Author interview with Mary Anne Yarde

Another week, another interview. It’s my great pleasure to this week be chatting to Mary Anne Yarde. She is a great author, book blogger, and all round great girl. Her skills in the kitchen are the stuff of legend in South West England.

Bio:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

Her latest works should give you an insight into the mythical world that she weaves.

The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1

AD 495, Wessex, Briton.

If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?

A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.

The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.

The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.

Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.

Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.

To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon witch with her claws in a broken, wounded king.

Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.

 

Interview Questions:

  1. When did you first realise that you wanted to become a writer?

I cannot remember a specific time where I said to myself, I want to be a writer. I have, however, always had stories rattling around in my head, but it wasn’t until one of my closest friends did a module on creative writing as part of her English degree, that I began to think seriously about writing a book. I bravely told this friend my idea for a story; she listened and said, “…for goodness sake, what are you waiting for? Write it!” 

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but about a year later I had finished the first draft of The Du Lac Chronicles and gave it to my friend to beta-read. I cannot begin to describe how proud I was of myself!

My friend came back to me with a bemused expression on her face, and she told me the story was good, but….

She then elegantly listed what was wrong with the manuscript and handed it back to me full of red pen marks!

I laughed and said, “It was so good that you had to write notes in the margin – what an honour!”

I have always been good at taking advice and I listened to what she had to say and spent the next 12 years perfecting the craft…

So I guess, I have been a writer for the past 12 years, but strangely until I actually had a copy of The Du Lac Chronicles in my hand, I never considered myself as one – nor did I consider writing to be a career I would pursue. It was just something that I did for fun. Of course, that has all changed now.

2. What novels/works have you released and what are you working on now?

I am currently working on Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles, which has a working title of The Du Lac Devil.

I released my Young Adult novel, The Du Lac Chronicles – Book 1, back in February this year. The Du Lac Chronicles is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur and follows the fortunes –and misfortunes – of Lancelot du Lac’s sons as they try to navigate a Saxon dominated world

3. I’m a new author. Tell me how to achieve my goal?

Don’t give up! Writing and publishing a book is a marathon, it isn’t a sprint. You will make mistakes…that doesn’t matter, as long as you learn from them. Read everything you can about marketing a book and most importantly of all, enjoy the journey.

4. Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?

I am an avid reader and I have many favourite authors who have certainly influenced my writing to some extent. When I was 13 I read Colleen McCullough’s, The Thorn Birds, and that book touched me on an emotional level that I had never experienced before from a book. Several years later, I picked up a copy of Nicholas Evan’s, The Horse Whisperer, and I read that book so many times that eventually it fell apart and I had to buy another copy. So of all the great writers out there, I think it would probably be those two who, not necessarily influenced my style of writing, but certainly inspired me to write from the heart.

5. What makes you sit down and want to share your stories

I have never thought about this. I love escaping into the medieval world that I have created. Finding out that people enjoy reading what I write, I guess, is the icing on the cake and makes writing all the more enjoyable.

6. If you could be a character from one of your favourite novels, who would it be, and why?

Now, that is a question. I think if I could be a character from a novel then I would have to be Tom Booker from The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. Tom is this incredibly emotional person who feels compelled to not only help a traumatised horse, but to help people as well. He is this really gentle, caring person, who sees the world as it is. I think he is inspirational. I would love to be someone like him.

Wow. Thank you Mary. That was great. I look forward to reading your book (s).

Links

http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1519224435

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1519224435 

Check back soon for another interview.

Author interview with Rita Ames

Another interview has rolled around. This week I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to fellow author and friend, Rita Ames. As the pictures above show, she’s a multi genre author, able to throw her imagination at anything. I’ve had the pleasure of reading I Love You To Death. It was a fabulous book, showcasing one of the many facets of her writing skills.

Hi Rita. Tell us a little about all things Ames:

I am from the south of England, born between the New Forest and the sea.  I think with an American accent which is weird. I am from a working class background so being anything arty was a complete anathema and I would have loved a life as an actress.  However in those days there were not the same opportunities and it was not an accepted choice of job.  I’ve realised that dream in the amateur world and probably got to play better parts. After all, I was Toad of Toad Hall! Poop Poop! I have done many jobs from Estate Agent, Cafe Owner, Business Retention Team Manager. I currently work in healthcare arranging medical beds and equipment into peoples homes, to help them recover from a hospital visit or sometimes sadly, to get them home to die. I am far from miserable though.  Life is to be lived, whether we have one minute or a hundred years.  I have a plan to be a mischievous old lady one day so of course I have to practice on the way there.  Does anyone know where I can do that skydiving thing with the air tunnel? I’ll never jump from a plane but I love the idea of pretending to be a fart blown up into the air. “ooops did I say that out loud?” Yes, that’s a phrase I use a lot. Now you are beginning to get to know me……or are you?

