Friday, 20 March 2015

Can I Kiss Her Yet?: A True Tale of Love, Marriage... and Camels by Tony James Slater

This book does exactly what it says on the cover.  It is the tale of Tony and Roo's wedding.  Now that might sound a bit soppy ..... but once you find out what Tony wears, well you can never unknow that.

If you haven't read any of TJS's books yet, first off why haven't you?  Second, you might not "get" this one.  Having read the first 3 books, this one might seem a bit soft.  There's not an awful lot of danger from dangerous creatures, situations, actions.  Well not compared to the others.  But knowing Tony and Roo more than I know some of my own friends and family (well that's what it feels like now) it was nice to read about them doing things that normal people do.  Kind of.

Once good thing about these books being a person's real life, is that you can look them up on Facebook and see the pictures (His family are not afraid to show the worst pictures of Tony)  And another good thing about this being real life is that we still have Asia to look forward to.

In summary, this is not quite the most exciting of the 4 books, but it is still a 5 star read.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TJQMH98/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbott

Only the Innocent is Rachel Abbott's first book and it's hard to tell.  This is a great story which weaves itself round a few central characters.  Lord Hugo Fletcher is murdered and Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate.  Whilst on the surface this is a police procedural, it's more of a tale of the people close to Hugo and why he wasn't the wonderful person his public persona was.

At 471 pages this was a big chunk of a book and took me quite a time to read.  On the whole I didn't think it dragged, though.

I couldn't even guess whodunnit right until the end 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00684EBC0/?tag=jookuf-21


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Imperfect Strangers by David Staniforth

Keith works as a night security guard at an office.  Sally has caught his eye and shown him kindness by smiling at him.  Keith thinks the next step is love.  Sally doesn't want to know.  At first.

This story is told in both first person perspective, so we get Keith's version in his head and Sally's version to the same thing.  As a story-telling method this is very effective for this story as we understand just how non-normal Keith is.

Some people reviewed that they read this in one sitting.  I actually put this book down to read another half way through as I found Keith's character to be one of the creepiest I've read.  He made me feel a bit grubby.  But I knew I'd go back to him.  I thought this story was an uncomfortable one as I'm the sort of person who wouldn't like to be nasty to anyone.  I sit through boring conversations so as not to be rude.  After reading this, I think I'll try to get out of things a bit more just in case I become a Sally.

I didn't particularly like Sally in this story.  I didn't really like anyone.  But I don't need to like characters to like a story and as a whole, this was a great story.  The tension built up, slowly at first with hints here and there.  I read the end at my lunch break and was late back as that bit was certainly unputdownable. 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JXOVKE4/?tag=jookuf-21


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Interrogating Anna Faversham

Anna Faversham prefers living in the past with smugglers and highwaymen.


How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write what I’d like to read myself. There’s a quotation with over 12,000 likes on Goodreads and it is “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison.

‘One Dark Night’ fell into my head one sleepless night and I began what has now become an absorbing hobby. I joined an online writing site and I received the discipline of criticism. That soon made me aware that I needed to pay attention to other readers unless I just wanted piles of papers stacked away in a cupboard or a rarely opened laptop folder labelled ‘books I have written’!


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I’m one of those people who is interested in more than my head can carry and therefore I’m not sure I can stick to one genre. I love the idea of time travel. The very thought of being able to go back and see how people really lived appeals, as does the concept of what might have happened if just a few actions were changed. So ‘Hide in Time’ was the second book I wrote but the first I published. I was not very interested in history at school but now I love it.
I reckon that love, in its many forms, drives so much of what goes on in the world so romance is, thus far, my main genre.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I started writing many years ago, long before I seriously thought of publishing a book, and so I have an entire drawer of a big filing cabinet stuffed with folders for such things as plot ideas and characters. If I live and write until I am one hundred, I’ll not be able to use them all.

I remember driving along the shoreline and seeing a huge moon. My husband was doing the driving so I was free to grab a notebook and scribble down a description of one of the most fabulous moons I’ve ever seen. I was writing ‘One Dark Night’ at the time and so the post-it note was plonked into the A4 book I keep for each book and now it appears in the book as “A paper-lace moon, the size of a dinner plate, hung in the pink-flecked eastern sky.” The description doesn’t do it justice.


