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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

HUNTER-GATHERER - a guest post by Val Penny

My guest today is the fabulous Val Penny, who is here to talk about the setting for her debut Tartan Noir novel Hunter's Chase.  I had the pleasure of working with Val on this book as its editor, and I can promise you a fantastic read.

Welcome, Val.  Over to you...

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today, Sue. I am very excited because my debut crime novel, Hunter’s Chase, is to be published by Crooked Cats Books on 2 February 2018.

The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel and did consider creating an imaginary town for my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, I know the city of Edinburgh well as I lived there for many years and it has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly, and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city, with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic-size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals. What more could I or my characters want?Edinburgh is a beautiful city of around half a million people, and is situated on the south banks of the Firth of Forth. There are some lovely views across the Forth from Edinburgh to the county of Fife on the north of the river. There are three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth: the oldest is the Forth Rail Bridge, built in the nineteenth century, the Forth Road Bridge was built in the twentieth century and the most modern, a bridge for road traffic was completed in the early part of this century, named the Queensferry Crossing.

The delegated parliament of Scotland is where Hunter's nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough serves as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act of 1998 which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles. There was much concern at the time as the building was completed many years late and several times over budget.

Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City, and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to one of the main soccer grounds in Edinburgh, the Hibernian Football Ground – home of Hibernian Football Club, commonly known as Hibs.

The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, is Sir Peter Myerscough's son. He lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links.

A wonderful free activity to do all year round is to play golf on Bruntsfield Links. It is believed to be one of the oldest sites of golf as it pre-dates the seventeenth century, the short-hole course was founded in 1895. Situated south of Melville Drive, there are two courses available to play on. A summer short 36-hole course (open end of April to September) and a 9-hole winter course (open October to end of April).

DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills, which are situated just outside Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can go on top of all of the hills in one day.

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city, home to The Edinburgh International Festivals that represent all aspects of art, three universities and several colleges and the Scottish national rugby ground at Murrayfield. It is the perfect place to situate Hunter’s Chase and the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, Hunter's Chase (set in Edinburgh, Scotland), will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 2 February 2018. She is now writing the sequel, Hunter's Revenge.
Friends of Hunter's Chase -

Friday, 12 January 2018

THE OTHER HALF OF THE STORY - a guest post by Heidi Catherine

Today I have a very special guest on my blog, all the way from Melbourne, Australia: the fabulous Heidi Catherine, whose astonishing and award-winning debut novel The Soulweaver is released on 19 January - just one week from now.  

Welcome, Heidi!  Please tell us a bit more about the inspiration for The Soulweaver.

According to Plato’s Symposium, humans once had four arms, four legs, two faces and were both male and female. They were strong, fast and powerful, making the gods so nervous that they slit them in half to weaken them. This of course made the humans miserable and they would go in search of the other half to their soul. When they found them, they would know it immediately, lie down with them and be filled with unparalleled joy.

This is such a romantic idea, even if being cut in half is a little gruesome! And although it fascinates me (so much that I wrote a whole book centred around the idea of soulmates) I don’t quite believe that a soulmate necessarily needs to be someone of the opposite gender – or even someone who’s a romantic partner. It’s possible to form a deep soulmate connection with your sister, your father, your friend or same-sex partner.

I’ll let Reinier, one of my characters from The Soulweaver, explain it for me in this short excerpt. To set the scene, he’s being questioned by Lin, whom he tracked down after a long search. She describes the feeling of meeting him as having seen him a thousand times, yet having seen him never. It begins with Lin asking Reinier why he was looking for her.

‘So you’re telling me that with all the people you remember from all your lives, you’ve come looking for me. Why?’

‘Because you’re my soulmate. The other half to my whole.’ He looked at her with those eyes again and she felt herself being drawn in. Her soulmate? That sounded awfully romantic.

‘I thought you said Matthew was my soulmate.’

‘I said he was your intended. That doesn’t make him your soulmate. It’s a common misconception that soulmates must be only of the romantic kind. It’s possible to have a romantic relationship with a partner who isn’t your soulmate, just as it’s possible for your soulmate to be someone other than your partner.’

Her cheeks flushed. ‘Right. I understand.’ It was like he’d read her thoughts. So he didn’t think of her in a romantic way. She was clear on that now. The feeling of embarrassment washed over her once more.

