Published by Bookouture

Ebook: 13 October 2017

408 pages


 

|   About the Book   |

 

Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomas’s are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.

They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.

They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.

But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

 

|   My thoughts   |

 

The story begins as dramatically as it ends, with the police having been called to a property in a quiet residential street in the early hours of Christmas Day following suspected gunshots. What they find as they make their way through the house is gradually revealed throughout the book but in between, we hear from the Thomas family members themselves, with a countdown over a period of about a week and leading up to Christmas Day, where we discover that the carefully presented façade of a perfect family life is actually anything but.

The story centres around the four family members, parents Dominque/Dom, Benjamin and their two children, 15 year old Ruby and the youngest 8 year old Amber (known as ‘Mouse’). Mouse had that childlike innocence with a fondness for hiding in small spaces with her book, hence the name. Ben runs his own accountancy business, and likes to look the part of a successful businessman with the most expensive of watches, the flash Mercedes, the big house; he also funds his wife’s expensive lifestyle which include regular hair appointments and lunches with her lawyer friend Fiona. However, despite this apparently envious lifestyle, both Dom and Ben are hiding things from each other.  Their daughter Ruby is heading for a meltdown – her life is being made a misery by bullying and in the absence of any comfort or help from her parents, she keeps a diary in which she records her most personal thoughts – none of which make for easy reading. She wasn’t my favourite character (that was Mouse) but Ruby was the character that I felt the most sympathy for. Her self-absorbed parents were so wrapped up in their own lives that she was mostly dismissed or punished for being a troublemaker – they didn’t seem to consider that there could be reasons behind her bad behaviour and she wasn’t mature enough to properly articulate her distress.

As we meet the characters and discover what their lives are actually like the story becomes more interesting. The intriguing structure and teasing cliff-hangers cast doubt all the way through and the story is presented in such a way that I felt that anyone at all could be responsible – for varying reasons. As the story went on, I suspected nearly everybody in turn and by the time I reached the final chapters, my head was spinning with all the possible conclusions that could have wrought such devastation on the family.

This was a well written and suspenseful read leading to a dramatic conclusion. The characterisation was excellent for both the main and peripheral characters.  This is not a fast paced read but the slow build up just heightens the anticipation of what may happen and there were some difficult but rather relevant topics included which added to the realism of the story.  In summary, a dark and engrossing read which kept me hooked.

 

|   About the author   |

Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, and THE DARKEST LIES. Her latest book is HER LAST SECRET.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK  |   Goodreads

 

 

Published by Head of Zeus

ebook: 5 October 2017   |    Paperback: 8 February 2018

368 pages


The Coven is the second in the Beatrice Scarlett historical thriller series, the first being Scarlet Widow. The Coven is published by Head of Zeus and is available to buy now in ebook and hardback.  When I was invited to take part in the blog tour, this one immediately appealed – a historical thriller – it sounds just my type of read.

For my turn on the blog tour, I have a guest post from the author to share with you.

 

by Graham Masterton

I don’t think of myself as a ‘crime writer.’ I never read crime novels and I have no particular interest in crime films or crime series on TV. It’s the personalities of my characters that I find most rewarding to write about that – that and the setting in which they live. I started writing about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire because I was fascinated by Cork city, where we lived for five years, and I had never read a thriller set there. I also wanted to write about a woman who not only has struggles with her job but has to deal with the prejudice of misogynist fellow officers.

It was the same with Beatrice Scarlet, whose first appearance was in Scarlet Widow, set mostly in colonial New Hampshire of the 1750s. Beatrice was the daughter of a London apothecary, and her father taught her all about the latest advances in chemistry and medicinal cures. In this second book in the series, she returns to London. She is a widow with a young daughter to take care of, and no means of self-support, so she has to rely on the nonconformist church to which her late husband belonged to give her employment at a home for reforming young prostitutes. When seven of the young girls disappear, apparently having formed themselves into a coven of witches, everybody in the church declares that it was Satan who took them, but Beatrice uses her chemical expertise to try and discover what really happened to them.

