Staying in with Rachel Walkley on Publication Day

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As you know, I’m not taking on new blog tours or posts for 2019 until I have reduced my TBR a little bit and I do fear I will be missing out on some fantastic books. With that in mind I simply had to invite Rachel Walkley onto Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me and tell me about her second book as it’s one of the ones I would otherwise have been on the tour for!

Staying in with Rachel Walkley

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Rachel. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you for having me!

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

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I’ve brought along my second book, The Last Thing She Said. A mystery involving three sisters who, like many siblings, don’t think they have much in common. When I wrote the book, I had in mind the expression ‘like chalk and cheese’ and because there are three of them, I added chocolate for Naomi, a sweet natured woman who becomes involved with a man with an identity issue. What binds the three sisters together are their special gifts and a rather eccentric grandmother, Rose.

(Hmm. I think you’re right Rachel. My sister and I are like chalk and cheese in many ways and yet quite similar in others. I also understand that The Last Thing She Said is out today so Happy Publication Day.)

What can we expect from an evening in with The Last Thing She Said?

A bit of intrigue, I hope. What do you think when your grandmother blows out a candle on her birthday cake and makes a prediction – “Beware of a man named Frederick.”

(I think I’d be disconcerted to say the least…)

Naomi just wants to forget she ever heard it. Her eldest sister, Rebecca, has made a collection of Rose’s sayings but can’t leave her home to investigate (why you might ask; it’s one of the secrets of the book), and Leia, the sceptic, just doesn’t care.

The mystery is woven into the family’s relationships and brings with it the tales of Rose’s prophecies, including her last one. Like my first book, there is something magical hinted at from the opening chapter.

Naomi tried hard to relax. Her sisters were right – Rose’s peculiar declarations were harmless. If they came true, nobody had seen or heard anything. The anxiety refused to abate, though. Regardless of her calm delivery, why had Rose stared right into Naomi’s eyes?

(I rather like the sound of that opening Rachel. I might have to break my own rule about not adding anything else to my TBR!)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I could have brought cake, since there are plenty of references to cakes in the book, but I’ve gone with music – Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. Naomi plays the flute, like me, although unlike her, I remain an absolute amateur. She teaches and performs with a wind quartet, and this is one of the pieces they love to play. I first heard it years ago performed live by a quartet of flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, just like in the book, and I remember the bouncy rhythm, and thinking what fun it must be to play.  Naomi is comfortable in her quartet, but can she break out and go solo? That is somewhere I never went, so it’s been a journey I’ve shared with her, trying to figure out what makes a shining performer.

(I’m so jealous of Naomi. I am tone deaf and totally unmusical. Mind you, when my husband used to play his flute the dog next door but one would howl so maybe it’s just as well I’m not playing an instrument too.)

You can find all kinds of versions of the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, so go Google!

I did! Thank you so much for intriguing me by staying in and chatting about The Last Thing She Said, Rachel. I hope you enjoy your publication day and your blog tour after Christmas.

The Last Thing She Said

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“Beware of a man named Frederick and his offer of marriage.”

Rose’s granddaughters, Rebecca, Leia and Naomi, have never taken her prophecies seriously. But now that Rose is dead, and Naomi has a new man in her life, should they take heed of this mysterious warning?

Naomi needs to master the art of performing. Rebecca rarely ventures out of her house. She’s afraid of what she might see. As for Rebecca’s twin, everyone admires Leia’s giant brain, but now the genius is on the verge of a breakdown.

Rebecca suspects Naomi’s new boyfriend is hiding something. She begs Leia, now living in the US, to investigate.

Leia’s search takes her to a remote farm in Ohio on the trail of the truth behind a tragic death.

Just who is Ethan? And what isn’t he telling Naomi?

In a story full of drama and mystery, the sisters discover there is more that connects them than they realise, and that only together can they discover exactly what’s behind Rose’s prophecy.

