Showing posts from June, 2014

Interview with Lia Mills

Lia Mills is the author of the novels Another Alice and Nothing Simple, the memoir In Your Face an account of Lia's experience with and recovery from oral cancer and most recently the historical novel Fallen which I reviewed last week Read my Review here
Lia will be part of a panel on The Literature of War at The Dalkey Book Festival this Saturday at 2pm. Find out more about Lia and her writing on her blog
Lia was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me.
1. Is historical fiction your preferred genre and do you think you will continue to write about the past? I’d never written historical fiction before and I found it challenging. It can be tricky to balance the claims of history with the demands of fiction. But the question behind Fallen is a contemporary one: what’s it like if your city erupts in sudden violence you don’t understand? The week before Fallen’s official publication date, I heard a radio journali…

The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull

This is my second post this week about Rebecca Mascull as I featured an interview on Monday Read the interview here. I hope to see a lot more from this author in future as I firmly believe she is one to watch. The Visitors is a wonderful and unique historical novel as it transports the reader not only to a different time and place but to an entirely new sensory experience, this is because the heroine is a deaf-blind girl born in the late Victorian era. Adeliza grows up on her father's hop farm and although she is born with some sight and hearing by the time she is three she is blind deaf and mute. She is locked inside her own head, feeling her way in the world, her only defender is her dear father, her mother has taken to her bed heartbroken after many miscarriages and the tragedy of Adeliza's disability. The servants find her hard work and are often rough. Adeliza is driven by basic needs hunger, thirst, tiredness. But she is not alone in her head she has the visitors; spiri…

The Long Fall by Julia Crouch

I have been a fan of Julia Crouch's work since I devoured her amazing debut Cuckoo a few years ago. Julia specializes in twisty, turny plots and characters that surprize until the last page.  The Long Fall is set in two time periods; 1980 and the present day. In 1980 we follow adventurous young traveler Emma as she sets off alone across Europe having just completed her A levels. In the present day we meet Kate a wealthy London banker's wife running a charity for African girls founded after the tragic death of her daughter Martha. When Kate is contacted by someone from her past it seems her secure world is about the collapse around her. Back in 1980 Emma's adventure has turned suddenly very dark and she heads to Greece escaping in a haze of drugs and alcohol. For Kate the return of her old friend and her daughter Tilly's plan to go travelling alone set her life off in an out control downward spiral of self destructive behaviour. So what is the connection between Emma a…

Blog Tour for The Long Fall by Julia Crouch

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Julia Crouch's latest novel which is published today in TPB and e-book. Get you hands on a copy now. Julia writes thrilling creepy stories about trust and relationships that are simply unputdownable. Follow her on twitter @thatjuliacrouch. Thanks so much to Elizabeth Masters at Headline and Bookbridgr for the chance to take part. I will be reviewing this book later today so stay tuned.
I asked Julia about her favourite "domestic noir" novels and she sent the most amazing reply (see below), so get ready to add oddles of books to your wish list.
My Top Five Domestic Noir Novels
Julia Crouch

This task has been both completely enjoyable and utterly impossible. Just five? Give me a break.

Looking back over my crammed bookshelves – like most writers, I have more books than available walls – I realised that almost every single book I have loved, whatever the publisher’s classification, could fit into my definition of Do…

Interview with Rebecca Mascull

1. Which came first the discovery of your great great aunt or the idea for the book?

Ah well, that is a good question and needs a roundabout answer. The idea for ‘The Visitors’ definitely came first, as I had wanted to write about a deaf-blind girl for years. I worked with deaf students when I was teacher training and also I saw a film about Helen Keller when I was a kid. I thought it’d be a great challenge to write from the girl’s point of view, to try to imagine that darkness and silence, and how it would be to have no proper form of communication. And how fascinating it would be to chart how she moves from that nowhere land of no words to a world of ‘talking’. As a teenager, I also read the autobiography of Sheila Hocken, called ‘Emma and I’, about a blind woman who has an operation to restore her sight. The moment when she first opens her new eyes was astounding and stayed with me. So the seeds for this novel were mostly sewn years ago.
However, whilst I was researching the late V…

Author Interview with Niamh Boyce

Niamh Boyce kindly agreed to take part in the #mywritingprocess meme when I tagged her and this wonderful insight into her writing world is the result. Thank you Niamh.

Picture courtesy of The Irish Examiner

What are you currently working on? Is it historical fiction?

I’m terribly superstitious with regards talking about a novel before it’s finished! I’ve done it before - chatted about a work in progress - and it seemed to disperse the energy I needed for the book, and the whole thing went flat on me. Though it’s really hard for me NOT to tell you, (I love talking about my work) I’ll have to stay silent and keep it secret till the novel is complete. But, it is historical...

What is it about your work and your writing process that differs from others? (what works for you?)
Probably the above! I like to work on the early drafts of a novel alone, without any feedback from anyone else. I need to convince myself of the world of my book, so I’m my only reader. Obviously there comes a stage …

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

This is the type of historical fiction you will want to read in one sitting, breathlessly gasping as the plot twists and turns. This was my first taste of Imogen Robertson's writing and I will certainly be back for more. Set in the biting winter of 1909 Maud Heighton has come to Paris to the famous Lafond's Académie to improve her painting but as her fellow students especially the wealthy Russian Tanya enjoy the delights of Paris life, Maud is hungry and poor. Tanya intuits that her friend is approaching destitution and suggests a visit to Miss Harris who finds work for poor ex pats. While Maud is typically English in her reserve she accepts her friend's advice and Miss Harris arranges work for Maud as a companion and drawing teacher to young and beautiful Sylvie Morel. Maud feels such relief at her new position never having to worry about going hungry or cold again that she accepts Sylvie's strange behaviour, even her secret opium addiction. However deception is neve…

Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran

A beautifully written and richly detailed urban fantasy for teens. This is the first in a trilogy, the second book The Hidden Princess has just been released. Katy Moran is already a dab hand at creating intriguing storylines and teenage characters, she is the author of three historical adventure stories Spirit Hunter, Bloodline and Bloodline Rising and a contemporary romance Dangerous to Know. In Hidden Among Us the story is told through through multiple viewpoints as a family who have a fatal connection to a beautiful centuries old house in the English countryside are drawn back there to fulfill a bargain made fourteen years before. This a tale for those who like their fairy tales dark and brooding. This is a great page turner full of old English folk tales and yet edgy and modern at the same time. Perfect for fans Liz de Jager.

Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad is an astounding read; tough, gritty and incredibly violent it is nonetheless a compelling and breathtaking read. A YA Fantasy set in contemporary Britain but revealing a hidden world where White and Black Witches battle for control. Nathan is an unknown quantity as he is the only known half white- half black witch. The book is presented in an intriguing style as the main character Nathan switches between between first person narrative in which he tells us his back story and second person narrative in which his current brutal imprisonment is recounted. The book opens with Nathan in a cage and the jarring second person narrative which gives us an insight into Nathan's head as he tries to distance himself from the violence he is subjected to. This book is not for the faint heated but the scenes in which we see Nathan with his brother and the girl he loves allow room for some character development and hint at what might be to come in the next two instalments of the trilogy.…

Fallen by Lia Mills

Lia Mills has produced in Fallen an outstanding historical novel which gives a wonderful insight into the lives of ordinary Dublin people during the Easter Rising. Fallen is the story of Katie Crilly an educated and restless young woman who is grieving for her twin brother Liam who has been killed at the Western Front. Katie finds an intellectual outlet as a researcher for an elderly "bluestocking" Miss Colclough (Dote) who is compiling a history of Dublin's monuments. Miss Cloclough lives with another lady Miss Wilson and Katie takes refuge in their home when she is unable to cross the city during the turbulent days of The Rising. Here she meets Miss Wilson's nephew Hubie who has returned from war after losing his hand. Both of these young people have been damaged by war and they are trying to make sense of the chaos in the city and the feelings which are running high as the British army begin shelling and the poorer people begin looting. Katie and Hubie watch the …

Dubliners 100 Edited by Thomas Morris

Celebrating Joyce's homage to his home city one hundred years after publication and just in time for Bloomsday is an ambitious and brilliant achievement for newcomers Tramp Press in this their second outing. It is a beautifully produced book and it is certain to put Tramp firmly on the literary map. The calibre of the writers who have contributed work to this anthology is top notch, ranging from Patrick McCabe who opens the book with his interpretation of The Sisters to Peter Murphy who closes with The Dead. The quality of the work is in many cases outstanding. The stories share a name and a similarity of theme with the originals. The Dublin landscape features strongly and the realities of modern Dublin living are presented in all their hideous glory often turning the original setting on its head. Thus Donal Ryan's "Eveline" gives us aslylum seekers and welcome parties instead of the exile of the original. Similarly Oona Frawley's "The Boarding House" …

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Headline Publishing have re-issued  a number of titles from the powerful and hugely influential science fiction author Octavia E. Butler with titles available in both print and e-book format. I was delighted to be sent a print copy of this classic American book first published in 1979. While there is an element of science fiction in this novel it is also a politically charged tale of pre-civil war slavery. Dana a young black writer just moving into her new home with her husband feels dizzy and wakes up to find herself in early 19th century Maryland. She sees a young boy thrashing about in a river and pulls him out and revives him saving his life just as a hard faced man points a rifle into her face she is suddenly back home in her new apartment and soaked through. A series of trips back into the past then commences, some lasting for weeks and months at a time. Dana experiences first hand the cruelty of slavery and of being considered something to be traded as she struggles to stay al…

Black Lake by Johanna Lane

More new Irish Fiction and Johanna Lane's debut novel is an assured and lyrically written work. It tells the story of family weighed down by inherited responsibility and the financial issues that drive a wedge into family life, finally resulting in a shocking tragedy. John and Marianne are the couple struggling to keep Dulough their beautiful Irish country estate going. Kate and Philip are the children who have to cope with being taken from this wonderful sprawling home to live in a dark small cottage on the grounds so that the house can be opened up to the public. We watch through the family's eyes as the house is filled with furniture that isn't theirs and people walk across rooms that were once kept private. It all becomes too much for young Philip when his train set becomes a focus of frustration as a tour guide shows some other children around his old bedrooom and for his mother Marianne too as she locks herself and Kate into the ballroom. This is a well crafted piec…

The Closet of Savage Mementoes by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

I love to read new Irish fiction especially from women writers. I had been aware of Nuala for a while, had read interviews with her but hadn't read any of her work so I was intrigued when I learned this novel (her second) was on the way. The premise sounded very interesting a young Dublin woman Lillis escapes her grief at the death of her boyfriend and the difficult relationship with her alcoholic mother by taking a job as a waitress in the Scottish highlands. She falls for her much older boss and feels that her future is secure until a terrible betrayal brings her to crisis and she has to make a momentous decision. I was intrigued too to learn that this story was based on Nuala's personal experiences. To say that I loved this book would be a huge understatement. I felt the characters breathe out of the page, the writing is stark, sensual and intense, Nuala is a force to be reckoned with, her writing is poetic, sharp, spare and utterly beautiful. The character of Lillis is a …