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

Plot bunnies breed so mine are stuffed in a cage at the bottom of whatever I’m writing and occasionally I get around to taking a look at them if I’m wondering how to shape the next chapter. Then the poor leftover bunnies get transferred to that big filing cabinet – just in case!


How much of you is in your characters?

Some of my characters are inspired by real people, often historical characters. I refer to them as the coathangers! I wrap them in colourful coats and then they probably hardly resemble the original person at all. One of the reasons is because bits of me, or the me I would be in certain situations, creep into characters. Not telling you which bits!


Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with?

Fortunately, I’m happy being myself, so that is not a problem and quite frankly, I’m not at all sure I’d like to live in the nineteenth century. But your question about who I would like to be with is going to set me thinking for years to come. My initial answer has to be that I quite like my heroes and my heroines would be good company too. I could more easily answer a question of who I would not like to be with.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I have so much going on in my life that writing has to be compartmentalised. I’m definitely me when my husband is around otherwise he’d start taking notes for a visit to the doctor.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I enjoy a good crime thriller and a historical crime thriller is often top of the list for me. I had thought that I couldn’t write anything other than romance but the sequel to ‘One Dark Night’ is currently more crime thriller than romance.
I’m not sure I know enough about modern day crime to write in that genre – practical research could prove unwise.


What is on your near horizon?

I’m a third of the way through the first draft of a sequel to ‘One Dark Night’. Then I want to write another time travel story which is sitting patiently waiting. Then I want to write about the… better stop there as I have a long queue. If anyone could donate some time to me, I’d use it for writing.


Where can we find you for more information?

There’s a little bit more info on www.annafaversham.com There’s also a contact page where you can email me.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Beneath The Boards by David Haynes

David Haynes is the master of the macabre, but this time his scary story is set in the present.  Jim is recovering from a violent attack, but his problems are just starting.

If I could have read this from behind a cushion, I'm sure I would have.  I found this to be a very creepy story.  As I spiralled into Jim's madness, I felt myself physically tensing up, only relaxing my shoulders at the end of a chapter.  David Haynes writes his stories effectively without too much waffle, yet building up all the information you need.  The terrors are implied which makes them all too real without the need for graphic gore.  Scretch will stick in my mind for some time.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00T55085S?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Love, death and tea by Will Once

Patti told me to try this book.  I'd not noticed this author, but as soon as I read the blurb, I had to try it.  And I'm so glad I listened to Patti.

I've recently been reading a lot of zombie / plague stories.  I've not read one from a pacifist zombie point of view before.  

This book was a delight to read.  It's hard to explain the plot, but everything, no matter how silly it might have been, just slotted into place and was believable in its surreality.  












http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DF7G1T4/?tag=jookuf-21


Interrogating Will Once

This week I get to interview Will Once. I've just discovered his writing (thanks Patti) and am now a big fan.  Who knew zombies could have a gentle side?


How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

For me the reader is king.

I see writing as a contract between the reader and the author. The author says: "Cross my palm with silver and give me some of your time, and in return I'll take you on an adventure."

The deal is a success if the reader feels that that their money and time has been well spent. Did they get the adventure they were promised? Was it an emotional roller coaster ride where they were thrilled, scared, elated, saddened?

But in order to tell a good story, the author needs to write about something that he is interested in, or the writing will come across as fake. The best writing has a good deal of passion in it. The author grabs you by the lapels and just has to tell you this story that is boiling inside him. The author might explode if he can't get that story out.

Authors also need to give readers something new, something they haven’t seen or experienced before. And that means that the author has to put a big chunk of themselves into the book. Because the new stuff isn't going to come from anywhere else.

So I try to write stories that excite both me and the reader. And if in doubt, I always default to trying to give the reader what I think they want.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in?

I tend to skip around the genres quite a lot. My first published novel was "Love, Death and Tea" – a comedy fantasy.

I followed that with "Global Domination" – a comedy spy spoof.

Then "Hero" – a comedy science-fiction story about a superhero.

I'm currently working on a non-comedy which is somewhere between fantasy and science fiction.

And the next novel on the list is a cross between science fiction and a political farce.

A common theme for me is exploring the difference between a good character and a villain. All of my books have main characters who aren't quite sure if they are good or bad. A pacifist zombie. A megalomaniac who wants to take over the world because he wants to fix it. A superhero who casually breaks the law while he is fighting crime.

