Tuesday Thrillers – The Stranger in My Bed.

I’m taking over my Tuesday Thrillers blog today to tell you a little about my new book, A Stranger in My Bed, which will be published by Bookouture on 23 November. I’m really excited – and a bit nervous – about this book as it’s the first pyschological thriller I’ve written and the story has been one I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Let me show you the cover, and tell you a bit about the story.

Blurb

‘We have a patient who has been involved in a serious accident. We believe he’s your husband.’

When Freya first met Phil, she thought he was the man of her dreams. He bought her roses every week, booked surprise trips to sun-soaked destinations, and showed her affection like she’d never experienced before. But over time the dream had become a violent nightmare. And now Freya is packing her bags, knowing it’s time she escaped their increasingly broken marriage.

But then Freya gets a visit from the police. Phil’s been in a horrific car crash and – as he comes around – it becomes clear that he remembers nothing since their blissful honeymoon two years before, back when their relationship was perfect. All he wants is to be happily married again.

Freya knows giving him another chance could be dangerous. But now he’s the one who needs her, it’s a chance to turn the tables, and to change the outcome of their relationship once and for all. After all, he will only know what she chooses to tell him…

But what really happened during those two years of marriage? And as they start over again, who is safe? And whose life is in danger?

Fans of The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and Date Night who are looking for a dark, gripping psychological thriller, with a final twist that will leave their jaw on the floor, will love The Stranger in My Bed.

If you fancy reading it and want to grab yourself a bargain you can preorder it now for only 99p, and it will automatically pop onto your kindle/ereader on 23rd November. It will be available in print on publication day, and as an audio book too.

Here are the preorder links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover 

Apple: http://ow.ly/u5Po50B8dyr

Kobo: http://ow.ly/RvQb50B8dwv

Google: http://ow.ly/1IPa50B8lnh

Tuesday Thrillers – Ransomed by M.A.Hunter

The Tuesday Thriller this week is Ransomed, the gripping opening case in the new crime thriller series (The Missing Children Case Files), by M.A. Hunter.

BLURB:

Some secrets are too big to bury…

Investigative journalist Emma Hunter never thought she’d be a bestselling author. Especially not for a blistering exposé of the brutal horrors committed at an orphanage.

Some secrets breed in the dark…

All she wants is to return home to the anchoring salt air and solitude of Weymouth where questions still fester unanswered and a twenty-year-old secret binds her to the beach.

And some of them always escape…

But then she finds herself sucked into the chaos of another cold case and soon realises the search for the missing girl will not only unearth the rot ravaging the safety of children across the south of England, but could even solve the mystery that has tortured her since she was seven years old…

Ransomed marks the beginning of a nerve-shredding new crime series of feral reckonings and found family in the face of harrowing inhumanity, perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Ann Cleeves, and J M Dalgliesh.

PRAISE FOR RANSOMED:

‘Mind-blowingly addictive!’ – Samantha Lee Howe, USA Today-bestselling author of The Stranger in Our Bed

‘Wow! What an incredible start to this series. Kept me guessing throughout and I raced to the end – and what an ending! Can’t wait for the next instalment!’ Caz Finlay, bestselling author of the Bad Blood series

‘Hunter serves up an auspicious and gripping start to a darkly thrilling new series and I can’t wait to get hold of the next one!’ R. J. Parker, bestselling author of The Dinner Party

‘A captivating book that kept me riveted and left me immediately wanting to read the next in the series’ Ella Allbright, author of The Last Charm

EXTRACT:

‘She’s not in the house,’ Penny said nervously, as she joined him in the tall grass.

Gerry paused momentarily, out of breath, a fresh sheen clinging to his cheeks. ‘I’ve checked the fence and there are no holes she could have squeezed through to get out, and it’s too high for a six-year-old to scale. I’ve been calling her name, but there’s no response. Most of the ground here is uneven, and there are so many branches that it’s impossible to see whether she might have fallen and bashed her head.’

Penny hadn’t even considered that Cassie could be lying hurt somewhere. ‘I think we need to get all the children together and ask them whether they know where she went.’

Gerry surveyed the rest of the wilderness, and slowly nodded. ‘I’ll keep checking out here just in case. It’s not like anyone has come in and snatched her from under our noses!’

Penny reached for her husband’s hand and squeezed tightly; he reflecting her concern with an assured nod. ‘She’ll turn up. She has to.’

Returning to the castle, Penny hollered at the group of children and told them it was time to eat. One by one, they stopped rushing about, slowly disembarked and began the hunt for their shoes. After nineteen pairs had been located and pulled on, the panting group remained on the mat waiting for their next instruction.

‘Cassie’s wearing her shoes,’ Penny whispered to Gerry as he joined her, pointing down at the mat. ‘Whenever she left the castle, she put on her shoes.’

‘Can anyone tell me where Cassie Hilliard is?’ Gerry said, staring at each of the faces, looking for any sign of recognition. ‘We can’t go in for food until we’ve got everyone together. Has anyone seen Cassie?’

The faces remained blank, with the odd shrug of shoulders.

‘Everyone just wait here a minute,’ Penny said, putting on a brave face, before leading Gerry away from the group. ‘What are we going to do? Should we phone the police?’

‘It’s a bit premature for that,’ he replied. ‘She must be here somewhere; if not in the garden then in the house—’

‘I checked the house, Gerry,’ Penny interrupted with a low growl. ‘She is not in the house, and she is not in the garden. What if…’ But she couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence.

‘What if what?’ Gerry began, before connecting the dots. ‘You think someone’s come in and taken her? Don’t be ridiculous! We’ve both been here all day, and there hasn’t been a spot of trouble. Besides, we would have seen someone.’

Penny eventually let out a frustrated sigh, knowing Gerry was trying to remain pragmatic. ‘Well, if she is here, where the hell is she hiding?’

Wrapping a large arm around her shoulders, he pulled her closer to him, and kissed the top of her head. ‘I don’t know, but someone must. Get the other children inside and I’ll check the security camera footage for the last hour and see if it caught her.’ He paused. ‘We’ll find her. We have to find her. There’s more than just her future at stake here.’

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2WOhX91

iBooks – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/ransomed/id1510915235

MEET M.A. HUNTER:

M.A. Hunter has been a huge fan of crime fiction since a young age, and always fancied the idea of trying to write some. That dream became a reality when One More Chapter signed The Missing Children Case Files series.

