Blog Tour: Friendship Fails of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager

HQ, August 2018

HQ, August 2018

I am happy to be welcoming Chloe Seager to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her new novel, Friendship Fails of Emma Nash.

Emma Nash is back….and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (…ish).

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online reaaaaaallllyyy be so bad?

I have reviewed the book below but first, something a little different.

In the novel, the protagonist Emma tries to make new friends after feeling a little left out of her current friendship circle.

Chloe has suggested that I write about which fictional character I would like to meet.

This question is one I love to ask authors. I find it a fascinating one to ask and no two answers are the same.

The problem is, when I sat down to think about which character I would like to meet, picking one was a lot harder than I thought it would be (sorry to all authors to which I have asked this question.)

All the wonderful books I have read since my childhood, how can I pick just one? When I read, all the characters become as real to me as someone sat next to me.

So… I didn’t. I cheated and picked five, (I know, greedy right.)

Jennifer Ehle, Pride and Prejudice, BBC. 1995.

Jennifer Ehle, Pride and Prejudice, BBC. 1995.

When I made up my list of five, I started to think of all the different personalities. I imagined us all around the table. Of course, we may disagree but we would all be having a lovely time.

The first fictional character on my list is probably Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I would maybe sneak Darcy in too. They come as a package deal right?

I would be so excited to be able to have a conversation with the popular Bennett sister. I’d want to know her true feelings about Mr Collins and Lady Catherine and about her life at Pemberley.

Lizzie is such a strong, opinionated and outspoken character, I’d be so interested to know what she’d make of the global political climate, social media etc. What would she make of today’s society? Would she embrace it or find it ‘somewhat savage?’

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: The Tunnel

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-1.jpgFor the writing room activity today, I have a writing prompt for everyone.

There are two characters in your story. Gender, age, relationship to one another as well as the reason they are standing at the start of a tunnel is up to you.

Set the timer for ten minutes and write in the first person from the point of view of one of the characters. Include setting and dialogue.

Once that is done, set the timer again and write the same scene again but as an internal monologue of the other character. How do they differ? How was writing from different point of view? Was one easier than the other?

Have fun!

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NK Chats To: Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

I’m pleased to be welcoming Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus to the blog today and the blog tour for their new book, The Book Ninja. Hello to you both. Thank you so much for joining me today. Your book is called The Book Ninja (I love the title.) Can you tell me about it and what inspired it? 

Ali-Berg

Ali Berg

Michelle-Kalus-Books-On-The-Rail

Michelle Kalus

The Book Ninja is a quirky, romantic, comedic love letter to friendship, soulmates and books! The protagonist of the story, Frankie, is desperate to shake things up – she is frustrated in life and in love.

An author, with a serious case of writer’s block and post-horrifically-bad-reviews blues, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment. Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams. Her journey leads her to stumble across some very wacky dates, some astonishing discoveries, some great literature and, overall, leads her to find herself.

The story is inspired by our community initiative, Books on the Rail, which we co-founded in April 2016 after Ali lived in London and became friends with the co-founder of Books on the Underground, Hollie Fraser. As part of this project, we set books loose on public transport around Australia for people to find, read and then return for somebody else to enjoy. Thanks to our growing team of some 1000 Book Ninjas, who place their own books on their local trains, trams and buses, with a Books on the Rail sticker attached to it, we have over 5000 books traveling around Australia.

 

What’s your step by step process when planning a novel? How do you separate the workload and what are the challenges of co-writing a novel? 

At first we started writing side by side, piano style. Then we realised how difficult that was! We discovered that the best way to write was to, in the words of one of our favourite authors, Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project), become plotters, not pantsers (writing by the seat of ones pants). Before we started writing anything, we came together for huge plotting sessions, during which we would map everything that would take place in each chapter down to a tee. Then, we simply divided the chapters up between us and wrote one each. We passed the chapters back and forth between us to edit and put our writing style into each chapter. We’ve written so closely together that now our tone is basically a blend of the both of us!  So much so, when reading back over the book, we often find it difficult to pinpoint who wrote what!

