Friday, 29 May 2015

Rosanna Ley's Imaginary Bookshop

Today we have another fantastic Imaginary Bookshop Q&A from Rosanna Ley, author of The Saffron Trail.


Hi Rosanna, congratulations on the publication of your novel, The Saffron Trail, and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper and becoming the latest author to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

You are very welcome! Many thanks.

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
Rosanna’s Reading

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In West Bay, Dorset.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Lots of comfy leather sofas, an Italian coffee machine, a vending machine selling very dark chocolate.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
The above. Plus people could bring a book in for bookswap. We would have regular author readings and book club meetings and poetry slams.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
All sections would be welcome. We would be fully inclusive.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
We would have one for local books (fiction and non-fiction) one for classics, one for new releases, one for children’s writing. They would be changed around regularly and people could add to them. Reason: because reading is not just about what’s been recently published or who can afford to pay for space.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
I would choose DH Lawrence because he is my hero. He would do a reading from ‘Women In Love’, ‘The Rainbow’ and ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and then he would answer questions (he might be there for rather a long time but as he’s dead hopefully this might be immaterial...)

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, The Saffron Trail and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Because it will make you fall in love.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Saffron cake with saffron icing (I made 106 for my book launch so have practised already).


Rosanna Ley is the best-selling author of novels including ‘The Villa’ and ‘Return to Mandalay’. She does very thorough research in the countries that she features in her novels, visiting Sicily for several months for ‘The Villa’ and Burma for ‘Return to Mandalay’ where her husband has family. She also spent several months in Morocco to research her latest novel, ‘The Saffron Trail’, due to be published in May. Rosanna writes short stories and articles for magazines and her work is widely published abroad. She holds an MA in creative writing for personal development and has worked as a creative writing tutor for over twelve years, leading workshops and writers retreats in the UK and abroad in Italy and Spain. She also runs a manuscript appraisal service to appraise and mentor the work of new writers. She is married with children and lives in Dorset. In February 2015 she was shortlisted for the RNA Award for the Epic Romantic Novel. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers
By Louise Candlish
Published by Penguin
Available in paperback and ebook

Christy and Joe Davenport have just purchased their 'forever' home in a nice part of London but their bargain of the century isn't what it seems. The neighbourhood doesn't seem as friendly as they imagined with neighbours ignoring them, or hiding behind their curtains.

Louise Candlish's The Sudden Departure of the Frasers, explores the pressures boiling behind the front door, and the way material possessions can suffocate relationships.

Having time at home, after being made redundant, Christy starts to dig into the mysterious disappearance of the previous owners, Amber and Jeremy Fraser. Leaving in a hurry, with no forwarding address and a home only recently renovated, the mystery draws Christy into an obsession that she can't shake off. Things are never as they seem even the person sitting next to you in bed may not be who you think they are. This desire eats away at Christy, taking over her life.

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers is a long novel but I didn't notice the length as Candlish lures the reader into the story. This is a book you can't put down because the plot line is intriguing and tense - there is something sinister lingering behind the front doors of Lime Park Road. There are hints of Madame Bovary and Desperate Housewives so if you like both of those then you will also like this book.

Mystery and tension simmer through out this book. Told through the perspectives of both Amber and Christy, the reader seems two opposite characters as they try to find a way of fitting in with the local community. Both are unreliable narrators with anxiety, suspicion, isolation and jealousy rip through the lives of both protagonists. Secrets and lies are stretch the limits of friendships and relationships. Lime Park Road will never be the same again.

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers shows that the dream house doesn't equally mean a happy ending. This is a great read, and you will get sucked into the lives of the Frasers' and Davenports' as they battle to try to save everything they hold dear.

You can buy The Sudden Departure of the Frasers from your favourite bookshop.

I was kindly sent a copy by the Curtis Brown Book Club.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Ice-Cream Van

Here's some great news - I have had a story accepted for publication (this happened a few months ago) and it has now been published!

The Ice-Cream Van, is now live on Urban Fantasist and you can read it here (you will just need to scroll to the bottom) > The Ice-Cream Van.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Book Review: God Loves Haiti

God Loves Haiti
By Dimitry Elias Leger
Published by Harpercollins
Available in hardback and ebook.
Paperback forthcoming.

Set around the the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Dimitry Elias Leger's debut novel, God Loves Haiti, explores what is lost and even gained during a disaster.

The epicentre of this story is a love triangle between Natasha, an artist, her husband who is also the President of Haiti, and her lover, Alain, a local businessman. All three characters are left confused with regards to their personal life and this reflects the unstable situation of the country. Around them people are struggling to cope and survive. Yet these three characters are trapped in their own personal disaster, with no foreign aid to help them make a decision. Religion, politics, love - these are the things people cling to during a crisis. Each of the main character represents one of these aspects. Embracing either religion, politics or love will help them survive.

Leger dips in to the viewpoints of all three characters, allowing the reader to see past events and how they have ended up in this situation. Natasha is determined to leave Haiti behind and will even marry a man who she doesn't love. She will even lock up the man who she loves in a cupboard so she can get to the airport to escape her former life. Even the president wants to escape his former life, show the people of his country that he is a natural leader and will not run off during a crisis. Internal struggles, external struggles - Leger makes sure his characters are as authentic as possible.

Leger makes sure that he shows how people from different classes have to survive after the earthquake. The privileged few are allowed protection in the camps run by foreign agencies while most citizens take shelter in the park, struggling to survive but the sense of community growing stronger. There is hope in these camps and the need to protect their cultural identity.

This book is rich in detail, and while it is about a disaster, Leger makes sure that there are plenty of laughs and surreal moments in the plot. One of my favourite moments was the President, while flat out on the tarmac of the runway, after the earthquake, has a vision including Haiti's previous leaders, all pleading for salvation. These surreal parts break up the brutal details of the earthquake and its effects on the population but Leger makes sure that the balance is just right.

God Loves Haiti is a complex book full of energy, laughs and insights in Haiti. This is a book definitely worth reading.

You can buy God Loves Haiti from your favourite bookshop.

I was kindly sent a copy by the publisher.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Book Review: Matt Sumell's Making Nice

Making Nice
By Matt Sumell
Published by Harvill Secker
Available in hardback and ebook
Forthcoming in paperback

Making Nice, Matt Sumell's debut novel is going to be a novel that you're either going to like or you're going to instantly dislike. Sumell's novel tells the story of Alby and the way he is coping or rather not coping with his mother's death. Alby must quite literally fight his way through his loss and love.

Alby drinks, has sex, fights his way through his grief with no regard for anyone's feelings. On one hand he will protect a baby bird who he nurses but will spew out insults to young children and punch his sister.

Making Nice is an enjoyable book with an irritating main character.  This shambles of a character who can't appreciate the people around him or the life he has. At times, Alby reminded me of Hannah, the main protagonist from the TV show, Girls. I know it's becoming a cliche comparing books and films to Girls but Alby could have walked straight off the set. He has been pampered with a comfortable upbringing, doesn't seem to care about real life by walking away from jobs and responsibilities. The things that matter in life have become invisible to him.

Alby is a selfish character but seems to have lost his way in life, and it is this fact that makes this book an interesting read - he meanders from job to job, situation to situation. Everyone at some point of their life loses his or her way, forget the things which are important. I can guarantee that you will read this book and realise your life isn't as messed up as Alby's life.

So, read this book and decide if you like it or not. I think you're either going to like it or loathe it. Good luck! Making Nice is available from your favourite bookshop.

I was kindly sent a copy of Making Nice by the publisher.