I get bored with cartoon stereotypes of good and bad - the too-good to be true hero and the boo-hiss baddie. I get really excited when the readers don't know whether a character is on the side of the saints or the sinners, and maybe it's a bit of both.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Nothing so organised! But I do have a head that is stuffed full of ideas, half remembered stories and plans. And at least half a dozen novels on my to do list.


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

I shoot them. They're very good when pan fried with some shallots and a jus made from red wine and garlic.

Actually, that's not quite true. Plot bunnies can be useful when you are writing comedy. You can take a situation and then make it a little more absurd. Just when the reader thinks it can't get any sillier, you stretch it out a bit more. And then a bit more. Plot bunnies tend to breed more plot bunnies.

I did this in Love, Death and Tea. I started to wonder why only humans turn into zombies. What is the silliest thing I can turn into a zombie? How about a herd of cows?

Having invented a herd of cows, I had to think of something to do with them. So I wrote quite possibly the world's slowest ever car chase. A herd of zombie cows slowly shuffling after a VW camper van which was being pulled by a zombie.

What's the next silly thing that could be zombified? How about birds? Would zombie birds be able to fly? And that became the next challenge to throw at our hero.

Apart from that, I try to keep the plot bunnies under control. I tend to file them away as ideas for a future book.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

There is a little bit of me in all my main characters. I think that's true of most authors.

The character I would most like to be with is Lump. My second book "Global Domination for Beginners" tells the James Bond story from the perspective of the baddie. The main character is the Blofeld style megalomaniac who wants to take over the world. I wanted to make the point that no-one can achieve something massive without the help of their friends.

This meant that I had to surround my main character with supporters, colleagues, co-workers, friends. My main character's best friend from school becomes his personal bodyguard. He is known only as Lump, or when the story gets into top speed, OddLump. He is not very bright, but is very direct and unquestionably loyal. A real friend.

He would be a brilliant person to go to the pub with.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Sometimes.

The biggest issue for my wife is that she doesn't read the sort of genres that I write. She doesn't like fantasy or science fiction stories.  For her, everything has to be set in the real world, either now or in history. It helps if there is a dashing Mr Darcy climbing out of a lake in a wet shirt.

And that can get a bit tricky because she is also my proof reader … and very good at it, she is too. I'm not just saying that because she will be proof-reading this!


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I don't read as much as I would like. I am trying to balance a day job, my writing and being  a husband and a father. I have a fairly broad tastes when I do get time to read.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Probably not enough.

I don't much care for the marketing side of writing. I can't rush up to someone and say "You must read my book! You must! It's brilliant!".

Instead I'm far more likely to be the shy one standing in the corner, coughing politely. What I would really like is for my readers to recommend the books to their friends.

So I don't do anywhere near as much marketing as I should. I focus on just writing the best books I can, and let's see what happens from there.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Enormously grateful.

As a reader I hate spelling mistakes in books. They jar you out of the fictional world. They remind you that these characters aren't real. They were made up by an author sitting at a computer.

As a writer you know that those mistakes do creep in, no matter how hard you try. It is a constant battle to find them and correct them. I love it when someone points out a mistake.

It’s always good to receive feedback. It is by far the best way to learn.


What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

When I first came to Goodreads I thought it would be a way to sell my books. I didn't realise it would be such a place to make friends.

I have managed to do some book marketing on Goodreads, but I tend to keep it fairly low key. I don't like it when people ram their books down my throat, and so I won't do that myself.

Now it's mostly about making genuine friends and a lot less about the books.


What is on your near horizon?

I am about a month away from publishing a new novel. Unusually for me, it is not a comedy. It's a serious sci-fi/ fantasy story about a relatively small enclosed world. Around 100,000 people live in a medieval-ish landscape with a domed sky that walls them in. They don't question their world because they have known nothing else.
This world is governed by strict laws. The population can never exceed 100,000. The inhabitants are not allowed to go out at night or to travel to other parts of the world. They are not even allowed to be curious or to read and write.

Kori is a young girl with innate powers to know the truth. She senses that the world is starting to go wrong. She challenges the laws, but doesn't know whether she is making things better or worse.

If all goes to plan, this book should be published in March as the first of a series. It's currently written and is being edited and tested with a couple of utterly wonderful beta readers.


Where can we find you for more information?

