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Getting to know: Will Macmillan Jones

2014-01-15 08.50.08Hey Will!
Right, we’ve done the serious interview. Now for the fun questions!

So, what were you like in school?
I was a geek, I’m afraid. Think Sheldon Cooper, only without the brain power and with much longer hair. I was, in fact still am, an aviation obsessed nut who retreats from the horrors of real life into the comfort and security of my own head at every possible opportunity

How would you describe yourself, in three words?
Three words? What sort of loser needs to use three words to describe them selves? I can do it in two! Barking mad. Oh, wait….

If you had to sing a song on a talent show, what would it be and why?
Easy one! George Thorogood and The Destroyers: Get a Haircut (and get a real job). It describes how I see myself rather better than I should like, even now…

Right, imagine there’s a zombie apocalypse and you can only use the item to your left to survive. What is it and how long would you live?
For ever! I’ve got an ipod on my left, and no zombie could resist dancing to my playlist. All together now, ‘It’s been a long time since Rock N Roll…’

If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?
My Superpower would be the immediate delivery of tea. I live on tea. Green tea (often flavoured with Jasmine), Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchon, I drink them all, constantly.
So where ever there was need, if you could call me, Tea Man would be on hand with a refreshing beverage, and for the blonde and attractive, maybe a sweet biscuit as well.

That would be brilliant! Too bad I’m not blonde and attractive, though! I love biscuits!
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

No one at all. As the new edition of all my books comes out, and I can while away the hours writing more eloquent rubbish to entertain people for a minute or two, or people laugh at me (yes I know they do that anyway, but I was meaning during the occasional stand up gigs I’ve started doing) and I can meet people who say that they have already bought my work and enjoyed it… I may be broke but I’m still living the dream. Why would I want to change that?

You’re having a dinner party for your three favourite people. Who are they? Why are they invited and what have you cooked?
Let’s see: I’d start with a spagetti bolognese (with quorn of course, being a veggie), then baked salmon with new potatoes and a selection of veg and bread sauce (because I’m addicted to bread sauce) and finally a Strawberry Fool. And yes, I can and do cook all those things. But my three favourite people? Ah, got to keep some secrets. Besides, I’m friendly with so many people: how would any one of them feel if they got left off the list?

If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
I’d have to be a retriever. Big (I’m tall) Friendly ( I try to be) and hairy (I wish!) but a great companion.
On the other hand, I might try to be an Aardvark. That way I’d finally be at the top of some lists, instead of languishing in the mid table.

Brilliant! Thanks, Will!

To view the serious interview, along with the where to buy links and links to find more information on the brilliant Will Macmillan Jones, please click here!

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Author Interview: Will Macmillan Jones

2014-01-15 08.50.08Hey Will! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.

Before we start, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a fifty something lover pf blues rock and jazz, who has just extended his study bookcases to fill an entire wall. Now I’m starting on the second wall. When not writing I’m usually either drinking beer whilst shouting at the international rugby on TV or walking the hills and fells whilst peering into caves and looking for dragons. I haven’t found one yet (other than my ex, who doesn’t count) but it’s only a matter of time.

Looking for dragons sounds like great fun!
So, what inspired you to start writing?
As a child I read The Wierdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, and that quite brilliant YA fantasy made me desperate to start writing myself. So I did; and the first draft was so awful that it sat under my bed for thirty years until I decided to start rewriting it as a way of annoying my (now ex) partner. It worked! She left, and I got a book published. Win-win. And having written one book, I just can’t give it up!

What advice would you give to other authors?
Don’t give up. Keep on writing, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Oh and if anyone ever says to you that you can edit your own work, run away from them – they are insane and more dangerous to society than a loose politician. No one can edit their own work, and you need to hire an editor before you present your work to anyone at all, let alone a paying customer.

That’s great advice!
Are there any books or authors that you feel have particularly influenced you?
Alan Garner, obviously. Equally obvious Tolkien (hey, I’m a fantasy writer, right?). Less obviously, and in no particular order: Robert Rankin, Graham Greene, Lindsey Davis

Do you have any regrets, or things you wish that you’d done differently?
Yes! Thirty years ago I was offered a place as unpaid crew by a friend who had to deliver a very large sailing yacht from Greece to Portsmouth. (He held a Yachtmasters’ Certificate). I said no. And I have regretted that ever since. Now I tend to say yes to things as I don’t want to regret missing out on anything else. Except for salesmen/women or politicians of course. I usually say no to them on principle, even the stunningly attractive blonde ones.