Three sisters. Three gifts. One prophecy.

Who will believe her?

Published by Spare Time Press today, 13th December 2018, The Last Thing She Said is available for purchase here.

About Rachel Walkley

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Born in the East of England, Rachel has lived in big cities and small villages including London and Bristol, before settling in Cheshire.

For most of her working life, she’s been a scientist and librarian, and her love of creative writing has never ceased even when surrounded by technical reports and impenetrable patents. Among moments of mummy taxi, delving into museum archives, drawing pictures and flute playing, Rachel finds a little time to pen her magical mysteries.

You can find Rachel on Goodreads and Instagram, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Twitter @RachelJWalkley. You’ll also find Rachel on Facebook.

Staying in With R. D. Kardon

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Once again I’m delighted to stay in with a new to me author to find out about a book I think is one I’d thoroughly enjoy. Today it gives me great pleasure to welcome R. D Kardon to Linda’s Book Bag.

Staying in with R.D. Kardon

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Robin. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.  

Linda, I’m thrilled to be invited. Thanks so much.

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

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My debut novel Flygirl is joining me tonight. My main character, Tris Miles, is an ambitious woman who runs into a wall when she tries to advance in her career–the male-dominated world of flying airplanes. Set in the late ’90s, before #MeToo gave women who experience workplace obstacles a stronger voice, Tris struggles to overcome the bigotry rampant in her chosen industry. And, like so many of us, Tris is haunted by her own demons, which make her already impossible choices even tougher. Flygirl is inspired by experiences my peers and I had as we tried to make our way as professional aviators.

(That must have been an exciting and frustrating time in equal measure Robin. I love the sound of Flygirl.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Flygirl?

My goal was to tell an engaging story the very best way I could. My teacher, twelve-time novelist T. Greenwood, said it best in her advance praise quote:

Tris Miles is a heroine for our times. Set in the late 1990s, Flygirl by R.D. Kardon examines one tenacious woman’s struggle to survive in a vocation dominated by men who want nothing more than to see her fail. Readers will fall in love with Tris who is a force to be reckoned with. Based on Kardon’s own experiences as a female pilot, Flygirlis written with both authenticity and heart.

T. Greenwood, author of Rust & StardustWhere I Lost Her, and Two Rivers

(That must make you feel so proud Robin. Congratulations.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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No way I’m settling in with a good read without my beloved rescue pets, dogs Smokey Pete and Chiclet and cat James Bond. And we might be joined by the occasional foster dog from time to time!

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(They are all absolutely gorgeous and most welcome!)

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Pizza is my favorite food, so there may be some hanging around the kitchen. C’mon, join me! I’ll get the fireplace going. Nothing like a bunch of people sitting around reading and snacking.

That sounds like a plan to me! Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me about Flygirl. I love the sound of it and wish you every success Robin. I hope Flygirl flies. Now, where’s that pizza?

Flygirl

Flygirl Cover

It’s 1997. Women stand beside men in combat and fly fighter jets. Pilot Tris Miles is not content with her job as a First Officer for tiny Clear Sky Airlines. She wants to be a Captain—the only way she knows to prove her worth as a pilot and atone for a deadly mistake. To further her career, Tris accepts a prestigious job with Tetrix, Inc. But her dream of becoming pilot-in-command twists into a nightmare.

As the company’s first woman pilot, she encounters resistance, marginalization and harassment on a daily basis. Fortunately, Tris has one thing her co-workers can’t deny—skill. When Tris finds herself in a crippled airplane thousands of miles from home she must prove she can lead.

With her career on the line, can Tris earn the respect she’s been craving?

And if this is the end, can she find the strength to forgive herself?

Published on 3rd January 2019, Flygirl is available for pre-order through the links here.

