New Series Alert: Behind The Book – Meet The Author.


I love to read (as you can probably tell by the number of reviews I post) but quite often when a book is finished I am left with questions – not about plot or character development, necessarily, more about the author and their path to print.

Sometimes I itch to send them a tweet or an email but, for some reason, they feel a bit unreachable – probably because they have done the thing I aspire to and not only written but published a book. It’s like on publication day they are transported to a hall of fame where they stand on a pedestal with a plaque stating “author” underneath. While you are invited to admire them from a distance, a strict no touching rule is in force. Not that I want to touch the authors, just to be clear, but I would really like to talk to them.

After I started posting reviews at the beginning of last year I found myself chatting with some of the writers and I discovered they are actually quite open to communicating with readers, maybe even enjoy it, in some cases. I tentatively asked a couple whether they would be willing to let me pick their brains about the writing process and post about it here. I’m delighted to say the responses have been positive. See, they are just like us, after all.

So amid posts about my parenting fails, photography, my rubbish attempts at crafting (and cooking, for that matter), book reviews and general nonsense, I’m going to occasionally feature Behind The Book interviews.

I already have a couple of lovely people lined up but I thought I’d throw open the floor and see if anyone else is willing to share their story.

If you are a published author (any genre and self-published more than welcome) I’d love to interview you about your journey into print (or ebook). I will email you 10 tailored questions and will require the answers along with a photo of you and an image of your book cover. In return you will have my heartfelt thanks and I will, of course, provide a link to your work and your social media details (I promise there is no touching involved).

If you’re a reader/writer with a burning question about publishing a book please let me know and I’ll add it in when the time is right. When I use your question I’ll link to your blog or Twitter etc.

Fancy joining in? Please drop me an email at tara@taragreaves.com.

Book Review: Stuck With You.

stuckWhile the idea of being trapped in a lift fills me with terror (hello, claustrophobia), in her new book Carla Burgess has some how managed to make it seem a little less frightening – possibly even ever so slightly appealing.

Stuck With You sees Elena come face to face with her unrequited teenage love, Daniel, for the first time in years, in just this situation.

After getting over the initial shock and embarrassment, they spend the time waiting to be rescued getting reacquainted – and it’s clear she still has feelings for him (and it’s not all one sided).

Carla has hit the nostalgia jackpot with this book, which had me laughing out loud – and slightly cringing – at times because it sailed so close to some of my own experiences of unrequited young lust.

It is oh-so-romantic in places and makes me believe in second chances and true love.

Here’s the blurb:

One lift. Two strangers. Anything could happen!

Elena thought that today would be just like any other day…until the supermarket lift jams and she realises she’s stuck.

And not just stuck in the lift. Stuck with her childhood crush, Daniel Moore, who unfortunately seems to be just as gorgeous as she remembered…

While I might not have saved any chewed pen lids or written poetry about my teenage crush (I did walk by his house several (million) times), I totally remember moping about just the way she describes because he failed to acknowledge my existence.

When you read a story like this, it’s hard not to think ‘what if?’ and that made me smile long after the book was finished.

I so wanted it to work out for Elena and Daniel even though, like Elena’s best friend Rachel, I did wonder whether he was too good to be true.

I think this one is even better than Carla’s first book, Marry Me Tomorrow, which I also loved (and I was delighted to see Sam and Emily make a brief appearance in her second novel).

Carla has such a warm, easy to read style that I didn’t really want this book to end while at the same time I was desperate to know if it all worked out.

On those occasions when I can’t avoid a lift, I’m going to think about this story and hope it takes my mind off things.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Five stars.

My thanks to HQ Digital for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Friday 500 Writing Challenge – Update Four.

typewriter

We are all human and we all make mistakes but that hasn’t stopped me being quietly scathing when I have found errors in books – at least until I started writing my own.

The thing that used to make me cross was when the name of the character pitched as the hero was accidentally swapped for that of the villain, usually towards the end of the book. “There is no excuse for that,” I used to think – and it’s happened on several occasions, including with experienced authors signed with big publishing houses.

One tiny slip could ruin the entire novel for me, no matter how much I told myself to ignore it or give the author/editor/publisher a break. It just seemed to alter the flow and I found it hard to get back into it (maybe that’s just me?).

While I haven’t got any names mixed up, yet, four chapters into my book (you can read an intro to the Friday 500 Challenge here) and I’m already struggling to remember some of the details I’ve included earlier on. While I’m sure I will still flinch when I find a mistake in someone else’s book, I will at least have some sympathy now.

It’s got even worse since I went back over the first three chapters and added bits in here and there. I have to think to myself: “Wait, did I say that already?” Another thing I dislike in books is repetition of the facts or certain phrases but I can sort of see how it happens.

My problem is partly down to the fact that I might get an hour to work on it one day and then not be able to pick it up again until several evenings later. I struggle to remember where I’ve put my keys most days (usually still in the front door, occasionally in the fridge) so working out whether I’ve already alluded to the fact that someone’s mother died or mentioned the colour of the heroine’s eyes (did I say blue or green?) is often hopeless.

Having said all that, I’m surprised by how enthusiastic I still am about writing my story and having the deadline of sending 500 words to Kate each week is brilliant. I’ve had a couple of weeks where I’ve started something else as the idea has come to me (and Kate has been great at reading and giving feedback on whatever I send her) and I think that’s helped keep things fresh (though probably not helped with remembering the details of my main story).

We are having an Easter break while the children are off school but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I have several blog posts planned too, including a look at our recent mother/daughter holiday (one word: disaster).

How do you feel about mistakes in books? Can you overlook them? Do you struggle to remember details when you’re writing? How do you get around it?