Author Interview – R.L McIntyre

Author of the Warrior of the Isles series

Today I have the pleasure of meeting R.L McIntyre, the author of the recently released Curse of the Gods; the first book in her new YA historical fantasy series. Welcome Rachel! Tell us about your new series.

Rachel: My latest book is a YA historical Fantasy that releases September 21st, 2021. This series spurred out of me researching my heritage. As you can guess from the last name McIntyre my family is American Irish. I wanted to learn more about Irish culture and the history of the land. This spurred many late nights reading various myths and eventually I fell in love with the myth of Cu Chulainn. He was like an Irish Hercules in a lot of ways. My research led me to seeing the history of the time which is where the legendary warrior Calagus was pulled from. He was another warrior that led this grand battle against Romans in Scotland. Reading all this spurred the premise for Curse of the Gods.

         Curse of the Gods is a genderbent retelling of Cu Chulainn mixed with real history of Scotland and Ireland at the time historians believe Cu Chulainn would’ve lived if he was real. My story follows Seanait, my Cu Chulainn, and her journey to return to Ulster before her prophecy to save the land starts during her seventeenth year. With her best friend Eion at her side, she fights Romans, Gods, and meets a mysterious fae Prince who changes her world.

Cillian, my fae prince, is modelled after Cu Chulainn’s fae lover. Cillian is the seventh Prince in the first Kingdom of the Faelands, Amanthia. As a member of the Royal family he is supposed to fight for the crown against his siblings, but he has other plans. He dissents and disappears into the human realm where he meets Seanait. But as the title suggests both characters have destinies ‘cursed’ on them by the Gods. This first book in the series explores the beginning of their tales leading into the next book Echoes of Destiny which should release November/December 2021. Echoes of Destiny follows even closer to the myth of Cu Chulainn so there is even more coming in this mythical world of ancient Scotland and Ireland.

Helen: Sounds like an exciting adventure with plenty going on. You never know what is going to happen when the gods have their fingers in the pie! Tell us about your cover, it is very striking.

Rachel: I have two covers! One is for my paperback version on Amazon and the second is for my hardback version on Barnes & Nobles. My paperback cover came first. It was inspired by Seanait herself. She is by far one of my favorite characters and it’s not just me. My beta readers and editor also loved her. So, she had to be the focus of the cover. This cover is Seanait with her power, a riastrad, activated. Her hair is ablaze, and she has her Gae Bolg (spear like weapon) in hand ready to fight the world and the Gods. I love this cover because it brings to life Seanait in all her powerful glory. She is a warrior and I really wanted that to come across but even more than just being a fighter, she is also feminine. I love mixing the feminine and masculine in characters because we’re all a mix of both.

My second cover follows the same flow and idea as the first, but it has a more artistic flare to it which I love. I love black covers. It makes the images pop off the page and I wanted to emulate that idea. This cover still features Seanait and her Gae Bolg but it also shows a detached version of her. You only see her red hair.

Helen: Curse of the Gods in the first in your YA historical fantasy series, but you have written other books, are they all fantasy?

Rachel: I write mostly fantasy. It’s what I loved to read as a kid and I still read the genre today. Anything with magic, dragons, prophecies always pulls me in. I’m also partial to anything in medieval or ancient times so I often write a lot in this time period. Although, I’ve dabbled in some more modern-age fantasy. I was and am still a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and Tolkien. He probably inspired me the most and helped me fall in love with the genre. I’m also a big believer that reading should be a form of escapism. It always has been for me and fantasy worlds help me to escape so I enjoy being able to create my own worlds and share them with readers.

Helen: I agree, I love new worlds, and the sheer escapism of fantasy and how you can let your imagination run riot. Speaking of ideas, how do you come up with new ideas for your books?

Rachel: It depends. Some ideas have come from dreams while others have come from history or what if ideas. There are other ideas that come from music. There are tons of songs that I’ve listened to and wondered what the story of the characters would be. It often leads me to some free writing of ideas. Some of them get turned into full length books while others are just fun pieces I work on from time to time.

Helen: What are you currently working on?

Rachel: My current WIP is the second book to Curse of the Gods. I’m hoping to finish it soon so I can start the revision process and beta reading. However, I also tend to hop between WIPs when I write. The world of Curse of the Gods is going to widen in book two and the spin-off series that come after. So, I’m currently jumping between these books at the moment. But my main focus is still book two.

