Blog Tour: Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro

Kathleen Tessaro (c) Gregg Liberi USE

Photo credit: Gregg Liberi USE

I am so happy to be welcoming Kathleen Tessaro to Novel Kicks today and her blog tour for her new novel, Rare Objects which is due to be released by Harper on Thursday.

Mae Fanning seizes on a job at a tiny, exclusive Boston antiques shop as the fresh start she desperately needs. It opens a window to new world, one peopled with rare and rich characters. But the day that enigmatic socialite Diana van der Laar walks in, Mae’s hidden past returns.

As a moth to a flame, Mae is unable to resist Diana’s heady, seductive glamour and glittering life. Yet, like the rare objects in the shop, very little is what it appears – Diana included.

Moving from Jazz-Age New York to Boston in the grip of the Great Depression, Rare Objects is a rich and gripping story of what it means to reach for a braver, bolder life.

 

Hello Kathleen. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your typical writing day?

Thank you for inviting me!

My normal day involves getting up at 6am, walking the dog, and getting my son off to school. Then I drink lots of strong coffee, research, write, walk the dog again, spend far too much time looking up useless information and then give up entirely around 2:30. The nice thing about historical fiction is that when you get stuck in your writing, there’s always interesting reading or research to indulge in.

 

How do you normally approach the process – do you edit as you go? Plan? Write in silence or with noise and where do you like to write?

I normally write at home, in relative quiet, and often in bed (though it must be made and I must be dressed – otherwise one is simply asking for trouble). I like to get the first 50 or so pages out before I go back over anything, just because one can get stuck quite easily in re-working the first three paragraphs over and over and never move forward. (Chances are the first three paragraphs never make it to the final cut anyway.) I do plan and sometimes even outline but have never managed to stick to it.

 

Congratulations on the release of your new novel, Rare Objects which is due to be released this week. Can you tell me a little about it and where the idea originated?

Thank you! The idea came from my fascination with found objects and the stories behind them. I’ve always wanted to write about an antiquities shop so that I would have a constant influx of characters and stories coming in and out. And the reason why different people collect certain things intrigues me. Add into that mix two young women from very different social classes with a shared secret, the glamour and despair of the Prohibition period and a mythical object that acts like an omen to everyone who comes across it and before you know it, an entire world is up and running!

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Everything Has Changed

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1.jpgThursday 28th April 2016: Everything has changed.

Today’s prompt has your character lose themselves.

They get up, they get washed and dressed, grab their things and walk out the door.

When they get outside, their car isn’t there. After they call the police, they walk to work.

They walk in the reception area and apologise for being late and yet, no one knows who they are. Carry on the story….

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My Favourites: My Latest Stationery Haul

Uni-ball Air PenStationery, stationery, stationery. Beautiful stationery. I’ve gone a little mad over the last few weeks. I am all about finding things that are going to make my life a little easier or just buying stationery because it is so pretty. I have to make sure I use them though. My pile of new notebooks gets bigger by the week and yet I can’t stop buying stuff.

 

Uni-ball ‘Air’ Pen.

My first favourite stationery item that I’ve got is this pen from Uni-ball. It’s the Air pen and it writes like a fountain pen. I was in the supermarket and was just, cough, browsing the stationary section when i can across these pens.

I do love writing with fountain pens. I always have done ever since I was a kid. This was why these pens caught my eye.

I really like these pens. They are not as fine as my fountain pen (I think it would be impossible for a rollerball to be) but it is the next best thing if you want something to have handy to write notes with but don’t want to bother with a proper fountain pen.

 

Blue Sky Day DesignerThis brings me onto the Blue Sky Day Designer.

My pen is resting on the Day Designer from Blue Sky. I am a big hoarder of diaries. I find it hard to find one that fits the exact thing I am looking for in a diary. I like to keep up with everything that is going on (and I need a lot of help in that department as I will think I will remember what I am doing and then I will forget something,) but I also like enough notes pages for ideas and lists.

I saw this diary pop up in a YouTube video and managed to get one via Ebay.

What I love about this diary is that there a section for appointments but there is also a section for to do’s (heaven.) There are also plenty of blank pages for notes at the back as well as a monthly glance page which is handy for blogging.

Where this was brought from America it does have the American holidays instead of the British ones but that is not a big deal. There is also not a lot of space where the weekends are listed but it’s my ongoing battle with diaries and working weekends.

The blue is beautiful. It is also small enough to fit in my bag. Overall it’s all I need in a diary.

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Blog Tour: Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

I am very pleased to welcoming Anna McPartlin to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her new novel, Somewhere Inside of Happy which was released by Black Swan on 7th April 2016.

‘And just like that my boy was gone.’ Maisie Bean is a fighter. A survivor. Seventeen years ago, she went on a first date that went so badly it was enough to put the girl off chips. The marriage that followed was hell but it gave her two children: funny, caring Jeremy and bullish but brilliant Valerie. Just as it seems everything might finally start going right, sixteen-year-old Jeremy goes missing. The police descend and a media storm swirls, over five days of searching that hurtle towards an inevitable, terrible conclusion. Maisie is facing another fight, and this time it’s the fight of her life. But she’s a survivor. Whatever the odds, she’ll never give in. 