The challenge in writing what is more or less an 18th century CSI novel is that I had to find out all about the chemical knowledge of the period (or the lack of it.) This was an age when arsenic was taken for stomach troubles, and mercury for venereal disease, which made your hair and your teeth fall out. Most ‘cures’ were more deadly than the diseases they were supposed to be treating. Fortunately there is a huge amount of background material on this to be found on Google.

Then, of course, I had to know my way around London of the late 1750s. I found a detailed map which was extremely helpful, because it showed that the city of London was built up only as far as Moorfields, and beyond that it was all fields and farms. Hackney was a small and attractive village where Dr Johnson occasionally used to go for some country air, and there were still dairy farms in Chelsea.

One of the most important sources I found was a book on 18th century London by Professor Jerry White, a huge tome which contains everything you ever wanted to know about the capital during the Regency period (and quite a lot that you didn’t!) That helped me to do what I always try to do when I write, and that is to immerse myself into the places and the atmosphere of those times so that readers feel as if they are actually living the story.

I loved doing it. I loved recreating the noise of the streets crowded with hot pie and long song sellers. I loved writing about the clothes and the snobbery and the lust and the terrible filth. Raw sewage ran down the middle of the streets, along with dead dogs and the guts of disemboweled sheep from Smithfield market. The only problem was that it was a very slow book to write, because I had to keep checking if a particular word was known in those days – ‘flabbergasted’ for instance. The answer to that one is yes. But when a hackney driver suggests to Beatrice that she will need to put a clothes-peg on her nose in London in the summer – that was a no. Clothes-pegs of even the most rudimentary kind weren’t invented until 1820 by the Quakers in Boston. Up until then, clothes were dried by hanging them on bushes or on fireguards in front of the fire, which accounted for a great many disastrous fires in London in those days.

I had written historical fiction before, with a huge saga of American oil tycoons in Rich, the building of the transcontinental American railroads in Railroad, and the story of an ocean liner’s first trip across the Atlantic in the 1920s in Maiden Voyage – and several others. Because of that, I had learned that while it’s essential for a writer to know as much about the period as possible, very little of that research should appear in the finished novel. It’s the story and the characters that matter. All you have to do as a writer is know what you’re talking about. So when you write ‘toilet’ you know you’re not writing about a lavatory but a side-table where a woman could write letters or put on her make-up. You don’t have to explain it – readers aren’t stupid and they will get it.

I also had to bone up on corsets, and every kind of clothing of the period. Did women wear knickers? (No…and their pockets were separate, fastened inside their petticoats with ribbons…hence Lucy Locket lost her pocket.)

It’s the same with 18th century slang. Some of my more vulgar characters use it – such as ‘shoot the cat’ for vomit and ‘queer doxy’ for a diseased prostitute — but I don’t explain it. It’s fairly obvious what they’re talking about.

The great challenge was writing a crime story which still has pace and momentum in an era when there were no telephones and no cars and if you wanted to get anywhere in a hurry you either had to hail a hackney or run. It could take three weeks to get to America if the weather was bad. But I enjoyed every minute of it, and after The Coven I very much want to write more adventures for Beatrice Scarlet in a world that might be long gone but which still hums in my mind (in every sense of the word.)

 

Thank you Graham for a very interesting post.

My thanks to Blake at Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part in the tour.

 

 

|   About the book   |

 

They say the girls were witches. But Beatrice Scarlet, the apothecary’s daughter, is sure they were innocent victims…

London, 1758:

Beatrice Scarlet, the apothecary’s daughter, has found a position at St Mary Magdalene’s Refuge for fallen women. She enjoys the work and soon forms a close bond with her charges.

The refuge is supported by a wealthy tobacco merchant, who regularly offers the girls steady work to aid their rehabilitation. But when seven girls sent to his factory disappear, Beatrice is uneasy.

Their would-be benefactor claims they were a coven of witches, beholden only to Satan and his demonic misdeeds. But Beatrice is convinced something much darker than witchcraft is at play…

 

|   About the author   |

 

Graham Masterton’s credits as a writer include the bestselling horror novel The Manitou, and the top-ten bestselling Katie Maguire crime series. Scarlet Widow, published in 2016, was his first book to feature 18th-century apothecary Beatrice Scarlet.