One of the biggest challenges of co-writing? Well, Ali always used to be a pantser (writing by the seat of her pants). She let the characters lead the story and the plot line, and she discovered what would happen as she went. With two people – it’s a bit tricky to do that. So her writing style has definitely changed quite a lot, from being a pantser to a plotter. We also had slightly different tones when we started writing (Ali is more dialogue heavy, Michelle more descriptive)! But now we’ve found a happy medium and we absolutely love writing this way.

 

What’s your approach to editing? 

Do it. And do it often! Being co-authors, we’re lucky, because whatever we write, it always gets edited by the other person. This means we’re constantly in editing mode. When Ali writes something, Mich will edit it, and visa versa. The problem is, we can’t stop editing – we constantly think we can keep making our work better and better, which makes it hard to let go and finally submit our manuscript!

 

What is your favourite word and why? 

Mellifluous – because it literally means a pleasant sounding word, which is what it is! We love the sound of it.

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Book Extract: Through His Eyes by Emma Dibdin

Through His EyesA huge excited hello to Emma Dibdin. She joins me today with the blog tour for her new novel, Through His Eyes which is due to be released by Head of Zeus on 9th August. 

Jessica Harris is a struggling Hollywood reporter hungry for her big break. When her editor asks her to profile movie star Clark Conrad, Jessica is sure her luck is on the turn. Clark is an A-lister with access to everyone. If Jessica can impress him, she’s made it.

When she arrives at Clark’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, he is just as she always imagined. Charming, handsome yet disarmingly vulnerable. But then things take a darker turn. Clark’s world is not as straightforward as it seems and Jessica’s puff piece soon becomes something much more delicate – and dangerous. As Jessica draws herself deeper into Clark’s inner circle, events begin to spiral out of her control.

 

Emma and Head of Zeus have kindly shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.

**************start of extract***************

 

A silence, as Jackie exchanges a glance with the features editor, and I clench my fists under the table. There’s no way they will actually give this to me. It’s way above my pay grade, way above my experience level. How has some veteran profile-writer not already swooped in to take this? An interview with Clark Conrad is like a unicorn sighting in the world of movie journalism, for anyone, even for people who haven’t idolized him since puberty.

‘I’m not sure we should—’ the features editor whose name I can never remember begins, then cuts herself off. ‘Maybe we hold off on making a call on the writer. I have a couple of freelancers I’d like to run it past.’

‘We’re really down to the wire on this,’ Justin says. ‘How fast can you get a freelancer onboard?’

‘I’m a little confused as to why we still don’t have a writer assigned,’ says Jackie softly. She is the kind of woman who never raises her voice, never needs to, because people lean in to catch every word. She turns to the features editor. ‘Eleanor, could you clear this up for me?’

‘We had Jim Rothman assigned, but he pulled out when we told him about all the restrictions on questions, and it’s been hard to—’

‘Okay,’ Jackie interrupts. ‘I don’t need to hear excuses, I need a solution. The interview is happening this week,  yes?’

‘Friday,’ Justin confirms

‘All right, Jessica. Let’s give you a shot. Send your notes and your transcript to Eleanor when you’re done, and the two of you can work together on the angle. Do you have any clippings of similar pieces that you’ve done before, anything long-form? In case Clark’s rep asks.’

We both know that this has nothing to do with his rep. They want to vet me, and though there’s a part of me that bristles, I know they’re right to do so. I’m a nobody being handed an absurdly huge assignment.

‘Definitely. I can send you some clips today. I’ve written interviews before.’ This is true, but only with studio executives, indie directors, the odd supporting actor. No one on the level of a Clark Conrad, not even close.

‘She’s a pro,’ Justin says. ‘You don’t need to worry, she’s way overdue for an assignment like this.’I glance gratefully at him.

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August’s Novel Kicks Book Club: Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

Whistle in the dark

Viking, May 2018

Welcome to August everyone. 

For this month’s book club, I chose something that has definitely been on my TBR pile for weeks and that is Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey.

As usual, our book club is open to anyone who fancies talking about it. I’ve posted a question to kick things off.

About Whistle in the Dark:

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days.

When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over.

But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed.

The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart.

Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.

With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?

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Book Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

hauntinghattiehastingsHappy Monday all. I am pleased to be welcoming to Novel Kicks today, Audrey Davis and the Blog Blitz for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings…Part Three which has been released today.

