Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jennifer Young ~ an interview and her novel Looking for Charlotte

Jennifer Young

Author Bio:

I live in Edinburgh and I write romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I’ve been writing all my life and my first book was published in February 2014, though I’ve had short stories published before then. The thing that runs through all my writing is an interest in the world around me. I love travel and geography and the locations of my stories is always important to me. And of course I love reading — anything and everything.


Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: I’m a peculiar mix, part lark, part owl. Monday to Friday I’m up before seven and in the gym by half past, productive most of the day and flagging in the evenings then going early to bed. But at weekends I’m the opposite: I have to be dragged out of my bed kicking and screaming. But maybe that’s because I work so hard during the week. (Or maybe because I’m a lazy toad at heart.)

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I would say my music tastes are pretty broad. I like most stuff from the eighties onwards — currently I’m keen on The Killers and a bit of Taylor Swift, although Robbie Williams singing swing always go down well. When I’m writing I tend to have a playlist for each book which I listen to incessantly as I write. And my all-time favourite? It’s probably The water boys and The Whole of the Moon.
Q: Dress up or dress down?
A: Down, whenever I possibly can. I’d much rather be comfortable than stylish. When I dress up it can go spectacularly wrong, like the time I went to a smart dinner and ceilidh (Scottish dancing) only to realise when I arrived that I’d forgotten to change my shoes and was wearing a comfy pair of loafers. Great for the dancing, though!

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A: A bit of both. I have a notebook at the very start and I jot down all sorts of things - ideas, character notes, snippets of dialogue. then when I have enough I sit down to put them in some kind of order and see what that tells me about the plot. Not all of them have enough - I’ve plenty of notebooks full of ideas that never made it.
Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: Oh, always! The trouble is that as I write the plot changes. It’s not uncommon for me to change the ending several times and sometimes I think that even when a book is complete, if I had another edit I’d change the ending. My current novel, Looking For Charlotte, is a classic example of that — the ending could have gone either way.
Q: Have your characters ever taken the story in a different direction than you had originally planned? Do you have a for instance, for us?
A: You mean, apart from the ones who can’t make their minds up? Yes, often. Most spectacularly, in my second book, No Time Like Now, one of the minor characters, who was in a sexual but not emotional relationship with the hero, proceeded to fall in love with him and then decided to confide in the heroine. Believe me, that took a lot of sorting out!
Q: What geographical locations are your favorite and why?
A: I studied geography, I love travelling and I do a bit of travel writing on the side…basically, wherever I am there’s a story. I don’t have a favourite location although most of my ideas come to me when I’m on holiday so the tend to have holiday-type locations. Not always, though. One day I’ll choose somewhere gritty not pretty and see what I come up with.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I’m half way through a trilogy set on Lake Garda, in northern Italy. It’s a variant on the Romeo and Juliet theme, with two warring families and it tells the stories of three young women who are caught up in it. It’s the first time I’ve tried anything other than just stand-alone books so it’s a challenge to make sure the characters develop throughout - and of course I have to keep going back to put things in Book 1 as they develop!

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: My third book, Looking For Charlotte, was published on 22 April by Tirgearr Publishing. I’d call it contemporary romance/women’s fiction, with a dash of mystery and it’s set in one of my favourite locations, the dramatic — and sometimes bleak — scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Flora Wilson sets out to find the body of a murdered child, Charlotte Anderson, when the police have given up on her, putting her own relationships under pressure as she struggles to bring closure to the child’s mother.
Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A: I’m all over the place….
Tirgearr Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon US





Q: Are you currently participating in a blog tour? If you are let’s tell everyone where you’re going to be so they can catch up with you again.
A: Yes, I’m on a tour and these are the places you can find me: 

1st May
4th May
5th May
6th May
7th May
8th May

Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found. Convinced that she failed her own children, now grown up and seldom at home, Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings.

As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to challenge the very fabric of her life — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe, and her relationships with her three children.