 

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

Love, Secrets, and Absolution:  An emotional and gripping psychological, family drama

Paperback ISBN: 978-19998294-0-7E-book ISBN:

978-1-9998294-1-4

225 pages

Publisher: Globeflower Books / The Globeflower Agency (www.globeflower.co.uk)

Publication day: Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Its a pleasure to be hosting K L Loveley for the second time on the blog.  The first time was for the debut novel ‘Alice‘ and now for the second book Love, Secrets, and Absolution.  I have a guest post to share but first here is some information about the book.  Do read to the end of the post, as there is a fabulous giveaway with the chance to win a signed copy of Love, Secrets, and Absolution and a book (tote) bag.

 

|   About the book   |

 

People in the village gossip about Grace’s son, Alfie.
He’s a lonely boy full of secrets, lies, and obsessive thoughts.
How far can a mother’s love go? Will she ultimately sacrifice her life for his?
Set in Nottinghamshire, this family drama follows the lives of Grace and Alfie as he transforms from a naïve, young boy into a teenager spiralling out of control.
Love, Secrets, and Absolution is a coming of age story with a difference.
Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties; will anybody find absolution?

 

How I researched my novel

By K.L Loveley

It is a writer’s responsibility to not only write a novel that will be of interest to the reader, but also to offer validity to the subject area.

Research is an important aspect of this validity and can take many forms. In essence I have been researching my latest novel Love, Secrets, and Absolution for many years as a result of my work in the NHS. The protagonist Alfie, is a young boy who sees the world differently to his peers. Later in life he is diagnosed with Asperger’s. As a former NHS practice nurse, I met many children and young people diagnosed as being on the Autistic spectrum. Furthermore, I have had in depth conversations with their parents and carers.

In addition to this, I have read a number of books and journals related to the subject of Asperger’s Syndrome. Quite by chance I have a close friend who is grandmother to two grandsons who are autistic, she has been a great source of accurate information based on her own observations. There have been a number of television dramas and documentaries that cover different aspects of the autistic spectrum disorder and related topics, all of which have been helpful in terms of creating the character of Alfie, including:

  • A Word – a TV Drama, based on the novel Yellow Peppers written by Karen Margalit.
  • The Rain Man – written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass.

My novel, Love, Secrets, and Absolution takes place in Nottinghamshire, England and spans the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. A significant time-period within the novel is set against the miners’ strike. Therefore, I read on-line articles and accessed archived information from my local library. In addition, I have watched documentaries and films that portray this period of time.

I was in my thirties and living in a mining area before, during and after the miners’ strike. I witnessed events first hand and observed the destruction of a social structure that had evolved around the mining communities. Equally I was exposed to the bitter disputes between families. Sometimes brother against brother. It was all very upsetting and a time of great unrest in my community. For me this was observational research of a reliable nature.

With respect to developing the characters within my novel, I found the following books very helpful.

• Friend like Henry, by Nuala Gardner.
• Sensory Strategies, by Laurie Corrinna.
• House Rules, by Picoult Jodi.
• Autism. A view from the other side, by Marisa Piedade.

 

|   About the author   |

 

K.L Loveley is a former nurse, who has seen, heard, and dealt with a wide range of medical, social and family dramas. She has used her nursing experience, along with her excellent people watching skills to create fascinating characters and intriguing scenarios within her books. She writes contemporary fiction, psychological dramas and poetry.
Her debut novel ‘Alice’ was published in February 2017, and the story tackles alcoholism head-on, and presents the reader with an empathetic account of a spiralling addiction and the resulting pattern of hopelessness that many fall into.
K.L Loveley’s second novel ‘Love, Secrets, and Absolution: An emotional and gripping psychological, family drama’ is a coming of age story with a difference. Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, this story is about a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties.
If you enjoy reading authors like Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain, you will enjoy K.L Loveley!
K.L Loveley lives in Nottinghamshire, England and loves socialising with friends and family. She is an avid reader and enjoys a variety of genres including psychological, thrillers and historical fiction. Her favourite authors include John le Carré, K.L Slater, Marian Keyes and Philippa Gregory.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution is available as a pre-order from all Amazon websites including:

UK     https://goo.gl/oapMqh
USA  goo.gl/JuDs1K 

 

Author Links:  Website  |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |  Goodreads   |   Google +

 

*** GIVEAWAY***

Win a signed copy of Love, Secrets, and Absolution by K.L Loveley and a book (tote) bag – entry is via the Rafflecopter box below

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Published by Avon

ebook:  9 October 2017   |   Paperback : 2 November 2017

368 pages


A new book from Sue Moorcroft is always a treat and I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the eBook release.  The stock picture doesn’t do the actual book cover justice;  it’s so glittery and sparkly and would make the perfect Christmas read. For my turn on the tour, I have an extract to share.

