Where the River Parts by Radhika Swarup

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I’m delighted to be taking part in the launch celebrations for Where the River Parts by Radhika Dogra Swarup. Where the River Parts was published in paperback on 18th February by Sandstone Press. It is available to buy here on Amazon UK.

Here you can find out all about the book and read my review of this lovely historical novel.

Where the River Parts

Half a century and half a world are not enough

Blood had begun to trickle down Asha’s starched cotton salwar, and once more she tried to will herself to stay calm. It was nothing. These things happened.

But these things haven’t happened before. It’s August 1947, the night before India’s independence. It is also the night before Pakistan’s creation and the brutal Partition of the two countries. Asha, a Hindu in a newly Muslim land, must flee to safety. She carries with her a secret she has kept even from Firoze, her Muslim lover, but Firoze must remain in Pakistan, and increasing tensions between the two countries mean the couple can never reunite. Fifty years later in New York, Asha’s Indian granddaughter falls in love with a Pakistani, and Asha and Firoze, meeting again at last, are faced with one more – final – choice.

My review of Where the River Parts 

Based around the events of Partition in India in 1947, Asha’s story takes her across decades until she is an old woman in a sweeping historical love story. I don’t usually make comparisons between writers but I think those who’ve loved Dinaah Jefferies’ books will love Where the River Parts too.

I have to confess that I knew very little about the violent times of Partition and wasn’t sure that I would enjoy Radhika Swarup’s novel, but it is wonderful.

In Where the River Parts there is an exquisite telling of the violence and heartbreak of political turmoil from an intimate perspective. In Asha, Radhika Swarup illustrates just how huge international events impact on the individual, so that I found it impossible not to feel fully engaged with what happened in another country a whole lifetime ago. The sadness for me in reading this book is that so much of the same horror is being inflicted on people today.

Radhika Swarup’s writing is so vivid. She appeals to all the senses so that the heat, smells and colours of India and Pakistan are beautifully conveyed. There is a real sense of place.

The plot races along and my only complaint is that the narrative does not end exactly how I would like but I can’t say more without spoiling the read for others. Let’s just say it reduced me to tears.

I think the title is fantastic. Action takes place physically where the river does indeed part, and Asha’s memories return to that part of her life when she is an old woman reflecting on her past, but also, the title represents the ways in which women carve out their lives like a river flowing across the earth.

I think I have learned so much from reading Where the River Parts. It has everything from history and politics to geography and culture, but more importantly, it shows love and the enduring spirit of humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

About Radhika Swarup

Author

Radhika Swarup spent a nomadic childhood in India, Italy, Qatar, Pakistan, Romania and England, which gave her a keen sense for the dispossessed. She studied at Cambridge University and worked in investment banking before turning to writing. She has written opinion pieces for Indian broadsheets and the Huffington Post as well as short stories for publications including the Edinburgh Review.

You can follow Radhika on Twitter and visit her web site.

Between Friends by Jenny Harper

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I’m delighted to be part of the Brook Cottage Books’ celebrations of Between Friends by Jenny Harper with a review and an international giveaway of the book. Between Friends is available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

I have a review of this highly entertaining read as well as an international giveaway to win a brooch (and reading Between Friends will make that part of the prize clearer) as well as a paperback copy of the book as a first prize. There are also e-book copies to be won.

Between Friends

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They thought he belonged safely in the past. His return threatens everything.

Marta, Carrie and Jane have been friends since they were at school in Edinburgh. Now one is bringing up her family, another is desperately trying for children of her own, and the third is focused on her career – and each takes the support of the others as a given.

But when generous Marta offers out-of-luck actor Tom temporary shelter, her act of kindness sets in motion a tsunami of destruction. Marta’s marriage comes under threat. Timid Jane is haunted by the secret she has been hiding since she last saw Tom. And ambitious Carrie finds herself at the mercy of a man who can ruin her career.

Only by pulling together can the friends rid themselves of this menace. But is Tom too clever at sowing mistrust?

My Review of Between Friends

When Marta invites aspiring actor and old friend Tom to stay for a week, little does she realise what an impact it will make on so many lives.

