Monday, 7 August 2017

Frances Gapper's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Writer's Little Helper welcomes Frances Gapper to the Imaginary Bookshop to celebrate her new short story collection, In the Wild Wood.

In the Wild Wood has had fantastic reviews from Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs. Some of the biggest names from your bookshelves. Plus look at this fantastic book cover!

Over to Frances...

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
The Dream Palace

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In a beautiful and surprisingly accessible part of the UK that hasn’t yet been discovered. The bookshop would have sea views from its many bay windows (with window seats), nearby woodland walks and a lovely river also within easy walking distance.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.

It would have lots of very comfortable sofas and other lounging-around types of furniture. Also fountains, verandas, covered walkways.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
My bookshop would be very different indeed from all the other ones. The emphasis would be on relaxation. Women over 60 would be invited to stay over free of charge for as long as they liked in private book-lined bedrooms with large bathrooms and writing tables.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Plenty of fiction, poetry, biography and nature writing, plus a lot of odd and unusual books that don’t really fit into any category. I’d probably ditch anything too technical, apart from gardening books with a strongly autobiographical bent.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
On the display table I’d put old editions in great condition and very reasonably priced, eg Pan paperbacks from the 60s, vintage Penguins and leather-covered classics. Well bound and printed on good paper. The sort of thing I look out for myself in second-hand book shops.

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?

Emily Dickinson. She would read aloud selected poems, her personal favourites plus a few new ones we’ve never heard before, and some of her letters to friends including the expurgated bits. She’d then answer questions from the audience in her inimitable fashion.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
My novel? I’d say, did you know you can get this for £0.01 plus postage on Amazon Marketplace? As for my book of short stories, if it had gone missing I’d suggest they order a copy direct from the publisher Cultured Llama. They could look on the CL website to see what Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs say about my book and view the cover picture, Night Tree by Jane Eccles. If that doesn’t persuade them to buy it, nothing will.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I never thought I’d see myself saying this, but cake without any nuts or seeds, so there’d be no nasty surprises for diverticulitis-prone intestines. Nb I love nuts and seeds – or used to.

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You can either buy In the Wild Wood directly from the publisher or from Amazon.

You can visit Frances's website here http://www.francesgapper.co.uk/

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Book Review: Amber Green Takes Manhattan

Amber Green Takes Manhattan
By Rosie Nixon
Published by HQ
Available in paperback, ebook and audio

Looking for a book to take your mind off the world's problems?

Looking for something glamorous and sparkly?

Looking for something to make you laugh and cringe?

Yes to all of the above?

Then I have the book for you....

Rosie Nixon's second book in the Amber Green series, Amber Green Takes Manhattan, is a novel full of laughter, fashion, hissy fits and ambition. If you like Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones or even Ugly Betty then you will love this book.

Amber Green moves to New York with her boyfriend, Rob, where he will be filming a documentary about lingerie models. Amber doesn't want to be stuck all day in their teeny tiny flat and wants to make her own stamp on New York. Fashion is in her blood and she's determined that everyone in fashion will know about her sooner rather than later.

High profile styling by Amber for celebrities, mixing with controversial fashion designers, an Instagram account with thousands of followers and before Amber knows it she's becoming the talk of the town but maybe not for the reasons she was hoping for. Her new life is hanging in the balance after alienating both her best friend and her boyfriend. She must stitch back together her life, her career and her reputation.

This is a fast pace novel as the reader rushes with Amber through the streets of New York as she battles against unruly toddler photo shoots, finds herself involved with a designer handbag scam, having to smile at celebrities who only want to wear their undies on the red carpet and partying all night before job interviews.

If you're looking for a feel good novel full of glamour, adventure, ambition, friendship and love all serving in New York then this is the book for you. Amber Green Takes Manhattan is a fun read, and definitely a book to retreat to after a long hard day. You can buy Amber Green Takes Manhattan from your favourite bookshop.