Book two takes Seanait on the journey to fulfil her destiny. This book follows more closely to the well-known parts of the Cu Chulainn myth so there is epic battles, more faeland politics, and of course Seanait and Cillian need to reconcile. There’s a lot that is going to happen so I’m super excited to share it with the world. The two spin-off series will follow Cillian in the aftermath of the second book and the second series will catch up with Evander, the Roman with powers similar to Seanait. I’m super excited for both but they both have a long way to go.

Helen: That sounds amazing, and I’m sure your readers will love the fact there are more spin-off series to come. You have some rich and powerful characters in your books. Do you prefer to write heroes or villains?

Rachel: I love morally grey characters! They could be villains or heroes, but these characters always speak to me. The world isn’t black or white, so I enjoy characters that imbue that sense of reality. Although, if I had to choose it might be villains. Understanding why people might do something terrible is fulfilling. I like having those answers. Also, I have a background in psychology so I enjoy being able to use that to really understand my villains.

Helen: With all the history and rearch you had to do for Curse of Gods, did you find yourself sticking to a plan, or did your characters try and take over?

Rachel: Oh I am a plantser. I generally have a rough idea of some scenes and the order I want them in but how characters get there and the events in-between come to me when I write. I’ve tried writing intricate outlines and always end up tossing out half of it. For me it stifles my creativity so I like having a rough idea of the plot but the rest comes as I go. It makes it a surprise for even me and allows my characters to write themselves.

Helen: When not writing about your amazing characters, what hobbies do you have? That is if you have time!

Rachel: I’m a huge fan of volleyball. I used to play and now I get the awesome job of coaching high schoolers. The fall season is definitely a highlight of my year.

Helen: Thank you so much Rachel, for joining me to chat about your books. It has been lovely meeting you. Just to finish, one more question: If you didn’t write fantasy, what genre would you like to write?

Rachel: I write mostly fantasy with romance subplots. I’ve never considered myself a romance writer, but I’ve been considering Paranormal Romance recently. Not sure when I’ll give it a try as I have a couple of other projects I want to get done first. But I’ve gotten great feedback from my editor that makes me think I can write romance better than I think. It’s something I’ll like to try at some point.

About the Author:

R. L. McIntyre is a fantasy writer of books for teens and adults. She was born outside of Philadelphia and lived there for most of her life. When not writing she spends most of her time coaching volleyball or playing with her adorable writing buddies four rambunctious cats. You can find out more about her and her cats on her website rlmcintyreauthor.com.

You can find more about Rachel via:

Author website

Instagram

Goodreads

Bookbub

You can purchase Rachel’s books from Amazon:

Curse of the Gods – Book One of the Magelands Eternal Siege

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church

Reviewed: August 22nd, 2021
Released: February 1st, 2020
Genre: Paranormal Gay Fantasy

To be loved by a dragon is to be treasured.

A hundred years ago, werewolf Alpha Montgomery took a risk driven by desperation—he borrowed money from the ancient dragon Warwick Ehecatl, putting up the pack lands as collateral. Now the debt is due, and dragons don’t forget—or forgive. Warwick demands Montgomery’s son, Avery, and three businesses as compensation. As an Omega, Avery knows he is basically useless to his pack, so he might as well agree. He soon has second thoughts, though. Warwick is fearsome, and he’s free to do as he likes with Avery.

Warwick knows his race’s reputation, and he even admits some of it is deserved. But he’d rather cut off his tail than let his innocent mate’s light go out. It won’t be easy, but buried deep, there’s something between them worth safeguarding. Read More…

Book Review Alert: On the Edge by M.J. Glenn

Reviewed: August 21st, 2021
Released: December 1st, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy

For two years, Ebony Wick has survived alone as an outlaw and highwaywoman in Rundlewood Forest. She doesn’t need people. She only needs to survive. But when Hunter Sparrow breaks into her camp and invites her to join his gang, the Bounty Hunters, she finds herself facing a difficult choice.

With a burning desire for revenge against a powerful enemy, Ebony must choose between reason and instinct. But in doing so, she discovers a long-hidden secret that will change her world forever. Read More…

Author Interview – Alex Wolf

Author of Élan : Son of Song

Join me as chat to Alex Wolf about her YA fantasy novel Élan which releases today, August 20th, 2021. Congratulations Alex, on the launch of your book. To start us off, tell us about Élan : Son of Song.

Alex: My current book Élan: Son of Song is about growing up and finding out that the world isn’t how you expected it to be/ were told it was to be – this then forces the MC to find his personal strength and become your own hero, by using your gifts.

Helen: How did you come up with the cover? It is beautiful, with the soft pastel colours.

