Staying in with Caron McKinlay

It’s only fairly recently that I have ‘met’ Caron McKinlay online, but I’ve already discovered what a lovely person she is and I am thrilled to welcome her to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell me all about her debut novel. Let’s find out what she had to say.

Staying in with Caron McKinlay

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Caron and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

Thank you for inviting me, I am so happy to join you, I’ve been following your social media posts and reviews for ages now.  They are always so brilliant, and I have found so many new authors through reading them. I have brought along my debut book The Storytellers.

That’s really lovely of you to say. I’m so glad you enjoy my reviews. So, tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with The Storytellers?

The Storytellers has been described as The Midnight Library meets Mhairi McFarlane and I am delighted with that vibe. Set in real life and the afterlife it has a speculative edge and a feminist thread. And it deals with the themes of grief, love, identity and esteem.

Crikey. That’s some elevator pitch. Tell me more.

So expect and evening of romance, humour and mystery. A few early readers said they laughed out loud at some points, and I hope we can find something to smile about too. All three women have different senses of humour so hopefully at least one of them will resonate with you.

Three women?

Ronnie is focused on her teaching career but will do anything to snare Graham even if that means pushing past her sexual boundaries. Nikki is fed up with downing sambuca and one night stands in Blackpool and wants true love and a white picket fence. Mrs Hawthorne is grieving but when she meets Charles who is a lonely widow something sparks between them.

But as the sun sets and the evening progresses, the book gets darker. Expect swearing, threesomes, and death.  Perhaps it’s time to for a glass of red wine before we meet The Gatekeeper who will reveal the women’s fates? None of the women really like him and I don’t think he will fare any better with us. But then I’m not sure how I would react if some stranger told me I was dead too.

Well quite! I can’t imagine it would be the best news! I’m not sure about a glass of wine. I’m beginning to think I might need something stronger for an evening in with The Storytellers!

Although the narrative deals with three women and their toxic relationships with men – the story itself is uplifting. One early reader said it was like getting a message from the Fairy Godmother she didn’t know she needed. And Francis Quinn said she was so engrossed she missed her stop on the train!

That’s a brilliant response. You must be thrilled Caron.

It is such an exciting and scary thing to put your heart out into the world so I do hope when its published on May 16th that readers enjoy it too, it means a lot to me.

I’ve been hearing VERY good things about The Storytellers. A slightly belated happy publication day and many congratulations. What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought along V E Schwab to persuade her to sit and read my book – there wouldn’t be any other way I could get it to her! I absolutely adored The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and although I don’t have her talent, I would still love to hear her thoughts on mine.

I’m sure we can persuade her!

But since that is an impossible feat. I have brought along my favourite dinner for us. I’m probably showing my age as its quite an eighties thing. But I hope you enjoy Steak Diane. The question is of course do you want these potatoes made into mash or chips to accompany it?

Chips of course!

And don’t forget the coconut rum, pineapple and cream for our Pina Coladas. On top of the red wine and rich food I think we might fall asleep on the sofa. Or do you think we might make last drinks at the pub? I’m game if you are?

Oo. Let’s have a Pina Colada here and then head to the pub. You never know, we might meet our own Graham and Charles! Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about The Storytellers Caron. I’ve really enjoyed it and am delighted I have a copy to read just as soon as I can. Now, you mix the cocktails and I’ll give readers a few more details about the book:

The Storytellers

Trapped between life and the afterlife, three women meet and share their stories while discovering the truth about the men in their lives—and about themselves.

Suspended in an eerie state of limbo, an entity called the Gatekeeper tells Nikki, Ronnie, and Mrs. Hawthorne they are on the cusp of entering the afterlife—but only if the women can persuade him that in their earthly lives, they knew the meaning of love.

Fragments of their memories return, plunging them back into their pasts, and forcing them to face the desires, disappointments, addictions, lies, and obsessions they battled in life.

But before time runs out, will they find the answer to the ultimate question: what is love?

The Storytellers was published on 16th May 2022 by Bloodhound and is available for purchase on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

About Caron Mckinlay

Caron grew up in a mining town on the east coast of Scotland where her dad would return from the pit and fill her life with his tall tales and encourage her to tell her own. Despite this, she never thought about making a career in writing – that was what posh people did, not someone from a working-class council estate.

After living in Italy for a while and the birth of her daughters, she became a teacher and taught in various secondary schools before becoming a headteacher in Merseyside.

However, her father’s death came as a shock and was the cause of deep introspection but her emotions gave birth to a short story, Cash, which was published in the Scottish Book Trust’s anthology, Blether. A second chance at love also spurred an early retirement and a move to Edinburgh where she lives happily with her husband.

When not blogging, reading, and writing, Caron spends her time supporting her daughters, Francesca and Paola, who fill her with pride and joy. She doesn’t enjoy exercise – but loves running around after her grandsons, Lyle and Noah, to whom she is devoted.

Caron had three childhood dreams in life: to become a published author, to become a teacher, and for David Essex to fall in love with her. Two out of three ain’t bad, and she’s delighted with that.

​Caron is often hanging around on social media and she loves to hear from readers so please feel free to contact her.

You’ll find all Caron’s links here, but for further information, visit her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @CaronMcKinlay and Instagram.

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