‘You and I have travelled through each lifetime together, always finding each other no matter where in the world we’ve been placed. In some lifetimes I’ve been your husband – your intended – in others I’ve been your brother, your cousin, your son, your best friend. In each life, we meet and help each other on our paths. When our life is done we return to the stars and wait for each other before being born again. Except this time. Mother sent you back without me. She sent you far away, hoping I wouldn’t find you. But as you see, even she’s not powerful enough to keep us apart.’

They sat in silence while she tried to absorb what he was telling her. His story was laughable. Then why wasn’t she laughing? Each word he spoke made sense. Each piece of information filled a piece of the puzzle that’d been bothering her since her earliest years. She had to hear him out.

I would love to hear your thoughts on soulmates. What do you think of what Reinier just told Lin? Was Plato on the right track? Or do you have other ideas about how it might work?

Heidi Catherine can be found on Facebook, Twitter or at her website. Her debut novel, The Soulweaver, is available for order now. She also has a free prequel novelette called The Moonchild, which introduces you to two of the main characters from The Soulweaver in the lifetime they lived before the book takes place. 

Saturday, 30 December 2017


... I'm thrilled to announce that my lovely publisher, Crooked Cat Books, has accepted my latest offering.

Have you ever wondered what might have happened to Heathcliff during the three years when he disappears from Wuthering Heights?  Find out in 2018...

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

DULWICH DODGY DEALINGS - an interview with Alice Castle

My guest today is my dear friend and fellow-author Alice Castle, whose second novel The Girl in the Gallery is released today by Crooked Cat Books.  Alice has the same initials as the great Agatha Christie, and having read her first book (Death in Dulwich), I can assure you that the resemblance doesn't end there.

Welcome, Alice!  

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

The first novel-length book I wrote was an early attempt at a whodunit, called Buckle My Shoe, about two young mums trying to solve crimes with toddlers and pushchairs in tow. I soon realized why so few crime fighters take their kids to work!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?
Who is The Girl in the Gallery?

What was the inspiration for this book?

My storyline is inspired by Dulwich Picture Gallery itself – it’s stuffed with amazing art, but the building itself is very unusual, too. At its heart is a mausoleum, containing the dead bodies of the original collectors in marble coffins, on display to the public. Weird and quite creepy! I have always thought it would be a brilliant setting for a murder mystery.

Did you do any research for the book?

I did loads of research. I love Dulwich Picture Gallery so this was no chore! I went to lots of exhibitions and had plenty of lunches in the restaurant, and the café outside. Gosh, it was hard work ;) I also read a lot on the life and times of Sir John Soane, the architect who designed the extraordinary building.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

I’m not at all a morning person, but for some reason I do my best writing first thing. So I write until I run out of words, then turn to my day jobs – I’m the editor of a lifestyle website, I edit other people’s novels and I write freelance articles for newspapers and other publications.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

I usually look wildly round the room where I write – the kitchen. It’s a miracle all my characters aren’t called Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

I tend to have a firm idea in my head about the nature of the crime and about a side issue that will keep intertwining with the main plot. But I like to allow my characters some wiggle-room so they can dash off in unexpected directions if they like.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader and I love crime fiction. My favourites are PD James, Val McDermid, Janet Evanovich, Simon Brett, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Raymond Chandler… the list goes on and on!

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part of the writing process is always the moment when the plot clicks and you know you are on the right track and the words start to pour. It’s a great feeling. The worst is definitely editing my own work, very slow and painful. I’d much rather do the ironing, and I really hate ironing.

(Er - what's "ironing"...?)

Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?

It’s a very special moment when the book is out there, like having a new baby. I feel quite protective of it and only hope people will like it and want to take it home.

Is there a message for the reader?

I try not to be preachy, but there are themes which I hope most parents will already be thinking about. The most important message, in this book and the first in the series, is that there is such a thing as justice.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Keep going! It’s not always easy, but if you’re really a writer, you won’t have any choice anyway.

What can we expect from you in the future?

My third book in the London Murder Mystery series, Calamity in Camberwell, is due out in 2018. Can’t wait!

Neither can I, Alice!  Thanks for calling by today, and I hope the book flies for you!


Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.


Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series. It will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Camberwell. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at
She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

PURGATORY HOTEL - an interview with Anne-Marie Ormsby

Today I have a new guest - the author Anne-Marie Ormsby, whose fascinating novel Purgatory Hotel will be released by Crooked Cat Books on 7 November 2017.

