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Showing posts from October, 2018

In conversation with... Charles Lambert

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Hi Charles! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Prodigal ! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Thank you, Silvia! Very briefly, it’s about what happens when Jeremy, a hapless gay middle-aged writer of soft core pornography for women, is summoned home from his tiny flat in Paris to his father’s deathbed in Whitstable. His elder sister, Rachel, divorced and frustrated, constantly disappointed by what she sees as her brother’s fecklessness and unwilling to come to terms with his sexuality, is waiting for him. The novel accompanies them through the ensuing weeks but also digs back into their past to see what made them what they are and also, perhaps, to offer them the chance to remake themselves and achieve a sort of reconciliation as individuals and as siblings. Are there any autobiographical elements woven into the fictional lives of your characters? A: First of all, let me say that I am not Jeremy, Rachel is not my sister and thei

Book review: Prodigal + competition

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By Charles Lambert Published by Gallic Books Synopsis: The phone rings, in that short-tempered peremptory way machines have. He almost doesn’t answer; he’s been fending off unwanted offers of insurance, unlimited broadband, crates of discount wine for months now. His name must be on some list somewhere – Jeremy Eldritch, sucker...’ Meet the hapless Jeremy: a man in his late 50s, he scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside. Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family’s chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch fam

Book review: The Songs of Us + competition

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By Emma Cooper Published by Headline Review Synopsis: If Melody hadn't run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn't be left with a condition that makes her sing when she's nervous. And she definitely wouldn't have belted out the Arctic Monkeys' 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' in assembly at her son's school. If Dev hadn't taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life's heart. But if they hadn't seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be 'Us'. How did this book end up in my hands? I was a lucky blogger in the right place at the right time! Was it a page-turner? Due to personal reasons, I wasn’t able to read

In conversation with... Juliet West

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Hi Juliet! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Faithful , which I loved! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: The novel is set in the run-up to the Second World War and it’s a love story that follows the lives of Hazel and Tom, who are teenagers when they first meet in 1935. They come from two very different families, but there is an instant connection between them. This was a turbulent time for British politics, and Hazel is drawn into the dark world of the British blackshirt movement, just as Tom is breaking his ties with the party. Let’s just say their romance turns out to be far from straightforward as the years pass and their lives take different paths... Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it develop before your eyes as the characters grew on the page and did something that you were not expecting? A: I had very little plot in mind. Just the setting – the Sussex coast and London – an

Book review: How to Find Love in the Little Things + competition

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By Virginie Grimaldi Published by Headline Review Synopsis: Julia's not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that's been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together. The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she's back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn't the faintest idea what she was thinking.  What Julia doesn't yet know is there's more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it's the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way. How did this book end up in my hands? One of the publisher’s lovely publicists kindly sent me a copy of the book to review, inclusive of pretty postcard and sweet treat! Was it a page-turner? Not in the way that a thriller could be but you can’t help getting attached to all the chara

In conversation with... Emma Cooper

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Hi Emma! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Songs of Us , which I loved! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about? A: Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it. The Songs of Us is about the King family and how they deal with the difficulties life throws at them. It’s written from the perspectives of Melody and her two teenagers, Flynn and Rose, who have been given a rough deal in life. For starters, Flynn was involved in a car accident when he was younger, which left him blind in one eye with facial scarring. His red-headed sister, Rose, who is teased relentlessly at school, is obsessed with finding their father, Dev, who disappeared years before without a trace. And if that is not enough, they have a mother who has a condition similar to Tourette’s who sings and dances uncontrollably when she’s anxious, much to their - and the reader’s - embarrassment! Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing or did it devel

Book review: Cold Fire

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By James Hartley Published by Lodestone Books Synopsis: Set in the magical boarding school of St Francis', Cold Fire centres around a group of teenagers who become involved in the tale of Romeo and Juliet in this contemporary re-telling of the classic story. Meanwhile, four hundred years earlier, a young teacher from Stratford Upon Avon arrives at the school. His name is Will… How did this book end up in my hands? I was asked to join the blog tour for this book and I happily agreed. Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare… all great starting blocks! Was it a page-turner? Like the first novel in the Shakespeare’s Moon series, this is a quick read and the plot twists are added with great timing. Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? Based on the synopsis, I would expected a closer retelling of the classic Shakespearean love story. Having read the first book in the series, however, the way that Cold Fire is developed makes perfect and coherent sense! Did

In conversation with... Adriana Capadose

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Hi Adriana! Thank you for joining me today. I have just finished reading How to Find Love in the Little Things , which you translated from the French 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? A: I stumbled into it at a time when I was freelancing with various different jobs. I read a review of Geneviève Jurgensen’s La Disparition in French Elle Magazine, and that prompted me to buy the book. It’s beautifully written and very harrowing, and I immediately wanted to make it accessible to readers of English. I had no idea how to go about this but I translated a 30-page chunk and sent it off to a number of publishers I’d identified from the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. They all turned it down but six months later, when I’d pretty much given up on the project, I was contacted by Flamingo Books: The sample pages had, by a very circuitous route, l