I was sent a copy via the publisher.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chuck Caruso's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Chuck Caruso has popped over to Writer's Little Helper to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

Chuck Caruso's debut thriller, The Lawn Job, is a dark-comedy thriller about a femme fatal, Sheila Pasarelli, who is plotting to take revenge on her adulterous husband with the help of their gardener and ex-con man Craig Collins.

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
My imaginary bookshop would be called Café Noir and it would specialize in crime, horror, and other dark writing. Decorated with Persian rugs and heavy draperies, my shop would also include a coffee bar and a salon area with padded chairs and push sofas.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
My bookshop would be located in downtown Seattle, Washington. Set in the gritty urban core and overshadowed by the heavy clouds and constant rain, my bookshop would be a dark little haven for readers who love dark writing.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Yes, in addition to a full coffee bar with espresso machines and delicious pastries, my bookshop would feature a small stage for author events, dramatic readings, and acoustic music events.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?

The thing that would make my bookshop different from others is that it would become a focus of the local community of mystery readers and crime writers by hosting writers’ groups, book clubs, and weekly salons to discuss important topics and issues.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Because the bookshop would be entirely oriented around dark fiction, it could feature many of the usual sections like mystery, science fiction, biography, philosophy, etc., but patrons would know every section is stocked with dark materials.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Our display table would feature staff favourites, books by members of our writing groups, and things currently being read by our book clubs and discussion groups.

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?
If we could run only one author event, we would have a reading by Edgar Allan Poe who would read one of his macabre tales and answer questions about our enduring fascination with mystery and horror.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Customers will want to read my novel, The Lawn Job firstly for the amazing thrill ride. It’s a fast-paced crime story with engaging characters and lots of plot twists. A friend told me my book should come with a beach towel and a six-pack. That said, one of my early readers described the novel as having layers like an onion. I like that it’s an exciting read but also a novel that lingers in the mind and provokes readers to reflect more deeply on my characters and their motivations. Those are aspects that I appreciate in the novels I read, so I’m pleased to offer that to my own readers.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I would offer the richest and darkest espresso chocolate cake I could find. Slices would be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to balance out the darkness with a lighter flavor. You always have to a little light to make the shadows deeper.




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The Lawn Job by Chuck Caruso is out now (£9.99, Cloud Lodge Books)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Book Review: The Other Us

The Other Us
By Fiona Harper
Published by HQ
Available in paperback

If you could turn back time would you choose a different life?

This question nags away at Maggie, the protagonist in Fiona Harper's latest novel, The Other Us. She comes to resent her absent husband and her empty home after her daughter has gone travelling. Her mind starts to wander to the guy who could have been the love of her life - Jude. If only...

Maggie wakes up to find herself back at university - a crossroads between two men - Dan and Jude. She has a chance for a different life. At first she falls head over heels with Jude but then she slowly realises that the deeper she falls into this life the further away she is from her original life.

I know what you're thinking - been here before, read this type of novel before - but you would be wrong. This isn't just any type of rom-com. This is a rom com with a time travel twist. This is a book about second chances and maybe realising that second chances might not offer the same level happiness as you originally had.

The Other Us shows the reader that we must appreciate what life offers, that we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy before another person can make us happy. Harper has written an uplifting book - something we all need in this unpredictable world.

This is an absorbing story and I found myself unable to put down the book. This is a great comfort read especially for a lazy day when you want to lounge around reading either on a beach, on the sofa or in the bath.

If you loved the film About Time and Sliding Doors or enjoyed reading David Nicholls's One Day then you will love this book. The Other Us is available from your favourite bookshop.


I was sent a copy via the publisher.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Linkage

Here are a few of my favourite things on the internet at the moment...

Dr Seuss offers advice on relaxing with a book over here.

And here's David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas offering advice on submitting work and then getting started on the next story. Read the quote here.

Nintendo offering the best life advice over here.

Great advice from the late Nora Ephron including the only way to keep learning is to keep doing something new which can also be applied to writing. You can read more here.