I was married in June.  It’s supposed to be lucky, June. We had the full works. Marquee, ceilidh band, the lot.’ Over the years she’d tried to forget about it, but suddenly it surged up in her mind dappled sunshine, rose-petal confetti, flower girls, laughter. Lucky horseshoes.
Jo and I married in a church on Loch Lomondside. Reception in a local hotel. We even had the view down to the water, just like this. It had snowed the day before. And there was a moon. Gorgeous. ’
She could see that he was just as reluctant to recall the details. Their weddings had been a long time ago. How we must both have changed.’
Change happens to everyone in the end. It’s just that it comes to some of us sooner than others.’
Yes. Think of poor Suzanne Beauchamp.’
The silence persisted. They moved along the terrace a little way, isolating themselves from the clustered smokers, breath and cigarette-smoke mingling to make a fog of the night air.
Actually,’ said Philip, after a moment, I wanted to talk to you about that.’
About what?’
Suzanne Beauchamp. Though I know this isn’t the time or the place. But you mentioned it.’
‘Go on.’ Of course it was the right time, the right place. It was because of the drink and because of the memories and because it showed he cared.
You aren’t going to find that girl.’
I might. Charlotte.’ She has a name. She narrowed her lips, her eyes, not in a scowl but in determination.
Flora, she’s dead. She could be buried anywhere. You’re chasing some ridiculous shadow for reasons of your own. You’re letting it take over your life.’
‘Im not.
You are. I never see you. You’re always out. You’re always tired. It’s making you unhappy.’
It isn’t.’ No, it isn’t that.
And at the end of the day you won’t find her.
She has to be somewhere.’
She does, but you don’t know where. And you won’t find out. How can you? We don’t even know if the clues on his letter were right. He could just have dumped her in a loch somewhere and made up the rest.’
He might. Or he might not.’ Flora stared out at the nearest thing to stare at, a few straggly shrub branches, iced and still. If you want to see me you could come with me when I look. He would laugh if she said that, or worse, shrug his shoulders and look away.
I think you should drop it before you make a fool of yourself.’ Then, after the silence he said, Sorry. Wrong time, wrong place.’
a Rafflecopter giveaway Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:

I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter.  I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s
I certainly did. Thanks for hosting me!

Just a reminder to the reader ~ before you leave please take a look at the  
Funny/Stupid and Interesting Tabs.

Come back and visit again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hannah Fielding ~ an interview an her novel Indiscretion

Hannah Fielding


Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like.
A: Winter: I love to snuggle up in an armchair in front of a log fire with a good book while a howling gale is raging outside.
Spring: I love watching nature wake up after a long slumber. Everything seems brighter: the birds are singing again, the grass has a special fresh smell and the vegetation sparkles with new growth.
Summer: I love the warm weather. The fruit in the orchard and vegetables in the garden are glowing, ripe for picking; the sun is shining in an azure sky and the butterflies and bees are enjoying the flowers.
Fall: I love the nostalgic poetry of autumn, with its kaleidoscope of russet-colored leaves, the smell of damp earth as you walk, and the light that is soft and melancholic so that it catches at your soul as the summer gradually blows away.

Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep soundly. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A:I grew up in a rambling house on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I could hear the ocean waves at night; they used to lull me to sleep and infuse my dreams. When I moved away, for a long time I missed that familiar sound. Today, when I am in my house in France, I can hear the waves lapping the shore of the beach just across the road. It’s wonderfully soothing.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I love music: it has such power to move, to affect, to inspire. When I write at my desk, I often have music on in the background – carefully selected to reflect the mood of the particular chapter I’m writing. I have many favourite singers but no favourite song: Italian, Peppino di Capri; French, Alain Barrière; American, The Beach Boys; Spanish, Julio Iglésias; Greek, Demis Roussos. The list goes on!

Q: List these in order of preference, French food, Chinese food, Italian food, Indian food, home cooking, backyard BBQ.
A: 1)  Home cooking, because if I say so myself, I’m an excellent cook: I use the best ingredients and that way I’m sure I know exactly what has gone into the pot!
2)  Chinese food, because it’s different: light, with wonderfully fragrant aromas. We don’t often have it so it’s a real treat.
3)  Italian food; I love the way they cook vegetables and fish.
4)  French food; I love it but it is sometimes too rich for me.
5)  Backyard BBQ; as long as there’s lots of salad to accompany.
6)  Indian food; a little too spicy and strong for my liking.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: Stories and writing have always been part of my life. My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father, a great raconteur, published a book about the history of our family.

