It’s fun visiting other authors’ blogs and here’s a big thank you to everyone for having me this past year.
First there was Tim Taylor on 13th January. He asked me some pertinent questions about Africa, including what led me to write Breath of Africa. Tim also writes historical fiction, specialising in an era further back in time than mine. I thoroughly enjoyed his atmospheric book Zeus of Ithome and I’m looking forward to the next one.
I have been an admirer of Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour books, ever since I joined the Crooked Cats. She is an example to us all, the way she doggedly just gets on with marketing them. She has also written the Award-nominated Topaz Eyes. We discussed marketing strategies on Welcome Wednesday last January, and it is interesting reading our conversation in retrospect. A few things have changed!
Fiona McVie is that rare being – a genuine reader who loves to find out about the authors she reads. I was honoured to answer the questions she posed on her blog, but to be honest, I did pick and chose the questions. I’d learned by then to treasure every little thrill when a book sells – making money out of it is necessarily of secondary importance. And of course, every review is like gold dust.
Pamela Kelt is a prolific writer with some very professional websites; she’s handy with her camera, too. She’s a diminutive person (I’ve met her at Crooked Cat gatherings) with a personality which far exceeds her height. Pam invited me to describe the Knots I Tied Myself Into when trying to write my first novel. On second reading, I can’t imagine how I managed to finish the book.
I have also had the privilege of meeting Lorraine Mace – otherwise known as Frances di Plino in Crooked Cat circles. She is nowhere near as fierce as she may appear from the photo, and I thoroughly enjoyed her Di Paulo Storey crime-thriller books. Dauntingly professional she is, with her impressive writing background and history of helping others. I was proud to be featured on her blog last May, when she allowed me a little piece on Coping with Adverse Criticism.
Lela Markham in far away Alaska, faithful friend from my authonomy days, interviewed me in July. She is quite a shy person, and I love her avatar. I am doubly grateful, for I was the first interviewee on her diverse and intensely interesting blog, and then she asked me back, to talk about Pinpricks of Ecstasy! Her first novel, The Willow Branch is a wonderfully written Christian fantasy, and the picture of the aurora on her website never fails to catch at my throat.
Catriona King, a doctor and writer of the immensely readable Craig Crime series, is a lady of many talents. How she manages to churn out those books AND lead a theatrical group in her home town in Ireland, astonishes me. What it is to be young. And now she’s writing crime-thrillers! I’ve bought every single one of her books. Catriona invited me to her place in August, when I was starting to think of the sequel to my novel. I can’t seem to find my piece, but her website is worth a look.
Dear Ailsa Abraham, whichever persona she chooses to take, is a great magician, and her books are deservedly best-sellers. The piece she wrote for me two years ago on Magic, a Worldwide Product continues to attract visitors. We often exchange hospitality, and it was my turn to go to her place this August, when I talked about how life goes round in circles. Perhaps she’s magicked it away – I cant find that one either. But she’s a friend worth having – here’s her blog.
Marj MacRae is another of my valued Authonomy friends. She lives in Australia. A prolific writer, she prefers to remain in the background. But she encouraged me to write about my favourite pastime – dreaming. I didn’t need a second invitation, and even based my maiden speech to Toastmasters International in Eastbourne on this piece!
Author and editor extraordinaire, Sue Barnard has written a wonderful book based on Romeo and Juliet, which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award this year. I cannot recommend it highly enough. And Sue is a fun person – I met her in London earlier this year, with many other Crooked Cat authors. With Sue looking over my shoulder, I delved into the history of my family, as I knew it, and came to the conclusion that Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
We’re a supportive group of authors, those published by Crooked Cat, so I suppose it’s no surprise that the majority of my hosts and hostesses come from that cradle. Sarah Louise Smith is another who has kindly offered me hospitality. I haven’t met her yet, but I intend to continue going to our annual get-togethers in hopes. Her Amy and Zach is a lovely light romantic YA story; I’ve reveiwed it on amazon. She has allowed me to wax on about the writing muse, and when it hits. Thank you, Sarah.
And finally, Carol Ann Hunter, who has a lovely crinkly blog, posed me some questions, which allowed me to think back and wallow in the past. I have a long list of books to buy and review, and her debut novel Project Me is high on the agenda. She describes it as hot-flush fiction for the post-menstrual woman who could do with a damn good laugh at her life.
PS… I wish to acknowledge another author, for we have things in common, such as Africa. Jeff Gardner‘s Igboland is nothing like my Breath of Africa, but we shared a talk at Crawley Library this year, to celebrate Black History Month, and we’ve also kept each other company at a book-signing. Can’t find that piece about Life and Culture in Kenya, which I sent to you as guest blogger, Jeff. It seems to have disappeared into the ether along with two others this past year.
PPS… I also shared a booksigning at the Solent with Nik Morton, prolific writer and editor, who wrote that fantastic review about my novel; and Richard Hardie and I shared a damp day in a tiny bookshop in Petersfield earlier this year (his website is magical, and his detective story for children very popular).
Thank you, one and all, for making my year swing along – enjoy your Christmas break, and may 2015 bring you success and happiness!