Err, yes. We are. Lol.

 

Interview Questions:

  1. When did you first realise that you wanted to become a writer?

When I played a schoolteacher in a play in middle school.  I was about nine years old and had to wear specs to make me look the part.  I thought that it would be good to write a play of my own.  “The attack on Juno” had a week long run in my back garden during the school holidays.  I went on to write a couple of comedy sketches for end of year shows at high school.

Little did I know that the specs were a premonition, and writing a stage show would actually happen. I admit I was in the audience every night for my Pantomime ‘A Knight’s Tale’ and I laughed two seconds before each funny bit so whoever sat next to me thought I was psychic. Lol.

The antics of Fu Man Poo and Choo My Py as they teamed up with Morganna to bring down Camelot was a lot of fun.

I have also spent many years treading the boards in various plays and Pantomimes.  I specialise in the physical comedy, often playing the funny man with moustache and more recently a Dame in Arabian Nights chasing a camel all over the desert.  A knee injury chasing the camel off the stage resulted in me taking a break.  It was a lucky break as I was able to finally sit down and begin my first real book.

Being on stage and entertaining an audience just led to me wanting to put down all the stories and ideas in my head and once I had the time there was no stopping me.  I am a manic imaginative and my “To Write” folder is stuffed full of first chapters and synopsis. (Maybe I am the female version of Spike Milligan lol.)

My dream, like very other writer is to be able to do it full time.

 

  1. What novels/works have you released and what are you working on now?

In everything I do I go for the most challenging thing first so when I wanted to write a novel I chose contemporary romance thinking that if I could write hot, steamy sex scenes then I could do anything. If The Shoe Fits was a good name for my first book as being a writer felt like a good fit.  I now have about five books out so far. Love You To Death is my Psychological Thriller (Carl Dawson scares me) and then I went into Crime Thrillers with Eyes In The Mirror (Freedom Series Book 1). Never in a million years would I have said I would write crime but here I am. I also have a vampire romance, Silver In The Moonlight (2 Novellas by myself and Raven Delehanty).  There are also a couple of Naughty short story books with Raven, Night Flames and Sensing Love (I like to get my steamy writing fix and these work well for that). I am currently about half way through See Through My Eyes (Freedom Series Book 2).  Once that is finished it’s back to paranormal romance with Angel Song and continuing with my action fantasy saga, The Sheild of Pendragon (The Dolmen Chronicles Book 1)  This is a long term project due to the hectares of research required.

     3. I’m a new author. Tell me how to achieve my goal?

Remember that writing is like learning to walk.  You have to put one word in front of another.  When you have a page then you have begun.  Never rush, always re-read and get a great team of proof/beta readers, you know the ones that will tell you the truth no matter what.  Always listen to feedback as there is value in every comment.  Sometimes you have to look between the lines but if you accept that even the bad stuff has within it the means to put it right then often the negative comments can be your biggest asset in turning out quality work.  If you don’t want bad comments in the public arena then make sure you listen to the ones given privately before you publish. Choose the route you want to take and stick to it.  If you choose to self publish you can do it for free, just sign up with Kindle through Amazon but be warned it is a steep learning curve and you will be amending things a couple of times on the first book.

      4. Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?

My Granddad influenced and encouraged me more than I would admit to anyone.  He sang just like Bing Crosby but was a bit of a recluse who enjoyed the odd brandy or three.  He was such a big personality and taught me my first rhymes (at least the ones that stuck in my head).

“There was a little man who lived in Japan and his name was Chica-raka-choo-chai-chan

His head was big and his feet were small and this little man could’t walk at all

Chica-raka-choo-chai-chan picalory anti lory polly wolly wop.”

There is more but I guess you get the drift.  A little strange but very imaginative and I think it stuck.  I remember every word of it to this day.  I also sing but I don’t sound like Bing, lol. If you want author influences then Dean Koontz and James Herbert for the horror/thriller influence.  David Gemmell is also another one, Fantasy Fiction at its best.  If you want girly romantic then I love Wuthering Heights.  A great love story that showcases the extremes of love/pain and loss.

      5. What makes you sit down and want to share your stories?

There are so many wonderful stories in my head that it would be such a shame not to give them life.  If just one person really enjoys one of my books then it makes my day.  I suppose it is the inner performer in me wanting to make an audience laugh or cry with me and whatever character I play.  Maybe that is why Love You To Death gets such good reviews.  I wrote it in first person and attacked the writing of it like I would a part in a play.  I threw off my own feelings and beliefs in order to play the part of a serial killer.  I like to think it worked pretty well. Carl Dawson scares me. I also love to write poetry of all kinds.  Of course there are the humorous ones but I also try to compose more topical ones too.  I do admit to being on a bit of a mission to get poetry back in the mainstream.  After all who doesn’t like a great song lyric and that is poetry for sure.  I am a moderator on a site called writerscommunity.co.uk and I write one of the community blogs on there called Amesworld.  Pop in and say hello!