Do you feel that you are like a particular character in your stories, and why?
Oh come on, you don’t think I’m actually going to tell you the truth here, do you? There’s no chance at all that I’m confessing to this one….

Can I ask, if you don’t mind, what are you currently working on?
This is me you are talking to now, Katy! There’s a list! The next book in my comic fantasy series, The Banned Underground, is just about to come onto the market as I type this, I’ve got two more of the series on the go (they will be books seven and eight, by the way!), a sequel to my childrens’ fantasy that is written and awaiting the illustrations before going off to the printers, a sequel to my well received horror book is half written, and I’ve a YA fantasy story planned and started.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers, or just in general?
To the readers, it’s simply ‘Thank You’. I was, according to empirical evidence from a colleague, the highest selling small press author at the recent World Scifi Convention (Loncon3) and whilst there – selling more books- I met people who had already bought at least one of my books. That’s just a great experience and one every writer should have at least once. It will remind you why you are hunched over a keyboard late at night, instead of down the pub meeting girls.

Thanks, Will!

To learn more about the wonder Will Macmillan Jones, please visit the following links:

His blog
His Amazon Author Page
His Goodreads Author Page
His Twitter profile
The Blog for his Banned Underground Books

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Review: ‘Elemental Cascade’ by David Staniforth

Genre: Fantasy.
Length: 315 pages.

I have awarded this book 5 stars.

Summary: This book is the final instalment in the Fuel to the Fire series. In this book, Davran not only has to face her biggest and most dangerous enemy yet (which, by the way, is the most disgusting character I have ever read about), she also has to witness the prophecy, which names her Fuel to the Fire, come true. Will she survive? Will she be able to protect her friends and family? Will she defeat her biggest enemy? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Review: Wow. What an end to the trilogy! Beautifully written and very descriptive, Staniforth, as in the previous two books, transports the reader to the wonderful (and the not so wonderful) places that Davran visits, effortlessly.  The places that Davran visits, particularly the Onktor Valley, really came to life on the page and made me feel like I was experiencing it for myself. I found this book impossible to put this book down as I wanted to continue my journey with Davran and her friends and family.

We really see Davran grow as a person in this book. At just 16 years old, the fate of the world and all that she loves rests on her shoulders. Despite this burden, Davran remains a strong female character that is loyal to her friends and family, but willing to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. I really felt like I was taking the journey with her; I was happy when she was, sad when she was, and fearful when she was.

I also loved that my favourite characters (particularly Khalil!),as well as some new faces, appeared again. Every character in this book is beautifully constructed and believable; yes, they have flaws, but it makes them seem real. Avoiding spoilers, there was one event with Ronyn that had me screaming at the book and wanting to hunt down the author, but after further reading (that involved staying up wayyy too late), that event was resolved.

Without giving too much away, I thought that the ending was extremely fitting, and a perfect place to say goodbye to my favourite characters. While Davran lived in a world that I would definitely not want to be a part of, I really felt that I knew her and the other characters. I’ve been with her when she had to dress as a boy to survive, I’ve been with her as she faced up against Saurian, I’ve been with her as she fell in love, and I’ve been with her as the prophecy finally unravels. If I’m honest, I am sad that my time with this series is over.

★★★★★ – An extremely fitting end to a beautifully written trilogy. Descriptive with believable characters, I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. 

Where to buy:
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Amazon US (Kindle)

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100 Followers! Thank you!

Wow, I am utterly amazed. I have reached 100 followers!

Thank you very much to everyone that has followed me. It really means a lot. This blog has only been running for about 3 months, and I am over the moon at the response that I have got!

The fact that 100 people want to read my reviews and the random thoughts I post is just incredible. 

So, please take this virtual glass of champagne as I’d like to make a toast. Thank you for clicking the follow button. I hope you continue to find my blog interesting!

Let the celebrating begin!

~Katherine

5

Liebster Award Nomination!

Today, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, by the lovely Lauren over at Bookmark Lit! Thank you, Lauren! 🙂

The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers by other bloggers in order to welcome them to the world of blogging! The only condition is that you have less than 200 followers.

To accept, all you have to do is:
1) Link and thank the person who nominated you.
2) Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
3) Tag 11 bloggers who have 200 or less followers
4) Ask the 11 bloggers 11 questions, and let them know you nominated them!

The 11 questions that Lauren gave me, plus my answers:

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

This is really hard, as I have read so many great books! If I absolutely had to choose, I think I would have to say Underneath by Michael Cargill.

