The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund #BookReview #Netgalley

The Crow Girl cover

The first thing I’ll say about The Crow Girl is that it is really, really, long! If you like a quick read this won’t be the book for you. It has taken me almost a month to read it! It also deals with some very sensitive and harrowing subject matters such as child sex abuse, so it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted either. Having said that I found it totally compelling. Disturbing, but compelling!

I’m probably not doing a great job of selling it to you, but honestly, it is so brilliantly written it completely drew me in from the very beginning and had my full attention right to the very last page.

It is set in Sweden but has been translated perfectly and despite some difficult to pronounce character and place names I found this an easy to follow story. Told from various characters’ perspectives, I loved the psychological aspects of the story as well as the police procedural. This is a gripping, steady paced, crime thriller with some fascinating characters. It is full of suspense and intrigue and, in my opinion, an excellent read which I would happily recommend. I will be looking out for more by this author to add to my reading list.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy, via Netgalley.

Via AmazonUK…..

The international thriller sensation

It starts with just one body – the hands bound, the skin covered in marks.

Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg is determined to find out who is responsible, despite opposition from her superiors. When two more bodies are discovered, it becomes clear that she is hunting a serial killer.

With her career on the line, Kihlberg turns to psychotherapist Sofia Zetterlund. Together, they expose a chain of shocking events that began decades ago – but will it lead them to the murderer before someone else dies?

‘A compulsive page-turner
Sunday Express

‘Compelling… we are left gasping for breath
Daily Mail

‘There’s a fantastic twist… the pace of its revelations is relentless’

happy reading 🙂


The Wicked Lord’s Mistress by Scarlett Jameson #BlogTour #BookPromo @rararesources

The Wicked Lords Mistress banner

The Wicked Lord’s Mistress

The Wicked Lords Mistress cover

The Wicked Lord’s Mistress is set in the late Victorian period (1886) for fans of upstairs/downstairs dramas such as Downton Abbey and steamy romances. It explores the continuing love story between Lily, a lady’s maid at Torrington Hall, and a handsome, mysterious aristocratic hero called Lord Edgar Wilson.
Lily is surrounded by challenges from all sides. She is being blackmailed by the evil Mallkins, she has a secret past that she is trying to hide, and her forbidden love affair with Lord Wilson grows more risky every day. Can their lusty affair transform into the tender and lasting love that Lily craves? And given the differences in their class, is a happy ending possible for them?
Then a new enemy comes into Lily’s life, someone who is determined to destroy her. Lily finds herself facing the greatest challenge of her life, and hopes that Lord Wilson will be her hero.

Purchase Links 

UK –
US –

Author Bio

Scarlett Jameson works in publishing by day and by night enjoys writing steamy historical romances. A lover of all things Victorian, she lives in London with her cat.  You can subscribe to Scarlett’s newsletter here


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OUTREACH by Shelly Berry @ShellyBerryUK #BlogTour #Interview @rararesources

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Many thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging the following interview with Shelly Berry…..

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Author Photo credit Bianca Kirby.

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

I’m Shelly and I’ve always worked with people in the voluntary or public sector.  I got back into writing in my twenties having loved writing stories as a child.  I started off by blogging before taking some short courses in writing fiction.  I came up with the concept of Outreach quite early on in my writing journey, but put it to one side for a while whilst I pursued other projects.  Outreach is heavily influenced by my day jobs, but it really came out of my curiosity about what would happen if someone developed a crush that they were unable to let go of, even if all the signs suggested that they should…


Where did/do you get your ideas from? 


I get my ideas from life – people I meet, my own experiences and my interest in what makes people tick.


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


I’d be lying if I said my characters weren’t influenced by people I’d met.  There’s a bit of an old manager in Eric, the Service Manager where Emily works, and Fran her colleague has traits that I have witnessed from a number of people I have worked with.  There are probably fragments of a lot of people I have known in my characters, including Emily, but none of them are based exclusively on any one person.


How do you pick your characters names?


I don’t really have a set way of picking names for my characters.  I think about their background and age to come up with a few ideas.  Then I think about what suits them – I have a picture of them all in my head!  I’m careful not to use names of people I know well for obvious reasons, although since writing Outreach I have started working with an Emily….


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


First I like to flesh out my story.  I use post-it notes to create a flow chart that I can easily change to develop my plot.  Then I spend some time thinking about my characters and the places that they find themselves and create spider-grams that I can refer back to throughout the writing process.  Then I set a weekly target and get started, and keep going until I get to the end!


Who are your top 5 favourite authors?


I’m a big fan of contemporary female authors – Zadie Smith, Donna Tartt and Margaret Atwood are all up there.  Helen Fielding and Marian Keyes are fantastic too – I love Bridget Jones and really admire how Marian can write about serious and sad issues with such humour.