About R.D. Kardon

R D Kardon

Robin “R.D.” Kardon was a litigation attorney before beginning a twelve-year flying career as a corporate and airline pilot. She holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and three Captain qualifications. Her travels took her all over the world in every type of airplane from small single-engine Cessnas to the Boeing 737. Robin earned her B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from NYU and J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. A native New Yorker, Robin now lives in San Diego, California with her beloved rescue pets.

Flygirl, a work of fiction inspired by her own aviation experience, is her first novel.

You can find out more by visiting Robin’s website, following her on Twitter @rdkardonauthor and finding her on Facebook.

An Extract from The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

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My enormous thanks to Sabah at Avon books for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley. I’m delighted to be able to share an extract from the novel with you today.

Published by Harper Collins imprint Avon, The Woman Who Kept Everything is available for purchase through these links.

The Woman Who Kept Everything

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The Lady in the Van meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in this uplifting, funny and moving debut novel about a 79-year-old hoarder who is convinced the world is against her.

79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, cardboard boxes and endless knick-knacks that are stacked into every room of her home, and teeter in piles along the landing and up the stairs.

She hasn’t left the house in years, but when a sudden smell of burning signifies real danger, she is forced to make a sudden departure and leave behind her beloved possessions.

Determined she’s not ready for a care home, Gloria sets out to discover what life still has to offer her. It’s time to navigate the outside world on her own, one step at a time, with just one very small suitcase in tow…

Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones.

An Extract from The Woman Who Kept Everything

A few days after the people from the electricity board came to check on the situation, three people from social services turned up; one with a clipboard. They looked official, to Gloria, with their curt smiles and long dark coats. She would’ve said they were calm and sympathetic, if someone’d asked. But they didn’t look that way after their first encounter with 75 Briar Way.

They came into her house, sniffing the air and gagging for some reason. One of them, a man, ran out muttering something. Gloria found it amusing. Tilsbury went round shrugging.

‘Must’ve eaten summat off before they came here.’

The plump, friendlier woman who finally arrived later that first day, Diane, was the most understanding, but even she had a strongly scented handkerchief she kept wafting across her face. Gloria screwed her nose up at the smell and stood a little distance away from her. She wasn’t keen on heavy perfumes.

Oh, but there was nowhere to sit per se. That was the tricky thing about having more than one person over at any one time. And in order to be courteous, Tilsbury had to clamber over a lot of stuff, upstairs, to get the stool off the top of Gloria’s bedside dressing table, so Diane could sit down in the tiny bit of space between the hall and kitchen door. Gloria leant against the architrave and rested her burnt hand on a stack of crumpled magazines.

Now that Diane had finished looking around – her mouth gaping in awe, her handkerchief not far from her nose – she said that her mother had been just like Gloria when Diane’s grandparents died. Couldn’t quite accept it; still didn’t; in a nursing home now.

‘Much better for her. All her woes dealt with and she’s properly cared for.’

Gloria didn’t really know what the woman was talking about. She wasn’t interested to know something about someone she didn’t know and would never know and, anyway, her hand ached. She grimaced as she tried to reposition it.

‘Oh my, that hand looks sore, love. Should’ve wrapped it in cling film or something clean if you had it. But, anyway, don’t you worry about all that, now. We’ve got to get you away from here and do some sorting out,’ Diane informed her, with a bright smile.

Gloria shook her head solemnly. ‘Don’t want to go anywhere else. Been here so many years, ducks, and I certainly don’t want to go anywhere now.’

‘I know that, Gloria! But we’ve, um, we’ve got to sift through all this – er – this stuff to try and find where the electrics blew. Your house’s become a bit of a fire hazard now, so we’re taking you somewhere safe while we sort things out. And that hand of yours needs looking at.’

Clegg appeared at that precise moment, his large frame filling the already clogged front doorway. He was sweating and also trying not to gag. He squeezed past them to try and look at the kitchen, pushing boxes and piles of magazines aside in his attempt to get through, but then he stopped, deciding against it.

(I wonder how many of us have experienced something similar with a person we know or love? It really makes me want to get stuck in to The Woman Who Kept Everything Right away.)