I really enjoyed reading Between Friends. I thought the characters were believable and well rounded, although I thoroughly detested Tom from the beginning and he brought out very negative reactions in me as a reader to the point where I would have liked to meet him and slap his face! I found the way Jenny Harper uncovered the back stories of Carrie, Jane and Marta very skilful so that I felt I knew them well and I cared about what happened to them.

The setting of Edinburgh worked extremely effectively so that while there was continuity of place for the action, there was also a variety of setting to engage the reader. Reading ‘Between Friends‘ has made me want to visit the city for myself.

The plot romps along and I enjoyed the twists and turns along the way. There are also some big themes entertainingly explored such as friendship, loyalty, love and relationships of all kinds, including those within families and marriages. It would spoil the plot to reveal too much more about some of the issues raised in reading Between Friends, but all three women have their own demons to face too.

Between Friends is a highly well written and thoroughly entertaining read.

ABOUT JENNY HARPER

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Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland, as well as four full length novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies. Between Friends is her fifth full length novel.

Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues.

Praise for Jenny Harper

‘An engaging and delightful read. Jenny Harper is a most gifted storyteller.’  Alexander McCall Smith

‘Page turning and thoroughly entertaining. I loved it!’ Katie Fforde

‘The most beautiful love story that I have read in a long while. Amazon review of People We Love

‘This was a fun, heart-warming but also emotional story that had me thinking about the characters long after I’d finished it.’ Amazon review of Maximum Exposure

‘Ms. Harper has created a fully populated, very human and recognizable world.’ Amazon review of Face the Wind and Fly

‘There is everything I like about a novel in her writing: family, relationships, current affairs … things the author seems well versed in. I loved the Scottish settings, and could visualise many of the locations in the book …’ Amazon review of Loving Susie

Find out more about Jenny through these links:

Webpage            

Twitter                

Facebook            

Google +             

Goodreads         

Riffle                     

Amazon Author Page 

 

GIVEAWAY

Brooch and paperback (1st prize)

2x ebooks (2ND PRIZE)

Click here to enter to win this fabulous prize.

 

The Blood Strand by Chris Ould

Blood strand

With Chris Ould’s latest novel The Blood Strand published on 16th February 2016 by Titan, I am thrilled to bring you an anecdotal article by Chris telling us about his experience of a ‘ridealong’ with the Faroes police.

You can follow Chris on Twitter.

About The Blood Strand

Blood strand

Having left the Faroes as a child, Jan Reyna is now a British police detective, and the islands are foreign to him. But he is drawn back when his estranged father is found unconscious with a shotgun by his side and someone else’s blood at the scene. Then a man’s body is washed up on an isolated beach.

Is Reyna’s father responsible? Looking for answers, Reyna falls in with local detective Hjalti Hentze. But as the stakes get higher and Reyna learns more about his family and the truth behind his mother’s flight from the Faroes, he must decide whether to stay, or to forsake the strange, windswept islands for good.

You can buy The Blood Strand on Amazon UK and Amazon US as well as from Titan.

 On Patrol With The Faroe Islands’ Police

A Guest Post from Chris Ould

The southern end of the island of Streymoy has been shrouded in mist since I arrived. There is no breeze. Sometimes the pall seems about to thin out, but then it thickens again as if it’s changed its mind. Not the best conditions, perhaps, to be out in a patrol car with Jóannes, the Faroese police officer who’s let me tag along with him for his shift. We’re certainly not going to see much of Tórshavn and its surroundings.

Fog or mist isn’t a big deal if you live in the Faroe Islands. Nor is the rain or the wind, or snow in the winter. If you’re Faroese you just take what comes. Chances are it’ll be different in a couple of hours, or if you drive twenty kilometres in any direction.

“Let’s go to Kirkjubøur,” Jóannes says. “There might be sunshine.”

He searches for the turn off the ring road and the mist seems even thicker as we head out of town.

I’ve been on ridealongs with the police before, back in Britain and in Texas and Maine, and as a general rule I know nothing will happen. Of course, as a crime writer you hope there’ll be a call to an incident, but that’s not really the point of tagging along with working cops. What I most want is the opportunity to look and to listen; to ask questions like “How many channels on the radio do you use?” and “What do you call those markers on the roadside?”