       6. If you could be a character from one of your favourite novels, who would it be, and why?

I have so many favourite books that this is a hard question.  One of the first authors that opened my imagination was Ursula Le Guinn and The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy.  She wrote the forerunner to Harry Potter in my opinion and her books have a gritty reality that Harry doesn’t.  I would be Ged in the part where he is turned into a dragon and has to live by a lake until he can solve his dilemma.  The thought of being a dragon in the flesh gave me my first incling into the new reality that can be found in the pages of a book.  I later wrote a quote which stems from this light bulb moment in my childhood “If I can imagine the death of reality then I can imagine a whole new world of possibilities”  That, in my opinion is what makes a great author.  The ability to make us believe the reality of the world they have written.

I do hope that visiting me in Amesworld will open a whole new world of imagination, laughter, pain and all in all a very satisfying read.

Thank you Rita. That was great. I hope to see you on YouTube, singing Bing real soon…

Please click on Rita’s links for more information:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rita-Ames/e/B00NQA3LY8

https://twitter.com/ritaamesauthor

https://www.facebook.com/RitaAmesAuthor/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author interview with Louise Jensen

Hi Folks. Another interview has hit the blog. I’m very pleased to have had the pleasure to speak to a new author this week. Louise Jensen is a writer of psychological thrillers.  Her debut novel ‘The Sister,’ is due to be published in July 2016 by Bookouture, with two further novels due for release in 2017.

Louise also writes flash fiction, and features and articles for both magazines and online publications. Louise specialises in writing about mindfulness, chronic pain and mental health.

 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

  1. When did you first realise that you wanted to become a writer?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I’ve been scribbling stories for as long as I can remember but I never seriously considered it as a career, it seemed so unattainable. I’m in my 40’s and at my school the girls were encouraged to learn to type (on a typewriter) with a view to becoming a secretary, and I didn’t receive any encouragement to try and be anything else.

A few years ago a change in my health circumstances left me with limited mobility and chronic pain. I was forced to give up my business and my hobbies and I started writing again as a form of escapism.

 

  1. What novels/works have you released and what are you working on now?

The Sister is my debut novel and it’s due for release on 7th July 2016 as an ebook, paperback and, I’ve just found out it will also be an audio book which I’m SO excited about. The digital version is available to preorder now. It’s a psychological thriller about a girl, here’s the official blurb:

‘I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …’

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie … Or was there?

I’m incredibly lucky to have found a publisher for my first novel and although it’s the first book I’ve ever written, I’ve rewritten it almost from scratch so many times it feels like my fifth!

My work in progress is a story about a girl, Jenna, who believes a murder has been committed, and is determined to make someone pay. I’m not a plotter so I can’t say too much about how the story will develop because I don’t know yet, but I’m at the stage where I have completely fallen in love with my characters and I’m very excited about where they will take me.

It’s interesting to see how tighter my writing has become second book around and I’ve learned such a lot from working with an editor on The Sister.

 

      3.I’m a new author. Tell me how to achieve my goal?

Every author has different approach, but I found having my work critiqued invaluable.

I waited until I felt I had gone as far as I could with my first draft and then sent it off for a professional assessment.  It wasn’t cheap, but far more cost effective than doing a writing course and the feedback was tailor-made for me and my manuscript. Beta readers are helpful and can tell you whether or not they enjoy the story but to have someone familiar with the marketplace look at my manuscript with a critical eye was worth every penny.

 

  1. Is there anyone who has influenced your writing?

Enid Blyton was the first author whose books completely captivated me. I was so enthralled with the famous five. If just one reader roots for my characters even half as much as I rooted for Julian and the gang I’ll be thrilled.

 

  1. What makes you sit down and want to share your stories?

My stories always start with the character. They appear with something to say, their personal story, and I feel compelled to help them tell it.

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I meditate every day, read women’s fiction at an alarming rate and eat way too many chocolate hobnobs!

 

Thank you Louise. A very interesting interview. I for one will be ordering your book as soon as it’s available. It looks intriguing. Below are Louise’s links. Please check them out.

 

More next week.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sister-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01E3YGP66/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1460451851&sr=8-2&keywords=louise+jensen

http://www.amazon.com/Sister-gripping-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01E3YGP66/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1460451889&sr=8-13&keywords=louise+jensen

http://www.louisejensen.co.uk