About Jane Gilley

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Jane Gilley was born in Nottingham and now lives on the beautiful island of Jersey, with her husband, a rabbit and a Senegal parrot.

Following a career in Interior Design and after writing 6 children’s books, Jane now writes adult books full time.

You can follow Jane on Twitter @JaneGilley2 and visit her website. You’ll find Jane on Facebook.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

The Woman Who Kept Everything Blog Tour

Staying in with Erik Therme

Keep Her Close

I absolutely love a psychological thriller and when I discovered Erik Therme had a brand new one out I had to ask him on to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me all about it. I only wish life had enabled me to read it as it sounds a cracker. Let’s find out more as Erik stays in with me.

Staying in with Erik Therme

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Erik. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thanks so much for having me. “Staying in” seems to be underrated these days, but if you have good company and good tea, what more do you need? Outside of a 9:30 bedtime, of course!

(Well of course. I much prefer to be be in with a cuppa. I’ll just put the kettle on…)

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

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I have in my possession my newly released crime thriller, Keep Her Close.

(I understand Keep Her Close came out on 5th December Erik. Happy one week birthday!)

The book is very special to me, as the story revolves around a father and his daughter, who has recently left home for college. When my own daughter left for college last year, I found myself in a state of constant worry, and my imagination ran wild at the thought of her going missing. The book was difficult to write at times, but it was a good way for me to address my fears in a safe, fictional environment.

(Writing has many benefits I think Erik and writing what you know has obviously contributed to Keep Her Close! I’m sure many parents are terrified when their children fly the nest – at whatever age.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Keep Her Close?

A lot of movement in a short amount of time. The majority of the story unfolds over a few, frantic hours, where we’re introduced to a slew of colorful characters who might—or might not—have something to do with the daughter’s disappearance.

(Keep Her Close sounds gripping.)

One of the things that drew me to this story was my fascination with people’s motivations and the choices they make, because even the best of us have dark moments. Do the ends justify the means? Do two wrongs make a right? These are the types of questions that drove my characters to do what they did.

(I agree completely. I’ve had a few dark thoughts myself at times and I often wonder how far we might go when we really have to…)

What else have you brought along and why?

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Only the necessities: Mt. Dewand my Mogwai slippers (from the movie Gremlins). I’m convinced both are magically tied to my muse, and I never leave home – or stay in – without them.

(Writers do have some strange rituals and beliefs at times I think Erik! Those slippers are very fetching…)

Thanks so much, Erik, for agreeing to stay in with me and tell me about Keep Her Close. I feel sure I shall be reading it very soon as it sounds exactly my kind of book.

Keep Her Close

Keep Her Close

Someone took your daughter. And nobody believes you…

Then:
Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?

Now:
Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.
And now Ally is missing.

A gripping twist-filled thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Teresa Driscoll. 

Keep Her Close was published on 5th December by Bookouture and is available for purchase on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

About Erik Therme

Erik Therme Author

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

You can join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways, visit Erik’s website for more details and follow him on Twitter @ErikTherme. You’ll also find Erik on Facebook.

Staying in with Michael Shusko

Evil Winds

As I adore Africa, I’m a little bit beside myself here on Linda’s Book Bag as I have invited Michael Shusko, author of the Tradecraft Series, to stay in with me this evening to tell me all about one of his books.

Staying in with Michael Shusko

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Michael. Thank you so much 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?

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I brought the third book in my Tradecraft Series: Evil Winds.  I chose it because it deals with a number of important contemporary topics: terrorism, genocide and human trafficking and how the strength of the human condition prevails even under the most unimaginable, horrid conditions.

(Gosh. That sounds like powerful stuff Michael.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Evil Winds?