Welcome, Anne-Marie!  What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I started writing when I was 9 after reading a book of Ray Bradbury short stories. His words were so beautiful all I could think was; “I want to write like that.” The first thing I ever wrote as far as prose is concerned was short story about a day in the desert. After that I wrote short stories for years, then moved on to poetry. I didn’t write my first novel til I was 20, and Ive never done anything with it!

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

A paranormal whodunit.

OOH, sounds intriguing. What was the inspiration for this book?

There’s a Nick Cave song called God’s Hotel. It got me thinking about what if the afterlife was a hotel. Then I was thinking about that in a negative sense and the rest of the story just grew from that.

Did you do any research for the book?

I researched a few things, such as the Babes in the Wood murders which play a part in the story. The rest is just from my brain!

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

It’s rare that I get a writing day as I’m a mum who works full time! Any time I get after my daughter has gone to bed is usually spent chilling out with my husband watching movies.

But I generally write better at night, so when I was writing this book originally, which was twelve years ago, I used to stay up all night with a bottle of wine and write till I needed sleep. These days I tend to write at night still, just with less wine as my child doesn’t care if I’ve been up all night writing – she will still expect me to get up at 6am…

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Other stories that Im working on have characters with fairly standard names, but this one was a bit different so the names had to be too. But I find the names just come to me and I trust that part of my brain so I just go with it.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

This one just kind of developed over time with no planning. I have got another book in the works that I have plotted out meticulously. I don’t know what works best yet!

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

My biggest influences in writing have been Ray Bradbury and Jack Kerouac. Two very different styles, but both have written some of my favourite books. And even though I don’t write in the same style, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights probably set the level for the kind of romance I write about. Rarely jolly.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part is when I get a good flow going and I can just keep writing and it all comes out on the screen exactly how I had it in my head. The worst is when I know what I want to say but the words don’t come.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have had my next book in my head in various forms for a few years now. The only thing I think people can expect is that it will probably involve ghosts!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

I AM A RICARDIAN - A guest post by Jennifer C Wilson

Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming back my dear friend and fellow-scribe Jennifer C Wilson.  I've worked with Jen as editor of two of her novels (Kindred Spirits: Tower of London and Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, both published by Crooked Cat Books - details below), but tomorrow will see her first venture into self-publishing with the release of her latest book, The Last Plantagenet? And, believe me, it sounds truly amazing.

Welcome, Jen!

Hi Sue, and thanks for inviting me to join you on the blog today.

It’s ‘publication eve’ and I’m fretting, as usual. Well, partly fretting, and partly oddly calm. This is the first dip of my toe into self-publishing, and although I’m nervous it’ll all end in failure, I’m also slightly content in that if that is the case, at least I’m not letting anyone down…

The Last Plantagenet? has been several years in the making, having started life as an idea for an (at the time) new Mills & Boon line, Historical Undone, looking for historical fiction with a twist. I decided to explore the idea of being transported back to the court of Richard III, and the idea just expanded from there to a short piece of just under 20,000 words. Below is one of the scenes from early in the story, just as Kate finds herself somewhere, but where, or when…?

“You! Come along now! This is no time to be idle – hurry, now!”

Kate forced herself to focus. She was standing, albeit uncertainly, still in the same kitchen, beside the great fireplace, but now, the flames were a lot more real than they had been minutes earlier. She gradually realised the voice was coming from a young man in front of her, around her age, shouting at her, wearing a smart, colourful livery, emblazoned with the royal crest. A live kitchen demonstration hadn’t been part of the day’s programme, but whatever was going on, this man seemed real enough, she thought, looking him up and down. As he continued to stand in front of her, so did his anger.

“Now! This bread isn’t going to deliver itself!” he barked at her again, pointing to the pewter tray by the side of the fire.

Kate opened her mouth to argue, explain that she wasn’t part of the re-enactment, that there had been some sort of mistake, and that she really was just there to watch, not play along. But the man wasn’t listening. He was staring at her, clearly waiting for her to do something. She looked around her in confusion; how had health and safety allowed a man to stand, half-naked, as he turned the spit in the flames, fat from the roasting pig flying in all directions? Wait. A half-naked man? Kate found her eyes wandering, then, remembering the liveried servant and keen to avoid another blast of his anger, she picked up the tray he had indicated, and followed him from the room. The pig, and the man, would no doubt still be there on her return; she could return later, if it so took her fancy. She thought back to every re-enactment she had ever attended, and tried to pull herself together; she knew enough to get through whatever situation she had found herself in.