Born in Darlington in the north-east of England, M.A. grew up in West London, and moved to Southampton to study law at university. It’s here M.A. fell in love and has been married for fifteen years. They are now raising their two children, on the border of The New Forest where the family enjoys going for walks amongst the wildlife. They regularly holiday across England, but have a particular affinity for the south coast, which formed the setting for the series, spanning from Devon to Brighton, and with a particular focus on Weymouth, one of their favourite towns.

When not writing, M.A. regularly binge-watches the latest shows from streaming services, or can be found with head buried in the latest stories from Angela Marsons, Simon Kernick, or Ann Cleeves.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Writer_MAHunter

Instagram – https://instagram.com/steph.edger

Website – https://www.stephenedger.com/m-a-hunter

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, M.A.


Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Tuesday Thrillers – You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the gripping pyschological thriller You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley.

YCTM cover

BLURB:

You can trust me.

But can I trust you?

Olivia is the domestic goddess who has won millions of followers by sharing her picture-perfect life online. And now she’s releasing her tell-all autobiography.

For professional ghostwriter Nicky it’s the biggest job of her career. But as she delves deeper into Olivia’s life, cracks begin to appear in the glamorous façade. From the strained relationship with her handsome husband, to murky details of a tragic family death in her childhood, the truth belies Olivia’s perfect public image.

But why is Olivia so desperate to leave an old tragedy well alone? And how far will she go to keep Nicky from the truth?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1409175804

Blackwell’s: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781409175803

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/you-can-trust-me,emma-rowley-olivia-dowd-stephanie-raci-9781409175803

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/You-Can-Trust-Me-Audiobook/1409186334

EXTRACT:

Ghostwriter Nicky Wilson has gone to stay with her new client, influencer Olivia Hayes, to help her write a bestselling book. She soon learns, however, that Olivia’s beautiful family home has a past that Olivia doesn’t want to talk about. Here, Nicky has gone into the cellar looking for clues as to what really happened when a fire devastated the house decades ago, when Olivia was just a little girl. But she may find something else entirely…

I take the first step, pulling the door to behind me so that just a thin strip of light from the cellar cuts across the kitchen floor. I can’t quite bring myself to shut it. Then I go down the stairs, gripping the banister to my left. At the bottom, under the bare bulb, I look at the paper in my shaking hand.

It is easy to miss at a glance.

The sheet of paper shows four shapes: the first two – the main floor and the upstairs floor – follow the same sprawling footprint. The attic space is a smaller set of boxes, while another diagram shows the cellar layout: three rooms, off this little hallway.

And that’s it, but for a little detail – a line of dots in a square, that someone has barely bothered to mark on the floor of the biggest cellar room. A place like this is full of nooks and crannies, after all.

But I understand what it means now. That there is another space down here, deep in the heart of the house. I just have to find the way in.

I know there are no stairs or doors or anything like that, from when I looked around before. And as I go into the room, the one with the table tennis table and dart board, I still can’t see how . . .

Then I remember how I noticed before that the carpet doesn’t go right to the walls. And when I bend down to lift its edge, it comes away easily. I roll it back a few metres to expose an old brick floor: small thin bricks in a herringbone pattern, so smooth and shiny with age that I am sure they were not part of any rebuild.

I’m inside the old house, I think, the house that burned down. The door should be about here, but the plans are rough. So I shuffle the table back, to clear the way – I am sweating now, despite the chill in the air – then roll the carpet back further until I see the dark wood blackened by age, or perhaps smoke. Age, I tell myself.

I haul the carpet all the way off it. There is a metal ring set towards one side of the trapdoor, cool to the touch.

I expect resistance as I pull, but it swings open easily, the hinges silent. I stop it from banging against the table, resting the open door against one metal leg.

I can smell earth and damp inside but can’t see anything except steep wooden steps, almost a ladder, and a patch of bare earthen floor. I wish I had brought my phone with me for its torch. I didn’t think this through.

But this is OK. There will be plenty of light from the bulb overhead.

Before I can spook myself further, I turn round and descend the wooden steps as quickly as I can, feeling the grain of each smooth, flat board under my hands. As my bare feet touch the ground, I spin round, braced for another surprise, as my eyes adjust to the dimness – but find nothing but bricks and the dirt floor.

It is cold in here. It’s just a little space, the arched walls the same neat herringbone brick as the floor above: I could almost touch the sides if I stretched my arms out wide.

An old wine cellar? There is nothing in here now but a cardboard box, pulled an inch or two away from the walls so the damp can’t seep in.

A wide strip of brown masking tape holds the top folds down. I unpeel it carefully, but it has long ago lost its stickiness . . .

The light overhead flickers for a second.

I look up, holding my breath.

Everything is still. But I want to hurry, I am going to have to bend the cardboard folds a little, they are slotted around each other . . .

And I can smell something – can I be imagining it? But it is there, so faint. The acrid tang, thin as a ghost, of smoke and fire.

Careless now, I tear open the box.

There is not much in it. Just junk, on the face of it. But my heart starts to thud as I sift through the contents.

A set of wooden skittles. A small badminton racquet. These must have been kept outside. A white mug printed with a Disney princess has come through almost unscathed but for the long cracks in its glazing – it must have been found among the rubble inside the house. And here is a book that I pick up carefully: a children’s Bible, its blackened edges stuck together.

I knew that photo album, pieced together by other people, couldn’t be all Olivia had left of her life before. This is what I couldn’t find when I searched the house above me – these old secrets, hidden below . . .

I freeze, lifting my head. Did I hear something, feel something in the air – a breeze? All the hairs on my arms are standing up.

But nothing changes.

I turn back to the box. I suppose the focus after the fire would have been to retrieve any valuables that survived, jewellery or silverware. So I wonder who collected all this, things with only sentimental value, if that. It’s like no one has looked at them since . . .

Gingerly, I lift up a skittle: underneath is an old football, still holding air. But there is something else under that, chunky under my fingertips.

I pull it out: it’s a small silver frame. The glass protecting the photo is smeared with dirt, but I can see the family inside. Why isn’t this in the album upstairs?

I fiddle with the metal fastenings at the back, stiff with age, and open it up. It is a lovely family shot, as they all were before the fire. Elsa and Alex, him smiling, golden, her all big dark eyes, and between them a young Olivia, maybe ten or so, a black velvet bow in her hair, and––

It must be a movement in the corner of my eye that makes me look up, because I didn’t hear a sound. The trapdoor swings towards me, shutting out the light.

I shoot my hands up to catch the underside of the trapdoor before it slams shut completely, stretching to hold it open. For a second, I expect to feel pressure against it. Then, driven by instinct, I clamber up the steps as quickly as I can, one hand keeping the door open, to see . . .

