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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Twenty Questions with... Carys Jones

I am delighted to welcome Carys Jones onto my blog today, author of Prime Deception released earlier this week by Carina (Harlequin UK), for this weeks' round of Twenty Questions.

Since I have finally typed "the end" on Popping the Cherry #2 (now polishing ready to send to my Editor) and the Easter school holidays kick off today, I will be taking a couple of weeks off from my weekly #TwentyQuestions slot but please come back in May to get the lowdown on more fabulous guests.

ACT ONE – all about you…


Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader's imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion, Rollo. 

When she's not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games. She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything. 

To Carys, there is no greater feeling than when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

I’ve been writing since I was very young. I fell in love with the way reading a book could transport you out of your own world and I was desperate to try and recreate that magic through my own stories.

2 Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

I’d describe my writing style as militant! Lol. I work to a very rigid schedule and have extremely detailed plans about how my story is set to progress. The whole process sort of removes any element of romanticism from it all but it does ensure that I never get blighted by writer’s block.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews have been huge influences on me. I admire how their stories are so character driven. The impact upon characters is more important than events themselves and for me, that makes their stories all the more powerful. I like books that stay with me longer after I’ve finished that final sentence.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

I had some advice from Jodi Picoult herself which was to just keep writing. Write because you love it, not because you see it as your meal ticket to a better life. If you write for money you lose the love within the process.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

Okay… I’m terrified of zombies. I flat out tremble if I see them on TV.

Some of my toes are double jointed thanks to my years dedicated to my second passion, ballet.

I’m destined to marry Leonardo DiCaprio one day. Just don’t tell my husband…

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My bed. I could never sleep rough or go camping. I need a nice, comfortable bed, preferably with an abundance of pillows!

My PS3. I love playing games in my free time and it also acts as my TV as I use Netflicks

Nails Inc varnish. My nails are never, ever bare. I’d rather be naked than without nail varnish and Nails Inc is just amazing!

My giant Tinkerbell mug, in which I consume my daily quota of tea. I love tea! Whenever I finish writing I indulge in a nice cup in front of the TV!

My Louboutin Shoes. I literally own one pair of designer shoes, they were a gift from my Mum for my wedding but I’m too scared to even wear them but if my house caught on fire they’d be one of the first items I’d be looking to rescue!


ACT TWO – all about your new release…


When Lorna Thomas is found dead in her car everyone believes she killed herself. But the day after her death Lorna was set to sell a scandalous story to one of Britain’s biggest tabloid papers. For six months she had been the Deputy Prime Minister’s mistress.
Will Lorna’s secret die with her? While her family try to move on and come to terms with her death one person refuses to believe that Lorna killed herself. Her twin sister, Laurie is convinced that Lorna was murdered and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it, even if that means teaming up the very man her sister had been having an affair with…
7) Congratulations on your recent release of Prime Deception; what was your inspiration for writing this story?

The idea came to me around the time of the last general election. I don’t really follow politics, it doesn’t appeal to me. But I got thinking about what would make the world of politics more engaging to me and a good old fashioned scandal would do it and from that initial though, Prime Deception was eventually born.

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

It flowed. With all my books, I feel like I’m just watching the movie of them play out in my head and desperately scrambling to record it all down for the reader so that they can experience it all too.

9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

I finished writing Prime Deception a few years ago. It gathered dust as I focused on other projects but I thought I’d approach a few publishers with it, test the waters and Carina were interested in it.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

This is from the start of the book when we are first being introduced to the character of Charles;
Charles returned his attention to the task at hand; of shaving away the shadow which had formed over night. As a young man he had found shaving a chore. He’d longed to grow some stubble, even a beard, in his desire to be ‘edgy’, but he had always been warned against it. It wasn’t befitting of a man in his line of work. Now, he found shaving therapeutic. The act was familiar and predictable and he liked that about it. So few things in his life were familiar anymore, that he cherished those that were.
Dressed in one of his finest suits and his signature blue tie, Charles was at last ready to start the day. He fingered the tie dubiously as he regarded his reflection once more. He found it a rather crass addition to his ensemble, but his aides continued to assure him that it was vital. He missed being able to dress how he wanted to. Charles would have loved nothing more than to put on a pair of jeans and an old jumper but that would never do. He had an image to maintain, as everyone kept insisting to him.
11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Prime Deception to make us rush out and buy it?

If you want a story that will not only grip you but tug on your heartstrings also then check out Prime Deception. It’s a tale of sex, betrayal and ultimately love. But not between lovers, it’s about the unbreakable love between two sisters that even death cannot destroy.