As they rushed up the narrow stairs, trays balanced precariously, Kate tried to understand what could have happened to her. Her first thought was that it was all a dream; that the lightning must have dislodged some masonry, and knocked her out. But this was all too real. The smells were so pungent, the blazing heat of the fire so fierce, and the cloth of her dress... Her dress! In her haste to pick up the tray, Kate hadn’t even noticed what she was wearing. Now, she looked down on herself, noting the intricate, albeit relatively shabby lacing on the front of her gown, leading down to the low-heeled clogs on her feet. All her life she had yearned for a dress like this, although, if she were honest, something of higher class than serving clothes would have been nicer. Then a thought stopped her in her tracks. She had been in jeans, t-shirt and ballet pumps at the re-enactment. Who had dressed her up like this? And where were her own clothes? Nervous, and now uncomfortable at the thought of being manhandled when unconscious, Kate looked about her: the lad who had shouted at her earlier, the other ‘servants’, those in a higher quality of dress that they were encountering as they made their way through the stone passages; any of these people could have done anything to her. The day felt a lot darker than it had started out. For a moment, the thought flitted into her mind that somehow, this really was fifteenth century England, and clearly, Kate’s role in this time was that of a serving girl, not a duchess. But still, it couldn’t truly be real, could it? Some sort of concussion, or drug-based stupor, brought on by too strong a medication given to her after she had somehow knocked herself out, or injured herself as she ran in from the rain. That was it. Cobbles did get slippery in the rain, after all.

If you’d like to find out more, then please come and join in the online launch tomorrow evening over on Facebook here, and of course, the book itself is available for pre-order here right now, if you want to make sure it’s on your kindle first thing to get reading…

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who spent much of her childhood stalking Mary, Queen of Scots (initially accidentally, but then with intention). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consulting since graduating. Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to develop her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. She is also part of The Next Page, running workshops and other literary events in North Tyneside.

Jennifer’s debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London, was released by Crooked Cat Books in October 2015, with Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile following in June 2017. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website. Her timeslip historical romance, The Last Plantagenet? is available for pre-order now.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

PAVLOVA PALAVER - an interview with Isabella May

Today my guest is fellow-author Isabella May, whose debut novel Oh! What A Pavlova! will be published by Crooked Cat Books on Tuesday 3 October.

Welcome, Isabella!

Thanks for inviting me to appear on your blog today, Sue!

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I have been scribbling and verbalizing in one way or another for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would invent stories (along with my little sister) about people we knew… as well as fictional characters, who would randomly jump into the mix to spice things up – Worzel Gummidge, Aunt Sally and Emu to name a few. They would usually trail behind us in our hire car on holidays in Portugal and Cyprus – I know; I was a little bit ‘kooky’ to say the least! 

And when I wasn’t doing that I was penning equally random and daft tales about the neighbours on our street, together with very amateur felt-tip illustrations. Thankfully my story-telling abilities have moved up several notches, even if my artistry hasn’t.

English lessons at high school were never creative enough for my liking though; we were usually heads down and glued to Othello, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, desperately trying to stay awake; our own creativity hampered by words which felt quite meaningless to us at that age. No wonder I started to entertain my friends by surreptitiously passing around folded paper concertinas of the game Consequences… until that was we got caught.

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

Okay, are you ready? It’s quite a different premise for a novel…
Cake meets domestic violence, travel, spirituality, comedy, and a bid for freedom in the arms of many an unsuitable man… all set against the backdrop of the weird and wonderful characters of the publishing industry.

What was the inspiration for this book?

A burning desire to dispel the misconception that an abusive relationship is abusive all the time: it is not. But I also wanted to portray a very honest picture of the way D.V can splinter the victim’s life. Quite often they are leading a double life, their outer façade so astonishingly different to the unthinkable acts they are tolerating behind closed doors. Ultimately though, I wanted to create a story with a very different message; a message of empowerment for any woman or man who is currently feeling anything but strong.

Did you do any research for the book?

