Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Her Name Was Rose Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Her Name Was Rose blog tour! Today I'm interviewing the author Claire Allan on writing, life swaps and what she's working on next...

Q1.) Hi Claire, welcome to the blog! Can you tell us a little bit about Her Name Was Rose and what sparked the idea behind it? 
Hello! Thanks for having me here. Her Name Was Rose is the story of two women, and is told from the perspective of Emily D’Arcy, a woman who lives a fairly uninspiring life while she battles the demons of her past, which included an abusive relationship. The book opens as Emily watches Rose Grahame, a woman who seemingly has it all, die in an horrific hit and run accident outside a busy shopping centre. Emily becomes obsessed with the notion that she, who had little to live for, should have died instead and begins to stalk Rose’s social media. Slowly she wheedles her way into the life Rose left behind – but all is not what it seems and Rose’s life may not have been as perfect as Emily believed it to be.

Q2.) Her Name Was Rose is a new direction in genre for you, what made you decide to write a thriller?
It all came around fairly accidentally but it was a happy accident. I wanted to write something darker than my previous novels – more as a challenge to myself than anything else. It wasn’t my original intention to write a thriller but as the first draft of the book developed I was encouraged to go all out and release my dark side. I don’t think I believed I would ever be capable of writing a thriller, so it was a challenge and one which surprised me. I loved writing it. It was exhilarating.

Q3.) In Her Name Was Rose the main character Emily slips into Rose's old life. If you could live as someone else for a day who would you choose? 
Writing Rose’s story has shown me that not everyone’s life is as perfect as it may seem on the outside so I think I’d always be cautious choosing someone to live as for a day! That said, I’d say living as Luisana Lupilato, aka Mrs Michael Buble, would be quite lovely for a day.

Q4.) What does your typical writing day look like?
My writing day starts after I’ve left the children to school and walked our puppy, Izzy, who is always much nicer to be around when she has been able to burn off some energy first thing. I like to be writing by about 10.30, which gives me a solid four hours until I have to leave for the school pick up.

Until two years ago I also worked as a journalist and most of my writing was done in the evenings and that’s a habit I’ve not really kicked yet. Once the homeworks/ dinner/ housework is out of the way I tend to write a little more from about 8pm onwards.

My schedule changes depending on what stage of a book I’m at. If I’m approaching deadline or in the final quarter of the book I can spend hours and hours lost in writing. But along with drafting a book I also have to factor in time for edits, answering emails from readers and my publishers, reading proofs, keeping up with social media and planning for creative writing sessions or panel talks.

Some days I also feel the need to factor in binge watching Four in a Bed or Couples Come Dine With Me too.

Q5.) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Every published writer is someone who was exactly where you are right now. And they all wondered if they would ever do it too. And they all wondered, and probably still wonder, if their books are good enough. Be brave. Write the book. Allow yourself the time to follow your dream. Take advice but remember it’s ultimately your book and no one else can tell your story just the way you can.

Q6.) What’s been your best moment as an author so far?
I’ve had a number of really incredible moments over the years but if I’m being completely honest it was probably attending the Irish Book Awards last year as part of team Harper Collins. It was my first time at the awards, and I was sitting beside one of my very best writing pals Fionnuala Kearney and we just grinned at each other that we were in a room with Ireland’s best writers and we were there legitimately as writers in our right. That and visiting Harper Collins HQ and hearing the Avon team speak so enthusiastically about Her Name Was Rose were my two “pinch me” moments.

Q7.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 
I’m working on my second thriller, ‘Apple of My Eye’ which is due to be published in January 2019. It’s a story of a mother’s obsession with protecting her bond with her daughter, and the lengths she will go to stop someone from hurting her. It was my most challenging write to date – and I loved it.

Q8.) And lastly, what three words best describe Her Name Was Rose
Gripping, honest and relevant!

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour! 

Friday, 29 June 2018

The Death of Mrs Westaway Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Death of Mrs Westaway blog tour! The Death of Mrs Westaway is one of my favourite reads of 2018. If you like bleak family dramas with an Agatha Christie style mystery running through it then you are going to love this book! Today I've had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Ruth Ware for my stop on the tour and I'm also giving one of you lucky lot the chance to win a signed copy of The Death of Mrs Westaway and a special set of signed tarot cards to go with it!

Hi Ruth, welcome to the blog! Can you tell us a little bit about The Death of Mrs Westaway and what sparked the idea behind it? 
The Death of Mrs Westaway is about a tarot reader, Hal Westaway, who receives a letter telling her that she has inherited a substantial bequest from her grandmother Hester. There is just one problem - Hal’s grandparents died many years ago, and this woman is a total stranger to her. However she sets out to collect the bequest anyway.

I’m not sure where exactly the idea for the novel came from, but the character of Hal is easier to pin down - having written three books where the main character was someone who stumbles into events through no fault of their own, I wanted to do something very different for my fourth. So I came up with the idea of a girl who sets out to commit a crime, and in doing so sets the whole complicated mechanism of the plot in motion.