 

Thanks to Anna and Black Swan, I have an extract to share with you today. Enjoy.

Prologue

Introducing Maisie Bean Brennan

The room was silent, but for the sound of shuffling, an unidentifiable clicking and Maisie’s own heartbeat. Shuffle, click, boom, shuffle, click, boom. Calm down, ya silly old cow. It’ll be OK. She could feel her husband’s hands on her shoulders. He was standing right behind her, at the side of the stage, and she could hear him talking in her head. It’s all good, lady, you’re doing fine. Forget the sweats. Just smile. She watched her daughter Valerie limp in and lean against her stepfather, then pull off her shoe and shake out a piece of gravel. Her face and head were on fire: her latest hot flush had drenched her scalp, frizzing her lovely blow-dry at the roots. She tried to smile but her lips stuck to her upper teeth. Oh, brilliant. Now I’ll look mental. The distinguished, learned man introducing her to the stage had been talking for several minutes; clearly he liked the sound of his own voice. It was a nice voice, to be fair, posh and plummy, and he was so softly spoken it had a lulling effect as you listened.

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My Favourite Books: Sweet Valley High

8bfadb729a1abf638c502cb01b165da1I have many books that I loved growing up. The Mallory Towers series for example was the first series I remember reading. My sister used to sit and read it with me. However, nothing has stuck with me quite as much as The Sweet Valley High series.

Originally created by Francine Pascal, this series made up the majority of my reading for a long time.

I discovered one of these books in the library at school. I think it was the one called Too Good To Be True. I can’t remember how old I was but from that moment I was hooked.

There was nothing I liked better than to come home from school and disappear into the world of Sweet Valley for a while.

Jessica and Elizabeth were like the cool friends I didn’t have (I was quite shy at school and definitely not a cool kid although everyone seemed a lot cooler than me. The perils of senior school.)

There was something just so exciting about these stories that I couldn’t get enough of them. I devoured as many as I could find from the school or local library.

You can imagine my excitement when I also discovered the TV series. Looking at that now, it was all so poorly acted but I still couldn’t resist watching it. If you know of it, is the theme tune stuck in your head yet?

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Book Review: In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

51iL7moKnpLBrighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

I came across this book after listening to Sarah Painter’s podcast called Worried Writer. This podcast is brilliant if you are a writer and I have been hooked since the first podcast I listened to. This is the first book I have read of Sarah Painter’s and after having finished this one I will definitely be getting hold of her backlog to add to my ever growing TBR (To Be Read) pile.

I have one word to sum this book up: amazing. You could tell that everything about this book was well thought out and I loved every bit of it.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Transformation

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164.pngFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about transformation.

Write a story in which something transforms into something else. What happens once this transformation occurs? What is it that has transformed?

What are the consequences of this transformation and can things be changed back?

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April’s Book Club: Room by Emma Donoghue

81jS3nJ3ucLWelcome to the Novel Kicks online book club.

We love books and we love chatting about them even more. Every month, we pick a new book for discussion. We will post a question to kick things off in the comments box below. A good thing about our book club is that everyone is welcome to take part. It’s open to all. You can read the book at any point in the month or if you’ve already read it, tell us what you think.

The best part… it’s all from the comfort of your armchair/sofa/bed/comfy place.

For April, we’re reading Room by Emma Donoghue.

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.

Room by Emma Donoghue is an extraordinarily powerful story of a mother and child kept in isolation, and the desire for, and price of freedom.

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This Week’s Latest Releases

51uEk8mDGyLIt’s Thursday which means another batch of new books. I love this time of the week. Here’s just a selection of new releases. Are there any new books you’re looking forward to reading?

Half Lost by Sally Green (Penguin, 31st March 2016.)

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love this book series. Half Lost is the last in the Half Bad trilogy and I am anxious and excited to know what becomes of Nathan who I see as a very relatable character. If you’re a fan of Red Queen, then you’ll love the Half Bad series. I’d say you’ll need to have read the first two books though before starting this one…

Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet – an ancient artefact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle.

But the amulet’s guardian – the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger – has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with his own Gifts, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…

 

untitledOne Stary Night by Tilly Tennant. (31st March 2016 on Kindle)

For fans of Tilly Tennant or for people new to her books, this is book four of the Once Upon a Winter series. This cover is so Christmassy. I love it.

They say the darkest hour is just before dawn, and for the first time Hannah is starting to truly understand what that means. With Gina’s husband misbehaving, Ross under attack, and bad news for Mitchell that only Hannah can tell him, things seem to be falling apart around her. How will she be the rock that everyone needs when she can’t control any part of her own life? It’s going to take a special kind of courage to see this dawn break, but when it does the future might just be the brighter for it. The problem is that Hannah’s not sure she can be that strong…

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Competitions: Winner of March’s Blind Date with a Book

IMG_4135It’s time to announce the winner of March’s Blind Date With a Book competition.