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

Carina are re-releasing my first novel, Not All Stars Sparkle, along with the first publication of its sequel, Cradle to Grave. I’ve also signed up with an American YA publisher for a big trilogy which will probably be released in 2015.


QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…


13) Plotter or pantser?

So sorry, not sure what those mean. I’m not down the latest terms I’m afraid. I’m going to make a guess and say I’m a Plotter as I prepare all my stories in meticulous detail before I write them.

14) Digital books or print books?

Sorry Carina but print. Simply because I’m terrible for flicking to the last page to check if my favourite character survives! My Kindle robs me of that so I’m kept in suspense for longer! And I hate surprises!

15) Tea or coffee?

Tea! I adore tea!

16) Extrovert or introvert?

To most people, introvert, to my friends; excessive extrovert!

17) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook, Twitter confuses me…

18) Christmas or birthday?

Christmas as everyone gets presents!

19) Morning person or night owl?

Morning person, up and about walking my beloved dog bright and early.

20) Sweet or savoury?

Savoury. If a dessert menu has a cheese board I’m all over it!

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Carys, I wish you every success with your new release.

Thanks so much for having me, it’s been a lot of fun!

To discover even more about Carys Jones and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

Facebook     Twitter     Website


Buy it now…


Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472094728
Released: 7 April 2014

Carina UK
Amazon UK / US
iBooks
Nook UK / B&N
Kobo
Google



Thursday, 3 April 2014

Twenty Questions with... T.A. Williams

I am delighted to welcome T.A. (Trevor) Williams onto my blog today, author of Dirty Minds and his new book, The Room on the Second Floor.

Since I have a book to get finished and a new one to get started on straight after, let's get cracking with this week's round of #TwentyQuestions...


ACT ONE – all about you…


I was born and brought up in Devon (south west England). After university I spent ten years living abroad, mainly in Italy. I came back with a decent command of the language and, more importantly, my artist wife, Mariangela. Our daughter is a poet, so it must be something in the water down here. A few years ago I gave up my day job running a big English language school and have been concentrating on my writing ever since. 



1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

Ever since I first wrote The Lake Dwellers (shameless Swallows and Amazons ripoff) at the age of 14! And that’s a long time ago. I have been writing as a hobby all my life.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

When I was working full time, I used to write in the evenings as relaxation. Now I “binge write”. I can go days, even weeks without writing and then, suddenly, I find myself fully immersed, to the exclusion of all else. I wrote Dirty Minds in a month.

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing? 

I love Tom Sharpe and I love JP Donleavy (but not so much The Ginger Man, more his other stuff).

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

Without any doubt: “Writing is the easy part. Finding a publisher is a hell of a lot more difficult.” Anon.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know? 

I have written three serious historical novels, set in the Middle Ages. I cycled from here to Santiago de Compostela in Spain a few years back. I was once vomited on by amazing singer, Joe Cocker.

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without? 

Bike, iPad, mulching lawnmower, corkscrew and, of course, my personal Italian chef!  


ACT TWO – all about your new release…



Roger Dalby is a lucky man. He inherits a manor house in Devon and a huge fortune. But all he wants is to study medieval history and marry Linda, the love of his life. His problem is managing to find the courage to tell her how he feels about her. His friend Duggie, on the other hand, has less honourable intentions. A Royal decree from the Middle Ages means that the Manor is the only legally licensed house of ill repute in England. He decides to return it to its former glory. Unknown to Roger, the second floor of the manor is soon filled with a disreputable collection of people getting up to some very naughty antics. And as if that were not enough, somebody is trying to kill Roger. This is  a very English story, written with a very English sense of humour, set in very English surroundings.

7) Congratulations on your recent release of The Room on the Second Floor, what was your inspiration for writing the story? 

I really don’t know. Maybe it was just that after writing Dirty Minds, which is a funny book about people trying to write an erotic novel, I thought I should stick to the same slightly smutty, humorous subject matter. Although it is a love story (well, two to be precise) and a murder mystery, it is also about a guy trying to set up a brothel in an old manor house. I felt that ticked the humorous and smutty boxes quite well. 

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling? 

It flowed pretty well. In particular some of the weird and wacky characters popped out of nowhere quite remarkably easily.

9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk? 

A remarkably short time. About four months.

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with? 

As with my other books, there is always my trademark black dog in it. His job this time is to act as Cupid.
“He held her tighter and kissed her again. Jasper, satisfied by his matchmaking, strolled through to the bathroom and drank deeply and noisily out of the toilet bowl.”
That’s dogs for you.

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about The Room on the Second Floor, to make us rush out and buy it?

It’s a book about love, some the good type and some the less noble type. And it’s also a murder mystery with a twist. I hope it will make you laugh most of the time. 