 

|   About the book   |

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…

Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

 

Extract

 

Alexia’s best friend, Jodie, appeared at her side, her long dark hair overlaid with a cobweb, and pushed a cold can into Alexia’s hand. ‘Here. You deserve a drink.’

Alexia pulled the ring tab with satisfaction. ‘We all do. I love this village. Forty people have given up their Saturday to help us.’

‘They want a community café and they like free beer!’ Jodie raised her voice to match the increasing noise. ‘Shane says he’s stowed the mirrors, tiles and etched glass screens upstairs so there’s nothing to damage if folk let off steam. He’s gone to fetch the burgers and sausages from your fridge. Shall we find someone to help us set the barbecues up? Seb’s around somewhere.’

‘Not Seb,’ Alexia protested. ‘I don’t need my ex breathing down my neck. There must be someone else mug enough to sacrifice drinking time in favour of carting more heavy stuff.’ Alexia’s gaze shifted to the only person in the room she didn’t know, a man with tousled corn-coloured hair. She’d watched him help take up the black and white tiles to be stacked in the back of Shane’s truck and moved off-site to be cleaned. Most people had joked and chatted as they worked but the fair man had offered only the occasional reply if a remark was tossed in his direction.

Now, T-shirt and jeans dusty, he was alone, leaning on a wall. ‘Him,’ she suggested.

Jodie followed her gaze. ‘Two minutes single and you’ve got your eye on the brooding stranger?’

Alexia grinned. ‘It’s four weeks. And what’s the point of being single if you can’t show interest? Come on.’ She cleared the dust from her throat with a swig of beer before threading her way towards the man who was idly watching a group of four laughing women trying to dance on the mortar where the floor tiles had been. His gaze focused in on Alexia only once she was standing in front of him.

She introduced herself and gave him the benefit of her best smile. ‘I’m project-managing the refurbishment of The Angel. And this is Jodie, who’ll run The Angel Community Café when it opens.’

‘I’m Ben.’

Alexia disregarded the economy of his reply. It was probably overwhelming to be the only person here who didn’t know every other person here. ‘Thanks for helping. Aren’t you Gabe Piercy’s nephew?’ Gabe had been uncharacteristically reticent about why his nephew had turned up on the edges of Middledip village and then kept almost entirely to himself.

‘That’s me.’ His hair slid over one eye as he nodded.

‘Gabe’s probably told you that he’s bought The Angel because the village can’t sustain a coffee shop unless it has some community value—’

Ben finished for her. ‘So he’s set the rent low to make the café viable and the book club and all the other local groups are going to bring business in.’

Alexia took a step back. There was ‘brooding’ and there was ‘abrupt’ and in her eyes Ben had just crossed from one to the other. ‘Sorry if I’m being boring, but this is such an amazing building, I’m excited to see it brought back to life. And,’ she added tartly, ‘in case you’re worried that your uncle’s being ripped off, the village has raised money towards the refurb. Gabe will end up with a sympathetic restoration, and a share of the profits from the café that’s far in excess of what he’d earn if he kept his money safe in the bank.’

She prepared to turn on her heel and find someone friendlier to haul barbecues around for her but Ben put out a hand, looking rueful. ‘No, I’m sorry. Like Gabe, I’m a bit of an oddball and, worse, I’m an oddball having a bad day. My mind was on something else when you came up.’ He managed a faint smile. ‘Let’s begin again. It’s a great community effort and Gabe tells me you’re not charging for managing the project.’