Yes. Although I have been to most of the twenty-two destinations which feature in the book, a couple of locations are brand new to me, so I had to read a fair bit about them to get a feel for them. And then to reinvigorate my memory with the sights, sounds and smells of the more familiar places, I turned to Pinterest, which is fantastic for evoking emotion and atmosphere (as well as procrastination!) 

And of course, there was a lot of reading to do on the subject of abuse – not so pretty, but essential for furthering my own personal understanding, and so I could tell a more comprehensive story.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

Honestly, with two children whose school days are very short (we live in Spain), and whose holidays are ever longer, it’s impossible to have a standard writing day. So I have learnt to be the Queen of Multitasking. 

Somehow it works. I set myself targets of say 1000 words a day – which has the added bonus of helping me produce *mostly* quality over quantity, and see where the wind takes me. I am also a ‘Dance Mum’ and find I get an inordinate amount of dialogue penned whilst devouring Rhubarb Crujiente Cake at one of the yummy cafes near my daughter’s dance studio.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Oh, the character names in this novel have each changed more than half a dozen times. Then again, it is a book that was several years in the making! My second novel (currently being perused by my publishers) was so much easier. The names seemed to magically float into my head from an invisible Idea Cloud and they have stuck ever since.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

With Oh! What a Pavlova, I wrote whatever I felt inspired to write at any given moment. On a day full of elephant grey skies, I’d tackle a dark scene. On a sunny and uplifting day, I’d write something satirical. Often this was whilst feeding my baby. I think the current term for this lack of planning among authors is ‘being a pantser’. But I’m just not a spreadsheet kind of girl. Post-It notes, brainstorming in copious amounts of notebooks, and waking in the night with a sudden idea that I must transfer to paper immediately, are much more my style. And I can rarely write in chapter order. I’m very naughty like that and unintentionally defy all the Writing Rules we are taught from the beginning.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

Pam Grout, Julian Fellowes, Jonas Jonasson and Marian Keyes in terms of wit and satire coupled with lovely language; Nigella Lawson in terms of writing unnecessarily long but poetic and mouthwatering sentences, and Joanne Harris, just for being all-round excellent at her craft.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

Hours of creativity (with coffee and cake to hand) is undoubtedly the best part of the job. I am lucky because I live right on the beach, so add a stunning sea view to that and you really do have the dreamy writers’ life.
But then reality bites… and you have to market that book. Gone are the days when this was solely a publishing house’s responsibility. So out comes the Author Hat and you just get on with it. But I try to make it as fun as possible by focusing on the aspects of marketing that I most enjoy.

Now the book is about to be published, how do you feel?

It’s been so long coming and I’ve visualized it for so many years that it does actually feel quite normal – not in a complacent way, but a good way. My self-belief wouldn’t have been ready before, but now it is, and I think that’s really important, especially in light of the amount of PR we have to engage in. 

Sue, I recall you recently saying something along the lines of ‘Modesty is no friend of an author’. And it really does resonate. You have to have a certain level of confidence (without bragging or shoving your novel down everybody’s throat, of course!). On the other hand, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited and nervous in equal measure. I am!

Is there a message for the reader? What do you hope they will get from one of your books?

All of my books have an integral message: you are far more in control of your life than you have ever realized, especially when you let the Universe lead the dance. But hopefully I say this in a subtle way. There is also nothing worse than a Preaching Fairy Godmother…

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Let the unhelpful criticism go in one ear and straight out the other - and you will soon learn the difference between the unnecessary and constructive critique. I recall reading my very unpolished first chapter at a local writers’ group, hands twitching nervously, only for two slightly Older Dears to claim: ‘It’s rubbish… I’d throw it in the bin!’ On the other hand, these kinds of comments will often become rocket fuel to damn well finish and perfect your novel and get it out there!

What can we expect from you in the future?

My second book contains a lot of unconventional cocktails, some more travel – but this time the action centres around Glastonbury, Mexico and Prague, a rather ridiculous love triangle, two sisters who have fallen out over their allegiance to Sting, more jump-off-the-page characters, and another magical thread weaving through it all.

And book three is already swirling nicely in my head. One thing is for sure with that one: there will be Churros!

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after-school activities, she can usually be found writing.

As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine,
The Glass House Girls, she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).

She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative 'drops'!

Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel... and her second novel has already been submitted to her publishers: watch this space...
You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:
Twitter - @IsabellaMayBks
Instagram - @isabella_may_author