For me the devil’s in the details I can pick up, but also in the inadvertent information you find out when you get coppers talking about their jobs and their lives. As an old copper once told me, the golden rule for finding things out is ears open, gob shut. You ask a question, then listen to whatever comes from it, because asking a simple question about shift patterns can lead to anything: anecdotes, insights into family life and even whole case histories on a murder.

Coppers, of course, have a degree of innate suspicion when you first start asking them questions, and it can take them a while to thaw out. Most will, though, if you’re open and honest about what you’re doing. They also respond well when I tell them I’m there because I want to get things right. If coppers have one bugbear above all it’s with books, films and TV series where the writers couldn’t be bothered to find out even the basic facts and just made stuff up.

So Jóannes drives on through the fog for a few kilometres and we talk about guns and firing ranges and new regulations. He tells me about his kids’ school hours and we compare British and Faroese attitudes to children being at home on their own.

There’s still no sign of sunshine but then Jóannes gets a call on the radio. It’s in Faroese, naturally, but I know it’s serious by the tone of the voice on the speaker, and from the fact that Jóannes pulls in on the verge. Then he’s off the radio and making a U turn.

“Did something happen?” I ask, although it’s redundant.

Jóannes nods as he switches on the siren and lights. “There’s a report of a man with an axe near a children’s playground,” he says in that unflappable Faroese way. “It may be a situation where I must ask you not to come close.”

“Sure, of course. No problem,” I say.

But all I’m really hoping is that ­– despite the mist – we can get there before everyone else. After all, despite asking questions, there’s no substitute for seeing an incident unfold at first hand.

 

Time to Say Goodbye by S.D. Robertson

Time to say goodbye

I love emotional books and am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for S.D. Robertson’s debut Time to Say Goodbye which was published by Avon, an imprint of Harper Collins, on 11th February 2016. Time to Say Goodbye is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon UKAmazon US, direct from the publisher and in all good bookshops.

It is my pleasure to share with you Stuart Robertson’s journey to publication in a guest post too.

Time to Say Goodbye

HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?

Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word.

What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.

But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .

My Journey to Publication

A Guest Post

by S.D. Robertson

It’s been a dream of mine to become a published author ever since I was a little boy reading Secret Seven books.

Losing myself in a good novel has always been one of my greatest pleasures. I knew one day I’d like to try creating one for myself.

When I went into newspaper journalism, it was mainly because I wanted to write professionally. I wasn’t ready at that stage, in my mid-20s, to construct a novel. I didn’t feel like I’d experienced enough. But I hoped that writing every day and interviewing people from all walks of life would set me on the right course.

Nine years later, after rising through the ranks and becoming an editor, my chance finally came.  Major cutbacks meant voluntary redundancy was on the table. Tired of long, unsociable hours and dwindling resources, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this was my chance to have a go at writing that novel, while also spending more time with my young daughter.

First I had to convince my wife – then a stay-at-home mum – to swap roles. Somehow I got her to agree and, before I knew it, she’d returned to work; I was a stay-at-home dad and would-be writer.

Now if this was a fairy tale, I’d tell you I finished my first book in no time, found a literary agent, who in turn found me a publisher. But that’s not how it worked.

After a couple of false starts, I did manage to produce a novel. It was a romantic comedy set in a local newspaper office, loosely based on my early days as a reporter. I was even quite pleased with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to find a literary agent or publisher willing to take it on.

Obviously I was gutted, but I took heart in the little-known fact that few authors get their first attempt published. So I returned to the drawing board – and what I came up with was Time to Say Goodbye. Inspired by the close relationship I’d developed with my daughter since quitting work, I chose to write about the unique bond between a father and child in the dramatic context of a worst nightmare come true.

The novel’s had several tweaks since then, but the essence of the story I first imagined has remained the same. After lots of writing and editing, the time came to send it out. A few knockbacks followed. Then I found an agent who loved it – and totally understood where I was coming from as a writer. She passed it on to a commissioning editor who also loved it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My journey to publication took several years; an amazing, very understanding wife; the help and support of a great set of family and friends; a thick skin and bucket loads of determination. There were several times along the way when I doubted it was ever going to happen. But now I’m so glad I persevered. Being published is an amazing feeling. I’m so excited to think of people far and wide reading my story and hopefully getting lost in the world I’ve created.

———-

You can follow S.D. Robertson on Twitter, visit his web site and find him on Facebook.

There’s much more about Time to Say Goodbye and S.D. Robertson with these other bloggers:

Blog Tour

 

Anne Goodwin Guest Post

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I’m delighted to be hosting a guest post from Anne Goodwin today. Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill. It is available to buy here in the UK and here in the US.

Anne’s second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, is scheduled for May 2017.

About Sugar and Snails

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The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin …

At fifteen, Diana Dodsworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound.

To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance … until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why.

Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

Shaped by the past: the events that make us in life and fiction

A Guest Post by Anne Goodwin

(Anne has included lots of interesting links for you to explore too)

One of several areas of common ground between novelists and therapists is the belief that we are shaped by our experiences. For novelists, that means giving our characters a convincing back story; for therapists, it entails exploring how the client’s upbringing impacts on how they view the world and themselves. But individual novelists, as is the case for individual therapists, will differ in the emphasis they give this and the extent to which they believe we’re moulded by our pasts. As a debut novelist, and former clinical psychologist with experience of both sides of therapy, it’s a topic that intrigues me in my reading and writing.

From Cinderella to The Ugly Duckling, stories of transformation, of rising above disadvantaged beginnings, speak to something deep within us all. Yet for many of us, our pleasure in those narratives is tinged with an anxiety that our shadow selves will come back to haunt us. This is one of the themes of my debut novel, Sugar and Snails. Having been advised as an adolescent to put the past behind her, Diana Dodsworth has avoided intimate relationships for fear of her secret leaking out. Romance aside, it’s her relationship with herself which is most stunted, and her inability to reconcile the person she is with the person she feels she should be results in the episode of self-harm with which the novel begins.

There are as many ways in which the past can affect us as there are people, but it helps me to think of them as three types. Firstly, our earliest experiences as infants form our assumptions about how relationships work. If our parents and other carers respond to our distress signals promptly and lovingly, we grow up confident of our place in the world. If, however, they respond erratically or punitively, we grow up anxious and insecure. Because these formative experiences occur before we can forge verbal memories, we are often unaware that we’ve been disadvantaged in this way, unless or until some other crisis drives us to seek help. There is a clue, however, in our earliest memories. In Sugar and Snails, Diana’s childhood memory of unselfconsciously dancing is overshadowed by a fear of her mother’s disapproval, suggesting a character who’s a stranger to compassion either from others or from herself. This makes her sometimes, as an adult, awkward and prickly in her interactions with others.

The events and the choices that change the course of our lives are the second way in which our pasts affect the present. These no-going-back points serve to anchor the plot in fiction and ratchet up the tension. Some of these are a cause for celebration – marriage, a new job, the birth of a child – while others are downright tragic or more of a mixed bag. The momentous life-changing decision Diana makes in adolescence is much wanted but, being made in haste, she hasn’t properly planned for the consequences and the adults around her don’t furnish much support. It was partly a major disjunction in my own early life that drove me to explore this theme.

The third category is loss, a feature of many novels and, since we, and those we love, will all die some time, every life. But even the highlights include an element of loss; for example, the loss of freedom that a new baby brings. So heavily focused on getting what she thought she wanted as a teenager, Diana never properly acknowledged what she’d lost. While she would see that as sensibly getting on with things, the psychologist in me perceives her failure to mourn as keeping her stuck in the past.

If we are shaped by our pasts, can we ever move forward? I believe we can but, perhaps somewhat paradoxically, we need to accept its influence first and grieve for what we’ve missed. Many of us, like Diana, think that we can escape the legacy of our problematic pasts by dismissing them, by trying to live as if they hadn’t happened. Or, we acknowledge the events but deny the pain, making reckless choices as if to triumph over our own frailty. We try to live the life we feel we should have had, rather than the life we’ve been given. Often, however, rather than making us strong, the false self we create renders us more vulnerable.

An insecure start in life, a radical change of trajectory in adolescence with unacknowledged loss, can Diana ever reconcile herself to her past? If she can bear to let her guard down long enough to experience the support of her friends, if she can trust the new man in her life to treat her kindly, if she can draw on her contacts in her work as an academic psychologist, she might just make it. But, of course, you’re going to have to read the book to find out!

Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 60 published short stories. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

Midsummer Dreams by Alison May

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I’m delighted to be hosting Alison May on Linda’s Book Bag today. Alison’s latest novel Midsummer Dreams was published by Choc-Lit in paperback on 14th February 2016 and is also available in ebook. Midsummer dreams is available to buy on Amazon UKAmazon US, from all good bookshops and directly from Choc-Lit.

Alison May tells us all about the ultimate romance writer – Shakespeare!

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Midsummer Dreams

Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …

Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.

Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.

Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.

Alex has always played the field – but when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.

At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and second novel in the 21st Century Bard series.

The Ultimate Romance Writer

A Guest Post by Alison May

Shakespeare

When readers and writers discuss the greats of romantic fiction there are a few names that come up time and time again, names like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Georgette Heyer, but for me, there’s one name that tops them all – step forward William Shakespeare.

Now I’m sure that at the mention of Mr Shakespeare some of you want to run away screaming, having been traumatised by enforced exposure to his Titus Andronicus at a formative age, but, please, stick with me, because when it comes to matters of the heart William Shakespeare is very much The Man. Whatever those other romance authors might have done, Shakespeare did it hundreds of years earlier, in blank verse, frequently with cross-dressing. His romances range from the broad farce of twin-based confusion comedies like The Comedy of Errors, to the doomed infatuation of literature’s ultimate star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet. He shows a relationship corrupted by lust for power in Macbeth and a relationship destroyed by jealousy, politics, war and, finally, a snake/sword suicide combo in Antony and Cleopatra. He plays with the difference between the romantic thrill of the chase and the serious commitment of true love in Love’s Labour’s Lost. If there’s a story about love to be told, then somewhere in his thirty-seven (ish) plays and one hundred and sixty (ish) poems, Shakespeare will have told that story.

I’ve written two contemporary novels that have their roots in Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, and I’ve been astounded both times by just how modern Shakespeare’s stories still feel. Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (aka Trix in Sweet Nothing) is a thoroughly modern romantic heroine. She’s stubborn, intelligent, funny, warm-hearted and absolutely adamant that she’s not going to do anything as daft as fall in love. You probably don’t need to have seen the play to guess how that works out!

Sweet nothing

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the inspiration behind Midsummer Dreams, there is love and romance all over the shop. Hermia loves Lysander. Lysander, rather handily, loves Hermia right back. So far, so simple. Unfortunately, Demetrius loves Hermia too, but she can’t stand the sight of him, unlike Helena, Hermia’s best mate, who is quite certain that Demetrius is perfection made flesh. Alongside them we also have Oberon and Titania. Now they probably do love each other, but right at the moment they’re slap in the middle of an almighty lover’s tiff, and as they’re both powerful fairies, their tiffs do a have a tendency to get the tiniest bit out of hand. In this case they end up with Lysander thinking he might love Helena instead of Hermia, and Titania herself getting frisky with a donkey. The play is a glorious riot of people falling in love with the wrong people and then finding the right person and then finding that the right person has gone right off them and then falling in love again and … and well, if that’s not enough excitement for you, there’s also a donkey. And the takeaway message from all of that is simply this:

You love who you love.

It might not be sensible. It might change sometimes of its own accord, but, however much you might want to, you can’t decide, you can’t even be bewitched, to truly love somebody else.

About Alison May

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Alison was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now lives in Worcester. She is a History graduate from the University of York and has a Creative Writing degree from the University of Birmingham. Alison has worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and is now a creative writing tutor and freelance trainer for charities and voluntary organisations.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and won their Elizabeth Goudge trophy in 2012 for her short story Feel the Fear which was published in the RNA’s 2014 anthology.

Alison writes contemporary romantic comedies.

You can follow Alison on Twitter and visit her website. You’ll also find Alison on Facebook.

Guest Post by Linda Huber, author of Chosen Child

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I’m delighted to be hosting a guest post from Linda Huber. Linda’s latest novel Chosen Child is published in e-book today, 15th February 2016. It is available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Chosen Child

A disappearance. A sudden death. A betrayal of the worst kind.

Ella longs for a child of her own, but a gruesome find during an adoption process deepens the cracks in her marriage. A family visit starts off a horrifying chain of events, and Ella can only hope she won’t lose the person she loves most of all.

Amanda is expecting her second child when her husband vanishes. She is tortured by thoughts of violence and loss, but nothing prepares her for the shocking conclusion to the police investigation.

And in the middle of it all, a little girl is looking for a home of her own with a ‘forever’ mummy and daddy…

You can watch the trailer for Chosen Child here.

A Guest Post from Linda Huber

The long and short …

Having a book published was a lifetime ambition for me. Or maybe ambition isn’t the right word, because I didn’t seriously think it would happen. It was a dream.

I started writing when I was seven, for my Writer’s Badge in the Brownies, and discovered the power of creating paper worlds. Over the years my little stories for children became novels for children. In my late teens I sent one of these to an agent, who replied that a children’s book of 65K words was WAY too long. (Times change…) I wasn’t too downcast – for me, only the writing was important – losing myself in the story, giving my paper people a voice.

A few years later I had my first baby, and writing anything longer than a shopping list became a major logistical challenge. That was when I turned to writing for women’s magazines – and I learned something very important.

I chose my magazine, wrote what I considered a good short story, and sent it off. Back it came with alarming rapidity and a note: ‘Thanks, but not for us’. Huh, I thought, and wrote another story. The same thing happened. By this time, I was determined to succeed, but the penny didn’t drop until after the fourth rejection.

What I’d done was like giving your favourite meat dish to a vegetarian and assuring them it tasted lovely. I was writing what I thought were good short stories. But magazine-writing is different to writing books; stories and articles have to fit in with the concept and ‘feel’ of the magazine – I needed to write what they thought was a good story. After that, it was easier. I still had the odd rejection, but I also had over fifty stories published.

The Cold Sea

A novel, however, was the big dream, and in the late 90s I started writing The Cold Cold Sea. In a novel, you can explore your characters in a way that’s beyond the scope of a short story, and creating adult characters for adult readers was mind-blowing. I loved it. It’s so important to know your characters inside out – if they don’t react realistically to whatever situation you put them in, your carefully thought-out plot will fall flat. When I wake in the night, I think about my characters. It’s amazing what ideas come at 4 a.m. (The problem is, if I don’t write them down they are gone by the morning…)

Paradise trees

My writing life now revolves round my novels. In 2012 I was lucky enough to find a publisher, Legend Press in London, so The Paradise Trees and The Cold Cold Sea were traditionally published before I self-published The Attic Room and now Chosen Child. Why did I turn to self-publishing? I had a wonderful time as a trad-published author, but book launches and events in the UK (I live in Switzerland) were using up all my holidays and costing more than the books were bringing in. Self-publishing gives you freedom to choose.

The Attic Room

Much is the same – I have an editor, a proof reader, a formatter and a cover designer. One son works in IT and helps with my website. This leaves me free to write, engage with other writers and readers on social media, and promote my books. People often ask about social media, and I must say I was apprehensive in the beginning. But it’s brilliant – I’ve met several online contacts in real life now, and yes – social media helps promote books, though this is best done by getting to know people, not by tweeting ‘buy my book’.

And the future? Will I bring out a fifth book? I hope so. But wherever I am and whatever I do, writing will be a part of it.

About Linda Huber

Linda Huber

Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys and a rescue dog.

Ideas for her books come from Linda’s daily life. The Paradise Trees (2013) was inspired by her father-in-law’s struggle with dementia, and she started writing The Cold Cold Sea (2014) shortly after learning that a child in her extended family drowned in the 1940s, aged eleven. The Attic Room (2015) begins in one of her most-loved places, the Isle of Arran on the west coast of Scotland.

Chosen Child, her fourth psychological thriller, was inspired by a chance conversation in the queue for the bar at a wedding, and will be available from February 15th 2016.

Visit Linda’s web site, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.