No one is there.

I shouldn’t have left it propped open like that, leaning against the table leg. Lucky I caught it – I don’t know how easy it would be to open from the inside.

I shiver, wanting to get out of here now. But I make myself arrange the door so it can’t swing shut again, then go back down to replace things as they were.

I dropped the frame when I caught the trapdoor and the glass has cracked – so I thrust it to the bottom of the box face down, then fold the soft cardboard back into place, arranging the tape on top as if it came loose. It’s the best I can do.

Then I scramble up the steps again, shut the trapdoor, unroll the carpet and push the table back. I am standing back, checking how it all looks, when I hear it: the faint moan that I register as the hinge of the cellar door at the top of the stairs as it swings slowly back towards its frame.

But that’s OK too. There wasn’t a Yale lock or anything that would click shut . . .

And then, with the softest of plinks, all the lights go out.

The darkness is total. I can’t see anything, not even the hand I bring to my face. The switch was on the wall outside the cellar, to control all the lights, but did I see any down here too? There must be one in each room, surely . . .

I start to walk round the edge of the room, one hand on the cold wall to orient myself. I just need to find the doorway, and then I will be in the hall, the stairs over to my left.

Who turned off the lights?

Don’t think about that. Maybe they were on a timer.

But my breathing sounds too loud in the pitch black, and it takes longer than I expect to find the doorway out of the room: wasn’t there just this one wall here, not this corner too? I don’t feel a switch anywhere.

If only I had left a light on above in the kitchen, to signal where the edge of the cellar door might be. But it’s OK, I’ve found the doorway of this room now, so it’s just a few steps more to the cellar stairs.

I slide my feet forward carefully, remembering the stuff stacked in the little hall, but still I knock into something, the jangle of gears and chains telling me it’s a bicycle. They surely can’t hear me, upstairs in their bedroom, but I am fast-forwarding to my embarrassment, my cheeks flushing, as Olivia and Josh listen with polite bemusement to my excuses . . .

Better that than getting stuck in here.

Shut up, shut up.

I stop for a second to try to work out where I am. But I hate this darkness, so thick it’s almost a living, pulsing thing against me.

I put my hands out a little in front of me, and shuffle to the left. I can’t bring myself to stretch them out properly, afraid to touch something I don’t expect . . .

Then – oh thank you God – one foot hits something hard: the bottom step. I put out my right hand and fumble for the banister, and there it is, relief is flooding through me, I’m nearly out of here, and I relax enough to let out a shuddering sigh, almost a gasp. I didn’t want to admit how scared I was, lost in the bowels of the old house––

And that’s when I hear it: soft, but crystal clear.

Someone sighs back at me.

About Emma

headshot

BIO:

Emma Rowley is a writer, ghostwriter and editor with a background in newspaper journalism. She has spent considerable time in the courts and covering major crime stories, which informed her first novel, Where The Missing Go, a 2020 Edgar nominee for The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her second thriller, You Can Trust Me, is inspired by her experiences as a celebrity ghostwriter. Visit emmarowley.co.uk for updates.

CONTACTS:

Twitter: @emma_rowley Insta: @emmacharlotterowley FB: EmmaRowleyAuthor

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your novel, Emma.


FB Header - The Stranger In My BedPublished by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Meet the Characters – Hester Pearce from The Ferryman’s Daughter by Juliet Greenwood

I’m delighted to welcome historical author Juliet Greenwood onto my blog today. Juliet is sharing an interview with Juliet from her latest novel, The Ferryman’s Daughter.

Ferrymans Daughter_hi-res

Can Hester help her family escape desperate poverty and fulfil her dreams?

1908: Hester always loved her mother best, her father had always been a hard man to like, spending more time (and money) in the local than with his family. When her mother dies suddenly Hester is placed in the position of care-giver for her younger brother and sister, only for her father to get badly injured in an accident.

As the years pass it is only Hester who can keep her family afloat, now rowing the ferry night and day to keep them all from starvation, she sees her dreams of working in a kitchen and one day becoming a cook, slipping further and further away.

But just how far is Hester willing to go to make her dream a reality? And as the threat of war comes ever closer to the Cornish coast, will it bring opportunities or despair for Hester and her family?

Interview with Hester Pearce, the heroine of ‘The Ferryman’s Daughter’

Thank you Hester, for taking time out of your busy day. I can see the kitchens at a big house like Afalon are never quiet, especially now it’s a convalescent home for soldiers. I’m glad we’ve been able to retreat to the kitchen garden, Cornish afternoons are so beautiful this time of year. This must be such a good place to work.

Oh it is. I love working at Afalon. My grandmother used to be cook for the family here, when it was a private house. I never thought I’d get the chance to follow in her footsteps. Of course, I probably wouldn’t have been taken on, with so little experience, if it hadn’t been for the war.

Can I first ask you what first made you become a cook?

It was my mum who first made me interested in cooking. She was a wonderful cook. Even when we didn’t have much money she could make a tasty meal from practically nothing and things she gathered from the hedgerows. She taught me everything I know. And she was the one who always encouraged me to follow my dreams and never take second best.

I understand you didn’t start your working life at Afalon. Can you tell me more about the years you rowed the ferry across the Hayle Estuary? That must have been hard for a young woman.

It was hard, but I didn’t have much choice when Dad was injured, I couldn’t see my little brother and sister out on the streets. Most of the time I really enjoyed rowing passengers from one side to the other. It gave me independence, and I soon learnt how to deal with any young man who tried it on, like they do. It doesn’t half help if they know you can tip them into the river if their hands start wandering!

It sounds as if your independence is important to you.

Oh, it is. Definitely. My dad’s always trying to get me to marry Jimmy, but that’s only because Jimmy buys him pints down the Fisherman’s Arms. I love Dad, and I know he loves me in his way, but he always put his own needs first, he always has. I don’t want to hurt him, but I’m not marrying for his convenience, and especially not for pints! And I know what it would be like if I married Jimmy. Mum had a dream of running a cafe of her own in St Ives, but she never had a chance with washing and cleaning and always being pregnant. I don’t want that to be my whole life, and especially not with a man I could never love and doesn’t love me, not really. I can see Jimmy just wants a woman he can boss around and lord it over and make him feel strong and important. To be honest, he’s so obsessive, I’m not sure he’s right in the head. He scares me sometimes. And he’s so certain he’s going to win and have me at his beck and call for the rest of his life. When I rowed the ferry, at least I had control over what I earned. Once Dad insisted Jimmy took over I never knew what money was coming in to feed them all, and if there would ever be enough to cover the rent. I don’t want to live like that for the rest of my life. I’d rather make my own way, however hard that might be.