The Tradecraft Series explores international terrorism amid various backstories. Funding, organization, missions and motivation of these shadowy groups are revealed throughout the series. Evil Winds gets the reader into the mind of the terrorist. What makes him or her tick. What is the motivation and rationale for the violence. All of this occurring in exotic but real locations, including Sub Saharan Africa, that brings together the best and worst of humanity: aid-workers and humanitarians dedicating their lives to healing and protecting victims of the war in Darfur as they try to survive the harsh desert filled with Janjaweed marauders.

(I think this series, and Evil Winds in particular, sounds brilliant.)

Evil Winds follows Angie Bryant, a young report who goes to Africa to report on the atrocities in the Darfur. There, she meets doctor Jason Russo working in one of the refugee camps. Together, the two brave the harsh Sahara Desert to find the hidden truth about what is really going after villages are razed and children go missing while various warlords, terrorists and underground organizations battle for control of Sub Saharan Africa.

(I find sub Saharan Africa fascinating Michael, I’ve been to Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda and passed though Ethiopia and Kenya so I think Evil Winds will really appeal to me as a reader.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I brought along some pictures I took in Sub Saharan Africa to give you an idea of the landscape that was part of the inspiration for Evil Winds.  I took these photos during my time in the region where the book is set.  They’ll give you some perspective about the geography of the area, as well as what a typical village is like.

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Seeing some of the hardships that the people there endure is what motivated me to write it – but, to be clear, the book isn’t just about the Darfur. There are a number of important issues highlighted in the book that I feel need to be addressed. Child slavery, human trafficking, terrorism, genocide. These atrocities occur throughout the world and affect millions.

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You’re absolutely right; these issues cannot be ignored and fiction is a great way of bringing them to the world’s attention. Your photos are such evocative images of the region Michael. I’m thrilled you agreed to stay in with me this evening to tell us about Evil Winds. Thank you so much for being here.

Evil Winds

Evil Winds

Up-and-coming news reporter Angie Bryant is determined to get the scoop on what’s really happening in Darfur, no matter the risk. After all, it’s the kind of story that will catapult her career to the next level.

Jason Russo is a disillusioned NGO doctor stationed at a refugee camp in eastern Chad. While he tries to help where he can, Jason finds it difficult to get the support he needs to make a difference.

But when the pair witnesses Janjaweed soldiers gun down a dozen Darfurian refugees in cold blood, everything changes. Suddenly, the only assignment that matters is telling the world about the current conditions in western Sudan — at all costs.

Angie and Jason find themselves racing against time as they work to uncover a sinister secret hidden deep in the Sahara. Their efforts put them directly in the path of a lethal Janjaweed commander. If they want to share their shocking discoveries with the global community, they’ll have to get past him first.

Evil Winds is available for purchase here.

About Michael Shusko

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Michael Shusko, author of Evil Winds, is a medical doctor and decorated Marine and Naval officer who has worked on intelligence and medical missions across the globe. Fluent in Arabic, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University.

After transferring from the Marines to the Navy Medical Corps, he attended medical school at Wake Forest University, obtaining his degree in 2002. He also studied at Harvard University, earning a Master’s of Public Health degree in 2013.

Dr. Shusko has been awarded the Bronze Star twice for service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

In addition to Evil Winds, Mike Shusko is the author of Vector and Shifting Sands, the first two novels in his Tradecraft book series.

You can find out more by visiting Michael’s website. You’ll also find him on Facebook.

Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce

Dear Mrs Bird

My enormous thanks to the publishers for inviting me to read Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce through Netgalley. I actually broke my own rule of not using Netgalley because I find e-books so tricky with my poor sight but I had heard so much about Dear Mrs Bird. I’m glad I did!

Published by Pan Macmillan imprint Picador, Dear Mrs Bird is available for purchase through the links here.

Dear Mrs Bird

Dear Mrs Bird

London, 1941. Amid the falling bombs Emmeline Lake dreams of becoming a fearless Lady War Correspondent. Unfortunately, Emmy instead finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird refuses to read, let alone answer, letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, and definitely not those from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted.