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

My next book, due out in a few months time is called Danny. It’s less smut and more romance. Alice has just lost her job of 17 years and is looking for a complete change in her life.  She moves down to Devon. There’s a black Labrador, a handsome windsurfer, a damaged lord of the manor and a little baby. And they’re all called Danny… My next big project is going to be a (serious) book, set in 1919 about a shell-shocked war veteran. I have just come back from visiting the Somme to research it this week.  Although I love writing the humorous stuff (it cheers me up, too), my heart will always be in historical fiction.  


QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…


13) Plotter or pantser?

Pantser. The story so often leads me off in unexpected directions. I love that feeling that the story has developed a life of its own and is leading me on.

14) Digital books or print books?

Digital is here to stay, but I must admit to still feeling nostalgic for paper.

15) Tea or coffee?

No question. Has to be tea, preferably with a chocolate hobnob.

16) Extrovert or introvert?

Probably more extrovert.

17) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook every time, though I’m still learning how to use it.

18) Christmas or birthday?

Definitely not Christmas. Specially when it starts in the shops in November… 

19) Morning person or night owl?

Morning.

20) Sweet or savoury?

Savoury

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Trevor, I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Trevor Williams, and to keep up with his latest projects, you can visit him at:

Website     Twitter


Buy it now…


Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472074508
Release date: 22 January 2014

Carina UK
Amazon UK / US
Nook UK / B&N
Kobo
iBooks
Google



Excerpt…


‘How fascinating. It seems that it is dated July 13th 1131. And I was right in my assumption. The King did indeed sign it. Here, do you see his name?’ Duggie and Linda could see nothing but a blur, so they took his word for it. ‘King Henry of the House of Normandy. That would be Henri Beauclerc, one of the sons of William the Conqueror, if my memory serves me right.’

He concentrated on the Latin. He muttered to himself, as he followed the lines across and down the page, until he reached the end. Then he blinked, re-read the last lines and then roared with laughter. The others, dog included, looked at him curiously.

‘It says…’ He stopped to blow his nose and wipe his eyes, while his outburst of laugher subsided into a subdued chuckle. ‘It says, in recognition of the magnificent hospitality afforded to his Royal Highness by Arthur of Toplingham and his retinue, it is hereby decreed that this Manor shall henceforth and in perpetuity be licensed to carry on…’ He paused and looked across at the others in disbelief. ‘He uses the words ad praeclarum quaestum meretricium faciendum, which translates as something like, for the admirable purpose of making meretricious gain.’

Seeing the lack of comprehension on their faces, he explained. ‘Meretricious is the adjective that goes with the noun “prostitution”. I do believe this decree means that Toplingham Manor is a fully licensed house of ill repute. Licensed by Royal Decree, no less.’ The other two stared at him open-mouthed.

‘A knocking shop?’ Duggie couldn’t believe his ears.

‘A brothel. Just imagine that.’ Linda was equally shocked.

‘How amazing. I must write to the British Journal of Medieval Studies about this at once. How fascinating.’ He paused, deep in thought. ‘I wonder if it really was active in plying its trade in those days, and how long it went on for. I wonder whether, when Oliver Cromwell was going round closing down all those sorts of places in the seventeenth century, he might have missed this one. A Royal Decree in perpetuity is a pretty solid document. Who knows if it would really hold water today. It’s almost worth running across the legal bods at the university.’

As his voice tailed off, Linda gave him a disapproving look. She raised an eyebrow.

‘Were you thinking of going into business? Surrounding yourself with painted harlots perhaps?’

For one unforgettable moment, a graphic vision of Linda burst into Roger’s head. She was dressed in high heels, stockings and suspenders, a come-hither expression on her face. She was leaning provocatively in an open doorway, her lace-gloved arm stretching up above her head, her mouth…

‘Roger, are you all right?’ The concern in her voice cut into his reverie. He came up for air like a drowning man.

‘What? Me? Yes, I’m fine thanks.’ He cleared his throat. ‘I was just thinking about something.’ Mercifully she did not ask what.

See also...


Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9781472018182
Release date: 30 August 2013

Carina UK
Amazon UK / US
Nook UK / B&N
Kobo
iBooks


Tom, a widower and aspiring author (with a penchant for Hobnobs) is in need of a new start. Inspired by his therapist, the ‘Fifty Shades Phenomenon’, and his lack of literary success, he sets out to write an erotic novel – after all, how hard can it be?
But as writing erotica proves a challenge for a man more unsure than hardcore, Tom finds himself enlisting the help of an eclectic group of co-authors. Brought together by their authorial ambitions and fondness for innuendo, their project becomes a collaboration that will change lives, open minds … and prompt the purchase of an unfortunate PVC catsuit.