XYZ by William Knight @_William_Knight #BlogTour #Extract #BookPromo @rararesources

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Jack is inducted into the use of emojis for his new job

Background: Jack’s daughter has engineered a job for Jack at a trendy young tech firm.  In this scene he’s in an induction workshop on his first day at the office. He’s sitting with three other newbies and the HR person is taking them through the ins and outs of the company culture. And then she says…
“Who knows how to use the rolling eyes emoji?”
She continues. “We use instant messaging so much at Sweet it can be overwhelming. But there are things you can do to help keep control of all the conversations going on. One of them is using the rolling eyes.”
I roll my eyes. Metaphorically. Externally I’m smiling and nodding.
“When you get a Lazy IM from a colleague that’s going to take a while to answer, just put in the rolling eyes. It means you’re looking at it, but it doesn’t start a whole new thread in the inbox.”
I look around. I’m still in an office block in Berkshire. As far as I can tell, I haven’t been teleported to Beijing by some fancy virtual reality technology. So why is this woman — albeit a damned attractive woman — talking in a language I can’t understand? We’re talking about colleagues who work in the same office building, probably at the next desk.
“Don’t you just get off your chair and talk to them?” I ask. “Do we really need to know the official way of using the rolling eyes?”
She laughs and shakes her head. “It’s not really official, Jack. But everybody’s so busy that they prefer to use the rolling eyes.”
So busy curating their IM feeds, and finding Sweet Creative ways of using the application to avoid real work.
“When you’ve thought about the IM and are ready to answer,” she says, “then it’s okay to start a new thread. But the rolling eyes means you’re taking their message seriously into consideration, you’re thinking about it, and you’re not ignoring it.”
Thank fuck for that!


XYZ ebook cover
Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.
When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.
Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?
XYZ is for every Gen-Xer who ever struggled with a device, and for everyone else who loves emojis … said no one ever.

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Author Bio – 

XYZ author

William Knight is British born writer and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s chased a portfolio career which began in acting, progressed to music, flirted with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology in the late nineties.

“I had my first feature published in Computing magazine back in 2003 and subsequently wrote about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. I now work as an IT consultant, and write blistering content for technology firms :-)” says William

The Donated (formerly Generation), his debut novel and a Sci-tech Thriller, started in 2001 and was ten years in development. XYZ, “A mid-life crisis with a comic vein”, took far less time. “But I think it’s funnier and better. Yay. Jazz hands!”

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Win a $10 Amazon voucher and a signed copy of XYZ (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or
over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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XYZ by @_William_Knight #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours


The Honeysuckle Dream by Kate Frost @katefrostauthor #BlogTour #BookPromo @rararesources

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The Honeysuckle Dream

The Honeysuckle Dream cover

Two men. Three decades. One decision.
Pregnant at nineteen from an affair with a married man, Leila goes against her parents’ wishes. Alone in an unfamiliar city, a fresh start is terrifying.
Leila struggles to navigate between being a single working mum, new friendships, and her bad choices in men. The heartache of past mistakes haunts her. Disillusioned, lonely, and with a fractured mother-daughter relationship, she swaps the vices of city life for the peace of the country. Yet new-found happiness is short-lived and old habits return.
Can Leila let go of her past and find true love?

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Author Bio – 

The Honeysuckle Dream author.png

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an awardwinning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She is the Director of Children’s and Teen events for Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, and she’s the cofounder of Storytale Festival, the first city-wide children’s book festival in Bristol.
The Honeysuckle Dream is Kate’s ninth book and the third (standalone) novel in her popular The Butterfly Storm series. She lives in Bristol with her husband, son, and Frodo, their cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Social Media Links – 



Win a Paperback copy of The Honeysuckle Dream by Kate Frost (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Blue Gold by David Barker @BlueGold201 @UrbaneBooks #BlogTour #BookPromo #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on David Barker’s Blue Gold blog tour with Love Books Tours!

Blue Gold tour

Blue Gold cover

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’. David Barker’s gripping debut will thrill fans of Richard North Patterson, Scott Mariani and Steve Berry.

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Blue Gold author

David lives in Berkshire and is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.

Mother and Child by Annie Murray @AMurrayWriter @panmacmillan #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on Annie Murray’s Mother and Child blog tour, with Love Books Tours!

Mother and child tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Annie Murray…..


Where did/do you get your ideas from?

Ideas pop up in all sorts of places. My inspiration for the books I write about Birmingham is the city itself, its people – and a whole assortment of things I read or stumble upon, an atmosphere in a place, something someone might say to me… Some things just jump to your attention and start the imagination working.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Not really… Well, maybe a few really minor characters, but they might only be things about appearance, or some comical habit or something. When you write your main characters, the story shapes them and they shape the story so I learn who they are as I write.


How do you pick your characters’ names?
The period is important because of fashion in names. Other than that, by feel. The name just has to be right. One little detail is that it tends to confuse people if there are too many people who have names beginning with the same initial so I try to be careful about that, especially as I write books with a great many characters in them.


Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Research to lay the ground so that you can mentally move around in it yourself (as much as possible anyway); feel your way into the characters – meaning both mind and body. Try to find an energetic point to start. Write, even if it doesn’t feel as if you’re doing a good job. Sleep. Walk. Rewrite and edit. And again.


If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
At present, Margaret Atwood. I would say, ‘you know you said that it’s often a let down when you meet a writer – that just because you like paté doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy meeting the duck…?’ Well, I’m still thrilled to meet you and I’m pretty sure any answer you give will be interesting … So answer me this – how close are we really getting to Gilead?


Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes. I was an only child and we travelled quite a bit. I lolled about in the car and read and read. It was good company and always seemed like the best thing.


When did you start to write?


Is there a book you wish you had written?
Many, many. One of the books I most admire is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. But this book and all the other great ones I love are not mine in any way – not my experience, and I could never have written them.


What are you working on right now?
A book set in the Black Country. This is new for me – and utterly fascinating. There’s such an amazing variety of different things being made in all those scattered towns and such hard lives. The accent is also really, really….. Challenging. I will need to beg forgiveness.


Tell us about your last release?


My latest book is called Mother and Child. This is an unusual one for a number of reasons – even the publication date, in October, as my books tend to come out in the spring. I asked my publisher, Pan Macmillan if I could write an extra book and for it to be dedicated entirely to a charity that I have supported for many years now – the Bhopal Medical Appeal. They have been very kind and supportive. The book is aimed to raise money for the clinics in Bhopal for people poisoned by the gas explosion in 1984 – still reckoned to be the world’s worst industrial disaster – and who are still being poisoned by the water supply, thanks to the toxic site which still remains there. The number of extreme and distressing birth deformities from both the gas and water poisoning and the number of people acutely sick is very disproportionately high. Most of them are among the very poorest.

The explosion in the neglected plant, happened 35 years ago this autumn so we are publishing to commemorate that and to let people know that Bhopal’s situation is far from over – it is still life-threatening and urgent and the problem is spreading. In fact when the brilliant TV drama about Chernobyl came out, many people were saying we need another similar one about Bhopal – and the company which has liability for it, Dow Chemical, now Dow Inc, Dow DuPont and Corteva Agriscience. It would do a great deal for their reputation were they finally to face up to this.

In fact I was given the brief that the book must still be about Birmingham. Which sounds difficult but actually wasn’t at all when you consider Birmingham’s familiarity with industrial accidents – albeit not on the scale fortunately.

And the main thing is, I hope it is a story that people will enjoy and find moving.


Do you have a new release due?


In April I have another book out featuring young women who become air raid wardens in Small Heath, Birmingham, at the height of the blitz – it’s just finished and is called Girls in Tin Hats.


What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?


On the day itself not much – raise a glass perhaps to wish it well on its way!


How can readers keep in touch with you?
My website has contact details on it as well as other things people might enjoy. It’s also great to hear from people on Facebook. My writer page is at


Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I never feel I’m very good at answering questions, so if anyone has anything they would like to ask do get in touch in either of these ways above.
Also, if you would like to help with the campaign around Bhopal, there are some quite small things that can be done – letter writing for example. You could look at – or contact me and we could chat about it.


Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Annie 🙂

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Mother and Child by Sunday Times bestseller Annie Murray is a moving story of loss, friendship and hope over two generations . . .

Jo and Ian’s marriage is hanging by a thread. One night almost two years ago, their only child, Paul, died in an accident that should never have happened. They have recently moved to a new area of Birmingham, to be near Ian’s mother Dorrie who is increasingly frail. As Jo spends more time with her mother-in-law, she suspects Dorrie wants to unburden herself of a secret that has cast a long shadow over her family.

Haunted by the death of her son, Jo catches a glimpse of a young boy in a magazine who resembles Paul. Reading the article, she learns of a tragedy in India . . . But it moves her so deeply, she is inspired to embark on a trip where she will learn about unimaginable pain and suffering.

As Jo learns more, she is determined to do her own small bit to help. With the help of new friends, Jo learns that from loss and grief, there is hope and healing in her future.

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A word from Annie Murray

Mother and child tour Industrial disaster India .jpg

Soon after midnight on the morning of December 3rd, 1984, what is still recognized as the world’s worst ever industrial disaster took place in the city of Bhopal in central India.

A plant built to manufacture pesticide, owned by the American Union Carbide Corporation, leaked 40 tons of methyl-isocyanate gas, one of the most lethally toxic gases in the industry, over the surrounding neighbourhood. This was a poor area consisting mainly of slum housing, some of it leaning right up against the factory wall.

People woke, coughing and choking. Panic broke out as many tried to flee for their lives. As they ran, their bodies broke down with toxic poisoning, eyes burning, frothing at the mouth. Women miscarried pregnancies. Many people flung themselves in the river and by dawn, the streets were littered with thousands of bodies. It is estimated that 10,000 died that first night and the death toll continued, within weeks, to a total of about 25 000. Many more have died since. There are still reckoned to be 150 000 chronically ill survivors. Their plight was not helped by the fact that Union Carbide would not release the name of an antidote to a poison that they did not want to admit was as dangerous as it really was.
The plant, making less profit than had been hoped, was being run down for closure and was in poor condition. Not one of the safety systems was working satisfactorily. In addition, the original design of the factory had been ‘Indianized’ – in other words built more cheaply than would be expected of such a plant in a western country.

This was 35 years ago. In 1989, a paltry amount of compensation was eventually paid by Union Carbide who did everything a large corporation can do to evade taking responsibility. Their comment was “$500 is about enough for an Indian.” That was $500 to last for the rest of the life of a man who could no longer work to look after his family.

The sickness and suffering from ‘that night’ goes on in those who survived to this day. What is less well known about Bhopal however, is that even before the 1984 gas leak, the company had been dumping toxic waste in solar evaporation ponds. The lining used was about like you would use in a garden water feature. This in a country of heavy rains and floods. In the early 80s, people started to notice how bad their water supply tasted. Cows were dying.

Union Carbide closed the plant. They never cleared the site, which still stands in an area of highly toxic soil and water. The water supply in that area is so contaminated that water has to be brought in from outside. In 2001 Union Carbide was bought by the Dow Chemical Company, and is, from 2018, now DowDuPont. Despite having acquired all the assets of Union Carbide they are not prepared to accept its liabilities and clear up the site.

In the months after the gas leak in 1984, the nearby Hamidia hospital started to see children born with birth defects more horrific than any they had witnessed before. These days, because of gas- and also water-affected parents, the rate of birth defects is now reaching into a third, soon to be a fourth generation. The main parallel with the kind of extreme toxic effects would be with the children of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The only free care in this impoverished neighbourhood for people suffering from the effects of gas poisoning, or to help with very severely handicapped children, is from the Bhopal Medical Appeal. It is to them that all the money from Mother and Child is going.

In the book, you can read more about what happened in Bhopal and about how the book itself came to be written.

Author Information

Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John’s College, Oxford. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including The Bells of Bournville Green, sequel to the bestselling Chocolate Girls, and A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.

The Christmas Calendar Girls by Samantha Tonge @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction #PriceDrop #BookPromo @rararesources

99p! (For a limited time only!)

I will be adding this to my Christmas reading list, will you!?

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The Christmas Calendar Girls

The Christmas Calendar Girls cover

This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood… Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?
This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

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Heart-warming, cosy and charming, get The Christmas Calendar Girls for just 99p for a limited period!

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Author Bio – 

Samantha Tonge Rachel

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.  She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award. 

Social Media Links –


Instagram: @samanthatongeauthor 


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#FlashbackFriday November 2019 with L J Ross @LJRoss_author Caroline James @CarolineJames12 & Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin

Flashback Friday

Hi and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog. 

Please feel free to join in. I’d love to see your posts! 

Here are my reviews from November 2018 plus a link to previous FBFs…..

The Hermitage: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 9) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

The Hermitage cover


The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 #BlogTour #BookReview @RubyFiction @rararesources

The Best Boomerville Hotel cover


City of Secrets (Adventures of Letty Parker) by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin #BookReview @penkhullpress

City Of Secrets cover


#FlashbackFriday with @MTilburyAuthor @byAliLand @BKDuncanwriter @PatFurstenberg @winniemli @ladynicci @MicheleGormanUK & @Caroline_writes


Have you read any of the above?


#TheRoommates by Rachel Sargeant @RachelSargeant3 #BlogTour #Interview

The Roommates Blog Tour Banner

I am delighted to welcome Rachel Sargeant back to Chat About Books today  🙂 It is a honour to be a part of her The Roommates blog tour!

A big thank you to Rachel for the invite and for agreeing to the following interview…..

Rachel Sargeant

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?


Thank you, Kerry, for inviting me back onto your blog as part of The Roommates blog tour.


I’m a full-time author but until last year I was a school librarian. Years ago I studied German and Librarianship at Aberystwyth University. More recently I did an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and met some fabulous fellow students who continue to support me in my writing.

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, I’ve also lived in Surrey, Shropshire and Germany. Home now is Gloucestershire with my husband and children.


My hobbies are reading, swimming (preferably outdoors at the local lido in summer), visiting country houses and coffee shops, and going to the theatre.


Last time you interviewed me, my first psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbours, was about to published on the HarperCollins Killer Reads list. I’m delighted to say that the book became a Kindle Top Ten bestseller with sales of over 100,000 copies to date. This success was due in no small part to the support I received from you and the rest of the blogging community. I was a complete unknown at the time and so grateful for the social media exposure you gave me and my book.


My new psychological thriller, The Roommates, is out now on the main HarperCollins crime list. Four girls arrive at university for freshers’ week and find themselves sharing a flat on campus. All four are holding secrets from their pasts, but when one of them goes missing, the other three have to learn to trust each other and work together to find her.



Where did/do you get your ideas from?


My books seem to happen when two different ideas come together. I wrote The Roommates because my children went to university. Prior to them making their UCAS applications, they went to various campus open days – with Mum and Dad in tow. My husband and I loved comparing these visits with our own uni experiences. It got us thinking about a time we hadn’t thought of for years. The memories became stronger when the kids started uni and we became regular visitors. The stories they told us about student life were hilarious even though I’m sure we got censored versions. I saw real potential in a psychological thriller that featured a university setting with lead characters who were freshers, away from home for the first time.


But I didn’t have that second idea that I would need to create the plot and had to wait a year for it to hit. One day I had an idea for a dramatic final scene of a story. It became that second idea I needed for The Roommates. I wrote a story set on a university campus that ended with my imagined scene.



Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?


When I sketched out the first draft of The Roommates, I pictured a family member for the lead character, Imogen. However, this was only so I had a physical image in my head to kick start my writing. As soon as I got onto rewriting and expanding the plot, the character took on a life of her own, nothing like the real person. Only the hair stayed the same.


I don’t think I could base characters on real people. Apart from it being unethical, I wouldn’t be able to make real people do what I want them to do in the story. Some of my characters get up to grim or outrageous things. Thankfully I haven’t met any real people would act like that.


How do you pick your characters’ names?


The four main characters in The Roommates are young female students. As my daughter was roughly the same age, I asked her for ideas. She came up with Imogen and Amber as names typical for the age group but also distinctive. I chose the Welsh name Tegan for my feisty, wealthy student from Cardiff and Phoenix for the athletic, practical fourth girl. It seemed just the kind of name that her particular parents would give her.


Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?


Now that I’m a full-time author, I write weekdays from 9.30am to 7.30pm with an afternoon break for a swim or an outing with my husband. I usually do a few hours over the weekend. As I become more experienced and now I have more time, I find I’m able to write quicker. My first try at writing a novel took six years, but I’ve just written one in six months. I can’t vouch for the quality, though. I’m still waiting to hear what my agent thinks of it.


The best time is when I’ve completed the first draft and I can start editing. My worst time is when the final draft is coming to a close and I panic that I won’t have a solid idea for a new project. I’m relieved when inspiration comes in the nick of time. Fingers crossed it always will.


Who are your top 5 favourite authors?


I like and admire lots of authors so I’ll pick five whose books I’ve enjoyed this year.


Kate Rhodes – She is the author of the Ben Kitto series set on the Isles of Scilly. I’d say she’s hit that sweet spot crime writers long to reach: the perfect combination of dramatically beautiful setting; strong, likeable detective with an interesting backstory; memorable ensemble cast of colleagues and neighbours; and intriguing plots.


Clare Chase – Settling down with a Tara Thorpe mystery is like having coffee with old friends. Tara is always her feisty, determined, disruptive self and her boss, DI Garstin Blake, struggles to keep his troubled private life away from the office. They are variously supported and thwarted by a team of fellow detectives in a series of well-plotted cases.


Chris Curran – I was already a fan of Chris’s books when I met her at CrimeFest in Bristol. She and fellow author Anja de Jager took me under their wing when I was feeling bewildered. Chris has written four psychological thrillers to date and has the knack of populating them with likeable characters, reminding us that not every fictional male has to be a psychopathic fruitcake.


Jane Harper – This is a new superstar on the crime fiction stage and queen of the evocative setting. For example, in The Lost Man, you can taste the heat, the dust, the danger and the sheer expanse of the Australian Outback.


Nele Heuhaus – This German writer is the author of the bestselling Bodenstein and Kirchhoff police detective series set in the Taunus Mountains area of Germany. She self-published the first two books in the series before being approached by a commercial publisher. Her plots and her writing style aren’t too difficult for a non-native German speaker like me to understand.


If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?


Since The Perfect Neighbours was published I’ve connected with several authors on Twitter and received a lot of support. I’d like to meet them to say thank you. In particular, I liked to meet the Killer Reads gang who are brilliant.


If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?


I’d take the characters in the novel I’m currently reading. Becca and Jared in Life Ruins by Danuta Kot spend most of their time battling the bleak, blustery Yorkshire coastline in January while trying to keep one step ahead of some very dangerous people. Neither has a home to go to and they have to camp on the cliffs. I’m sure they’d welcome a coffee and a full English at a seaside café.


What are you working on right now?


This summer we spent a couple of days in South Shropshire and it reminded me what a remote and atmospheric area it is. It’s inspired me to set my next psychological thriller there. I’m working on the plot at the moment.


Tell us about your new release.


The Roommates is a psychological thriller set in a university freshers’ week.



It’s out now in eBook, and the paperback will be published on 28 November.


How can readers keep in touch with you?









Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Rachel 🙂


Thank you, Kerry. I enjoyed answering them.


The Roommates

The Room mates_final high-res

Do you really know the people you live with?

University is supposed to be the best time of your life. But Imo’s first week is quickly going from bad to worse.

A stalker is watching her flat, following her every move, and Imo suspects that her new roommates are hiding dark secrets…

When one of them suddenly disappears, the trauma of Imo’s recent past comes hurtling back to haunt her. And she begins to realise just how little she knows about the people she’s just moved in with…




Available from Amazon:

Or HarperCollins:


The paperback is published on 28th November and will be on sale in bookshops and supermarkets.


About the author

Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. The Roommates is her fourth novel. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.


Leaves by John Simmons @JNSim @UrbaneBooks #BlogTour #Interview #LoveBooksTours

Welcome to my stop on John Simmons’ Leaves blog tour, with Love Books Tours!

Leaves blog tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with John Simmons…..

Leaves author

Photo by Stuart Keegan, Bloomsbury Festival

Dear author….. John Simmons, author of Leaves, Spanish Crossings and The Good Messenger published by Urbane.

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m a writer of fiction now but I first became a published writer in the world of brands – particularly how to write more powerfully and creatively for business. That took me into writing workshops (which I still do) and contacts with a large group of writers through the organisations I co-founded Dark Angels and 26.

The wish to write fiction had always been there since school days, and I actually wrote the first version of ‘Leaves’ straight out of university. It then waited a long time until revisions and changing times meant that it was published in 2015 by Urbane.

Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Ideas come when you get out and about and meet people. It’s a gestation process and there’s hardly ever any one source of an idea. I run regularly and I find that running (slowly) is a great source of ideas – that sense of being completely on your own with just your own thoughts – then sometimes needing to be quick in going from jogging to jotting down the words in my head.

With ‘Leaves’ the north London setting was very much based on the area of Camden where I grew up.

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
There is always part of an author in every character created. I’m not sure what this says about me when some of my characters are not people you might wish to meet – but I do think it’s true that an author understands characters through his/her own character.

But there are characters in ‘Leaves’ – Robert and Gerald – who were originally inspired by people I came across in my first job. But they ended up a long way away from the real characters.

How do you pick your characters’ names?
Names are really important – naming companies and products was one of the things I did in my branding career. With a fictional character there are always so many options and I often start writing with one name for a character then feel the need to change it as the story develops. The name has to feel right for the character as you get to know that character better. In ‘Leaves’ the name Selene was the most unusual – the moon goddess but also the first part of the biological name of a tropical fish. It fitted as her brother Gerald keeps an aquarium.

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Notes in notebooks. Once I feel the story is growing and will turn into something, putting everything into a single notebook. Structure is always vital for me, and I like natural structures – for example, the four seasons that shape the story of ‘Leaves’. So I write by pencil in notebooks and hold off from the typing on the keyboard until words are properly formed in the notes.

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Patrick White (Australian 20th century novelist)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Charles Dickens
Muriel Spark
Philip Pullman

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
The only one of my five favourites who’s still alive is Philip Pullman, and I’m lucky enough to have met him a couple of times. I asked him, inevitably, about the daemons – how did that idea come about? I was surprised when he said it was only on the 17th draft that he had the idea for the daemons. Astonishing as they are so integral to the stories we now read.

Were you a big reader as a child?
Eventually. But I was slow to get into reading and it was only when a teacher at primary school read ‘The Wind in the Willows’ to the class at the end of the school day that I got really hooked. My mum then bought the book for me for my ninth birthday and from then on I couldn’t stop reading. Funnily enough the first part of my novel ‘The Good Messenger’ owes a lot to childhood reading of ‘The Wind in the Willows’.

When did you start to write?
I enjoyed writing once I got into reading. So at school I wrote stories and poems, then at university there was so much writing about the books I was reading (I studied English Literature). When I left university I scoured the Jobs pages for ads saying ‘Novelist wanted’ but I was disappointed…

So I’ve always written. It’s what I love doing and I’m very lucky to have had jobs that allowed me to exercise creativity with words even if not as a full-time novelist. Luckily writing is something we all can do throughout our lives.

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I’d much rather re-read novels with great endings and learn from them. For example, ‘The Great Gatsby’ has a perfect ending – those closing lines ‘boats against the current’ are extraordinarily moving, particularly after you’ve read the 200 pages that precede them. They provide inspiration for me as a writer always wanting to emulate that depth of feeling in the closing lines of my own novels.

Is there a book you wish you had written?
Many. But someone else wrote them so there’s no point being envious. You just have to admire and learn.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
‘I’m done’

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Hurtle Duffield from Patrick White’s ‘The Vivisector’. He’s an artist and I’d probably invite him to the Academicians Room at the Royal Academy. Hurtle’s a volcanic character, so I’m not sure he’d like the place or that I’d like him. But it would be memorable.

What are you working on right now?
I’m finalising the manuscript of my fourth novel which I call ‘Painting Paris’. It’s set in Paris in 1908 in Montmartre at that time when ‘modern art’ was transforming our view of the world. So my main characters are artists and it’s taking me into areas that are less familiar territory than ‘Leaves’. I’ve loved the ‘research’ because visiting art exhibitions has always been one of my favourite things to do – and who wouldn’t enjoy spending time in Paris looking at art, being a flaneur, and writing.

Tell us about your last release?
‘The Good Messenger’ was my third novel published by Urbane in 2018. The previous novel ‘Spanish Crossings’ had been set before, during and after the second world war – ‘The Good Messenger’ went back in time to before and after the first world war. It’s more about the effects of the war than the war itself and is centred around a young journalist whom we meet first as a child of nine before the war (hence the ‘Wind in the Willows’ connection). Essentially it’s a love story with history as the backcloth.

Do you have a new release due?
I’m hoping ‘Painting Paris’ will be finished soon and published. If so, it will be sometime in 2020. I can’t wait.

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Share a meal and bottle of wine with my wife. No Gatsby-style wild parties.

How can readers keep in touch with you?
They can email me. If they contact via the Urbane site or google or find me on Linked-In, say, I’m always happy to hear from readers.

Or via Twitter @JNSim

Is there anything else you would like us to know?
‘I’m done’ –

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, John 🙂

Thank you – good to be asked – John

Leaves cover


Ophelia Street, 1970. A street like any other, a community that lives and breathes together as people struggle with their commitments and pursue their dreams. It is a world we recognise, a world where class and gender divide, where set roles are acknowledged. But what happens when individuals step outside those roles, when they secretly covet, express desire, pursue ambitions even harm and destroy? An observer in the midst of Ophelia Street watches, writes, imagines, remembers, charting the lives and loves of his neighbours over the course of four seasons. And we see the flimsily disguised underbelly of urban life revealed in all its challenging glory. As the leaves turn from vibrant green to vivid gold, so lives turn and change too, laying bare the truth of the community. Perhaps, ultimately, we all exist on Ophelia Street.

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John Simmons is an independent writer and consultant. He runs Writing for design workshops for D&AD and the School of Life as well as Dark Angels workshops. He has written a number of books on the relationship between language and identity, including The Writer’s Trilogy We, me, them & it, The invisible grail and Dark angels. He’s a founder director of 26, the not-for-profit group that champions the cause of better language in business, and has been writer-in-residence for Unilever and Kings Cross tube station. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Falmouth in recognition of outstanding contribution to the creative sector. He initiated and participated in the writing of a Dark Angels collective novel Keeping Mum with fifteen writers. It was published by Unbound in 2014. He is on the Campaign Council for Writers Centre Norwich as Norwich becomes the first English City of Literature. John also wrote the compelling novel Leaves, which was published by Urbane in 2015

Spanish Crossings was published in March 2018 and The Good Messenger in September 2018.






#CoverReveal Sparky The Dragon Bus by Sue Wickstead @JayJayBus @rararesources

Sparky The Dragon Bus - Cover Reveal

Sparky the Dragon Bus

Sparky isn’t your typical double-decker bus.
Behind the dragon and magical paintings, she’s full of fun and adventures for all children.
Jump aboard to find out what makes Sparky so special.

Check this out



Sparky the Dragon Bus Cover - IngramSpark - AW

How cool is that!?

Pre-Order Link:

Author Bio –

Sparky The Dragon Bus - author

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.
Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.
While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.
Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: – Author Page
Facebook – Playbus page
Web site :