It is very easy to judge a book by its cover. I know I do it. I didn’t reveal what the title of this month’s book was nor did I reveal the cover. All I did reveal was that the themes included ‘friendship, love, relationships and missed opportunities.

Well done to Wendy Janes from London who has been picked at random from our entrants. Your book will be on its way to you soon (e-mail on its way) and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you to all who entered and April’s competition is coming soon.

 

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Writing Room: Pictures Say a Thousand Words

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1.jpgWednesday 30th March 2016.

Today’s prompt is about using pictures. Look through the internet (Pinterest and Tumblr are good for images.) Find pictures that inspire or interest you.

Taking each one in turn, note down what you like or don’t like so much about the image. What drew you to it and whether it inspires anything.

Does anything inspire a story? Using the image that you’re drawn to or inspires you the most, begin a short story.

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Blog Tour: The Magic Touch by Kelly Florentia

Kelly_Profile_PicI am very pleased to be welcoming author, Kelly Florentia to Novel Kicks today. I’ve reviewed her debut novel, The Magic Touch below but first, I get to chat to Kelly about her novel, her writing process and Eric Bana. 

Hi Kelly. Congratulations on the release of your new book, The Magic Touch, Can you tell me a little about it and how the idea originated?

Hi Laura, thanks for your good wishes, and thanks so much for having me on your blog today. The Magic Touch is my debut novel, so it’s an incredibly exciting time for me. It’s a paranormal romance about a 39-year-old divorcee who seems to have slipped into complacency with her partner of five years. Perfectly normal, she thinks, for couples who’ve been together for several years. But then when she stumbles across a flirtatious text message on her boyfriend’s mobile phone from a female colleague, sparks fly. Emma’s sole aim is to get to the bottom of Harry’s secret affair, which she does with the help of friends, her ninety-three-year-old neighbour, and a little intervention from a psychic App, The Magic Touch.

The idea for the story came from my fascination with mobile phone applications. There seems to be an app for everything these days. My phone is bursting with them – from social media apps to photography apps. I even plan my week around a weather app (I’ve got three, by the way). Then I thought, what if there was an app that could predict your future with alarming accuracy, what then? And The Magic Touch was born. I enjoy writing about everyday issues that people can resonate with, to a point. So, I based the novel on a couple who suddenly find, after five years together, that they want different things in life, and I went with it.

 

Can you tell me about what your typical writing day is like?

On a writing day, I’ll grab a coffee, fire up my computer and start tapping away at my keyboard. Of course, this is punctuated by a thousand tweets, a hundred Facebook posts and constantly checking my email.

 

How do you approach the process – do you plan much, edit as you go? Any rituals?

I’m a planner. I can’t write the story unless I know what’s going to happen, and I have to be incredibly excited about the ending before I can even begin. I get the first draft down quite quickly and then I start editing. Probably three drafts in total. I don’t have any rituals, I’m quite boring, apart from necking copious cups of coffee, but that’s normal, right?

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My Writing Ramblings: Dream a Little Dream

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgFor the most part I’ve always enjoyed dreams. I will go to sleep wondering what awaits; what strange or fascinating montage my subconscious has waiting for me. There is the occasional bad dream which I am not so fond of. However I mostly just find them interesting even the bizarre ones.

I can usually remember most of what I’ve dreamt. As I am waking up, if I can tell myself to remember, I usually can (although this wasn’t the case this morning and not being able to remember my dream is annoying me.)

I’ve been using my dream journal a lot at the moment and I am enjoying looking at the dreams. My dreams recently have included having a lounge area set up in the middle of a road in a quiet suburban street. A well-known you tuber happened to walk past and have a chat with me, I’ve been stuck in a library (this one wouldn’t have been bad if I wasn’t trying to hide from someone,) to having a ‘Night Manager’ version of Hugh Laurie hiding out in the attic behind a wall hidden by a bookcase which moved. That bit was pretty cool.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Animals

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164.pngFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about animals.

Your characters all share a house. They don’t always get on but are forced to interact. Your characters are a cat, a dog, a hamster and a snake. Your first line is ‘I can’t live with him anymore.’

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This Week’s Current Book Releases

510lD5bofXLIt’s that time of the week again. I wanted to share some of the new books that have been released today. All of them look great. Which ones are you excited to read?

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (Corgi, 24th March 2016.)

Laura and Jimmy’s book covers are always so pretty. This book sounds great and I can’t wait to read. It’s released today in Paperback.

Here’s the blurb….

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

 

410KPb8urgLGone Astray by Michelle Davis (MacMillan, 24th March 2016.)

I like a good thriller/mystery so this book looks up my street. Here’s the information…

When Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined . . .

Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.

DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.

As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .

Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.

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