But the thought of these desperate women waiting for an answer at this most desperate of times becomes impossible for Emmy to ignore. She decides she simply must help and secretly starts to write back – after all, what harm could that possibly do?

My Review of Dear Mrs Bird

Emmy Lake has just got a new job. Unfortunately, it’s not the one she thought she’d applied for.

I really enjoyed Dear Mrs Bird. I’m sure its tone and style won’t appeal to all but for me it was a breath of fresh air (of the type Henrietta Bird might prescribe in one of her responses to a reader’s letter). In fact, frequently A J Pearce made me rejoice that we finally have a creditable female equivalent of P. G. Wodehouse but with far less silliness and much more depth. The humour appealed to me and I frequently laughed aloud, especially at the Capitalized Comments. I could so easily hear Emmy’s narrative voice in my head.

All of that said, and emphasising my enjoyment of the humour in Dear Mrs Bird, none of this would have been so effective had it not been for the wonderful balance of the reality of the Blitz in contrast. AJ Pearce understands exactly how to use light and shade in her writing for maximum impact. I laughed aloud on so many occasions but I shed tears too. There’s love, fear, grief and true friendship alongside the themes of maintaining a stiff upper lip, loyalty and relationships with a touch of feminism thrown in that make this an absolutely wonderful read.

Emmy is a complete star. Certainly she epitomises what is expected of the plucky, upper middle class girls of the era, which some might find stereotypical, but equally she’s foolhardy and rash and quite often blinkered to the consequences of her actions and I loved her for every one of her flaws. She experiences the full range of emotions and I felt them with her. Reading Dear Mrs Bird felt more like hearing my friend Emmy telling me about her exploits and I was invested in each of them.

The plot of Dear Mrs Bird is relatively simple which is where the book succeeds so well because I think it reflects the day to day grind of routines punctuated with terrifying moments endured by so many during WW2 in London. There’s a human quality of understanding and poignancy from AJ Pearce that I thoroughly enjoyed and found very touching.

I think Dear Mrs Bird is a book that might initially appear quite superficial but that surprises and rewards the reader in an emotional and thought provoking way. Reading it has made me wonder just what I would have been like as Emmy. The more I read of Dear Mrs Bird, the more I loved it. I really recommend it.

About A J Pearce

AJ Pearce

AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. A chance discovery of a 1939 woman’s magazine became the inspiration for her ever-growing collection and her first novel Dear Mrs Bird. She now lives in the south of England.

Ypu can follow A J Pearce on Twitter @ajpearcewrites and visit her website for more details. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

Staying in with Richard Williams

Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave_Cover

I’ve a confession. I’ve never been to a rave! So when I was asked if I would like to be part of the launch celebrations for Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave by Richard Williams I simply couldn’t say no. My thanks to Julia Forster at Ruth Killick Publicity for inviting me. I’m delighted that Richard has agreed to stay in with me this evening.

Staying in with Richard Williams

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Richard. Thanks so much for staying in with me. I have a pretty good idea, but tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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Hi Linda!  I’ve brought along Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave, published by Graffeg. It’s my debut novel.

(Oh, how brilliant. Congratulations.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave?

In a nutshell, the reader can expect a charming and gentle introduction into the world of rural Pembrokeshire and its characters, which then quickly escalates into an exciting plot and troubling sub-plots that seek to disrupt the adventure. The title may give the impression of a simplistic storyline; but there are a few surprises en route to the rave –suicide, murders and a good dose of old-world village humour.

(I love the sound of this. I must add Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave to my TBR!)

The stories in the book span generations and unlikely friendships are made between the village folk of Little Emlyn, who pull together to overcome adversity. Mostyn, a sixty-four year old debt-laden farmer is the main protagonist along with Jethro, a suicidal nineteen year-old rave DJ. They meet under precarious circumstances and hatch a plan to hold a rave on Mostyn’s secluded land to help pay off his debts. But dark events prevail en-route to the rave with the involvement of Weird Head, the loan shark to whom Mostyn is indebted.