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …
Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

 

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings: Part Three is the final book in the Haunting of Hattie Hastings series.

Hattie has recently become a widow after her husband, Gary was knocked over and killed by a drunk driver/hit and run.

Adjusting to life without him is something that Hattie is not finding easy. She does know that she wouldn’t have survived the first month had it not been for her son, Johnny, her mother Rachel, her brother Jack and his partner Ben and her best friend, Cat.

When Gary appears in front of her, Hattie can barely believe it. Gary doesn’t know why he’s still there but it’s not long before Hattie doesn’t want to let him go.

As this is the third book in the series, you need to have read the first two books to have a good sense of what is going on in this one. It doesn’t stand alone.

Told from the point of view from Hattie, Cat and Gary, (and Rachel for a couple of chapters,) it is like a modern day Truly Madly Deeply. Having it told from all these perspectives does give you an insight of how each of them is dealing with events differently. Gary appearing at inconvenient times leads to hilarity and awkwardness for the rest of the characters. Some parts of this book did have me chuckling a lot.

Hattie and Cat are both immediately likeable (although I did want to give Cat a hug plus a kick up the bum.) Both have been through a lot and these experiences meant I had a lot of empathy and connection with them. I wanted things to work out for them.

Gary is also a lovely character. I liked him a lot.

The rest of the supporting characters are also fantastic; Jack and Ben being personal favourites.

The style of the novel has a lot of warmth and humour. The characters and plot feel well-developed and not rushed.

The ending was great although I knew from the beginning that it was going to break my heart. Being split over the three books, it makes it very easy to fall into the story.

You do have to suspend realism but the author has cleverly mixed romance and paranormal. She has also tackled the subject of bereavement with grace and empathy.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings is a great trio of books. I loved Hattie, Cat and Gary’s story and I think you will too.

 

FBprofilepicAbout Audrey:

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce. It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Say hi on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks and Twitter- https://twitter.com/audbyname

Click to view the Haunting of Hattie Hastings books on Amazon UK:

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunting-Hattie-Hastings-Part-Three-ebook/dp/B07DT2P5Q3

 

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NK Chats To… David Joland

DavidJolandHello David. Thank you so much for joining me. Your novel is called The Biggest Idea in the World. Can you tell me a little about it and what inspired the idea?

After I sold my business a decade ago, I started investing in other businesses. I met a range of colourful characters, signed an armload of NDAs (Non-disclosure Agreements) and heard a great deal of ridiculous ideas ranging from social networking for Cell mates through to a Phone App for people with no phone.

I decided to take some time out and do something I really enjoyed. After eliminating everything that was immoral or illegal, I was left with writing. I decided to use caricatures of some of those I had come across.

 

What is your writing day like? How do you balance writing with your job?

I’m what’s commonly referred to as a Business Angel, which is someone that invests in businesses when no one else will (at least that’s how it appears to me). It’s not a full-time job so most of my week is revolved around monitoring the investments I have, attending board meetings and listening to excuses of why no one’s achieved what they set out to. Until I made the decision to write, I would have also spent time looking for new ideas and opportunities.

Once I started writing, I was totally consumed by it, finishing the book in just 9 weeks.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

That would have to be ‘squelch’ which I managed to incorporate in my book “…not only am I sweating profusely by the time I get there, but I’m faintly aware of a squelching sound as I walk.”

I love the image it conjures up.

 

Which fictional world would you like to visit for a day and why?

If I had a pound for each time I’m asked that….
It would have to be a city made out of lego. I’d love to wonder round the little streets, climb into shiny cars… and I’m ever so slightly attracted to yellow people.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Adding Another Aspect

Novel Kicks Writing RoomAdding another aspect…

I think this following exercise is a very interesting one.

Take your current work in progress or a published novel of your choice.

Add a chapter that isn’t in your original novel outline or included in the book you’ve chosen. Maybe in the middle or the ending you would have preferred. You can add it anywhere as long as it is a completely new aspect to the plot.