So that is why you became a cook?

Yes. When Miss Chesterfield bought Afalon and turned the house into a convalescence home for soldiers injured in the fighting in France, she needed a good plain cook. Things were getting difficult at home, especially as Jimmy just wouldn’t take no for an answer and Dad didn’t see why I didn’t do what he wanted, so I couldn’t stay at home any more. So working for Miss Chesterfield offered me a lifeline, especially being a live-in post and being able to earn enough to make sure my brother and sister were looked after.

You must have found it upsetting with so many injured men arriving? Especially that time early in the war when the main hospitals were overflowing and it took men straight from the battlefield.

That was heartbreaking, especially when the men were being brought straight from the trenches and the front line. You’ve never seen anything like it. But the nurses and the VADs were wonderful, even though they’d never had to treat such injuries before. We all pulled together, and I least I felt I was doing something, providing them with good nutritious meals with the vegetables from the kitchen garden to help them recover.

And how do you see the future?

To keep on working as a cook. And, if I can, open a cafe of my own in St Ives, one day, once this war is over. Just like my mum wanted to do, but never had the chance. I know the place. It’s the one Mum would have taken over, if she’d been able. There used to be summer visitors and artists, I feel so sure I’d be able to make a success of it. And I’m not going to give up, not for anything.

And romance? Is there someone special for Hester Pearce?

I so wish I could say yes. But it’s quite impossible. There’s no point in even thinking about it. Even if he survives the war… Anyhow, I’d rather not talk about it. There’s so much sorrow already, with so many men lost, why should I be any different? I’m just going to have to make the best of it, and make my own way in life.

Thank you, Hester. I’m sure with your determination you will succeed. Good luck!

What readers are saying about The Ferryman’s Daughter:

‘This was a superb read, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.’ Being Anne

‘Bursting at the seams with courage and rebellion, and with women smashing the boundaries to become so much more than anyone previously thought they could be.’ The Book Babe

‘A gripping historical well-paced family saga that sweeps the reader along.’ Judith Barrow

It sounds a great read, doesn’t it? You can purchase the book here:

The Ferryman’s Daughter: http://mybook.to/FerrymansDaughter

Sound cloud sample for the audio book: https://bit.ly/37f2Glz

Meet Juliet

Juliet portrait

Bio

Juliet Greenwood has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family, with her great-grandmother having supported her family by nail making in Lye, in the Black Country, near Birmingham in the UK, and her grandmother by working as a cook in a large country house.

Before being published by Orion, Juliet wrote three historical novels for Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, reaching #4 and #5 in the UK kindle store.

Juliet lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea in beautiful Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK, and is to be found dog walking in all weathers, always with a camera to hand…

Social media links

Juliet’s Blog: https://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter            https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

Instagram:     https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 


FB Header - The Stranger In My Bed

My first ever psychological thriller is now on preorder for only 99p.

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover

Apple: http://ow.ly/u5Po50B8dyr

Kobo: http://ow.ly/RvQb50B8dwv

Google: http://ow.ly/1IPa50B8lnh

 

Tuesday Thrillers – Head of the Firm by Caz Finlay

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the gripping and gritty gangland thriller, Head of the Firm by Caz Finlay.

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Blurb:

If you love Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole you won’t be able to put down this gripping gangland crime from Liverpool’s very own Caz Finlay!

Caz Finlay has delivered a belter … The Carter Family will never be the same after this epic roller coaster ride. With the family dynamics torn apart, I was on the edge of my seat until the final page’ Gemma Rogers

A family at war…

Happily married and with two small children, Grace has stepped away from the murky underworld that has shaped so much of her life.  Now Grace is leaving the hard work to the boys – her son Jake Conlon and the notorious Carter twins, Paul and Connor.

But Grace can sense danger better than anyone and trouble is heading their way….

She’ll stop at nothing to protect those she loves, even if it means an all-out gang war on the streets of Liverpool.  But is this one fight Grace can’t win?

Extract:

Prologue

Zak Miller sat patiently on the stolen motorbike with the engine running while he waited for his target to approach. His heart thumped in his chest and the blood pounding in his ears seemed to reverberate off the sides of his motorcycle helmet as its soft leather pushed against his ears. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and focused instead on the rhythmic sound of his breathing – calm and steady, just like he’d been taught. What he was about to do was incredibly risky. It would change the landscape of the Liverpool underworld for ever. The ramifications would be felt far and wide and for years to come. Not only was his target one of the most dangerous and powerful individuals to ever walk the streets of Liverpool, it was also broad daylight, which ensured there were plenty of potential witnesses around. It was a calculated risk, and one that Zak was willing to take. Given that his target was particularly difficult to get close to, and was rarely alone, he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to strike when he happened to know exactly where they would be.

Zak prided himself on being the very best at what he did, and he was getting very good money for this particular job. Money that would set him up for life. It would have to. He planned to disappear pretty quickly once this was over.

He could only hear the loud, rhythmic thumping of his heartbeat now as his target approached. Pulling down the visor of his helmet, he took the Beretta handgun out of his inside jacket pocket and edged the bike forward. A few more seconds and he would have a perfect shot. He watched as his intended victim smiled to themselves – they didn’t have a fucking clue what was coming. As their paths crossed he raised the gun. By the time his target had noticed him, it was too late. He fired one clean shot straight through his victim’s neck. Before they had even hit the floor, Zak hit the throttle and sped off out of sight.

Buy Head Of The Firm and the rest of the Bad Blood series on Amazon, Kobo and Ibooks

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0845MQVJN/ref=series_dp_rw_ca_3

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/head-of-the-firm-bad-blood-book-3

About Caz

caz

Caz Finlay lives in Liverpool with her husband, two children, and a grumpy dog named Bert. She has two BA Hons in Criminal Justice and Community Justice. A Probation Officer for fifteen years, Caz has always been fascinated by the psychology of human behaviour and the reasons people do the things they do. However, it was the loss of her son in 2016 which prompted her to rediscover her love of writing and write her first novel, The Boss. Caz is currently writing the fourth instalment in the Bad Blood series and is also the co-founder of Perfect Crime festival.

Follow Caz on social media:

Facebook – Caz Finlay Author

Twitter – @cjfinlaywriter

Instagram –

Visit my website – cazfinlay.com

Email me at cazjfinlay@gmail.com

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your novel, Caz.