Probably the best place is my blog:  Willonce.wordpress.com
Amazon author page Will-Once

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Chatting With Katy

Here's Katy.  she loves all things Indie and quality and is not afraid to tell you if she doesn't like your story.



If you could live in the age and setting of a book, which book, and why?

That's really tough. I have been on some amazing journeys within books and it is really difficult to pick just one place or time!

I think that if I had to pick, I would choose to live in the Onktor Valley from David Staniforth's Fuel to the Fire trilogy. It just sounds like an absolutely amazing place to be!


Does it annoy you the book finishes well before 100% because the author mentions their other works at the back of the novel. Do you mind if the author includes a synopsis or even an excerpt?

I hate to say it, but yes! It does annoy me! I don't mind the author including a little bit about their other works, or even a little about themselves, but excerpts tend to get on my nerves and I tend to not read them, particularly if the excerpt is from a book in a different series!


Are you put off if you see a book is part of a series? Or does that entice you, knowing that if you like it there are more books to enjoy?

No, definitely not. I quite enjoy reading a series. I like to be able to get to know the characters and share their adventures. Having said that, I like books to have a natural ending (though this can include cliff-hangers). I don't like it when a book ending feels forced and ends too abruptly in order to make the reader pick up the next book in the series. 


Do you read the Look Inside before purchasing? Always? Sometimes, depending on the reviews? Never?

It would depend on the book, I guess. A lot of what I read is based on recommendations. If a book has enough recommendations, then I will happily give it a go. However, if it was a new book by an author that I have not heard of, I would be tempted to use the 'Look Inside' feature to get a taste of their writing style before buying.


Do you read for hours at a time, or in short bursts, or a mixture of the two?

A mixture of the two, definitely. I am lucky, in the fact that I can pick up and put down a book at any point in the story, so I can quite happily read for, say, 10 minutes between lectures. I have been known to stay up way too late reading, though!


How important are reviews of a book to you? Would they influence your choice to buy it?

Reviews are quite important to me when I'm buying a book, but they are not the only reason that I would buy. Unfortunately, I am starting to rely less and less on reviews, especially on Amazon, because a lot of them seem to be fake. I tend to pay more attention to reviews on Goodreads.


Do you think you remain unbiased when reviewing books by people you know or interact with on the internet?

I think I do, yes. I write reviews more for myself than for other people, to remind me what I like or disliked about that book, particularly if it is part of a series. I am also greatly aware that readers can tell when a review is biased and if I was biased, it would make other readers either not trust my reviews or not want to read that book. Biased reviews also don't let the author know where they need to review. To be honest, I don't think that biased reviews help anyone!


How do you feel about leaving negative reviews?

Leaving negative reviews always makes me feel awful! I always worry that I am being mean rather than constructive, as I would like to be. However, I also feel that negative reviews, if they are well written, can greatly help the author to know where to improve.


Are you more lenient with regards mistakes if you know a book is self published, or do you believe the authors should have hired an editor to make sure it's the best it can be?

I wouldn't say that I am more lenient with mistakes if I know that a book is self-published. At the end of the day, an author should feel happy that their book is the best that it can possibly be, whether they have self-published or gone through a publisher. I think that the use of an editor is up to the author and their particular circumstances, but a couple of proof-readers would be a good idea. Many readers, including myself, are happy to offer to proof-read a book.

I tend not to notice the odd mistake if the story is gripping enough, though I do make a note and send a message to the author in order to help them improve, as mistakes are bound to be missed. I haven't had any nasty comments from authors so far!


If something an author did upset or bothered you, would it stop you reading more of their work, even if you've read their stuff before and enjoyed it?

I'm afraid that it would. I have had instances before where an author has disagreed with my review and sent a nasty message or email in return. It has definitely made me not want to read their books again!

With the internet, it is possible to see how authors interact with their readers or reviews left on sites such as Goodreads and Amazon. If an author is disrespectful to their readers or other authors, it would definitely put me off reading anything from them!

You can find Katy's Review Blog here:

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Marriage to Measure by Talli Roland

Marriage to Measure is the third in the Serenity Holland series.  This time, Serenity has a wedding to organise.


Whilst I adore Talli Roland's writing and books, I was less enamoured with this one as I kept getting frustrated at Serenity's inability to say no to people.  As with any chick-lit story, true love never runs smoothly, but, oh, was Serenity more of a wimp than previously!  I wanted her to get a back-bone and sort everyone out.