Alex: For my cover, I visualised a movie style poster for the book in order to appeal to the right genre of readers. I wanted to convey the fantasy and magickal elements as well as the looming sense of dread of the MC’s dark journey. Having the MC featured also was important to demonstrate how this was his journey through his POV.

Helen: Is there a meaning to the book title?

Alex: Élan was inspired by a song that was by his namesake, and as this story is entirely about his journey – it made sense to name it after him and the legend that was borne from it.

Helen: When writing do you prefer to write heroes or villains?

Alex: Villians! They have always been my favourite. There is just something about that ambition, that negative arc that really fascinates me. Famously, my favourite Disney character as a child was Scar from Lion King (which isn’t normal for a kid right?). I always cried when he died. Of course I understood he was ‘bad’ but I appreciated the need to be noticed, to be recognised. Their arcs always seemed to stand out to me, their motivation – how they can move forward without any support I found most inspiring. In my own writing, my villains certainly are my favourites too.

Helen: I agree, some villains are definitely under rated! When writing do you plan your book in advance or do you like to let your book take you where it will?

Alex: I am definitely a planner. In general I am an annoying ‘list person’ anyway. When I outline my stories though, its not necessarily what stick to. In fact, 9/10 I never reach the same ending or even middle that I planned to, but I guess having those ‘guidelines’ there give me enough of nudge to get going. I let my creativity take over and the outline is more of a guideline that gives me enough of an ‘oomph’ to get started.

Helen: Sounds familiar! I have very stubborn characters and they always go off plan! When writing do you listen to music? Or do you prefer silence?

Alex: Almost every single time I write, I listen to music. Otherwise, the silence is deafening when I write. There is just something about me having a rhythm, a vibe or mood is vital for my creativity. Its the same for my illustrations too. I have playlists arranged by character that help inspire me and get into the zone.

Helen: Tell us something competely random about yourself.

Alex:

  1. My first story I ever wrote was based off my toy dog Curly when I was around 10 years old. From then on I used writing as a way to cope with my social anxiety and help me process my external environment.
  2. I went to Japan for a work trip in 2017. My flight home got cancelled so I was stuck in Japan for an extra day. I decided to use the opportunity and went on my own to Disneyland Tokyo.

Helen: I find writing very therapeutic. It helps you look at things differently, and also makes you take the time to understand why it is the way it is, and how people react.

I want to know how different Disneyland Tokyo is, or whether it is very similar to other parcs! Moving on! What book are you reading now?

Alex: I am currently reading the Wild Spirit series by Victoria Wren. I love the fantasy genre and love even more supporting fellow indie authors. Its the best part about being one for sure. If anyone is on goodreads, please feel free to friend me! I love that platform for keeping tabs on my reading. I also love to beta read so feel free to contact me if anyone wants to try anything.

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, it has been lovely meeting you. Just to finish, are you working on anything new?

Alex: Currently it is nicknamed Project Prince and it’s another book in the same Saga as Élan but features a different character and timeline. Also will certainly be more NA than YA. For this one, I wanted to go a bit more into fantasy romance as that is my favourite genre and now that I have set the scene for my writing, it feels natural to head there next.

About the Author:

Alex is a creator based in the centre of England who enjoys writing fantasy novels. She also illustrates fantasy-style portraits and draws commissioned pet portraits. Writing and drawing have always been her passion since she was five years old. 


When she is not creating, she is either working her day job or reading various genres such as romance, true crime and dark fantasy.

You can find more about Alex via:

Instagram

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

You can purchase Alex’s novel from Amazon:

Elan: Son of Song

UK: eBook | Paperback | Hardcover

USA: eBook | Paperback | Hardcover

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Mad Magic by Nicole Conway

Reviewed: August 19th, 2021
Released: March 23rd, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy

Josie Barton is a high school student living in terror. Invisible creatures torment her everywhere she goes, constantly getting her into trouble at school, and even haunting her apartment. But just when Josie thinks things couldn’t get any worse . . . she meets the guy from across the hall.

Zeph Clemmont is a changeling with enemies in all the worst places, fighting to undo a curse that threatens to end his life. Survival means he will have to swallow his pride and trust Josie with all his darkest secrets.

With the help of a gun-slinging shaman and the enigmatic Prince of Nightmares, Zeph and Josie are only a heartbeat away from defeating one of the most diabolical faerie villains their world has ever known. Read More…

Author Interview – Luci Fer

Author of What Happens On Tour

Today I am chatting with Luci Fer, who joins me to talk about her humourous romance What Happens on Tour which releases tomorrow August 15th! Welcome Luci, congratulations on your new release and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about your book.