My governess used to tell me the most fabulous tales and when I was seven, we came to an agreement: for every story she told me, I told her one in return. Later, at the convent school I went to, the French nuns who taught us sowed in me a love of words and of literature. When I was fourteen, I wrote short romantic stories that I circulated in class, which made me very popular with my peers but less so with the nuns! In addition, since a young age I have kept some sort of a diary where I note my feelings, ideas and things that take my fancy (or not).

To quote Anais Nin: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write.” I do all that. Writing is my life.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: I find the hardest and the most challenging parts for me are the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph. The first must encourage the reader to continue his or her journey into the novel, to want to get to know the characters and their story; and the last must leave the reader with a feeling of contentment and maybe a tinge of melancholy because the voyage has come to an end and it is as if he or she is saying farewell to a friend.

Q: Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?
A: I have a very rigid routine which has served me well. Having researched my facts thoroughly, I plan my novel down to the smallest detail. Planning ahead, I have found, makes the writing so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable. I use my plan as a map. I never set out on a long journey by car without a map, and the same applies to my writing.

Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A: One of my favourite quotes about writer’s block is this: “Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: ‘Fool!’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart, and write.’”
― Sir Philip Sidney
 I have two ways of dealing with writer’s block.
The first one is patience. If you sit there in front of a blank page – and I’ve done that, sometimes for as much as a couple of hours – the muse eventually takes pity on you and visits.
The second one is to get into my car and drive to a place that has inspired me in the past. It might be a garden overlooking the sea, a meadow carpeted with wildflowers if I’m searching for a setting for a love scene, or a cafe bustling with people where I can find the description for one of my characters.


Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: This summer, my publisher is planning to bring out Masquerade, Book 2 of The Andalucian Nights Trilogy of which Indiscretion, launched in April, was the first.

About Masquerade:
A young Spanish writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair – until an unexpected attraction pulls her into a world of secrets, revenge and mystery.

Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as a biographer to a famous artist. On her first day back, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart. Even though relationships with gypsies are taboo and her family are suspicious of his kind, Luz becomes fascinated by him.

Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the suave, sophisticated Andres de Calderon. Reserved but darkly compelling, he is completely different to Leandro – and almost the doppelganger of the gypsy. Both of them stir feelings in Luz that are unfamiliar and exciting, but danger, secrets and lies surround the two men in ways she has yet to discover.

Luz must decide where her heart lies, and determine the price of desire – her happiness, her ruin, or something far worse? Should she listen to the gypsy witch who appears with strange warnings about Gemini? And who will she finally choose, the gypsy or the hidalgo?

Q: How can we find you?
A: Here are some links:
Twitter: @fieldinghannah 

Indiscretion is my new romance book.

The Blurb:

1950’s London. Alexandra, a young writer is bored of her suffocating but privileged life amongst the gilded balls and parties of Chelsea. Keen for an adventure, Alexandra travels to Spain to be reunited with her estranged Spanish family on a huge estate in Andalucía.

Arriving in sun-drenched southern Spain for the first time, Alexandra is soon caught up in the wild customs of the region. From bull fighting matadors and the mysterious Gypsy encampments in the grounds of the family’s estate, to the passionate dances of the region and the incredible horsemanship of the local caballeros, Alexandra is instantly seduced by the drama and passion of her new home.

When Alexandra inevitably falls for Salvador, the mercurial heir to her family’s estate and the region’s most eligible man, she finds herself entangled in a web of secrets, lies and indiscretion. Alexandra soon falls prey to scheming members of her own family, the jealousy of a beautiful marquésa and the predatory charms of a toreador, all intent on keeping the two lovers apart.

But nothing can prepare Alexandra for Salvador’s own dangerous liaisons with a dark-eyed Gypsy.

Can Alexandra trust that love will triumph, or will Salvador’s indiscretion be their undoing?