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The cover of my first ever psycholigical thriller will be revealed at 4pm today! 

 

Friday Reads – Networking for Writers by Lizzie Chantree

Now and again I run a Friday Reads post to promote a book that I think deserves a shout out. Networking for Writers, by Lizzie Chantree, is one of those books. If you want to know how to market your book more efficiently, how to use social media and network to increase your sales then do check out her book.

Networking for writers. Samm doc. By Lizzie Chantree

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.

Read an extract from Networking for Writers.

I have always been fascinated with information and learning new things. Over the years, I’ve met lots of people who I now see as part of my ‘network,’ my group of interconnected friends and acquaintances. They have helped me to evolve into the bestselling author I am today.

I have had a very varied career path, and I believe that a lot of my success is due to the contacts I have made at every stage of my working life. The links can reach across decades and the process ebbs and flows both ways. This book has been written in uncertain times, during the global pandemic, but even now, when people are isolated and unsure, they have found new ways to connect, to reach out and communicate and to inspire each other with innovation and kindness.

I have written this book to help writers find their own network and learn how to communicate well with their readers and social media followers. In my book, I talk about how networking can help writers, author branding, Facebook groups, networking hours, hashtags for writers, social media timelines, book marketing and so much more.  I hope it will offer support to new writers, but also assist established creatives and writers, directing them towards new methods of establishing their writing brand and expanding their social media sites beyond recognition.

It sounds really useful, doesn’t it? The book will be available on October 29th but you can preorder now.

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Meet Lizzie

Lizzie Chantree. Author photo small

Author bio:

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantreehttps://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Lizzie. It sounds brilliant!


 

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Meet the Characters – Leila Jones from The Last Charm by Ella Allbright

Today I’m delighted to welcome Ella Allbright to the blog. Ella is interviewing Leila Jones from her epic love story The Last Charm, which is being described as perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December. Let’s find out a bit about the book first.

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Blurb

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.

This is the story of her… and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.

So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Buy Links

Ebook

Amazon – https://amzn.to/3a1kroG, Kobo – https://bit.ly/2w0e32r or Google Play http://bit.ly/3a4wjpQ

Audiobook

Amazon https://amzn.to/31WjDin  or Kobo https://bit.ly/2E4RPAm

Now let’s move onto Ella’s interview with Leila

Tell us about your charm bracelet – it’s beautiful.

Thank you so much. It’s my most precious possession. Mum left it behind as a gift on the evening she left me and Dad, the day before my eleventh birthday. For a long time, I really hated her, but as I grew up it turned into resentment more than anything else, and I suppose a fear of being left again… I definitely have trust issues! Dad’s an amazing single parent, but there have definitely been times I’ve missed having a mum to ask for advice from. Still, at least she sends charms every now and then so I know she thinks of me, at least sometimes. Jake gave me one too when we were in secondary school together for a single day. He hid the tiny book charm in the pages of a Jilly Cooper novel he returned to me, before he left town. We didn’t see each other for quite a while after that.

Which is your favourite charm, and why?

That’s really tough. I have quite a few now, and each one represents a significant memory, with the power to make me laugh, smile or cry. If I really had to pick one, it would be the tiny silver musical note charm. My friends clubbed together and gave it to me for my twenty-second birthday at dinner, after we saw Coldplay in concert in Cardiff. It was an amazing night despite the pouring rain because the atmosphere was electric, and Jake and I made up after a disagreement we’d had. It’s a lovely memory.

What’s your favourite place in the world, and why?

This is an easy one – Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast. I went to an end of school party there a couple of months before my sixteenth birthday. We’re lucky to live only 45 minutes away, and the limestone archway that curves into the sea is absolutely spectacular, whether you visit day or night. My favourite time to go is dusk; nothing beats sitting on the shingled beach watching the sunset. I just love it when the stars come out too – it feels otherworldly. I go there to paint if I need inspiration or if my mood needs uplifting. It also reminds me of a particular night, when I saved a certain someone’s life…

Who is your favourite person in the world, and why?

Ha! Speaking of a certain person… Jake, although I wouldn’t necessarily tell him that! He’s the most wonderful person, but at the times, the most aggravating. Still, he’s the one of the wisest and supportive people I know, and has always been there for me no matter what, even if at times I haven’t appreciated it. He also writes the most beautiful letters – he has the soul of a poet. We met when he was thirteen and I was eleven, and ever since then we’ve moved in and out of each other’s lives – a bit like Marianne and Connell in Normal People…

How does painting, and sharing your art with people, make you feel?

Truthfully, it makes me shudder. What if they don’t like it, or think it’s no good? Art is so subjective, and what one person might love, another might hate. It’s also the thought of the spotlight being on me that makes it worse – I’m naturally an introvert and happiest when I’m painting in the garden wearing dungarees. Still, Jake’s been encouraging me to paint more and follow my dreams, and I’m slowly starting to believe that I might have talent, thanks to him. We’ll see what happens.

What’s your worst character trait?

I can be quite defensive when I feel vulnerable, like when things take me by surprise or if I’m being pressured to take risks, especially emotional ones. That’s normally when those perky trust issues crop up again.

I can have a quick temper too. It used to get me in trouble a lot when I was a teenager, and though I’ve worked on it and try to be patient, I can sometimes lose my cool with the people I love the most. I hope I have some redeeming qualities too though – Jake has always said that my art helped him get through some really tough things as he was growing up. Apparently my paintings gave him hope, and somewhere to escape to.

And finally, cats or dogs?

Definitely dogs. I have a tri-coloured beagle called Fleur – named after Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter – that Dad bought me the summer I sat my GCSE exams. I’d been campaigning for years for a puppy, and he finally caved in because I’d done well in school (no more skiving for me, though that’s a story for another day!) Fleur is adorable and such a character. She’s a huge part of our family and absolutely loves Jake, sometimes I think more than she does me!

Reviews

‘A gorgeously romantic love story full of heart and poignancy that lasts long after the beautifully uplifting ending.’ Alex Brown, bestselling author of A Postcard from Italy

‘Magical, heartwarming, charming, heartbreaking, enthralling… really, this book is simply beautiful.’ Sarah L, Netgalley Reviewer

Meet Ella

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Short Bio

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Last Charm is published in ebook and audiobook format on 21 August 2020 by One More Chapter (HarperCollins) and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership.

Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

You can contact Ella here:

Twitter: @NikkiMoore_Auth

Facebook: facebook.com/EllaAllbrightWrites

Instagram: @Authorbythesea1207

WordPress:    nikkimooreauthor.wordpress.com

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Ella. Wishing you lots of sales! 


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

 

Meet the Characters – Florence Boot of Mrs Boots of Pelham Street by Deborah Carr

I’m delighted to welcome author Deborah Carr to my blog today.  Her historical novel, Mrs Boots of Pelham Street was published on 15th May. Deborah is interviewing her character Florence Boot today. Let’s take a look at the gorgeous cover and learn a bit more about this heartwarming book.

Mrs Boots of Pelham Street cover USE Large

Blurb:

Behind every family there’s a strong woman holding them together.

As the wife of esteemed businessman, Jesse Boot, Florence’s position in society is much changed from her quiet life as a shopkeeper’s assistant.  Now a lady of means, Florence is expected to act in a way society demands.

And whilst Florence is more than happy to be a dutiful wife and a doting mother, as the Boots empire continues to grow, there is so much more to her than simply being Mama or dearest.  Helping the staff and customers who rely on her and the business gives Florence an added purpose.

Can she show society that a woman can have it all…?

You can purchase the book here:

Amazon: https://geni.us/acYctQ

Well that’s certainly got my interest! Now let’s move onto the interview with Florence Boot

Thank you, Florence for inviting me into your comfortable office in your new Boots store in Pelham Street.

What do you miss most about living in Jersey now that you’re based in Nottingham with your husband Jesse and three children, John, Dorothy and Margery?

We’ve recently moved from our home in Sheffield to a larger beautiful brick house in Nottingham with a beautiful park nearby so that we’re closer to our new flagship store in Pelham Street. We’re very happy there. Apart from my parents and three siblings who are all in Jersey, it’s the sea that I miss most about my home island. Although my parents still live in the flat above my father’s stationery shop at 27 Queen Street, it’s only about a ten-minute walk to the sea front either at Havre des Pas or near St Helier Harbour.

Your early working life was as a shop assistant in your father’s stationery shop in Jersey, how different is it working on the island to your working day in Nottingham?

I always considered Queen Street where W H Rowe Stationers is to be very busy, and for a small island it is, but it’s nothing like the busy streets of Nottingham. The hustle and bustle of the busy streets in Nottingham is another thing entirely. It took me a little while to become used to so many people, horses, Hansom cabs, but it is exciting and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t enjoy going to work. Also the size of the Pelham Street shop is vast compared to my father’s stationers.

You’re a lady of means now and have a standing in society, why do you still work such long hours in your office each day?

I love my work supporting my husband, Jesse as we build our business. My children are small and it doesn’t matter if they come to work with me because I have enough room for them in my office to play and nap, so I can still spend most of my time with them while they’re little. I believe that marriage shouldn’t be the end of a working life for a woman and so I lead by example to my female staff by working hard and that will also hopefully install a good work ethic into my three children.

You’re always trying to find ways to help your female staff? What is it that you want most for them?

I was shocked to learn that a great number of women struggle to bring in enough money each week to keep their family fed and clothed. It is heart-breaking to think that many of them go without breakfast before a long working day to ensure there’s enough food to feed their husband and children. This is why I now provide cocoa first thing each day for each of my staff. I want to help the women who work for Boots to have the best future they can. It’s especially difficult for them when society dictates that they follow traditional expectations of them. I believe they should be able to make their own decisions about their future and I hope to help them realise ways to do this.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Being able to help others. I am lucky to have such a supportive husband who values my ideas and encourages me to put any them into practice, like the electric lighting we have installed in the Pelham Street store and changing the way the shops are laid out and the things we sell.

One of your famous innovative ideas for the Boots shops was the Boots Booklovers’ Libraries. Why was it so important for you to fight for these to be included in your shops?

I believe that reading should be available to everyone to enjoy. Reading is a way for all of us to educate ourselves and I think that through reading books we learn more about opportunities and different ways of life. It is also a wonderful way for people to escape their lives even if for a few minutes each day.

I can imagine that you have many plans for the future of Boots. Are there any that you can share with me today?

Only that whatever future plans my husband Jesse and I put into action, they will be with the intention of helping enrich both our customers’ and our members of staff’s daily life. We are lucky to be in a position to be able to help others in many ways and we never want to have to stop doing that.

Review comments:

‘Fabulous’ USA TODAY bestseller Glynis Peters

‘A captivating historical novel that would make perfect Sunday evening TV.’ Kraftireader

‘Florence a true believer in the power of women and that they deserve respect and equality. I didn’t want it to end.’ Amazon Reviewer

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/acYctQ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2XSbxVU

Hive.co.uk: https://www.hive.co.uk/search/9780008377113

iTunes: https://apple.co/3f6jtd0

Meet Deborah

Deborah Med

Author Bio:

Deborah Carr is the USA TODAY best-selling author of The Poppy Field. She is currently writing her third book in the Mrs Boots series, Mrs Boots Goes To War to be published in 2021 along with a standalone novel set during The Occupation of Jersey during WW2, titled, An Island At War.

She sets most of her books at least partly on the island of Jersey where she lives with her husband and three lovable rescue dogs five minutes away from two beaches.

Deborah was described as ‘One to Watch’ by Good Housekeeping magazine for her debut historical romance, Broken Faces. She is also one third of The Blonde Plotters writing group and a Co-Founder of multi-award-winning tech start-up MyVLF.com – the first global virtual literary festival venue platform developed to connect readers and authors.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://deborahcarr.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahCarrAuthor/

Twitter: @DebsCarr https://twitter.com/DebsCarr

Instagram: ofbooksandbeaches https://www.instagram.com/ofbooksandbeaches/

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Deborah. Wishing you many sales!


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Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page

 

Tuesday Thrillers – Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker.

My Tuesday Thriller this week is the ‘edge-of-the-seat’ crime novel, Secrets of a Serial Thriller by Rosie Walker.

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Blurb:

There it is: fear. It’s crawling all over her face and in her eyes, like a swarm of insects, and it’s all because of him.

A serial killer has been terrorising Lancaster for decades, longer than should ever have been possible. The police are baffled, eluded at every turn by the killer whose victims span generations. Speculation is rife among the true crime forums; is someone passing on their gruesome trade?

Every local mother’s worst nightmare has become Helen Summerton‘s reality; he’s taken her daughter, Zoe. As the clock runs down so do her chances of survival. Can Helen unearth the secrets of the killer before it’s too late?

A gripping serial killer thriller that you won’t be able to put down. Perfect for fans of The Whisper ManWhat You Did and Don’t Even Breathe.

Buy Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B083P3P6NZ

HarperCollins: https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008399962/secrets-of-a-serial-killer

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/secrets-of-a-serial-killer

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rosie_Walker_Secrets_of_a_Serial_Killer?id=767IDwAAQBAJ

EXTRACT FROM SECRETS OF A SERIAL KILLER

Letter from the Leonard McVitie Archive,
John Rylands Library
Date: 1959–1985

Lancaster Lune Hospital
Lancaster, Lancashire
LA1 3JR
23 November 1984

Dear X,

I have watched the life leave the eyes of so many that I easily identify the signs as my own body begins to shut down. I know I will soon die, so I write to inform you that it is your turn to take up the mantle.

Work your charm; they will like you. You wear it well; they won’t sense who you are underneath. They can’t understand that you’re not interested in their thoughts, their feelings, their love. You’re interested in their fight, their attempts to flee, the smell of fear oozing from their skin.

I know that fear has always been your favourite, especially when you are the cause. Fear is vigilance. It’s universal to all animals, but only humans can override it and pretend it’s irrational. Only humans would experience fear, push it away and instead share a conversation with the predator; accept an invitation, smile and flirt and hope for more than they deserve. You were born for this life.

My teachings are complete, and your personal range of emotions is small yet efficient: joy, neutrality, or pure rage. All other emotions you choose to project are the result of careful study, manufactured for the benefit of your audience. The slight drop of your eyebrows to demonstrate disappointment. The narrowing of your eyes to indicate disgust. The barely detectable dip of your head to suggest disapproval. You have mastered it all.

You have been my best student. I trust that you will protect and enhance my legacy.

Yours sincerely,

Leonard McVitie

***

DAY ONE
Helen

Helen leans her elbows on the railings and gazes up at the Gothic turrets of the derelict hospital as the sun begins to rise. A light mist hovers just above the ground, highlighting the dew on the grass.

Some window panes are broken, probably by stone-throwing vandals before the security company began twenty-four-hour patrols. She’s been taking regular walks around the grounds for the past couple of months, getting a feel for the building in all seasons and weathers.

She scans each window, searching for movement inside. As a child she was fixated on the supernatural, but now that she’s in her fifties, the history of such places is far more fascinating than spirits and ghouls. She shakes her head, smiling at her overactive imagination.

The wind picks up, rustling through the trees above her head and needling her skin through her woolly jumper. She shivers.

Why did the architects build their ‘lunatics’ such an ornate prison? It is a magnificent structure; she loves the flying buttresses, like the legs of a spider about to scuttle away. The dirty red sandstone seems more suited to a reclusive prince living on a stormy cliff-top in a Victorian novel than for the so-called ‘feeble-minded’ of nineteenth-century Lancashire. This massive building was once known as ‘The Annexe’, an extension of the original County Lunatic Asylum constructed in the 1880s to house the masses of mental patients shipped to the county from all across the north of England.

Once looming over barren moorland and visible for miles, it’s now almost hidden from the city, concealed within the trees. She loves the way that nature takes over a building once mankind abandons it: shoots sprouting from rooftops and ivy pushing apart the brickwork. It feels life-affirming that the natural world will still continue after we’re gone.

It’s a shame they can’t just leave it as it is: retain the ivy and the moss and the spindly saplings that grow from the gutters. But, sadly, people want to make money, and part of Helen’s job is to help carve up this beautiful old building.

Alfie pulls hard on his lead, his tongue hanging from his mouth as he struggles against the collar. She bends down.

‘Alright, but don’t run off,’ she says as she releases the clip.

As expected, the dog immediately disappears into the nearest clump of bushes, flushing a squawking pheasant into the air and away. She hears him burst out from the other side of the undergrowth and jogs ahead to keep him in sight. He is running away, and fast. Helen shouts and whistles as she sees him push through a gap in the fence and run towards the building.

‘Alfie! No! Bad dog!’ she calls, but he ignores her and continues running until he is out of sight. She knows he won’t run far; he just gets excited. But the building is derelict and riddled with asbestos.

Helen groans.

She follows at a jog, squeezing through the gap in the fence and pushing across the overgrown lawn in front of the hospital, thistles tugging at her jeans.

It’s thrilling to get closer to the building, with a genuine reason if anyone challenges her. So far in this phase of work she’s only seen dusty floor plans, concept sketches and asbestos reports during dull scoping meetings and budget discussions.

She slows for a moment to take in the imposing façade up close, initials carved above each tracery window and ornate parapets along the roof. The six-storey water tower looms over the main entrance, where a stone staircase rises up to wooden double-doors. The basement floor is half-submerged, with letterbox windows at knee-level.

She remembers the floor plan she pored over last week: there’s a double-height entrance hall behind those doors, with a sweeping staircase in the centre, and long corridors branching off to the east and west wings: the wards and seclusion cells. East for female patients, west for male. The hospital was designed to house the infirm in small rooms, crammed to maximum capacity and maximum practicality.

She passes the main entrance, where the doors are secured with a chunky padlock and chain. ‘Alfie?’ she shouts, but he still doesn’t return.

She passes through a stone archway into a horseshoe-shaped courtyard, which must have been the loading dock with access to the kitchens, laundry and store rooms. A door stands open in the far corner where the main hall branches into the west wing, a dark hole gaping in the stone wall.

She feels a shiver of anticipation. Alfie must have gone inside. She has to go after him.

Publication dates:

Ebook: out now

Audiobook: 6th August

Paperback: 15th October

Meet Rosie

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Bio:

Rosie Walker is a debut novelist who lives in Edinburgh with her husband Kevin and their dog Bella. Rosie gained a Masters in Creative Writing with distinction from the University of Edinburgh in 2011, where she learned to talk about writing over a gin and tonic, and accept critical feedback with grace.

She also has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lancaster University, where she learned how to pull an all-nighter to hit a deadline right at the last minute.

Secrets of a Serial Killer, her first novel, is out now in ebook. Her second novel is coming in 2021.

Contact links:

https://www.facebook.com/rosiewalkerauthor

https://twitter.com/ciderwithrosie

https://www.instagram.com/rosiejanewalker/

https://www.rosiejanewalker.com/

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Rosie. Wishing you many sales. 


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My  first psychological thriller will be out later this year. Look out for the cover reveal, coming soon.

 

Meet the Characters – Jack Green from Summer Island by Natalie Normann

I’m delighted to welcome author Natalie Normann onto my Meet the Characters blog today. Natalie is interviewing Jack Green, the MC from her novel Summer Island.

Cover Summer Island

Blurb: 

He never meant to stay.
He certainly never meant to fall in love…

Summer Island off the coast of Norway was the place London chef Jack Greene should have been from. He’s an outsider in the community that should have been his family, and now he’s setting foot on the strange land he has inherited for the first time.

Ninni Toft, his nearest neighbour, has come to the island to mend her broken heart. With her wild spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm, she shows city-boy Jack the simple pleasures of island life – and what it means to belong. To a place. To a people. To one person in particular…

Home is where the heart is, but is Jack’s heart with the career he left behind in London, or on the wind-swept shores of Summer Island, with Ninni?

Buyers links.

 https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008362676/summer-island/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZG82B33?tag=harpercollins-21

Interview with Jack Green, renowned Chef and island dweller

I find Jack in the kitchen, apparently that’s his favourite place. It’s a roomy, shiny kitchen, with all the equipment a modern chef needs to do his magic; hanging from hooks over a large work counter. I have no idea what he uses most of them for and it seems rude to ask.

He’s pulling food out of a large fridge and setting the plates down on the counter, when I plant myself on one of the highchairs on the other side.

‘Right, Jack. Why Norway? What on earth made you come to this wind swept piece of rock in the middle of the North Atlantic?’

He seems annoyed by the question. Jack is patient, but he also have an impressive collection of seriously sharp chefs knives.  Maybe I should rephrase that. ‘I mean, it’s a nice rock, but still. You’re from London, for goodness sake.’

‘If you had seen me on my first day here, you would never have thought I’d stay longer than a week.  This place, it grows on you.’ He waves his knife at the window where the rain is hammering on the glass. ‘Even now.’

‘As I understand it, you didn’t know anything about this island before you arrived?’

‘No, I had no idea what to expect.  Before I came here, I was a bit lost, to be honest. It was such a strange place, so different from what I was used to. I have lived in London all my life, and I couldn’t really picture myself living any other place. The contrast was … felt, enormous.’

Jack is making me a sandwich,  an open sandwich, because that’s how we make them in Norway. He points at the different plates of food on the table in front of him. There’s different types of ham, fruits and berries, jam, eggs and sausages, fish, and bacon – it looks like a Norwegian dream breakfast. Me, I usually manage fine on a glass of ice coffee.

‘See this? All sorts of stuff to put on your bread. It even has a word: pålegg. It’s brilliant.’ Jack grins. ‘Sweet or savoury?’

‘Oh, for me? Hm. Savoury, I think. Why don’t your surprise me? But no mustard, mayonnaise and raw onions, please.’

Jack takes the challenge. He cuts a piece of rustic looking brown bread and starts to butter it. Then looks up. ‘You prefer not toasted, right?’

I nod. ‘I have a toaster, but I never use it. Did you bake the bread?’

‘Of course. The bread is fresh from this morning. Do you like liver pate?’

‘Sure. You seem awfully fascinated by Norwegian food. Why is that? No pickles, please. I hate those too.’

Jack thought about it. ‘Well, I’m classicly trained, in French cooking, and my favourites are the rustic, homely meals, the one you eat for comfort or when it’s cold and you fancy something to warm your cockles.’

‘Your what now?’ My imagination has no nice translation of that word, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have any cockles.

‘The cockles of your heart? No?’ Jack sighes when I shake my head. ‘It means something nice and good, actually. Like your hygge, maybe.’

‘Okay.’ I snatch a piece of bacon before he can stop me. ‘So that’s what Norwegian food does for you? It doesn’t really do that for me. I’m more of a pasta girl, myself.’

‘That too. I mean, traditional food here isn’t that different from what we have back home. Norwegians have lived of the sea and the land for centuries, just like we used to do in the UK. And we survived fine without access to all sorts of exotic produce that now has to be flown in from the other side of the world. Also food here is suprisingly expensive, especially imported food.’

‘So you’re fascinated by the food here. Is that enough to keep life here interesting for you?’

‘We’ll have to see, won’t we? For now, this is what I want,’ he says with a huge smile.

He cuts a thick slice of pate and puts it on the bread, then garnish with bacon and something foamy that I don’t know what is, and ends it with adding what looks like jam made of some kind of berries.

‘Here. Try this. Now, as you know, normally, you’d eat the sandwich with your hands. But this is more of an artisan sandwich, so you might want this.’

He hands me a set of cutlery. I frown, still staring at the plate in front of me. It doesn’t look like any kind of sandwich from my breakfast table, I can tell you that. ‘This is really more a Danish kind of sandwich, you know,’ I say.

Jack grins. ‘I wouldn’t know the difference, I’m afraid. And a piece of cold bread with a slice of cheese on it, isn’t much of a meal, is it?’

He’s right about that.

I look at the plate again. ‘What is all this … stuff you’ve put on here?’

Jack is already making another sandwich, presumably for himself. ‘It’s a local pate, made from an old recipe here on the island. The bacon is of course not from the island. There are no pig farmers here so we get that from the mainland. The foam is made from locally harvested mushrooms, also on the mainland, but the jam is crowberries that grow wild here. They are really good with meat, I think,’ Jack says, pointing at each component with his knife.

I love crowberries, I just haven’t had it on a sandwich before. I cut a piece, making sure to get a bit of everything, and put it in my mouth. It’s so good, it’s practically religious, and I’m not even a huge fan of liver pate.

‘Are you experimenting with local produce, so that you can bring new recipes to London? I mean, your former position as a young, promising chef, meant that people had expectations. They still do, I should think.’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know? ‘ Jack says, winking at me.

I would actually, but I have to write it

What readers are saying about Summer Island

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely uplifting story

I loved this book from the start, saw it by chance in Twitter so glad I did! I’ve never been to Norway, it’s on my to do list, but I felt as if I have been there after reading this book as it’s so well described, likewise with the characters. I really want a dog like Fikke! I will be downloading the next book and any further books by Natalie, if you like books by Sarah Bennett, Daisy James and Sue Moorcroft to name just a few then this is the book for you!

Meet Natalie

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Bio:

Natalie Normann grew up in a shipping town on the west-coast of Norway and always wanted to be a writer. Actually, she wanted to smoke cigars and drink whiskey like Hemingway but settled for chocolate and the occasional glass of Baileys. Her writing journey started with short stories in women’s magazines until her first book was published in 1995.
Summer Island is her first romance written in English

Contact links
Instagram. natalienormann

 

Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Natalie. 


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