A disparate cast of village waifs and strays are at hand to help: John the Ghost – an elusive farm worker who disappears each winter to probably work as a hitman; Chicken George –the local painter and decorator/village idiot; Boutros – a retired UN diplomat; Daisy – a surfing goddess with balls of steel,and Biscuits – Jethro’s troubled best friend.

(So a cast of quite ‘normal’ folk then!)

The novel probably falls into the crime thriller genre, with some funny moments (I hope). The key topics being the farming and rural community crisis of the early 1990s intertwined with rave culture, and the paradox these unlikely bedfellows produced.

(I think Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave sounds utterly brilliant Richard.)

What else have you brought along and why? 

Since we’re having a stay-at-home-rave tonight (we’re no spring chickens any more), I’ve brought my record bag – filled with vinyl from the early rave days. Before I fire up the turntables we’ll crack open a few cans of Red Stripe, the beer of choice of the rave generation out west. Those that want to smoke can go outside.

(Those that want to smoke can go outside and at least half a mile away thank you!)

Our special guest for the evening is DJ Sasha, the man who inspired a generation with his inimitable style of pioneering house music that transformed the UK electronic music scene between 1992-1994, when he was dubbed “Son of God?” on the cover of Mixmag magazine, the raver’s bible.

Mix mag

I’ve put a few copies of Farmer’s Weekly magazine from 1994 in the WC in the hope my guests will peruse and learn a little about the significant issues faced by rural farming communities back then, and the impact those issues had on real people and families.

(I wondered why there was such a queue outside the downstairs loo!)

But mostly, tonight is about celebrating life out west in wild and woolly Pembrokeshire. We will discuss the virtues of community life there, how it has changed and how there is still hope for future generations through institutions such as the Young Farmer’s Clubs.

(Actually, to be serious a moment, it is really important to keep rural communities alive I think Richard.)

playlist

Here is the playlist for the evening. Since we’re at home it’s more of a post-club ‘after-party’ compilation of carefully selected tracks from the heady days when the novel is set. These tunes should wind us down and help us float on into the sunrise. Sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy!

The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds (Album Version)

Belfast – Orbital

Papua New Guinea (7” original) – The Future of Sound London

Smokebelch II (David Holmes remix) – The Sabres of Paradise

Gat Décor – Passion (Original Mix)

Jumbo – Underworld

Cowgirl (remastered) – Underworld

Shades of Rhythm – Sound of Eden (Original Mix)

Massive Attack Ft. Horace Andy – Hymn of the Big Wheel

(That should keep us going a while Richard…)

Thanks so much for staying in with me to chat about Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave Richard. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our evening in. Now, let’s get that music on!

Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave

Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave_Cover

When Mostyn, an ageing Pembrokeshire farmer on the brink of bankruptcy, runs into Jethro, a young raver, his fortunes appear to take a positive turn.

The pair secretly mobilise the locals of the village pub to help put on the greatest money-spinning event in the history of Little Emlyn: Lewistock.

The tension ramps up as the clock ticks down to the August bank holiday rave and young revellers begin to pour in from all corners of the county.

But things do not go to plan; moneylenders, drug dealers, the county council and the bank all set a collision course with Mostyn and Jethro.

It’s not clear who will get out alive…

Published by Graffeg on 8th November 2018, Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave is available for purchase here.

About Richard Williams

Richard-W_Portrait-square-1030x1030

Richard Williams was raised on a dairy farm in north Pembrokeshire and was an active member of the rural rave scene in the 1990s. After studying development studies Richard worked as a technical writer at the newly-created Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. He later set up a chain of successful casual dining restaurants in Switzerland, where he now lives. Mostyn Thomas and the Big Rave is his first novel.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

The Big Rave tour poster