Luci: The Tour series is about an up and coming Australian music band who venture on a regional tour. Having started at the record label at the same time, Lead Musician Braxton Carson and his band have forged a solid friendship with Photographer Charlotte (Charlie) Bancroft. The entire group is thrilled to learn that they will be traveling together on Tour in the upcoming weeks.

The band ventures on a road trip around their country to connect with fans in remote areas, rather than just playing for the big city stadiums. It doesn’t take long for the Tour to show the close bonds they all share as friends, while also uncovering the undertones of romance between the two leads.

After just a few stops on the Tour, we learn that not only do Brax and Charlie have very similar interests, they also have an unspoken longing for each other. Their rather comical similarities and differences guarantee a hysterical and eventful trip ahead.

A night of drinking and mayhem with the band reveals Brax’s true intentions for Charlie. After an awkward conversation, the sizzling spark we’ve sensed intensifies when Brax takes what he feels is his only shot of getting the girl.

True feelings ignite and humour unravels as the band learns of the shift in the relationship status. When a catastrophic chain of events unfolds, Will Brax and Charlie fight for their love or crumble under the intense scrutiny?

Helen: It sounds like an intense read. How did you decide on the cover?

Luci: The story, while a comedy at heart, also explores the personal and professional growth of the lead characters, being the band, their agent and of course, photographer Charlie. Charlie’s backstory plays a pivotal part in the plot across all 7 books. As writers we create the image of our characters in our minds, while developing the story. I happened to be scrolling through instagram back in 2018 when I first wrote this and stumbled across a woman who embodied everything I saw in my character. As the saying goes, you don’t know unless you ask. So I approached her and explained what I was doing. Becca Medlin, my cover model who can be found on Instagram under @beccamedlin kindly agreed to be a part of the story and I am eternally grateful for her kindness and support. She embodies the same spirit my character does, and while beautiful in her own right, her heart is nothing less than extraordinary. And of course the magic would never have happened without the incredibly talented girls at Books and Moods who worked tirelessly with me to help understand the vision.

Helen: It is wonderful when you can find such a close connection between your cover and your story. I am glad you asked because your cover is amazing. Tell us about the genres you write becuase it not only humourous romance is it?

Luci: I am a romance novel writer, but the sub-plots vary as I do like to explore and push myself. I have a four part series that is a heavy erotica, a thriller and of course Tour series which is a romantic comedy.

Helen: What made you write this particular book?

Luci: What Happens on Tour was the fourth story I wrote. I had finished two books in my first series, and was deep into a standalone that was dark romance. I came to a chapter towards the end of this book where I was using real life experience, nearly losing my mother and writing it from her perspective in a coma, and before I realised it, I found myself getting sucked into a vortex with it and seeking ways to balance the heaviness I was experiencing. A passion of mine had always been to travel to music festivals and concerts, or road trips with my friends so I drew on these experiences and combined my two loves. It became the perfect balance I needed to give both books the justice they deserved.

Helen: Balance is very important. Writing emotional scenes can be draining, especially when they pull on personal experiences. We are lucky you were able to combine your love of music with your love of writing. What made you first start writing?

Luci: My mother was a writer and poet. Growing up she worked as a children’s story teller and I was often fascinated by her creativity. By my teenage years I knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Finishing highschool I studied at University theatre and the arts. My passion was to be a playwright and director. One of my now adapted novels was originally written as a theatre production for a University assessment back in the early 2000’s. I was inspired by my mother and my love of theatre. I have always been a little dramatic at heart, thus the pen name.

Helen: With such a creative background, it must be easy for you to come up with ideas for your books?

Luci: I have an overactive imagination. I work full time in a highly stressful yet rewarding job, and as a result I struggle at times to switch off. I have been known to wake up at random hours of the night to pen an idea that has come to me, because I can’t sleep until I get it off my chest.

Helen: Which do you prefer, Writing or Editing?

Luci: I don’t know that anyone ever truly loves editing, especially Manuscript Developmental edits which is what I have undertaken with Tour. But to see the finished work makes it all worthwhile. As the writer, our perspective is often biased, since it’s difficult to keep from becoming your own reader. As a writer it is easy to be captivated by your passion in your work and therefore lose perspective on how your message will resonate with your audience. My editor has taught me that this often translates to us not realising whether something that works for you will also work for the audience. She’s helped me to engage with my target audience while also bringing out my author voice. I have a better perspective as a writer and greater insight as to what will work for a reader.

Helen: Did you have to spend much time researching for your books?

