In conversation with... Amy Lord

Hi Amy! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Disappeared! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you! The Disappeared is dystopian fiction. It’s about a young woman who uses banned books to fight back against an authoritarian regime after the disappearance of her father. The story is told from the perspective of both Clara and the major, who is the book’s antagonist and the man responsible for Clara’s father being taken. It’s about obsession, the importance of personal freedom and what happens when that is taken away.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I thought about the story for a long time before I wrote anything down. When I started writing I had an idea of how the first section of the book would pan out, but the rest came as I went along. I did plan scenes out as I worked, but not too rigidly. I only get so far wit…

Book review: The Forgotten Sister

By Caroline Bond
Published by Corvus

Synopsis: Cassie and Erin are sisters. They are close - in age, looks and personality - but there is one crucial difference: Cassie is adopted. 

At seventeen, Cassie sets out to find her birth mother. She is hungry for the truth, but she discovers her adoption was far more complicated than even she could have imagined. In uncovering her past identity Cassie learns her adoptive parents have kept a terrible secret from her her whole life, which now threatens to destroy everything she has ever held dear.

How did this book end up in my hands? I loved The Second Child, Caroline Bond’s debut novel, so much that I requested a review copy of her second book as soon as I heard about it… and my wish was kindly granted!

Was it a page-turner? Looking back, I can say that it was, yes. I must admit, however, that it took me some time to get into it. At first I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters, apart from Erin, and this slightly halted my reading pr…

Book review: The Silver Road

By Stina Jackson
Translated by Susan Beard
Published by Corvus

Synopsis: Three years ago, Lelle's daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle's daughter was - a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.

As autumn's darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja's lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.

How did this book end up in my hands? I read its serialisation on The Pigeonhole a few months ago.

Was it a page-turner? I liked the book from the beginning but it took me a few instalments to become totally gripped by the narrative. Once I reached that stage, I couldn’t wait to read more.


In conversation with... Denise Mina

Hi Denise! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Conviction! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: A woman is listening to a true crime podcast and realises that she knows the accused. Her husband walks out on her and she decides to go and solve the crime on the podcast.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: No! I did have the last scene in my head though because the book is all about story forms and there was one story scene that I’ve always loved and wanted to incorporate but the murderer changes several times. I never start knowing what I’m doing. It's what makes it so exciting!

What kind of research, if any, did you have to carry out while you were writing this novel? In general, is research something you enjoy or a means to an end?

A: I adore research but can get too carried away. The book is a road trip around Europe and I st…

Book review: The Last House Guest

By Megan Miranda
Published by Corvus

Synopsis: Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of - but that's just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman. 

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable - until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can't help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie's brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they're saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before she's branded a killer.

How did this book end up in my hands? I read a serialisation of this book via The Pigeonhole app.

Was it a page-turner? If I could have read this book in one sitting, I would have. It was so terribly gripping that I feel the adrenaline even now that it’s all over.

Did the book meet my expectat…

Book review: Freefall

By Jessica Barry Published by Harvill Secker
Synopsis: The life that she’s built for herself – her perfect fiancé, their world of luxury – has disappeared in the blink of an eye. Now she must run, not only to escape the dark secrets in her past, but to outwit the man who is stalking her every move. 
On the other side of the country, Allison’s mother is desperate for news of her daughter, who is missing, presumed dead. Maggie refuses to accept that she could have lost her only child and sets out to discover the truth. 
Mother and daughter must fight – for survival and to find their way through a dark web of lies and back to one another, before it’s too late…
How did this book end up in my hands? I have recently read its serialisation on The Pigeonhole. If you don’t know this website yet, you will love it!
Was it a page-turner? OMG, yes! I couldn’t have read each instalment any faster as soon as it was released. 
Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? Being a very nervous…

In conversation with... Susan Beard

Hi Susan! Thank you for joining me today. I loved reading The Silver Road by Stina Jackson, which you have translated from the Swedish, and I’d like to ask you a few questions both on this specific book and more generally on translation. So let’s begin…

How did you get started in literary translation?

A: I became a translator by accident while I was working in Sweden and had to translate news copy and scripts into English for my job with Swedish Radio. Contacts made there led to commercial translating work for larger Swedish companies. When I was asked by a documentary film maker to translate an excerpt from his biography I found I enjoyed the experience so much that I knew literary translation was for me. At the same time I realised that some kind of training and qualification in the field was vital, not only to provide me with the necessary skills and confidence, but also to give any prospective clients confidence in my ability. After returning to the UK I gained the Diploma in Transl…