Talli Roland's writing is a joy to read.  Once I start, I can't put it down, it's so easy and light, yet full of depth.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O2YKVTA/r?tag=jookuf-21


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Albert's Christmas by Matthew Drzymala

This fourth story set in Bumpkinton is set just before Christmas when Father O'Grady is down a Santa Claus and asks the local down and out, Albert, to help out.

This is another gentle tale set in this hard to find village. I am enjoying this series and this is another fine addition.  These stories work well as shorts and each one intermingles with characters across other ones.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Q1J55GS/?tag=jookuf-21



Friday, 12 December 2014

Interrogating Matthew Drzymala

Next up is the man who discovered the little village of Bumpkinton.




How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I have to be honest and say of the work I have released thusfar, I have written them for myself. Brainstorm, a short story about a clinical psychologist whose life is falling apart was written in a creative writing class I took in 2012/13. The main set piece was written in that class and I expanded it after I left. I wrote it solely for myself.

My Bumpkinton stories are again a product of that course and I write them for myself also. I have had a number of people asking me to write more about Amelia Goose. However, for me, she is a character purely there to irritate. Bittersweet, the first Bumpkinton novella had her as a main lead, but her elongated words can be grating and to base a lot of stories around her, for me, would be something I would get tired of.

However, saying that, I am currently working on a set of children's stories. I have definitely had to tailor those for the younger audience. Those are purely aimed at children and not myself. I find myself changing words to make sure I don't alienate a younger audience. I try to take the Roald Dahl and Harry Potter approach with those stories. It's best to write them so they don't talk down to children. Children are intelligent and there's no point patronising them. I have had to change some things they wouldn’t understand and describe more, but they are written in a way that an adult would enjoy too.

It's finding the right balance, so so far that is the only piece of work I've made compromises on.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I write mostly humorous fiction. I like to think I have a good sense of humour. Bumpkinton, for instance, is very light and can be read by anybody. There's no bad language and they are an easy read. Sometimes after I've read a heavy book, I like to then read something that's a bit fluffy and daft to rest my brain. I hope that people find this in my Bumpkinton Tales.

They are the least stressful pieces I've worked on either published or still in rough draft and I just find humorous fiction enjoyable to write. It's always interesting to see how people react. A one-liner I think is brilliant may not hit a note with some readers, where a weaker one-liner I've had feedback saying they 'loved that line'. Every reader is different and I enjoy hearing what people like and don't like.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I have a number of notebooks with random ideas scribbled into them. Mostly it's the start of stories and the odd bit of dialogue.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

In my Bumpkinton Tales series, I would say I am most like Father Whitworth O'Grady. He gets vexed quite easily, tries to be a good person and always does what he thinks is best. However, you know at some point something will go wrong when his plans seemingly look straight forward. Story of my life, really haha

I'd like to have a pint with him. I'd find him hilarious.

In Brainstorm, Michael Eriksson, is very much the me of my early 20's (even though he's much older in the story). He's suffering from depression and struggling to cope. That is a story very personal to me, not only with what Michael is going through but the psychologist session is very much what I went through. The coping techniques with his patients are what I had to do to help with my problems. The issues are changed so as not to bare all that I was going through, but the sessions are very much personal to me.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I wish I had the time, actually, that sounds wrong. I don't write nearly as much as I wish I could. I have a number of other interests and they all fight for my time. I mostly write at weekends and the odd time during the week. Holding down a full time job as well as watching brilliant TV series and spending time with my partner, Elaine, means I don't neglect her for the sake of writing.

Maybe one day I'll write a lot more than I do, but I love spending time with Elaine and that is my first love before my writing.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I like to read Terry Pratchett's discworld novels, Sherlock Holmes and Jo Nesbo. To be honest, I'll give most things a go. I think I prefer reading thrillers if I had to choose. I take my hat off to anybody who can write so many plot twists. I have a thriller in mind, but I'm still working on how to throw in red herrings without babbling on. I'm sure I'll get there one day. 


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Annoyed at myself! However, I quickly resolve it and upload a new copy.


What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

KUF really is the friendliest forum I have ever know. I know of nowhere else where so many people are so supportive. People can be so cut throat in this world and begrudge success, but when you see an indie either sell well or get a publisher everybody is right behind them. 

I don't frequent GR as much as I should. I try to when I can and find people are supportive but I find it hard to get noticed on there.