Luci: My first series I wrote, I spent a year researching and evolving those characters as there were so many complex elements to it. Tour series, I have been fortunate to have assistance from some industry insiders – family members who are performers, and incredible artists who have agreed to work with me and be on the covers of other books in the series. I also draw from my real life experiences so each of my stories has an element of me as a person in them. 

Helen: It sounds like your research was really interesting. Who was your favrorite character to write?

Luci: He is always the audience favourite and that is Chester. He is everything my best friend is to me – lovable with a hint of mischief but a heart of gold. He also tends to take over my creative process because his voice is so powerful. easy, Stewart, the main protagonist. He is such a complex character in many ways, with a quick temper. He also has an agile mind that can read situations quickly, and a very dry, roguish sense of humour. I really enjoyed developing him.

Helen: And your favorite character from your book?

Luci: Mark, from my Tour series. He has a depth to his soul that I recognise and appreciate in a lot of my friends. I have incorporated many of their traits into this character.

Helen: Have you ever been given a piece of advice about writing that has helped you with your writing process?

Luci: During the editing process I become extremely hypercritical and my editor continually reminds me, it’s okay to do so. The hypercriticality pays off and you have to trust in your editor to guide you the right way with it.

Helen: How do you fit writing in your daily life?

Luci: My day typically starts at 3am to let me get caffeinated before I spend two hours editing. I then do a very long day at work before picking up writing on my wips at night.

Helen: I couldn’t get up at 3am. That is a no from me. I don’t know how you do it! Being so organised with your time, how are you with writing? Are you a pantser or a planner?

Luci: Ultimately, I know where the story is going, and how it will end. But as much as I do try to plan, I am definitely more of a pantser. Particularly with tour due to the comedic element to it. Much of the shenanigans are based around my real life group of friends and our acquired taste of crazy.

Helen: Does music play an important part in your writing process?

Luci: I don’t listen to music while I write, I do need silence in order to focus on the words and the flow of the story. That being said, I do have music that inspires my works and each has their own playlist on spotify for my readers to enjoy.

Helen: Do you have a favourite place to work?

Luci: Outdoors. I am blessed to live away from the city surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. My favourite place to write is out on my deck with the serenity of nature. It reminds me it’s okay to slow down sometimes and enjoy the process.

Helen: Sounds perfect! I am jealous! Most authors are prolific readers. Tell us what you like to read and who your favourite author is.

Luci: I love all the works of Bertolt Brecht and anything Theatre of the Absurd. The irrational or fictive nature of reality and the essential isolation of humanity in a meaningless world is fascinating to me. I am currently reading Regrets and Revenge by Zavi James. It is the second book in her Foster family series. Zavi’s creative genius is unparalleled. I would recommend Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman, but before starting it is important to know there are over 30 books in this series.

Helen: Do you have an all time favourite book?

Luci: Forget you had a daughter, by Sandra Gregory. Caught in a situation due to misfortune and trusting the wrong people, it shows one woman’s struggle to learn from her mistake but not let it define the person she is. It can feel like we’re alone. It can seem like you’ve let everyone down and it can be easy to tell yourself that everything was riding on you. But forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. We aren’t robots, we are humans and we do make mistakes, it is a beautiful journey of self forgiveness.

Helen: When not writing, (and if you have the time!). Do you have a favourite pastime or hobby?

Luci: I love the theatre and the arts, and my best friend’s partner is an incredible performer. We all love to support and watch his shows. And it goes without saying, my best friend is a huge part of my life, not a week goes by where we don’t do something. In fact it was the very road trips he and I have taken together over the years and our love of exploring new places around our country that Tour was born from. As our group always says, “No Shady beaches.”

Helen: Your friends sound wonderful, it’s great that you’ve been able to draw from your own experiences for your writing. Have you ever performed yourself?

Luci: I was a dancer for 16 years, not ballet or ballroom. I chose Scottish dancing because I wanted to own a pair of swords. It requires a huge level of trust in your ability to be able to move over those swords without causing injury to yourself.

Helen: It’s been lovely meeting you, Luci. Thank you so much for spending the time with me. I usually finish with a question to help aspiring authors, what advice would you give someone setting out to write?

Luci: Pen the story first, then go back to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to edit at the same time because it is easy to lose your natural story progression if you are weighing yourself down with all the elements of composing a story.

About the Author:

Brisbane, Aus 

▪️ PA @csinbo

▪️ Sold Series on @galatea.stories

▪️ Tour Series publishing 2021

▪️ Carefree and slightly crazy

▪️ The Road to hell is paved with works in progress. 

▪️ Social Media:

IG Author_luci_fer

Facebook AuthorLuciFer

TikTok Author_Luci_Fer

You can purchase Daisy’s novel from Amazon:

What Happens On Tour

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Needlework by Bekah Berge

Reviewed: August 11th, 2021
Released: June 20th, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Four musicians vie for a coveted spot on the main stage at the prestigious Olive Branch Music and Arts Festival.

For as long as she can remember, Melly has only been good at one thing: making music. From the instant she got her fingers on a flute and tambourine, music had transformed her life and become a way for her to express the hidden desires of her heart. And like every artist in the realm, joining the illustrious Olive Branch Music and Arts Festival was her ultimate dream.

When Hakim encounters Melly singing in a grubby tavern, his world stops for the briefest of moments. For Hakim, it was as clear as the sky on a sunny day—her voice was what his band, Needlework, had been missing. On a whim, a deal is struck. Soon Melly finds herself whisked away with the band as they join the Olive Branch Festival for what promises to be one wild ride. Read More…

Author Interview – Daisy Wood

Author of Full Circle

Today we meet historical novelist Daisy Wood, who joins me to talk about her historical novel Full Circle. Welcome Daisy and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about your book.

Daisy: My current book ‘Full Circle’ was published on January 30 2020, just as the world was going into lockdown. It is historical fiction, set in 1886, and concerns a family whose small estate called ‘The Willows’ nestles quietly just outside the town of Mere, in Wiltshire, close to the river Nader in the West Country of England. The estate’s main produce is the growing of Flax, but it also boasts a small Dairy Herd, Goats and Sheep, growing all of its own vegetables. It is, you might say, self-sufficient….and idyllic… but, it holds a secret from the past within is walls, that if revealed, could destroy the present family, and all they hold dear.

Helen: It sounds the dream location, deep in the English countryside. A beautiful estate and a long history hiding many secrets. Why did you choose such a simple cover when you could have chosen an idyllic country scene?

Daisy: I wanted a plain cover, as the story encompasses so many emotions, hate, avarice, vengeance and love. To express this in a cover would be impossible, so I graduated the colour to try and represent these emotions. The colour I chose is also symbolic of the main protagonist in many ways, including his eyes.

Helen: It sounds like a complex and twisted story in contrast to the simplicity of the cover What about the title? Are there any hidden meanings?

Daisy: The title is multi-faceted, ‘Full Circle’ portrays life’s cycle…what we start with…and then finally end with. The ring in itself represents the title, as its style is a never-ending Celtic vine, which depicts both the cycle of life and love itself. Our lives I believe are made up of many such circles, as likewise within the book these circles exist, one of kindness repaid, one of hate avenged, one of love rekindled.

Helen: Full Circle is a big book, not only in content but in length. Kudos to you Daisy, for completing such a challenging project. What made you write this book?

Daisy: I have always loved reading from an early age. I also had a passion for making up stories. I would get told off in ‘composition’ for not adhering to the word count. (Hence the length of my book.) I never knew when to stop…. I had this book inside me from the age of 20, which was when I started to write it, completing around 10 chapters on my works typewriter, as I would stay in at lunchtime to type what I had written, but then my life took a different path. I thought about it many times throughout my life, but it was many years later when both my parents had passed, while clearing out a cupboard, I found the typed and hand-written pages at the back, in the same brown envelope I had left them in. My Mum had kept it. It was then I decided, when I retired, I would finish the story. It took me three years to complete (including research) then two years to publish. I dedicated the book to my parents.

Helen: I am so glad your mother kept your manuscript. That is a wondeful trait in mothers, they keep everything. I’m sure my daughter will roll her eyes when she has to dig though all her stuff in the attic, whilst reminiscing over most of it, hopefully! What inspired you to write?

Daisy: My inspiration…that came from my love of reading. In my office books would be passed around like sweets at a children’s party, but it was one book that set me one my path. ‘Devil Water’ by Anya Seton. The story still resonates with me, and it set me to thinking that I would like to write one. Not on the scale of her book, but one that I had had in my head for a while. As I wrote each new chapter, I would let the other girls there read them, and comment. It was from that, the Italian part of the book came to life from a dear Italian friend that I worked with then, Marisa. I also put a dedication to her in the book.

Helen: You write historical fiction, what made you choose that genre?

Daisy: All my life I have had a love for History, how they lived, what their lives were like then. It fascinates me, and always will, but the 1700’s, especially the later part of that century, always drew me in. It was just after the start of the Industrial Revolution, in 1760, but where people still worked the land. Oh, it had its poverty, especially in the large towns, but nothing like the type people experienced when they migrated in their masses to the cities to work in the factories. I hope I have been able to convey some of this in my book, as I have tried to keep as true to the time as possible in my writing.

