Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Very British Blog Tour - 2013

Welcome to A VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR 2013 – a collection of blogs, books and authors who are surprisingly very British.

The lovely author Jenny Twist invited me, and a hand-picked group of British authors, to take part in ‘A Very British Blog’ by visiting and supporting the websites of authors involved in the tour, and who are dedicated to turning out some of the finest books available in Britain today. Each author, named at the bottom of the page, has been asked the same questions, but their answers will obviously all be different. You merely click on the author’s link at the bottom of the page to see how they have answered the same questions.

But, before you begin reading, it's important to know that we Brits have certain conventions, traditions and procedures that are expected. There is a dress code in the reading of this British blog and you are expected to comply with it.
For example…
Gentlemen will wear suits, white shirts and dark ties. (Military ties are expected wherever possible). Ladies will wear dresses (one inch above the knee, no higher, no lower) and floral summer hats. A break for tea and cucumber sandwiches is expected at some stage, and is permissible. The list at the bottom the page is not a queue. We British hate queues, and will accept them no longer. It is an invitation, and you are expected to accept that invitation and support the home-grown product. Now then, let us proceed in an orderly fashion. As you know, we are all very boring and staid in Britain, aren’t we?  

Of course not!  So let's dispel the myths and get straight to the questions put by A VERY BRITISH WRITER, together with my answers:

Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?

A. Born in historic, leafy Yorkshire, I now live in historic, leafy Surrey in a very old (and very cold) partially-listed cottage.

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?

A. I left England during the eighties for about six years to live and work in Greece.  Part of that time was spent in Sparta and the rest in Athens.  I'm now home for good...I think.

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?

A. Do you know, I have a sneaky suspicion that you actually have to leave Britain for a while to truly appreciate it.  I know I began to be much more aware of its beauty when I lived abroad and began to consider it more objectively.  Britain is brim-full of wonderful places and great national parks, like The Lake District, The Peak District, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Snowdonia and many more - each of which is stunningly beautiful. 
I have particular soft spots for Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire, and Polperro in Cornwall where I spent happy childhood holidays fantasising about being a pirate long before Johnny Depp made the life quite so glamorous.  I'm fortunate that my parents loved their homeland and we spent every holiday and many weekends exploring all those places in between so there's very little of it that I haven't seen, known and loved.

Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event? 

A.  Oh yes, every novel takes place in a specific area, even though I often change the names a little.  In Loving Hate, Wishful Thinking and Killing Jenna Crane are all set mainly in a London which is very recognisable (Regent's Park, Baker Street, Waterloo Bridge, The Thames, Knightsbridge, Hampstead Heath and many other places all appear).  Shopping for Love and Unworkers are set very much in the area I live now in Surrey, while The Apple Tree is mainly set in a hybrid of places that are Yorkshire through and through.  Only the short sci-fi story (Surveillance), co-written with my son, is based in a purely fictional place.

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish - about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?

A. If it ever did exist, then it was probably only as a Victorian ideal or piece of propaganda and I sincerely hope that it doesn't exist any more because it's depressive behaviour.  People in other countries seem to get on perfectly well without repressing their emotions and according to so many surveys, they do a lot better than us in the happiness-stakes too! 

Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?

A. If I'm honest, I confess I did have one male character (Nicholas in The Apple Tree) who could perhaps have been described as such in that he believed his head could control his heart and his emotions could be kept in check - but he learned the hard way that the heart follows its own rules.

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books?

A. I'd love to!  Here is the blurb for Killing Jenna Crane

This is not a story about a murder, but a dark journey inside a writer's mind.  Commitment-shy Ellis Crawford, creator of the famous and highly successful Jenna Crane mystery series, finds his comfortable life swept away when he meets Emily, his perfect woman. 

Despite his deepening love for Emily, Ellis finds himself haunted by painful memories of a previous love whose heart he broke, and begins to regret his past behaviour.  On top of that, Emily wants him to kill off his beloved heroine Jenna Crane - against fierce public opinion.

But life is too short for regrets and when his own rapidly spirals out of control, taking his reputation as an author with it, where will Ellis turn for help?

I'm quite excited about this book because it marks a departure from my usual style of romance, dealing with darker psychological themes and containing quite a bit of suspense.  Those who have read it have been pleasantly surprised. 

It's written from the male perspective of the author Ellis Crawford, who is not the most endearing of heroes, but his flaws are explored and gradually explained - hopefully garnering a little bit of sympathy for him.  He's always treated women inconsiderately and is quite callous with Chloe, breaking her heart.  It isn't until Emily turns the tables on him that he begins to realise the extent of his own past actions.  However, Killing Jenna Crane is far from being a conventional romance and takes some surprising twists and turns.

Q. What are you currently working on?

Unworkers is my next release and I've been working on this (on and off) for many years.  Again, this is not a romance but a ghost story involving five women who come together through Chichester Court, the sinister house in which three of the women live with their young children.  The house is filled with mysterious whisperings urging unspeakable acts, strange and disturbing dreams and bizarre events which affect them all as the forces in the house escalate out of control. 

The novel is about poisons and potions; about relationships, past lives and the painful secrets between men and women which spread to permeate the private spaces of their lives and homes.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?

When I'm not writing or catching up on writing-related activities, I'm usually reading and thinking about writing.  I enjoy experimental cooking, so escape to my kitchen when I feel the need for a change.  I'm forever trying to grow my own herbs and vegetables, though not with any great success, unfortunately.  I love the theatre and cinema and enjoy losing myself in a good film or drama.  I'm also learning to speak Cat - weird language!

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?

The more people I can reach with my stories, the better, although these do tend to have a local flavour or setting.  However, like many writers, I have to say that I write the sort of stories I enjoy reading - so you might say I write for myself - that's a very local audience.

Q. Can you provide links to your work?

Here is my UK Amazon author page  and my US Amazon Author Page where all my publications are listed.

And my website, with links, excerpts etc.

To see how other authors respond, just click on an author named below:

Rosemary Morris
Sherry Gloag
Jan Warburton
Jan Ruth


Sandy said...

Great post. I love the pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

ManicScribbler said...

Thank you, Sandy. Lovely to see you here.

Tara Fox Hall said...

You are very British, Lyn :) What a novel and wonderful idea! Though I am feeling a bit like I'm back in parochial school, with that dress code...LOL!

ManicScribbler said...

Welcome, Tara - we can always make a few allowances for good friends :)

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