What can fans of your previous books expect from this one?
I hope they’ll find some similar pleasures - a twisty plot, an atmospheric setting, and a dogged and determined main character. But it’s a little bit different too. It’s a little bit darker, a little bit more gothic than some of my previous books. And although my love of Christie is still there, students of literature will probably be able to see a strong influence from Daphne du Maurier in the settings and some of the characters.

Tarot cards play a huge role in The Death of Mrs Westaway, have you ever had a tarot card reading?
I have now - but I only went for one about halfway through writing the book. Prior to that I’d never had a tarot reading, and before I started researching for the book, I knew almost nothing about the meaning of the cards. I am not sure why I’d never tried it - I’m not a very superstitious person, and I suppose I was worried about being sucked into something embarrassing or some kind of con. Actually it was very entertaining!

Your books are constantly compared to Agatha Christie's work, does she influence your writing style?
Not my writing style, I don’t think. But definitely my plotting. I strive to do what she does so well - arm the reader with all the information they need to solve the plot, but still surprise them.

What’s been your best moment as an author so far?
Oh wow, gosh. There are so many! Probably finding out that Reese Witherspoon had read and loved my first book.

What does your typical writing day look like?
I have school age kids so I get up, get them ready for school and walk the little one to class. Then I get home about 9.30 and (try to) write until I leave to pick them up around 3. I say “try to” because I have good days and bad days. Some days I sit right down and write all the way through until pick up. Other days there’s an awful lot of dallying on social media…

Do you have any advice for aspiring thriller/mystery writers?
Just read lots in the genre I think, and pay attention to what you enjoy and how the writers pull the wool over your eyes.

What books would you recommend to fans looking for stories similar to your own? 
I love Erin Kelly, Megan Abbott, Sarah Vaughan, AJ Finn, SJ Watson, Lisa Jewell…

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 
Book five, obviously!

And lastly, what three words best describe The Death of Mrs Westaway
Dark, gothic, twisty!

If you'd like the chance to win a signed copy of The Death of Mrs Westaway and tarot cards head on over to Twitter to enter! 

 Don't miss the rest of the blog tour

Friday, 11 May 2018

Ace of Shades Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Ace of Shades blog tour! Today I'm hosting an extract from the book and a chance for you to win a copy over on Twitter!

Intrigued? Don't miss your chance to win! 

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour

Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Beast's Heart Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Beast's Heart blog tour! Today I was supposed to be hosting a review for this beautiful book however I haven't received my copy, it seems to have gone astray off having its own little adventure, so I'm improvising with five reasons I can't wait to read The Beast's Heart (when I do finally get my hands on a copy!)

1.) Fairytale retellings are my thing. I love seeing what unique spin each author puts on their retelling. I love all of the little nods that pay homage to the classic and the new twists and additions their story takes on. My favourite fairytale retellings have to be The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, her books are a perfect example of fairytale retellings done right!

2.) I'm a big fan of all fairytales but Beauty and the Beast is my favourite and has been since I was a little girl. I've always related to Belle, with her endless curiosity and love of books and I still want to be her when I grow up. Even as an adult I'm still madly obsessed with Beauty and the Beast. I have everything from funko pops, to t-shirts, to my very own Chip mug!

3.) I first heard about The Beast's Heart back last summer when they handed out the beautiful purple proof copies at YALC and since then I have been counting down the days to the books release. If you haven't seen the proof editions you need to Google them - they're so, so pretty!

4.) Unlike a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings, The Beast's Heart is told from Beast's point of view! I've never come across this before and I'm so excited to read from his side of the story.

5.) The final cover. Seriously? Does this need any more explanation? Just look at it! If that doesn't draw your eye in a bookshop I don't know what will!

 Hopefully I'll get a copy soon so I can review it for you guys 
but until then make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

Friday, 4 May 2018

I Was Born For This Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to day two of the musical I Was Born For This blog tour! The way this works is each host is hosting a song chosen by Alice Oseman herself from the I Was Born For This playlist with a little bit of info on how it connects to the book. We're then adding our own song to create one epic giant YA playlist that celebrates fandom so make sure you stop by each day to get the full playlist!

Alice's Choice: Starz In Their Eyes – Just Jack 
This song could have been written for I Was Born for This. The lyrics explore the fleeting and sometimes traumatising nature of fame and being put in the spotlight. That’s definitely something IWBFT’s boyband narrator, Jimmy, is struggling to deal with throughout the book! “Since you became a V.I. person / it’s like your problems have all worsened” could be I Was Born for This’ tagline…


My Choice: Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran 
Hands down my favourite artist is Ed Sheeran. I've followed him since his days of posting on MySpace so it's amazing to see how far he's come in the industry. Last year I finally got to see him perform live on his Divide tour and the first song he played was Castle On The Hill which is my personal favourite from the album. I'm going to see him at Wembley next month and I can't wait! 

Make sure you follow the rest of the blog tour 
to hear all of the songs from the playlist!

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