Helen: I would imagine that you had to spend a lot of time researching to make sure you reflected the era correctly?

Daisy: I did an immense amount of research on that era, most before I started to write, but quite a lot as ideas unfolded and took hold as I wrote. I wanted to try and depict to the best of my ability what life was like then. This included dress, food, education, birthing, the role of women, and the hierarchy of the servant household, as well as money, wages, and travel, but most importantly the language they spoke. Words were not abbreviated then, and being set in the West country I also looked to the dialect there of that time. There were also the customs of that era, in what was acceptable, and how to address people. I found a whole other world. All this is reflected in the Bibliography. 

Helen: It sounds like you almost wrote another book! History is such fun but it can lead you down a rabbit hole! Who was your favourite character to write?

Daisy: That’s easy, Stewart, the main protagonist. He is such a complex character in many ways, with a quick temper. He also has an agile mind that can read situations quickly, and a very dry, roguish sense of humour. I really enjoyed developing him.

Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you prefer writing or editing?

Daisy: I’m afraid there is only one answer to that question – WRITING  It took me forever to edit my book before I sent it to the publishers, you re-read so many times you get word-blindness, and even then, there are still some mistakes you miss.

Helen: Having completed your lifetime project, are you tempted to write another book?

Daisy: My current WIP follows on from my first book. I have introduced new characters, as well as expanding on some of the old ones. The theme throughout the second book still concentrates on the family, its values, and the bond that ties them together. It is that tight bond, which allows them to overcome the perils, resentment and hostility that surrounds them at every turn, especially when the arrival of a step-brother, threatens to destroy the stability they have fought so hard to achieve over the past two years of turmoil.

Helen: I think it’s wonderful that you are writing another book. You said you were retired, so I imagine you have the luxury of writing whenever you want to?

Daisy: Yes. For me that’s easy as I am retired and my time is virtually my own. There are times when I can sit in the morning and everything flows. Other times I find that early evening, when I can squirrel myself away to my room, and I have had jotted down many new thoughts, or characters who have spoken to me during the day, that I am at my most productive.

Helen: Sounds perfect! Most authors are prolific readers. Do you have a favourite author?

Daisy: I don’t have one. Every author is prolific in their own right, just as no two readers have the same story in their head after they have read a book. Each person’s interpretation is unique, just as each book is. That is why books will never fade. I read a book once by Carlos Ruez Zafon ‘Shadow of the Wind’ in which he talks of the ‘Cemetery of forgotten books’ I loved the idea of that.

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, I have enjoyed learning more abut you and your books. Just to finish, what advice would you give aspiring authors?

Daisy: There is only one thing I would say… ‘Never give up on your dream’ even when things around you seem so insurmountable, that is the time when you are at your most creative. For me, setbacks only made me strive harder for what I wanted. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘you can’t’ because ‘YOU CAN!!!

About the Author:

I have lived in London for most of my life, and started writing this book when I was 20, but then life took a different path and it was left. Many years later, after my parents passed, I found my work hidden at the back of a cupboard where it had lain for nearly 50 years – my Mum had kept it. Having time on my hands now, I decided to finish the story, which took two years to complete, never dreaming it would be published. I still seems surreal to me, and often I look at the book and ask myself, did I really write this!?

You can find more about Daisy via:

Instagram

Twitter

Goodreads

You can purchase Daisy’s novel from Amazon:

Full Circle

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Author Interview – Bertha Raw

Author of The Raven

Join me as chat to Bertha Raw about her debut YA fantasy novel The Raven which released on March 1st, 2021. Welcome Bertha, and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about The Raven.

Bertha: The Raven, that’s the title of my current book. It’s about this girl, Camille Stark that lived in a void–not literally, her life was empty and she knew something was wrong with her. She was different from everyone else but didn’t stop to think about it. She took full advantage of her weirdness and made life out it.

She was wayward and did all sort of things. Her adopted parents loved her but they hated her lifestyle, so her adopted mother forced her into going to a boarding school for troubled kids.

Getting to the school, Camille realized that the school wasn’t for troubled kids but people with magical powers. She thought she’d seen it all and had enough of the fable fairytale the Headmaster told her, and decided she was going to sneak out but didn’t because she needed answers.

She started asking questions but no one was willing to give her the answers she wanted. She started to question everything including her existence because she didn’t know who to trust.