What is on your near horizon?

I have a Bumpkinton short story out on 12th December 2014 called Albert's Christmas. The novellas Bittersweet and The Bachelor are the main Bumpkinton stories, but I like to throw in a festive extra, hence this years release and 2013's Last Christmas.

I'm also working on next years Bumpkinton novella. I am hoping I can make it into a full length novel, but we'll see. I'll know better by around April how long it can be and if I have the story to last a novel.

As stated earlier, I'm also working on a set of children's stories. At time of writing I have written one around 10,000 words long and plan to do another four around the same length. They are all based around the same character. He's a character I used for NaNoWriMo in 2011 but the novel, so far, just doesn't sit right with me. So, in the meantime, I've decided to make him a few years younger and write some background that I think will then help me smooth out the novel.


Where can we find you for more information?

You can read more about me at the below links:

I am also running a launch day on Facebook for my short story, Albert's Christmas. I will be giving away a number of prizes including Bumpkinton pens, Amazon gift cards and signed books by fellow indie authors. People can join or be invited at the below link:



Monday, 8 December 2014

Rosa's Gold by Ray Kingfisher

This is the dual story of seventeen year old Nicole finding Mac's old journal in the cellar of the new house her and her mother have just moved into.  Mac's journal is his recollections of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the second world war and ending up at Auschwitz.

Sometimes with a dual time story I might not like one side of the story or the other or sometimes the transition between the two times can jar, but this story was extremely well put together.  The two parts seem as though it's just one person reading another's story, but as the story unfolds we see where the two lives overlap.

Nicole seems like a lovely girl, I felt her parents' story was the only bit that slightly let the book down.  However Mac's story was heartbreaking at times.  Even though the descriptions of Mac's experiences in the concentration camp are hard to read it was sensitively done.

This author can turn his hand to numerous genres and is fast becoming my favourite author.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QMVW4MI/?tag=jookuf-21


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Interrogating Mads Sorensen

Here's Mads Sorensen


How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write because I want people to read what I write, the more the better. While I don't write something my heart isn't in, I endeavour to write stories I would like to read when, say, relaxing on a train journey rather than something I would like to write. But I've never been one for the deep, dark, painful stuff (a bit odd, I know, hailing from Scandinavia), so there usually isn't a conflict.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

My chosen genres of thrillers and sci-fi provide plenty of opportunities for action, and yet, I'm not much of an all-out action person in my tastes of films and books. I'm more interested in exploring the limits of individual human ability and endurance. With a few exceptions, my characters are what you could call normal people, who are hurled into abnormal situations they have to get out of, not only for themselves but mankind to survive.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I do write things like that down, but apart from ideas for future stories, I don't have any systematic way of storing such information, though I probably ought to.


How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?

I don't think I have many of those, or rather, I don't recognise them as such at the time. Even though I'm better at planning than I used to be, my stories keep going off the rails and into cul-de-sacs. It's infuriating and part of the reason they take so long to write. On the positive side, it's a way of exploring possibilities I otherwise wouldn't have thought of, but in a manner resembling the trial-and-error tree of evolution rather than a deliberate, systematic approach.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

There isn't a lot of me, or anyone else I know, in my main characters, though I sometimes use a real person as a template for a minor character. I wouldn't mind spending some time with Sid, the contract killer turned saviour from 15000 Feet Below. She seems fun to be with, as long as you are not on her hit list. And I kind of fell in love with her as I wrote the story.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Better not go there.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I read quite widely, including the genres I write in. I like literary fiction, too, even though I've never felt compelled to write a literary novel.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

The cover and blurb are the first things prospective readers see, so that's where I put in the effort. I have yet to hear of anyone buying a book because the writer told them it was great. It has to come from readers. But the best way to promote a book is probably to write another.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Unless there are a lot, I don't feel much. I just correct them. I've stopped wondering why I can't get every word right. I just accept it.


What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

The sense of community, sharing the joy and suffering of writing and reading.


What is on your near horizon?

The second book in a trilogy as yet without a name. It follows the characters from Echoes of The Kin in their bid to escape from the serfs. And who knows, perhaps they aren't the only humans left on Earth after all.


Where can we find you for more information?

On my website, madssorensen.com, though I have been neglecting it a bit lately. I plan an overhaul of the site when I get some time early in the new year.