What is the worst book you’ve read this year?

Hmm. This is another hard one. I guess I would have to say ‘A Bell Sound Everlasting’ by JZN McCauley, as I didn’t actually finish it. It’s rare for me not to finish a book!

If you could recommend one author to me, who would you recommend and why?

I know from your posts (I’ve been ‘following’ you for a while, which sounds so creepy!) and I know that you like to read Young Adult books. Therefore, I would recommend the ‘Fuel to the Fire’ trilogy by David Staniforth. I think you’ll really enjoy them!

What is your favorite type of blog post to write? (Discussions, reviews, lists/recommendations, memes, etc.?)

I love writing reviews. I love that I have my own personal space to tell people what I really think about the books that I’m reading!

Tell me three random facts about you that are not reading related.

1) My favourite animal is a giraffe, because they’re clumsy like I am.

2) I have blue eyes.

3) I love baking (and eating) cakes!

What TV show is the most addicting one you’ve watched and why should I watch it? (Netflix options are preferable!!)

Gilmore Girls! I cannot tell you how much I love this series. I own every single series on dvd and can quote it word for word! It will make you laugh and cry. You will feel like you are part of their world.

What’s your dream career?

Teaching. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher 🙂

What book series did you completely binge-read…or wish you could have binge-read but not all of them were out at the time?

The Lorne Simpkins series by M.A Comley. I couldn’t get enough of them! It’s a crime series with a strong female protagonist. Well worth the read 🙂

What is your biggest hobby aside from reading?

Baking. Does that count as a hobby? I love trying out new recipes!

What is your favorite book of all time?

I think that would have to be ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee.

What is your favorite genre to read and what would you say to readers who don’t like that genre?

 I’m not sure I have a favourite genre! At the moment I’m reading a lot of Fantasy 🙂 I would say to people that don’t like Fantasy to give it a go as you might be surprised and find a book you love!

The 11 bloggers I’m nominating:

I apologise if you’ve already been nominated or you have more than 200 followers!
In no particular order:

1) BookFaerie 
2) Ditch the Bun
3) Read Rant Review 
4) willmacmillanjones 
5) Spider’s Book Club
6) Romance Novels for the Beach
7) David Hadley
8) Sempre Dolce
9) The Weekly Bake
10) Will Once
11) Tidlidim

It was really hard to come up with only 11, so I’m sorry if I left anyone out!! 

My questions to those I have nominated:

1) What are you currently reading?
2) If you could meet anyone in the world (real or fictional) who would it be and why?
3) What movie have you enjoyed more than the book?
4) What are 3 random facts about you?
5) Do you finish a book you hate, or stop and put it down?
6) What is your favourite food?
7) What three items would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
8) If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
9) What is your favourite book of all time?
10) Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what?
11) Which character would you love to be and why?

Once again, thank you very much to Lauren at Bookmark Lit for thinking my blog worthy of nomination! 

1

Getting to know: Jonathan Hill

IMG_0057Hey Jonathan! So, we’ve done the serious interview, time for the sillyness to begin!

What were you like in school?

So these are the silly questions? Does that mean I should answer them dressed in suitable outrageous comedy attire? The best I can do is navy shorts and a loud red T-shirt.

At school, I was the class swot. The one who reliably handed in homework and pleased his teachers no end. I also defied the swot stereotype, as the boy who tipped sand over my head found out. Just because I studied hard and wanted to succeed didn’t make me a pushover.

How would you describe yourself, in three words?

Oh wow, that’s difficult. How can I answer without sounding smugly self-deprecating or irritatingly show-offy?

Okay, determined, polite, perfect…ionist.

Haha, nice save!

If you had to sing a song on a talent show, what would it be and why?

Never Ever by All Saints. That talky bit at the start. Then I’d be kicked off before actually having to sing.

(Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPXqkjpXZ_k)

If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

Hmmm, Damian Lewis – because he kind of looks like me. Well, he’s ginger, at least. Or David Tennant, because presumably he’d have to shadow me for a while and that’d mean I’d get to meet him, right? And spend time with him? Katy, are you saying you can get me and David Tennant together?

If only I had that power! I want to meet him, too!

Okay, so, theres a zombie apocalypse and you can only use the item to your left to survive. What is it and how long would you live?

My tie, thrown down on the floor after work. Well, I’d suck the coffee I spilt on it at lunch so that’d keep me going. Then I’d wave it around in the air for a bit before giving up and dying.

You could use it to… um… no, you’re probably right!