Her mission change when her adopted parents suddenly became missing. She set out to find them with the help of new friends but came back empty. Camille realized someone was playing a game and they didn’t know how dangerous she could be especially when she just found out she was the granddaughter of one powerful warlock and a mad demon.

Helen: How did you come up with the cover? It is very atmospheric with the brooding ravens watching.

Bertha: I spent months trying to create the perfect cover, and I couldn’t find the one I loved. I changed the cover three times before I found the cover I wanted. The cover features ravens on the tree and a school, it’s black and white. The ravens represents Camille because she is a Raven. And the school represents The Vale, the boarding school that changed her life forever.  The black and white symbols everything else in the story. I chose the cover because it explains everything in the book.

Helen: Although this is your first YA FAntasy novel, you don’t just write fantasy novels, do you?

Bertha: I’d like to think that I’m not genre specific. I’ve written many genres like Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Action and Adventure, Crime Thriller, Sci-fi, New Adult and Young Adult.

I write base on inspiration. I’m always scared to start a book because I don’t know if I’m confident enough to finish it or do justice to the specific genre but I do it.

My favorite genre to write is Young Adult paranormal because I started writing with that. 

I was thirteen when I wrote my first book and I think it was because of the movie I saw then, and I love it.

Helen: Having the ideas is a great start, it takes discipline and hard work to finish a book, and then being very brave to release it! What made you begin writing?

Bertha: I was very lonely with no true friends in highschool. I went to a boarding school and I hardly ever watch TV at home, so whenever we go back to school after vacation, my roommates would talk about the movies they watched at home and they’d ask me if had seen those movies. Not to feel out of space amongst them, I’d make up my own movie and tell them all about my imagination, they didn’t even question it. Once I realized that they love all the movies I tell them, I found myself writing them down, planning my next movie. And that’s how I started writing.

Helen: Congratulations on finishing and publishing the book. Which type of character do you enjoy writing the most?

Bertha: Villains. I love writing about villains because I think they are misunderstood. I like to dive into all my characters backstory, to write about what made them who they are and the reason they became what they are.

Everyone has a story, good or bad. I like to tell the good version even though they are bad, I like to tell people there’s more to them then they think even if they end up disappointing everyone.

Writing about Heroes are boring, I prefer Anti-Heroes. People that don’t care about anyone else but themselves. I always portray my characters in a way where people are going to hate to love them.

Helen: Most indie authors are juggling writing and life. Tell us how you fit writing into your daily life.

Bertha: It’s kind of hard because I’m still a student, a sophomore in College, and I try to write everyday except weekends, my weekends are mine. I write immediately I wake up and before going to sleep if I know I’m going to have a busy day. But writing is fun. 

Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you enjoy listening to music whilst you write?

Bertha: I love writing in silence but sometimes I listen to music, mostly music scores. When I was writing The Raven, I created a playlist and would listen to them over and over again as I write. It depends on the mood of the chapter, if I want to write a sad chapter, I listen to Novo Amor, his voice makes me cry because it cries emotions that I can’t understand or explain. I listen to music scores when writing an action scenes. I just listen to Billie Eilish every other time because she’s my favorite.

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, just to finish, are you working on anything new?

Bertha: It’s a dark romance, and it’s the first time I’m writing one, so I’m taking my time to explore my characters because my hero is a villain without superpower, actually I’m having a hard time because I’m used to writing villains with powers. 

About the Author:

Bertha Raw is a writer, and Author of the the new novel The Raven. She has spent the last decade reading and writing novel across all genres. Her lastest novel is her first published work.

Bertha loves and works out of her home, spends her free time exploring the world and catching up on history and culture. linktr.ee/Bertha_Raw

You can find more about Bertha via:

Instagram

Website

Goodreads

You can purchase Bertha’s novel from Amazon:

The Raven

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Firebrand by Brandi Gann

Reviewed: July 20th, 2021
Released: February 27th, 2021
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Nineteen-year-old Aleria Edlind has always known that her fire would make her a valiant Lady Fayharrow, but when all that she loves burns to the ground, that spark inside must carry her through its ashes.

Firebrand is a YA fantasy romance that whisks readers off into a world of adventure, whimsy, and burning tension as Aleria collides with a group of fae warriors desperately searching for the cure to an ancient curse. When our spitfire heroine seems to be the key to unlocking those answers, she finds herself in a new land with new politics and a new man pretending not to steal glances in her direction.

Strap in for a magical tale with a little heat and a whole lot of heart as Brandi Gann weaves words as beautifully brassy and brazen as her protagonist. An entertaining, unassuming read to cozy up with at a time when we all need a little escape. Read More…