Monday, 9 June 2014

Meeting My Main Character Blog Hop

Thanks to the very marvellous Chris Stovell for passing the baton on to me. You can read all about Chris's main character, May, in her latest book Follow a Star which came out last week! I have a real live copy sitting on my table and can't wait to get my teeth into it.  Of course I don't mean literally, what do you take me for? No, don't answer that ... right where was I? Oh yes, you can meet Chris and May here.

Writers like to burble on about their main characters and I am no exception. So without further ado, here goes. Actually there is one further ado. I need to tell you the title of my latest book and show you a picture of the cover. Here it is.

Actually the title is on the cover so I don't need to tell you it. Clever, eh? Okay let's get cracking...

What is the name of the main character? Is she real or fictitious? 

Her name is Karen Ainsworth, but she might also have another name that I can't divulge here as it would spoil the surprise. And given that she is in a novel, I think it's a safe bet that she's not real. Having said, that she's real enough to me. She has bits of me in her,( not internal organs, but character) and bits of other people who I may, or may not have met. 

When and where is the story set?

It is set in the present and in Cornwall not far from where I live.

What should we know about Karen? 

She is slim, blond, thirty and very happily married to a doctor, Tristan Ainsworth who is the GP in a sleepy little Cornish village. Think Doc Martin but without the very scary Martin Clunes. Tristan is much nicer and much easier on the eye. Sorry, Mr Clunes if you happen to be reading this. Yes I know it is unlikely, but one never knows. For the record, I think Mr Clunes is a fantastic actor and probably very nice in real life. Karen has two children and a phenomenal singing voice. 

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Karen is not as happy as she would have us believe. Oh yes, she adores, Tristan, but since moving to Cornwall at Tristan's behest, she has become withdrawn, reclusive an secretive. She was fine when they lived in Swindon, so what has Cornwall to do with the change in her personality? Moreover she loves to sing, it lifts her spirit and brings untold happiness, so why does she now keep silent? Well, that would be telling wouldn't it? Can't say too much on this, but she does have issues with her past and that does tend to mess up a person's life. However her husband has one or two problems of his own relating to his past also. There is a dark secret that one of them has, and if that secret is divulged, their marriage, their family, and even their freedom could be at stake ... But what is it, and which of them is keeping it? Again, you'll have to read it to find the answer.

What is Karen's goal?

She wants a happy life and to enjoy singing in the choir and living by the sea with her husband and children. Is it too much to ask? 

What is the book's title?

Blimey you have a short memory, it's called Somewhere Beyond the Sea and can be examined again here if you so wish.

Thanks again to Chris for passing on the baton. 

I am now delighted to hand it over to the incredibly talented Juliet Greenwood. You can find out all about her books and main character here  I am dying to find out what she has to say and I'm sure you are too!  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Guest Post - Alison Morton

Today, my writing friend Alison Morton launches SUCCESSIO, the third novel in her award-winning Roma Nova series featuring sassy detective Carina Mitela. As writer and broadcaster Sue Cook says, it’s a “A real edge-of-the-seat read, genuinely hard to put down.”

I know Alison as a RNA colleague and Twitter friend. I’ve followed her progress and although I write time travel, I’ve often wondered how different or difficult is was to write in an alternate history setting. And just to complicate things, she adds a feminist twist, but has plenty of love interest! 

So, Alison, Romans in the 21st century - how do you write that?

“Thanks, Mandy. All the usual good ‘craft’ rules apply: cracking story, attractive and hopefully slightly quirky characters, emotional pressure, dilemmas and conflict, snappy and purposeful dialogue and, of course, a badly tangled love life.
The tools for writing alternate history are similar to regular historical fiction, plus an over active imagination!

My top tips:
  • Identify the point your alternative timeline diverges from the standard historical timeline and research that point thoroughly so you can set the scene accurately;
  • Anchor the divergence point story with references to the past;
  • Use elements from the historic record carefully, but not fearfully;
  • Think through the setting that has formed your characters;
  • Make sure your characters live naturally within their world including, and especially, seeking and finding love.

What’s SUCCESSIO about?

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat to her happiness is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

 And here’s a trailer with some exciting music:

SUCCESSIO is available through your local bookshop (paperback) and online as ebook and paperback at multiple retailers.

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here on her blog at
Twitter: @alison_morton

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

Both INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, which was also shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award, and PERFIDITAS, the second in series, have been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®, an award for independent fiction that rejects 90% of its applicants.  Alison’s third book SUCCESSIO is being launched 3rd June 2014.