Q&A: Author Karen King @karen_king @AccentPress

 

Perfect Summer final

Perfect Summer by Karen King

To celebrate the release of Karen King’s latest book, Perfect Summer, she has joined me to answer some questions about herself and her writing. If you think that you haven’t read anything by Karen King then it is quite possible that you are wrong. Did you read Jackie magazine when you were younger? Perhaps you’ve read one of Karen’s 100+ children’s book to your child at bedtime? Or maybe one of her young adult books? Karen King has been making a living by writing for many years, so the chances are that you have read something by her. But if you haven’t then you can read this Q&A and decide which of her many books you might want to start with.

 

Hi Karen, thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you for inviting me over, Rebecca.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, please? How did you get into writing?

I’ve been a published author for over thirty years. I started my writing career with the teenage magazine, Jackie and spent many years writing for various children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh before concentrating solely on writing books.

You have written many, many children’s books. How does writing for children differ to writing a book for adults? 

Yes, I have, my last count was 120 children’s books. Whoever you write for, whether it’s children or adults, you need a credible, engaging character and a strong story plot so you start off from the same place but children’s books are shorter so the pace is quicker. When you’re writing for younger children you have to be aware of their restricted vocabulary and of the publisher’s limited word count. For children over 9 this is more flexible but even then the story tends to be fast-moving, with action and dialogue superseding description. When I write for adults I find that writing description is the most difficult to do, describing the beach my characters are sitting on, for example, instead of simply saying ‘they sat down on the soft sand’ – probably a result of writing for children’s magazines for so long, when the word count was so restricted there was no room for any description at all.

Can you tell us something that we, your readers, don’t know about you?

Gosh, there’s lots you don’t know about me. Let me think. Well, I can’t ride a bike. I tried when I was younger but I just couldn’t balance, or stop the perishing thing. After ending upside down in a litter bin I decided to give up trying!

Do you have any quirky writing habits? 

I don’t think so. I don’t have to use special notepaper or a certain pen, for example. I’ll write on anything, till receipts, shopping lists, the margins of magazines. I do like to buy pretty notebooks and pens though, but then I don’t like to use them.

 If you weren’t an author what would you be? 

A teacher. I really admire the work teachers do, it’s such an important job. I was all set to start training to be a teacher when I was offered regular writing work on children’s comics. As I had four young children I opted to write instead so I could work from home. Now I often visit schools to talk to children about writing, and my work, as an author which is great.

Do you have a favourite book that you have written and if so why that one?

 Sapphire Blue. It’s my second YA and is about two teenagers, Sapphire and Will, who really love each other and promise to be together forever. Unfortunately, they both die in a car crash and are separated in the after-life. They’re determined to find each other though, and go through all sorts of danger to do that. The theme is ‘can love survive death’ and one reviewer from Ind’tales magazine called it ‘the best YA out there right now’. It’s the story that’s closest to my heart because I believe we carry on after we die, and that we’ll see our loved ones again.

Having written so many children’s books why did you decide to write adult romance?

I like writing romance stories. Back in the early days of my writing career I wrote romance for teens; photo stories and short stories for Jackie, Patches and Loving magazines. I’ve always been interested in writing a romance novel but was too busy earning a living writing children’s books for the first twenty years of my writing career. A romance novel is at least 50,000 words – my chick lit ‘I do?…or do I?’ is 75,000 – that’s a big commitment and as a full time writer I couldn’t spare that time until my family was grown-up.

 

Can you tell us about your new book, Perfect Summer and why we should read it? 

Don’t be fooled by the title as this is rather a gritty book.  It’s set about thirty years in the future when society is so totally obsessed by perfection that plastic surgery (now called body enhancement) is the norm and anyone who is slightly different, or disabled in any way is looked down upon. Morgan, the heroine, has a friend called Summer who is beautiful, rich, has cool parents and a seemingly perfect life whereas Morgan isn’t so beautiful or rich and her little brother Josh has Down’s syndrome.  Morgan and her family get a lot of hassle from the Ministry who want them to put Josh in a Residential Learning Centre, where most disabled children are sent, but Morgan’s family refuse. Then one day Josh goes missing and the authorities aren’t interested so Morgan and Sumer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager called Jamie whose little sister, Holly, has gone missing too, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late? Expect a few shocks and to shed a tear or two.

I got the idea for this story when I read an article about girls as young as four and five being worried that they were too fat or too ugly. That’s really sad. I started to think how far this obsession with perfection would go, would it get so bad that people who didn’t have perfect looks would be shunned from society? And how would disabled people be treated? I hope people will read it and start to question whether people should be judged by their looks and that girls, in particular, will stop worrying about having perfect looks. The dedication inside the book says ‘For everyonewho thinks they aren’t beautiful, thin, clever or good enough. Celebrate your uniqueness. There is only one you.’ That’s the message I want to get across.

And finally, where can readers find out more about your books and connect with you on social media?

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Thanks for inviting me over to your blog, Rebecca.

About the author:

KK Head and Shoulders

I’ve had over one hundred and twenty children’s books published. I’ve written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. Some of my short stories were featured on Playdays BBC and some of my poems on the BBC One Potato, Two Potato website. I write for all ages and in all genres. YA, story books, picture books, plays, joke books, I’ve written them all.

I also write contemporary romance and have recently signed a 3 book contract with Accent Press. My first book I DO – or DO I? was released in May. Accent Press have also re-released my romances ‘The Millionaire Plan’ and ‘Never Say Forever’ with brand new covers. Book 2 is in the process of publication and I’m now working on Book 3.

Perfect Summer by Karen King is out now and available from Amazon UK, you can also find Karen’s extensive library on Karen’s Amazon author page.

 

 

Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @Bookouture

 

thedarkestlies

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

 

My Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite as I hadn’t read the blurb before I started to read it. I got it on the because of the author and her reputation for writing great books. Although I have a couple of her books on my Kindle I have yet to read them, but I was keen to read this one.

The storyline is a good one, Melanie’s much-loved daughter goes missing and is soon found beaten and left for dead in the marsh that is close to the village that they live in. Frustrated that the police seem to be getting nowhere, Melanie decides to start investigating what happened herself, aided by an old friend from school who has recently returned to the area. It soon becomes clear that people in the village are hiding things and know more than they will tell, but also that there is someone in the village who is dangerous and it seems that Melanie’s life might be at risk.

The story is cleverly woven and you can’t help but feel compassion for Melanie, even though many of her actions are questionable and she upsets many of the people living around her.

There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing and the marsh setting becomes so real it is like a character in itself. I will definitely be reading more from Barbara Copperthwaite.

Thank you to the author and publisher, Bookouture, for a copy of The Darkest Lies via Netgalley.

Blurb:

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

About the author:

barbaracopperthwaite

Barbara Copperthwaite is an Amazon UK best-selling psychological crime author.
Barbara’s writing career began over 20 years ago when she became a journalist. She has written and edited for a number of national magazines and newspapers.
At the start of her working career she also worked in a men’s maximum security prison. It was there that her fascination with crime began, as she realised that bad guys don’t always seem that bad – and are often charming.
Interviewing real people who have been victims of crime, either directly or through the loss of loved ones, consolidated Barbara’s interest in crime. As a result, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrongdoing. That’s why her novels are not simply about the criminal act, but the repercussions they have. People are always at the heart of her thrillers, along with a genuine ability to get under the skin of even the most evil of characters.
This insight is what has propelled both of her novels, INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD onto Amazon’s bestsellers charts, and led to rave reviews.
To find out more go to:
www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
or
www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCoppert…
or @BCopperthwait on Twitter.

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge.

 

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Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge

 

My review:

I am a huge fan of DI Helen Grace and have read all of the series, if you haven’t read any then I’d really recommend that you start at the beginning with Eeeny Meeny and go from there as I am sure that you would enjoy the books more in order.

Following the shocking storyline in Hide and Seek I was looking forward to reading what MJ Arlidge would do next with Helen Grace. Love Me Not is a little bit different in that it takes place over 24 hours and is told in real time, this makes for a really fast pace with short chapters increasing the tension and keeping the reader hanging. I read it in two days which is really quick for me, it was one of those books where you ignore the pile of dirty washing and the million and one other things that you have to do, just so that you can keep reading.

I don’t want to give too much away but of course, the 24 hours during which the book is set are a very crazy, with lots happening and DI Helen Grace and her team struggling to keep up with it all. It’s a fast-paced and fun read and I look forward to the next book!

Thank you to the publishers, Michael Joseph, for the opportunity to read Love Me Not. I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

She Loves Me
A woman’s body lies in the road. At first it looks like a tragic accident. But when Helen Grace arrives on the scene it’s clear she’s looking at a coldblooded killing. But why would anyone target a much loved wife and mother?

She Loves Me Not
Across town, a shopkeeper is killed while his customers are left unharmed. But what lies behind the killer’s choices?

She Loves Me
Who lives? Who dies? Who’s next? The clock is ticking.

She Loves Me Not
If Helen can’t solve this deadly puzzle then more blood will be shed. But any mistake and it might be her own …

About the author:

MJarlidge

M.J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last 15 years, specialising in high end drama production. Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV In the last five years, and is currently working on a major adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans for the BBC.

 

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge is released on 18th May 2017 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK. It will be released on audiobook in America and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon US.

You can read my reviews for other DI Helen Grace books; The Doll’s HouseLiar LiarLittle Boy BlueNo Way Back and Hide and Seek on this blog. I read the previous books in the series before starting the blog

Review: Behind the Lie by Amanda James @akjames61 @HQDigitalUK

 

behindthelie

Behind the Lie by Amanda James

 

My Review:

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from Behind the Lie. I haven’t read any of Amanda James’ books before and most of her books seem to be romance books, which is not a genre that I read. This book, however, is not a romance!

Holly has had a troubled past but she’s happily married to the man that saved her and she’s pregnant with twins she’s excited about her future. But when her obstetrician husband tells her that one twin is small and may not survive her seemingly perfect life starts to come apart at the seams.

I have to say that Behind The Lie is fairly predictable, something that I normally hate in a book, but for some reason, this book pulled me in and even though I was sure that I knew where the book was going from very early on, I still really enjoyed reading it and wanted to find out what was going to happen.

I grew to like Holly, and I was definitely rooting for her by the end. Perhaps, as a mother of twins, I felt a stronger connection with the book and character than others, but I do think that Behind the Lie is a good, solid, psychological thriller that many will enjoy reading. I also loved the description of Holly’s beach house in Cornwall, it made me want to escape London!

Overall, Behind The Lie is a solid psychological thriller, the storyline is interesting and engaging and it is well written, I hope that Amanda James writes more psychological thrillers in the future.

Thank you to the author and publishers, HQDigital, for a copy of Behind The Lie via Netgalley.

Blurb:

Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?

Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

About the Author:

amandajames

Amanda James (aka Mandy) was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, singing, and spending lots of time with her grandson. She also admits to spending far too much time chatting on Twitter and Facebook! Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing.

 

Blog Tour & Review: Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

block 46 blog tour poster

I’m delighted to be part of today’s blog tour for Block 46. Not only is it an excellent book but it is also my first blog tour for the publisher, Orenda Books. Every book of theirs that I have read have been special in some way, and they are definitely a publisher worth watching.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Block 46. I know that the publisher has an incredible record of giving us great books but from the blurb, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be French Noir as the author and the main character are French, or Nordic Noir as most of the book is set in Sweden, or would it be historical fiction as some of the book takes place in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944?

I have to be honest here, I do not read historical fiction, it just doesn’t appeal to me but I do often think that I might be missing out, and this book has confirmed that I probably am. At first, I had absolutely no idea how what happened in Buchenwald could have anything to do with a spate of gruesome murders taking place in the present time but as I got further into the books the chapters that I enjoyed reading the most were those set in the horrors of a German Concentration Camp. Although distressing to read, the story of Erich touched me in a very moving and emotional way, especially when the full story of Erich became clear as the book progressed.

But in the present day, Alexis finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when a good friend is murdered in Sweden, she begins to work with Emily, a well known profiler who has been working on the murders of little boys in London that somehow seems linked to the murder in Sweden.

How are the murders in London linked to the murder in Sweden? And how does all of it link to one man trying to survive the horrors of the holocaust? Well, of course, I’m not going to tell you that, you will need to read the book and find out for yourself, but do read it. It’s a very well written, with strong and believable characters and plenty of twists and turns. It was definitely not what I had been expecting, but I am delighted that it is book one of a new series featuring Alexis and Emily, I look forward to part two.

Thank you to the publisher, Orenda Books, for a copy of Block 46. All thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

BLOCK 46 COVER AW.indd

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

About the Author:

Johana Photo

Born in 1978 in Marseille, France, and a graduate of Political Sciences, Johana Gustawsson was a journalist for television and French press. She now lives in London, England.

Block 46 is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Dead Souls by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

 

deadsouls

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons.

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love Angela Marsons and her DI Kim Stone novels. I’ve read them from the beginning before they became super popular and earned Marsons’ numerous bestsellers in many languages across the world. All of the books are written so that they can be read as a standalone but I strongly suggest that if you have yet to read any Kim Stone books, that you start with Silent Scream, the first book in the series.

 

My Review:

As a huge fan of Angela Marsons and DI Kim Stone, the bar was set very high for this, the sixth book in the series. I’m always excited to read a new Kim Stone book, but a little bit worried that I might not like it.

I certainly didn’t need to worry about Dead Souls. Right from the start, it sucked me in and I absolutely loved reading it. The book talks a lot about hate crimes, something that is not always easy to read but feels so very topical in a post-Brexit world. Marsons had clearly researched the subject at length and this shone through in the writing and storyline and giving the reader plenty to think about.

I loved how Stone was given new challenges and taken away from the comfort of her team and especially her sidekick Bryant. But we also got to know more about the rest of her team which was great, especially Stacey who until now has been a small but important character in the books, this time she got to do a lot more than sitting at her desk searching the computer, it reminded the rest of the team, and the readers, that she is a police officer and not just a computer geek.

Of course, things for Stone and her team don’t go smoothly and the finale is a tense and shocking read. I really don’t know how Marsons manages to keep the standard of writing so high, so many times you start a new series and love it but as time goes on they start to become a bit old and predictable, not so with this series, each one has been a brilliant read and this one, I think, might just be the best yet.

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, and the author for a copy of Dead Souls.

Blurb:

The truth was dead and buried…until now.
When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

About the Author:

angiemarsons

Angela is the author of the Kim Stone Crime series. She discovered a love of writing at Primary School when a short piece on the rocks and the sea gained her the only merit point she ever got.
Angela wrote the stories that burned inside and then stored them safely in a desk drawer.
After much urging from her partner she began to enter short story competitions in Writer’s News resulting in a win and three short listed entries.
She used the Amazon KDP program to publish two of her earlier works before concentrating on her true passion – Crime.
Angela is now signed to write a total of 16 Kim Stone books for http://bookouture.com and has secured a print deal with Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.

Dead Souls is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

You can read more of my reviews of Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone books here and here and a review of one of her non-crime books here, I also did a Q&A with the author which you can read here.