhaled the Famous Five series and the Malory Towers series. I also loved the Chalet School books – bit of a boarding school theme going on there – then I got the pony bug and read every pony story around. I remember a lot of books by the three Pullein-Thompson sisters. Then as I got older I got into Judy Blume. I was a member of our local library and used to take out 10 books at a time. What a pleasure that was: I still remember the excitement of arriving home with a pile of fresh books.

Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
No, not consciously. But perhaps subconsciously you learn about the subliminal rhythm of words and sentences when you read a lot.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
Yes. I have to be very strict as I have two children who finish school at 2.30pm. They leave the house with my husband at 7am and then I’m at my desk by 7.15am with a coffee. I don’t open the internet, email or anything: I just open Word and write until about 10.30am. This is important. If the internet is on in the background, it’s very distracting and I get sucked into social media.
After writing for a good couple of hours, I might make a few phone calls, check emails and so on, then I go to the gym for an hour or so. After that I have lunch and can usually get another hour in before I have to pick up the children from school. Nothing much happens in the afternoons as I’m 100% there for the children with homework and supper and after-school activities, and I’m utterly rubbish at working in the evenings so I’ve stopped trying to make that happen.

Where do you do your writing best?
Anywhere that I have peace and quiet. Usually I work in my study with a scented candle and the radio on very quietly in the background. But sometimes I get bored with that so I move my laptop to the dining table and look out over the garden.
If I’m stuck and trying to come up with a new plot line, I might sit in the garden with a notepad and pen. I love being outdoors and am more creative away from my desk.
Occasionally I might go to a café and work there. Sometimes the buzz of people around me helps me focus better. Strangely.

What helped you to decide to write novels?
It wasn’t really a decision; it’s something I needed to do. I’ve always written – from letters to pen-pals and diaries as a child to articles as an adult in my job as a journalist. The desire to write books has been a constant with me all my life – it was always something I would do “one day”. When I would get my ducks in a row and sit down to complete a 90,000-word novel, and if and how I would manage to get it published were the unknown elements.

When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are actually writing about?
The only time period/place I’ve written about that I haven’t lived through was 1970s India, which features in ‘The Disappearance’. I spent a lot of time reading online accounts of what life was like in India in those days, and scrolling through images. I researched the vocabulary people used and the clothes that they wore; I tried as best I could to find out what cafes and restaurants were popular in Bombay in the ‘70s, and what sort of food they would order. In order to put myself there, I’d have an image on the screen and I’d flick to it every now and then and just try to be there with my characters. I hope I’ve portrayed it reasonably accurately. Apologies if I have not!

How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your book?
They kind of take on a life of their own as the book progresses. I might set out to write a character one way but they often surprise me when I’m writing. In ‘The Disappearance’, Audrey takes on a much more central role than I’d planned for her: she really is the star of the story. I sort of watch the story as if it’s a movie in my head, and write down what I see happening.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting you book accepted and published?
I was very lucky in that I won a writing competition in Dubai that was judged by Luigi Bonomi of LBA Books. All I had to submit was a synopsis and the first five pages. My prize was to fly to London to meet Luigi for lunch. There was no guarantee of a book deal or even that he would take me on as a client. After I won the competition, Luigi helped me re-plot the novel, then sent me away to write it and, to cut a long story short, when I finished it, he accepted the manuscript, offered me representation and managed to secure me a three-book deal. If I hadn’t won this competition I don’t know where I’d be now. It certainly gave me a very welcome foot in the door. The first novel is called ‘Coming Home’.

Did you have to undertake any research for your novel?
Yes, I had to research passages to India via ship in the 1970s; what life was like in Bombay in the 1970s and a few other technical things that I shouldn’t go into here as they might be spoilers. There’s also a lot of geographical research: ‘The Disappearance’ is set in seven countries and in the UK it’s set in London, Truro, Penzance and St Ives. Although I’ve been to all those places with the exception of Truro, I spent a fair bit of time on Google Maps using Street View to try and get my details accurate.

What is your favourite book and why?
The Passion Test by Chris Attwood and Janet Bray Attwood. This is a self-help book and it’s to this book that I attribute the fact that I stopped procrastinating about writing a book myself and actually made the time to write. The book helped me prioritise what was important in my life, and made me focus on achieving what I wanted to achieve rather than waiting for it to happen. It was bought for me by a friend who had faith that I would one day be an author. To her, I’m eternally grateful.

Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?
The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dina Jefferies. I’m not far into it, but, so far, so good!

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?
Yes, I try to do yoga regularly. I love to go to the beach and soak up the sun and listen to the waves but, as a mum, me-time usually comes at the cost of work time. It’s an eternal toss-up: do I sacrifice a precious morning’s writing to go to the beach and have some me-time… usually I end up writing every moment the children are at school because they’re such short hours that I get and I have deadlines. But I do have a foot massage or reflexology treatment once a week at the weekend – I make the children’s dinner, then leave them with my husband for an hour while I go and zone out. Without this, I think I would go mad.

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
Book number three is set to be a very dark psychological thriller about the power one person can have over another’s mind. It’s perhaps my darkest to date and I’m really enjoying writing it.

Why do you like writing dark psychological books?
My degree is in psychology and I’m fascinated in the ways in which the mind can go wrong, even in subtle ways, and the ways in which people can manipulate others by changing their understanding of what reality is.

Annabel, 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.
The pleasure is all mine.

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If you would like to find out more about Annabel and her writing, the link to her website is given below: