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Showing posts from 2018

In conversation with... Holly Seddon (#3)

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Hi Holly! I have just finished reading your debut novel, Try Not to Breathe , which was first published in UK in January 2016. I have now read every novel you’ve written and I look forward to more! Before I let you go back to writing your next book, can you please briefly tell us what it is about?  A : Try Not to Breathe is the story of Amy Stevenson, a girl left for dead in 1995 when she was aged 15 who has remained in a form of long term coma ever since. She would likely have stayed like that, forgotten, if not for Alex Dale, a disgraced journalist who stumbles upon Amy while writing an article about the work of the hospital. The story follows Alex’s attempts to find out what happened all those years ago, opening up and tipping out several cans of worms in the process.  Right now I’m actually working on an Alex Dale Christmas story. I’ve written them each year since Try Not to Breathe was published and you can read them on my website .  What was your journey to becoming a p

Book review: Distortion + competition

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By Victor Dixen Translated from the French by Daniel Hahn Published by Hot Key Books Synopsis: Six girls, six boys: looking for glory and romance on Mars  They thought they were masters of their destiny. They are the twelve pioneers of the Genesis programme. They thought they were taking part in the most extraordinary of missions. In fact, they are the victims of the cruellest of plots. Leonor was looking for glory - and love - on Mars. She thought she would be able to open her heart there. But what she has done is open up a Pandora's box of her past… How did this book end up in my hands? I won this book in a giveaway. Afterwards, having made it quite clear online that I had adored the first book in the Phobos trilogy, Ascension , I was also approached by the publisher to join the blog tour . Was it a page-turner? I was apprehensive that the second book might have lost the momentum that had started in Ascension but I needn’t have feared. It is as gr

Blog tour: The Chestnut Man + competition

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Welcome to The Chestnut Man blog tour! I have been trying to think of a clever introduction to Søren Sveistrup ’s debut novel but I am too star-struck to think straight. So, here’s how things are: Søren Sveistrup is the scriptwriter of the awesome Danish TV series The Killing . Søren Sveistrup ’s debut novel, The Chestnut Man , is coming out in the UK on January 10th. I loved The Killing and I am loving The Chestnut Man . Why haven’t I finished the book already? Because I am a chicken and I can only read it during daylight hours if I am not alone in the house. How on earth am I going to fulfil my blogging duties today? I was hoping you’d ask! I have a surprise for your today! Two, in fact, so you’ll have to read to the end! First of all, I am over the moon to introduce you to Caroline Waight, the skilled linguist who has translated the novel from Danish into English, thus allowing us avid readers to enjoy this awesome book. Hi Caroline! Thank you for joining me

Book review: Disobedience

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By Naomi Alderman Synopsis: By the age of 32, Ronit has left London and transformed her life. She has become a cigarette-smoking, wise-cracking, New York career woman, who is in love with a married man.But when Ronit's father dies she is called back into the very different world of her childhood, a world she thought she had left far behind. The orthodox Jewish suburb of Hendon, north London is outraged by Ronit and her provocative ways. But Ronit is shocked too by the confrontation with her past. And when she meets up with her childhood girlfriend Esti, she is forced to think again about what she has left behind. How did this book end up in my hands? It usually happens that I watch a film and then think ‘I wish I had read the book first’. Well, this time I decided to do something about it and I read the book while waiting for the film to come out at the cinema.  Was it a page-turner? I listened to the audio version of the book with my wife and the only times when it wasn

In conversation with... Anneka Sandher

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Hi Anneka ! Thank you for joining me today. I have recently read In Search Of Us by Ava Dellaira - whose beautiful cover you designed - and I have a few questions about this cover in particular and book cover design more in general. How did you get started in this field? A: I studied Graphic Design at university and Hallmark cards approached me after seeing my work at my final show. I went for an interview and took a job designing greeting cards and packaging. After a year I wanted to move to London and work in a similar field, as I loved my job! I took a job at   Hodder and Stoughton designing book covers. The jobs are both very similar in terms of creativity, working with print and finishes. I worked at a few other publishing houses, gaining experience, and eventually went freelance. Now I take on adult fiction, non-fiction and children’s cover design, along with other non publishing jobs.  Can you describe the process of designing this cover?  A: The process usually b

Book review: Miss Marley + competition

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By Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull Published by HQ Synopsis: Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price. And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart… How did this book end up in my hands? I received a gorgeous proof copy from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion. And I am so glad I did. Was it a page-turner? With age, I have sadly lost the ability to stay up late with a book, no matter how much I am loving it. It was with great sadness that I put this novel down to sleep but

In conversation with... Björg Arnadottir and Andrew Cauthery

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Hi Björg and Andrew! Thank you for joining me today. I have just finished reading And the Wind Sees All , which you translated from the Icelandic to English, 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? Björg: Ever since I moved to England around forty years ago, I have always done some translation. I can’t really remember how it all started, but the fact is that not many people speak Icelandic and there are times when people need translators. There certainly were not many of these about when I first came here, and I was often asked to do translations – I guess that’s how it all started. I have always been a linguist and so it kind of evolved naturally. In the early years I translated quite a few children’s books into Icelandic, my favourite one was The Wind in the Willows , which I translated and read for the Icelandic radio. Through my contacts among Iceland

Book review: Don't Close Your Eyes + competition

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By Holly Seddon Published by Corvus Books Synopsis: Robin and Sarah weren't the closest of twins. They weren't even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.  Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches - watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn't… And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted - the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she's just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can't be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister. But Sarah isn't the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in mot

In conversation with... Rebecca Mascull

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Hi Rebecca! I have just finished reading Miss Marley , the final work by the late Vanessa Lafaye, which you so seamlessly completed, and I am delighted to have you here to talk about it! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Miss Marley tells the story of how Jacob Marley came to be punished so severely that he should end up wandering in chains for eternity. Vanessa was fascinated in the idea of how this came about. What on earth had he done that would lead to such a fate? She decided to come up with another character to help explain this turn of events and thus his sister Clara Belle Marley was created. What did you and Vanessa find so fascinating about A Christmas Carol that you thought there should be a dedicated appreciation society? A: Vanessa and I both adored Dickens as a writer. And that’s the key thing – as a writer. I love the film and TV versions and watch many of them often, but I love him most as a prose stylist. His way with language is just extraor

Book review: The Remains of the Day

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By Kazuo Ishiguro Synopsis: A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English countryside and into his past. How did this book end up in my hands? My best friend is reading it with her book club in Italy and I thought I’d read along! Was it a page-turner? This is not a fast-paced novel as there is no mystery to solve but I found it so incredibly fascinating that I could hardly put it down. Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? I didn’t have any expectations as the synopsis didn’t reveal much so this book was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed every moment of it. Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] Yes. A sombre ending, very much in keeping with the general feeling of this novel. Three words to describe it.

Blog tour: Distortion + competition

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It is no secret that I adored Ascension by Victor Dixen, which was published in June this year. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me gushing over it again and again. If you only follow my blog, you might have noticed my enthusiasm when I tracked down and interviewed both the English translator and the book cover designer of the series! Despite brief interactions on Twitter, the idea of approaching Victor Dixen himself seemed too daunting so you can imagine my excitement when I was recently offered the opportunity to join the Phobos Distortion blog tour and… wait for it… interview the author! I’m still pinching myself. Ouch! I can confirm I’m not asleep and it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to my stop along the awesome space journey below: And without further ado, I give you Victor Dixen… Hi Victor! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Distortion , the second book in the Phobos series! Can you please briefly tell u