Before Alexia could protest about Gabe being termed an oddball or explain why she was working gratis, Jodie jumped in to claim a vicarious share of the accolades. ‘And my boyfriend Shane’s doing the building work for “mates’ rates” because I’m in partnership with Gabe for the business side of the café. By the way, thanks for taming the jungle at the front so we can actually see The Angel from the road for the first time in decades.’

At this reminder, Alexia forgave Ben his earlier instance of gracelessness. Twice on site visits she’d enjoyed watching him dangling from a harness, not above wondering what his face was like without his hardhat and visor. ‘In that case you’re practically one of us boring community volunteers so I don’t feel so bad about hitting on you to help drag barbecues about.’

A brief pause as he stared at her. Then, ‘Hit on me? Lead the way.’

 

 

|   About the author   |

 

Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.

She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.

 

Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   | Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Newsletter Sign Up

 

 

Published by HarperImpulse

Ebook : 15 June 2017  |  Paperback  5 October 2017

416 pages


For my turn on the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of Lily Alone, I have a Q&A with author Vivien Brown.

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the blog Vivien, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

I worked for many years in banking and accountancy jobs before finding my dream job working with the under-fives in children’s centres and libraries, introducing them and their families to the importance of reading and the magic of stories. I am the mother of twin girls and became a granny two years ago, which kind of shows my age! I have been writing alongside the day job for more than twenty years, concentrating largely on magazine fiction and articles, but have recently been bitten by the ‘novel bug’ and am now working on novel-writing as a full-time career.

Without giving away too much information, can you please tell us a little about your debut novel, Lily Alone. Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

Having worked with very young children and watched them at close range, I was fascinated by their growing confidence, independence and level of self-care, and started to wonder how well they might manage if left entirely alone. I interviewed a few parents and searched my own memories too, and realised that, actually, children do still very much need adult guidance, particularly in terms of staying safe. Lily has been left alone at home and is far from safe. But why is she there, and why is there no one to help her? Well, her mum is in hospital in a coma and unable to let anyone know Lily is alone, for a start! The story follows a cast of characters, all linked in some way to Lily and her plight, and I hope goes some way towards exploring other forms of loneliness and abandonment too, including through old age, being in foster care, relationship breakdown and bereavement.

You have previously had a romantic comedy and other books, including non-fiction, published under another name. Lily Alone is a departure in genre. Do you have a preferred genre for writing or are you content to ‘mix it up’?

Yes, I wrote initially as Vivien Hampshire and have had a lot of success in the women’s magazine short story world, as well as many professional nursery and childcare articles and a couple of earlier books published under that name. When I have the time, I do still write romantic and family ‘womag’ short stories, something I still enjoy doing very much. However, when I wrote Lily Alone, in a different genre and tackling more serious themes, my publishers (Harper Impulse) thought a new name would help to mark that new beginning. Having remarried just three years ago, I have chosen to now use my real married name of Vivien Brown for my novel-writing, marking a new start in both my personal and writing lives!

How did you plan/research your books? Do you plot in detail or just see where the story takes you?

I start with an opening scene and a vague idea and just take it from there. A lot of my plotting and planning takes place as I go along and changes as the characters develop on the page. Because I have chosen to deal with relationship themes and set my novels in contemporary London (a world I live in and know well), research is actually quite minimal. For Lily Alone I did have to check out quite a lot of detail about the Social Services system in relation to children and families, the possible effects of a brain injury, and what goes on in a hospital A&E department and Intensive Care ward, but my next book, which should be out next year, required virtually no research at all. I know many novelists, especially those writing historical stories, who adore research almost as much as the actual writing, but I am not one of them!

What is the best writing advice that you have received? And what advice would you give to anyone trying to get their novel published? Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?

The best advice I have received, and would pass on, has to be never to give up. If you love writing and have a dream, then believe in yourself and don’t let anyone or anything put you off. It helps to have some natural talent, but perseverance is just as important. A lot can be learned and improved, so always join a class, attend author talks, mix with others who are in the same boat and who understand. Be prepared to set time aside, which might mean a whole day at the weekend, getting up early and writing before work or giving up watching your favourite soap opera! And try not to be precious about your work. Listen to advice and criticism, accept that rejection is a normal part of the process, and be prepared to cut out maybe thousands of words if they are not working… and to trust your editor, if you are lucky enough to get one. They do know what they are doing. Would I have done anything differently? Got published and made writing my career much earlier, but that is not always something we can make happen, much as we might like to!

Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or find the most difficult) – i.e. researching, writing, editing?

The best bit for me is starting out with that blank page and a spark of an idea and finding out where it leads. But, like most writers, I am not a great fan of editing. Once the book is written, how lovely it would be to put it aside and start the next. Unfortunately, writing ‘The End’ is often only the beginning of creating what will be the final version. A lot of work must then go into checking, proofreading, improving, cutting, adding and all the other constant re-reads and re-writes that go towards making the book as good as it can be. The opening chapter of Lily Alone was re-written so many times until it felt right, and quite a lot of things I had explained early on later found themselves pushed much nearer to the back of the book to keep the readers guessing.

Do you have any favourite books or authors which may have inspired you? What type of book do you enjoy reading for pleasure, and what are you reading now?

My tastes vary from light romance to psychological thrillers, although I do tend to gravitate towards female authors. I set myself the ‘Goodreads’ challenge back in January, with a reading target of 35 books in 2017, but it is looking like I will exceed that figure with ease, as I am never far from a book, even when I am heavily into writing my own. I try desperately hard NOT to be influenced or inspired by what I read as I want my own plots and my fiction voice to be unique. Some of my favourite reads this year have come from Clare Mackintosh, Iona Grey, Mary Jayne Baker, Veronica Henry, Milly Johnson and Elaine Everest. After years of reading to kids at work and writing book reviews for the under-fives market, I also still love a good picture book, with Stick Man out in front as my current favourite. Watch out for a really cute new book called The Backup Bunny, coming out next year, too.

When you’re not working or writing, what do you do to relax?

I spend time with family and my two cats, enjoy eating out, going to horseracing meetings, the theatre and boy band concerts, and I am a cryptic crossword fanatic! I really love solving the trickiest of clues, compiling my own puzzles, and have written a book helping others learn how to solve them. I complete the crossword in The Daily Mail every day and time myself, my record being 8 minutes, and when I have more time to spare I take on the harder puzzles in The Telegraph or Times. I also like watching TV quiz shows, and have appeared on a few of them, sadly without winning any enormous cash prizes (so far).

Finally

If you could take 3 books to a desert island, which ones would it be and why?

I am a sucker for dictionaries, discovering new words and what they mean, and pride myself on my spelling, so the first would have to be a big dictionary, preferably illustrated and in several volumes. No period of isolation would be complete without a good work of fiction, but it would have to be a story I could read over and over again, still get emotional over, and find something new in every time. So, I choose a Jane Austen novel and, on balance, I would have to go for Sense and Sensibility. Lastly, a cryptic crossword book, with tough puzzles that take hours to work out, to help keep my brain active, but it must have the answers in the back, in case I get stuck, because not being able to solve a clue and having no way of finding out the answer could quite possibly drive me mad!

Thank you Vivien.

 

About the book:

What sort of mother would leave her all alone… a gripping and heart-wrenching domestic drama that won’t let you go.

Lily, who is almost three years old, wakes up alone at home with only her cuddly toy for company. She is afraid of the dark, can’t use the phone, and has been told never to open the door to strangers.

But why is Lily alone and why isn’t there anyone who can help her? What about the lonely old woman in the flat downstairs who wonders at the cries from the floor above? Or the grandmother who no longer sees Lily since her parents split up?

All the while a young woman lies in a coma in hospital – no one knows her name or who she is, but in her silent dreams, a little girl is crying for her mummy… and for Lily, time is running out.

 

About the author:

Vivien Brown lives in Uxbridge, Middlesex, with her husband and two cats. For most of her life she has immersed herself in words – as an avid reader, writer, poet, library outreach worker, storyteller, gifter of Bookstart packs to babies and toddlers, creative writing tutor and crossword fanatic. She enjoys dipping into dictionaries and exploring the meaning of words, and watching and/or taking part in TV quiz shows. In the evenings she loves nothing more than losing herself in a good book, a compelling TV drama or her regular supply of women’s magazine short stories – which all help to provide inspiration and ideas for her own fiction. ‘Lily Alone’ is her debut novel.

Author Links:   Twitter   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads