(Not) The Deepings Literary Festival Read Dating 2nd May 2020


Today should have been one of the Deepings Literary Festival’s interim year events with a super read dating at the Deepings Community Library. I was really looking forward to running the event with a team of lovely Deepings volunteers. Sadly, if unsurprisingly, Corvid 19 has put a stop to today’s excitement.

However, we are hoping our authors will be able to join us at a new date once all this is over and in the meantime I thought I’d just tell you who and what you’re missing in case you might like to dip into their books anyway ready for when you can meet them face to face and ask them all about their writing!

Our wonderful authors today, in alphabetical order, would have been:

Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley is a worldwide best-selling author of novels for children and adults. Her sparkly magical animal series for 5-9 years has been translated into over 20 languages. Sue’s novels for adults are inspired by her love of folklore and nature. She is presently enjoying ‘getting stuck in’ to longer more complex fiction, with strong characters and lots of dark twists and turns. Her latest novels are We Other and Second Skin. Her short story Old Gods was recently included in The 3rd Corona Book of Horror Stories.

Sue has previously appeared here on Linda’s Book Bag when we stayed in together to chat about We Other.

We Other

We Other

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

We Other is available for purchase here and you’ll find all Sue’s books here.

Dominic Brownlow

Dominic Brownlow

Dominic Brownlow lives in Market Deeping with his two children. Although a Fenlander by birth, he lived most of his working life in London, working in the music industry as a manager before setting up his own independent label. He now enjoys life back in the Fens and has an office that looks out over water. The Naseby Horses is his first novel. It was long listed for the Bath Novel Award 2016.

The Naseby Horses

The Naseby Horses

Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister.

Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found?

Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.

The Naseby Horses is available for purchase here.

Graeme Cumming

Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country.  He has wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction so he’s conscious that his thrillers can cross into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as more traditional arenas.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

Graeme’s latest book Carrion will be released on May 9th 2020.




A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

Carrion is available for purchase here.

Philippa East

Philippa East headshot (1)

Philippa East grew up in Scotland and originally studied Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Oxford. After graduating, she moved to London to train as a Clinical Psychologist and worked in NHS mental health services for over ten years. Philippa now lives in the Lincolnshire countryside with her husband and cat. Alongside her writing, she continues to work as a psychologist and therapist. Her prize-winning short stories have been published in various literary journals. Little White Lies is her debut novel.

Little White Lies

Little white lies

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…

Little White Lies is available for purchase here.

Christina James

Christina James

Christina James is the pseudonym of Linda Bennett, née Sherrard, a former pupil of Spalding High School.  She is the author of the DI Yates series of crime novels, the eighth of which, Chasing Hares, was published by Salt in November 2019.  All the novels are set in South Lincolnshire, mostly in and around Spalding. She is currently working on the ninth Yates, in tandem with a completely different kind of novel, a love story that hinges on the fate of a motorbike, set in the 1960s during the Malayan Emergency.  Christina / Linda is a frequent speaker at festivals and bookshop and library events and particularly enjoys interacting with both new and established writers at author workshops.  She edits several novels each year for Salt Publishing.

Chasing Hares

Chasing Hares

Gordon Bemrose, a shady local businessman who lives in a large house on an island in the River Welland, decides he can make easy money from the property by using it for Country House murder weekends. For the first, introductory, weekend he recruits ten people from very different backgrounds: Ava and Reggie Dack and Lizzie and Jackson Fox, two self-made couples from Essex; Sonia and Richard Renwick, respectively a successful beautician and her husband, who is a failed writer; Dora Westerman, a lady of indeterminate age and obviously very slender means; Amelia Baker, an English literature student; and Margarett and Colin Franklin, a mixed-race couple of modest origins whom all the others look down upon. Reluctantly assisting with the festivities are Patti Gardner, Gordon s niece, who has been roped in to speak about the work of a SOCO, and Anton Greenweal, his nephew, who has achieved instant fame on a TV reality show and will be the lead actor in a short play to be performed during the weekend. The play is central to Gordon s plans: he intends it to be based on a popular farce, but with a macabre twist as its finale.

Events take an unexpected turn when a real murder takes place; and DI Yates, investigating, discovers that each of the guests had an ulterior motive for participating in the crime weekend. Everyone on the island becomes a suspect, including Patti, his former girlfriend. Meanwhile, an epidemic of hare coursing is sweeping the county. This illegal and cruel sport is pursued by cynical gamblers who bet high stakes on whose dog will catch the hare. On her way back to Spalding police station from a meeting in Bourne, DS Juliet Armstrong discovers a badly-wounded Saluki that has been abandoned by hare coursers and is determined to bring them to justice.

The eighth DI Yates novel is a modern take on the country house murder story; it also explores the crime of hare coursing, which is currently top of the agenda for police forces in Lincolnshire.

Chasing Hares is available for purchase here.

Marjorie Mallon

Marjorie Mallon

Marjorie Mallon writes YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. She shares book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of her writing journey on her blog

Marjorie is a member of two professional writing groups: The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators  and Cambridge Writers.

As well as this she runs a supportive group with fellow Administrator D G Kaye on Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club.

Marjorie also works as a Receptionist/Event organiser for an international sixth form and lives in Cambridge, England.

Marjorie and I ‘stayed in’ here on the blog a couple of years ago.

The Curse of Time

deep pink cover-contest-2017-the-curse-of-time-5-1504444953

Fifteen-year-old Amelina longs for someone to confide in.  Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had.

The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

The Curse of Time is available for purchase here.

Helen Matthews

Helen Matthews

Helen Matthews is the author of suspense thriller After Leaving the Village, which won first prize at Winchester Writers’ Festival, and Lies Behind the Ruin, published by Hashtag Press. She read English at university and holds an MA in Creative Writing. She has worked in international development, consultancy and HR but fled corporate life to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She is a freelance copywriter and has, in the past, had columns published in The Guardian and broadcast on BBC radio.

Helen is an Ambassador for the charity, Unseen, which works towards a world without slavery.

Lies Behind the Ruin

Lies Behind the Ruin

How can you build a new life on toxic foundations?

Written by the winner of Winchester Writers’ Festival prize for the opening pages of a novel, Helen Matthews is the author of the best-selling book `After Leaving the Village’ – an absorbing story of deception, guilt, betrayal and the resilience of the human spirit.

Emma Willshire has overcome plenty of obstacles in her life. From student bride to single mum of a son, Owen, but she has found happiness with her second husband, Paul and another child, Mollie. Emma’s dark days seem far behind her until a fatal accident happens at Paul’s work and he is held responsible. On holiday in France, trying to leave his problems behind, Paul’s behaviour turns erratic. On impulse, he buys a cheap, dilapidated property and, to Emma’s dismay, persuades her they can renovate it into a holiday home. As the couple strive to renovate their marriage, and their French ruin to open a small business, shadows from the past threaten their happiness and safety. Because how can you build a new life on toxic foundations?

Lies Behind the Ruin is available for purchase here.

John Nicholson

John Nicholson

Descended from the Nicholsons who farmed in the nineteenth century at Grimblethorpe Hall on the River Bain in North Lincolnshire, John Nicholson has lived for many years in the Fens where his writing is set.

A varied career included the Army, the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank in Paris, a First in Economics from LSE and a spell in the Diplomatic Service as a Second Secretary at the Foreign Office. A switch to education led eventually to more than twenty years as Head of Bourne Grammar School in Lincolnshire. He and his wife, Angela (also a retired teacher), share a love of the culture and language of France. In retirement he has pursued a long-held interest in Russia, fired by an extended visit to schools in Leningrad, Moscow and Riga in the mid-sixties, followed more recently by a spell living and studying the language in St Petersburg.

Care Home to Lie For

Care Home

Visiting his cousin in The Cedars, Martin is impressed by the lavish provision, but finds it is financed by crime. He falls foul of the representative of the League of English Pensioners and, being snowed in, finds a B & B. The landlady’s son is wrongly accused of theft while delivering newspapers and Martin helps him, leading to the Manager thinking he is a senior member of the criminal side.

Even when the organisation goes legitimate, a suspicion lurks that he is well in with the billionaire owner. Ivan does very well as an interpreter and Martin arranges for the Home to pay for him to attend an independent school as a boarder as a reward for his loyalty. Martin’s wife and sister meet the billionaire’s bodyguard in Yalta and this results in the development of the Home as a centre for video-conferencing. The League of English Pensioners splinter group explodes a bomb at the Home, but a resident saves the day: to the amazement of the Police, none of the residents will cooperate, the culture of secrecy and pretending not to notice criminal activity is too strong.

Finally, Betty’s short story ‘The Two Sorts of Cake’ is sent to Martin: it reminds us all of the problems some can face when trying to cope ‘on the outside’.

Care Home to Lie For is available for purchase here.

And last, but by no means least:

Rex Sly

Rex Sly

Rex Sly’s family have lived and farmed in the fens since the C16th. Rex has writtenthree  books on the fens covering its enclosures and drainage, its people and its agricultural history, From Punt to Plough, Fenland Families and Soil in their Souls.

His latest book, Exploring the Fen-Edge following the Roman Car Dyke from Peterborough to Lincoln visiting villages, churches and places which interest him. Rex follows some of the past travel writers routes recording what they saw and recording what he sees today always keeping one foot in his birthplace, the fens.

Exploring the Fen-Edge

Exploring the Fen Edge

Rex Sly’s journey follows the route of the Roman Car Dyke from Peterborough to Lincoln, visiting the villages and towns on the way. Few of the travel writers from the past have written on these areas, but where they have Rex retraces their journeys, recalling their comments and adding what he sees today.

Exploring the Fen-Edge is available for purchase here.



It’s such a shame we can’t meet up in person and our authors and attendees aren’t able to chat about books, reading and writing in what would have been a lovely afternoon.

Here’s hoping that the read dating can happen before too long and our main festival between 28th April 2021 and 2nd May 2021 can go ahead. Save the date and bookmark the festival website just in case!

18 thoughts on “(Not) The Deepings Literary Festival Read Dating 2nd May 2020

  1. Thanks for putting this together, Linda. I look forward to next year and hope that Bourne’s recently opened bookshop manages to survive the ‘economic tsunami’.
    ‘Anorak in Lockdown’ sounds tempting….. and I should be happy to donate a copy of ‘Care Home to Lie For’ to any care home whose Manager happens to read this.
    All the best from John Nicholson

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.