If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?

I’d choose to be able to implant the notion into all people’s heads that prescriptions cannot be dispensed in a matter of seconds and that a pharmacist does not simply ‘pick boxes off shelves and put them in a bag’.

I enjoy chatting to my pharmasist, so I don’t usually notice the wait!

If you could pick two celebrities to be your parents, who would you pick and why?

John Cleese and Prunella Scales, because I’d just make them reenact Fawlty Towers scenes over and over.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

Shakespeare. I’d then baffle everyone at the time and for years to come by adding a modern twist or two to his work. Romeo and Juliet having a selfie together. Lear throwing some moves to Gangnam Style.

I’d definitely read that! It would certainly make studying it in school more interesting!

If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

A sloth. Because everyone just knows that they’re lazy buggers and and yet not one person questions it.

I’d not considered that before! That’s brilliant!

Thank you, Katy, for allowing me to spout my nonsense on your blog!

You’re welcome! Thank you for agreeing to be interrogated interviewed!

To see Jonathan’s serious interview, which includes links to his blog and author profiles, please click here!

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Author Interview: Jonathan Hill

IMG_0057Hey Jonathan! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Before we start, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
So these are the serious questions? Does that mean I should answer them dressed in suitable sombre attire? The best I can do is navy shorts and a loud red T-shirt.

My day job is in healthcare, which I find hugely rewarding despite it often being intensive and tiring. The rest of the time I love to write (naturally). But I also manage to fit in playing tennis, photography and theatregoing.

Interesting!
So, what inspired you to start writing?
I started fairly late on in life. It was during a spell of illness when I was confined to bed and reading a lot. Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman in Black’ inspired me to try a ghost story and it just took off from there. Curiously, I detested English at school and dropped it at the first available opportunity. I would love to study it now.

That’s surprising! A writer who doesn’t like English!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. Finding the time and energy to write! When I get some free time, the words tend to flow fairly naturally. The trouble is that said free time is lacking! And when it is available, the chances of me being mentally capable of writing are slim – I hasten to add that’s because of my mentally-demanding day job and not alcohol or drugs. Well, technically, my day job is drugs so it sort of is because of drugs…

There are a lot of drugs in that paragraph!
When you’re writing a new story, where do you start? Main text? Title? Start? Ending?
Always the start. I tend to write longer pieces from start to finish in order. For some reason, I write the Maureen novellas best by bouncing about from one random section to another like a pinball which thinks it’s in control (but isn’t). The title comes later on. It often makes itself known to me naturally during the writing of a book.

Do you have any regrets, or things you wish that you’d done differently?
Well, I look back at my earliest work and think to myself that I’d write it very differently today. Why did I choose that expression? Why didn’t I expand that section? Why did I not develop the characters more? I actually planned to revisit some of my early writing and rewrite it so it reflects my writing as of now. However, it would suck up my time and I figure that my time is best spent giving readers something new and that, I hope, is amazing.

Any other regrets? Yes, a big one. It took me until the age of thirty to be myself openly. But I’m learning not to regret it. The time I spent not being myself still contributed to who I am today.

I think it’s good to see how much a writer has developed since their first publication! Frankly, it’s amazing that you’ve written and published so much! I can’t do it!
What advice would you give to other authors?
Write what you want to write and not what you think others want to read. And don’t give up the day job!

Have you experienced writers block, and how did you get past it?
I’m lucky (or unlucky) enough to have ideas flooding my mind all the time. I always have too much to write about. Writer’s diarrhoea?

That doesn’t mean I find writing easy all the time, though. It depends on my motivation and mood, which vary from minute to minute! I might wake up raring to write, then by the time I’m dressed, I’m no longer in the zone!

If I get stuck while writing, I tend to find writing something else, something completely different, gets me moving again.

Can I ask, if you don’t mind, what are you currently working on?
You certainly can ask, yes. I’m not sure the answer will be satisfactory, though, as I no longer publicise what I’m working on until close to the release date. It’s a novel, my second. I guess it could be categorised as a thriller. It’s written in first person, which is something new and challenging for me. And that’s all you’re getting, I’m afraid.

It’s better than a straight up no! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers, or just in general?
Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I still find it hard to believe that people do read my books. I am grateful and thankful to every single one of you.

Oh, and be yourself. Always.

Thanks, Jonathan!

To read more about the lovely Jonathan Hill, and to find information about what he has written, please visit the following links:
His Blog
His website for his book Fag
His Facebook
His Twitter
His Amazon author profile