An Excerpt of Indiscretion

 "Turning into the Calle de la Iglesia, Alexandra was immediately struck by the contrast between the quarter she had just walked through and this one. Here, the street was immersed in the shade of giant flame trees and life suddenly slowed to a more leisurely pace. She passed white houses tucked away between clumps of pomegranate trees; orchards hemmed in by dry stone walls; hedges of aloe; secret, leafy patios, the domain of women and their families, where the warbling of birds and the smothered laughter of young girls mingled with the soft murmur of fountains.

She had almost reached the end of the street when bells began ringing the Angelus, calling worshippers to Evensong. To her right was a small chapel. It seemed so welcoming, the garden planted out with roses and mimosas, front doors open, inviting passersby to enter.

On impulse, she went in. Inside, it was dark, quiet and cool. The organ was playing softly and the scent of orange blossom and roses filled the place. Alexandra was overcome by a feeling of great serenity and slowly moved towards the altar.

Her eyes took a few minutes to grow accustomed to the relative gloom. On each side of the main aisle, ten or so rows of oak benches stood in perfect orderly fashion. There were flowers everywhere: in garlands, in dainty crystal vases on the altar, in bunches of various sizes, placed as offerings at the feet of the statues of saints that filled the church. Several candles burned in thanks for prayers that had been answered; all were witness to the faith and gratitude of the devout worshipers who had carefully placed them there.

At first, Alexandra thought she was alone but she soon noticed a man, a few paces away, kneeling on a prayer stool at the foot of Saint Mary of Mercy’s statue. His broad shoulders were hunched beneath a shock of jet-black hair, his face hidden in slender, suntanned hands. It was dark, so why she should think that this was the stranger she had already encountered on the seafront and why her heart was beating so hard against her ribs, she couldn’t say, but she had no doubt at all that it was the same man.

Footsteps and whispering made her turn around. A man began to speak in a nasal singsong voice that echoed strangely from the walls of the little church, disturbing the peace and tranquillity: ‘This is the Church of Santa María. As in most of our Spanish towns, Our Lady of Mercy is its all-powerful and well-loved patron saint, a friend who protects all, be they lords or paupers.’ It was a tour guide who had appeared in the doorway, ushering his party of tourists into the church.

‘Our land is rich in legends about the Virgin Mary. The most moving is the one about the young Jewish girl who fell in love with a Christian knight. Despairing of ever attracting his attention, the beautiful maiden turned to our Virgin here, on whom everyone called. Humbly, she gave all she possessed: a pin decorated with a tiny glass bead. The miracle happened: the knight passed by at that very moment, saw her, and his heart was forever linked to hers by the pin she had given as an offering.’

The group of sightseers passed Alexandra and disappeared through a low door at the back of the church leading to the crypt. Peace returned.

All the while, the man on the prayer stool had not moved. Alexandra went up to the statue of Our Lady of Mercy to light a candle but a priest had just gone by to clear up the melted wax from the previous batch of devotees’ offerings, and she neither had matches nor a lighter handy. A faint tch of annoyance escaped her lips.

‘Permita me señorita.’

Alexandra had scarcely time to register the quiet words spoken unexpectedly, close to her ear, before the stranger’s brown hand had flicked a gold lighter in front of her, bringing to life a tiny blue flame and at the same time brushing against her arm.

The spark that went through her at the Spaniard’s touch made Alexandra shudder and, emitting a slight gasp, she instinctively drew back in the first instance. But then, as she realized he was only trying to be helpful, she raised her face, smiling as readily and uninhibitedly as she always did.

‘Gracias, muchas gracias.’

There was utter silence in the church. The man did not smile but merely inclined his head, leaving Alexandra, as he had earlier on, with the impression that inbred courtesy had prompted him to lend his assistance, rather than the more usual reasons men found for helping her. Still, her green gaze met his. She was struck by the expression of sadness reflected in his arresting grey irises and the sternness of his hard, regular features.

An almost visible current leapt between them. For a split second, the determined line of his jaw stiffened, his well-defined lips parted and she thought he might speak. Her heart missed a beat…"

Just a reminder to the reader ~ before you leave please take a look at the  
Funny/Stupid and Interesting Tabs.

Come back and visit again.