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


Whilst one of the above is tempting to pick, I’d perhaps want to go back in time and talk to Sylvia Plath, Iris Murdoch or Virginia Woolf.  I’d want to ask them about their world, and what it was like for them being female writers in such different and changing times.


Were you a big reader as a child?


Absolutely – I loved Roald Dahl and Brian Jacques.  Anything fantastical with talking animals.


When did you start to write?


I wrote a story called The Diamond Mistress when I was about 6.  There were sequels… and then quite a gap until my mid to late twenties when I started to blog and signed up to an evening class.  I haven’t really stopped since.


If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?


This may be controversial and more than a little ambitious, but I think I’d have a bash at re-writing one of those Shakespearian comedies where characters rebel against societal norms… but seem to conform in the end.  Maybe some of Jane Austen’s novels need similar treatment….


Is there a book you wish you had written?


I recently read Normal People by Sally Rooney and really admired her fresh style.


If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?


Long Tall Shelly (I’m pretty tall)


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


Offred from The Handmaids Tale.  She is such a strong woman.  I’d take her back in time so we could visit a café that used to be open in the middle of Clapham Common – a real hippie shack with brightly painted tables and chairs outside that served the most amazing lentil soup.


What are you working on right now? 


A series of short stories that I intend to bring together into a novel made up of entwining tales that bring the characters together.  They are based around a council estate in central London that has a lot of problems which they all become involved in in one way or another.


Do you have a new release due? 


Outreach was released on 28th September, but nothing else is due… as of yet!


What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?


At the stroke of midnight on the publication day of Outreach I was in a nightclub.  My boyfriend pointed out the time and I had another vodka and tonic!


How can readers keep in touch with you? 


I’m all over social media – ShellyBerryUK on Twitter and ShellyBerryOriginal on Facebook and Instagram.  Alternatively they can visit my website which has a contact page.  Come say hi!


Is there anything else you would like us to know?


My book is available to buy at – enjoy!


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

Kerry. x


Outreach cover

When Emily was offered a new job in London, she was sure that her life was about to change – new friends, a career in the big city and the boyfriend she always wanted.

Her new life turns out to be more complicated than she expected. Her flat mates don’t understand her. Her colleagues mock everything about her. Even her father doesn’t support her. The only person who offers her any encouragement is David.

He’s married. He’s her manager. To Emily it’s clear that they have something special. As their relationship develops, everyone seems to want to sabotage their chances.

But some things are meant to be…

Purchase  Links

Author Bio –

Shelly Berry lives in Waltham Forest, London. Having gained a BA Joint Honours Degree in Visual Art and Sociology at Keele University and a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, she has since worked in the public sector with vulnerable adults and children – including those affected by mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse, disability, criminal behaviour, homelessness and domestic and sexual abuse. During this time, Shelly developed and nurtured her love of writing. As well as writing fiction, she has previously written for a number of blogs and now writes for the Waltham Forest Echo.

Social Media Links –

twitter @ShellyBerryUK 

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Outreach tour


happy reading 🙂


Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide by JAMES ESSINGER @JamesEssinger and SANDRA KOUTZENKO @TheHistoryPress #BlogBlitz #BookPromo @rararesources

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Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide

Thalidomide: patented in Germany as a non-toxic cure-all for sleeplessness and morning sickness. A wonder drug with no side-effects.
We know differently now.
Today, thalidomide is a byword for tragedy and drug reform – a sign of what happens when things aren’t done ‘the right way’. But when it was released in the 1950s, it was the best thing since penicillin – something that doctors were encouraged to prescribe to all of their patients. Nobody could anticipate what it actually did: induce sleeping, prevent morning sickness, and drastically harm unborn children.
But, whilst thalidomide rampaged and ravaged throughout most of the West, it never reached the United States. It landed on the desk of Dr Frances Kelsey, and there it stayed as she battled hierarchy, patriarchy, and the Establishment in an effort to prove that it was dangerous. Frankie is her story.

Purchase Links

Author Bio – 


Frankie author.png

is the author of non-fiction books that focus on STEM subjects and personalities, including Charles and Ada (The History Press) and Ada’s Algorithm (Gibson Square), the latter of which has been optioned for a film. He lives in Canterbury.


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is a bilingual writer whose work spans a variety of categories and topics, ranging from French poetry to English non-fiction, focusing on human nature and the conflict between its potential for greatness and its propensity for destruction.

Social Media Links – 

Twitter @TheHistoryPress
Instagram @TheHistoryPressUK


The House That Sat Down Trilogy by Alice May @AliceMay_Author #BlogTour #Interview @rararesources

The House That Sat Down Trilogy
Many thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging the following interview with Alice May…..
The House That Sat Down author.png
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Hello, I am Alice May and I am the author of The House That Sat Down Trilogy. I used to be a GP practice manager, however, I recently left the NHS in order to focus on my writing career and I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. 
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The House That Sat Down Trilogy is inspired by true events. I came home from work one day to find that my house was in the process of falling down. It was a bit of a shock and the subsequent consequences led to the whole family moving into a tent in our back garden; when I say, the whole family, I mean my husband, myself and four children. Our house insurance company told us that we were not covered for the damage at the property. We ended up living in the garden for nearly eighteen completely crazy months. The House That Sat Down is a fictional story that draws on my experiences during that period of time and also what happened afterwards. 
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I don’t like to base my characters on people I actually know, because I hate the thought of offending anyone inadvertently. Nevertheless, in order to make protagonists believable, it is necessary to give them very human qualities, and in that way, like all writers, I cannot help but be influenced by those around me in some way, shape or form. However I am very careful not to draw direct likenesses from specific people.
How do you pick your characters names?
I find that if a character doesn’t jump into my brain with a name already allocated to him or her, I can really struggle to find the right one. I’ve tried all sorts of methods and sometimes a character can undergo numerous name changes as novel develops, which is something I have to remember to double check before we start on the editing process as it can get very confusing. On several occasions choosing a name for a new character has become a family game with helpful suggestions being put forward at all times of the day and night.   Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell? The characters in my books are all resident in my head and the stories build up waiting for the moment that I can spare time to write. Then, my process is very simple. I turn on my laptop and start typing and it is never very long before those stories take over and whichever plot I’m working on leaps forward. The first draft of any chapter is usually a bit ropey, but once it is down and I know where it is going, then I can then have some fun with it, building on the main concepts and leaning into the main emotional journeys unfolding on the screen.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
That is a really tough question, because I genuinely admire so many authors. I love Claire McGowan’s books – I also enjoy it when she writes as Eva Woods. I really enjoy work by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), Jojo Moyes and Jodie Picoult. I also love teen and YA fiction with my two favourite teen/tween authors being Ali Sparkes and John Flanagan. Oops! That’s already way more than five – sorry! There are so many more fantastic authors I could mention…   If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them? It’s always amazing to meet with authors, so, as with the above question, it is tricky to narrow it down. However, I met Ali Sparks once, about ten years ago when she gave a talk at our local library. She was incredibly inspiring to listen to and I’ve often wondered if she realises what a fantastically positive role model she is for the young people she visits in schools and libraries.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Absolutely – I was always curled up somewhere with a book. I found very early on that disappearing into a book was the perfect way to escape from the madness of being a teenager. Not much has changed in the intervening thirty-plus years.
When did you start to write?
I began to write in January 2016, shortly after we moved back into the house after rebuilding it. The whole saga of The House That Sat Down simply wouldn’t leave me alone until I had told it, right through to the end. I wrote day and night to begin with, and three weeks later I ground to a halt to find I had over 60,000 words and the first draft of the first novel, ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’. A year later I was to write the second, ‘Restoration – more tales from the house that sat down,’ and a year after that, I completed the third, ‘Redemption – moving on from the house that sat down.’ The House That Sat Down Trilogy is now complete and I have enjoyed writing every single moment of its creation.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently editing the first novel in a new trilogy set in the New Forest. Books 2 and 3 are planned out but still in a very skinny state. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into flashing these storylines out.
Do you have a new release due?
Not yet, I’d like the second and third books to be in a more advanced state, before triggering the whole release / launch madness for the first. It is always nice for all three books in a trilogy to be released with carefully co-ordinated timing.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I like to raise a glass of something nice at my local pub, and following that I think a takeaway is always an excellent idea. 
How can readers keep in touch with you?
With thanks to my wonderful daughters for their kind assistance, I now have a wealth of social media links and can be found on any of the following: Facebook @AliceMayAuthor Twitter @AliceMay_Author Instagram: alicemay_author_artist YouTube: alicemayartist
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
In spite of the fact that The House That Sat Down Trilogy was born from a period in my life of complete and utter disaster, I am so grateful that it has ultimately become something so positive and uplifting. The whole journey from the ruins of my home and my life as it was then, to now has been quite unexpected and most transformational. Something that I thought would destroy me completely has, with hindsight, had completely the opposite effect. It just goes to show that good things can come from bad, triumph is possible over tragedy, and nothing is ever the end of the world. 
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Alice! 🙂
Kerry. x 

The House That Sat Down Trilogy: Omnibus Edition

Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences. Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before. Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.
Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.

Purchase Links:

UK –

US –

About the Author

I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet.  We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home. A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop. Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written. Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy. The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and kindle format.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @AliceMay_Author
Instagram: alicemay_author_artist

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

XYZ banner

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.

Purchase Link 

US –

UK –

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!”

Social Media Links –


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?

Purchase Link:


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.

Buy Link



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 🙂

Mother and child cover.jpg


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.

Buy Link

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.