Also, as a little extra challenge, add these items in somewhere:

An inflatable Unicorn

A butter knife

A fifty pound note

An old photograph

A padlock

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Book Review: One in a Million by Lindsey Kelk

one in a millionA big lovely welcome today to Lindsey Kelk. Her latest novel, One in a Million is due to be released in paperback by HarperCollins on Thursday. 

Everyone wants that special someone….

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her tiny business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just thirty days.

And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not.

But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the thirty days are over.

 

One in a million is ‘My Fair Lady for the digital era.’

It is told from the point of view of Annie Higgins who, along with her best friend, Miranda, run a digital marketing company.

Annie and Miranda bet a month’s rent that they can make an unknown person ‘instagram famous’ with twenty thousand likes in thirty days.
This is where Annie meets Sam who is very reluctant to say the least.

Annie has a very open, chatty dialogue that makes her such a warm and likeable character. In some aspects of her life, she is fearless. In her love life, not so much.

Miranda and Brian are perfect supporting characters. Everyone should have a Miranda in their life I think. Both she and Brian complement Annie well.

I have to say though, I did have a major soft spot for Wellington.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Strangers on a Train

Fiction FridayFiction 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: Strangers on a Train… 

Your character boards a train. It’s almost midnight. The character takes a seat and to begin with, is the only person in the carriage.

Your character falls asleep. When they wake up, there are three other people sitting nearby. Strangers who they have never met before.

One of the characters begins to talk to yours.

What happens next. Are they what they seem?

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A Moment With… Rufus Purdy

tove

Puffin, August 1973

Rufus Purdy has joined me today and I am happy to welcome him to Novel Kicks.

Rufus is the founder of the Write Here… writing school, which offers high-quality, affordable creative writing courses in cities throughout the UK. Here, he shares the five books that have shaped his life.

Over to you, Rufus…

Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson

I suppose my parents must have introduced me to the Moomins – but by the time I was seven, I was reading Finnish author Tove Jansson’s tales of these hippo-like trolls and their dark and unsettling adventures all by myself.

What gripped me then was a cast of brilliantly drawn characters, from the resourceful yet self-conscious Moomintroll to the boy-tramp Snufkin, who drifts in and out of the stories with the seasons, and the beautiful language Jansson uses to evoke Moomin Valley – for which read rural Scandinavia. But, for me as a child, what set the Moomins apart was the unapologetic strangeness that runs throughout all the stories, and just how fine is the line between happiness and sadness.

In Finn Family Moomintroll, the first novel in the series, a genuinely scary, creeping sense of menace is offset by the closeness of the Moomin family unit and a reassuring feeling that nothing can go too badly wrong so long as family and friends stick together.

Utterly unlike any other children’s books I’d read at that time, the Moomin novels (first published in the 1940s) will never date – as they’ll always exist outside everyone’s experience.

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle

houndofthebask

Penguin classics UK Ed. Dec 2012

I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes at seven years old by a 1982 BBC adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and within one episode I was hooked on its potent mix of mystery and the supernatural.

Of course, when I read the book a couple of years later, I found there was no room for anything but the application of pure reason in Holmes’s world and I was amazed by how all the spookiness of the previous 200 or so pages was convincingly explained away by the end.

So this short novel hooked me on the idea that no matter how otherworldly a set-up, an author can always come up with a rational explanation. I was spoilt. It’s a trope often copied by other writers (and in most episodes of Scooby Doo), but rarely matched.

I remain a huge fan of ghost stories, but have accepted the joy of reading them usually comes from the creepy atmosphere the author creates as they build towards an inevitably disappointing conclusion.

And though I’ve spent my life eagerly pouncing on any book that promises similar ingredients to The Hound of the Baskervilles, I’ve yet to read anything as perfect – and as fun.

 

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

wutheringheights

Scholastic ed. July 2014

Emily Brontë’s novel fitted the 17-year-old me every bit as well as the yak-hair jacket and indie-band T-shirts I spent my late teenage years in. It was our A-Level English set text, so my friends and I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading it (and listening to the Kate Bush song), but the novel became far more than just a passage to a good grade.

We grew up in Sheffield on the edge of Pennines, and drank our first cider-cans looking out onto the moors of the Peak District, so Wuthering Heights seemed to be written for us. It was, after all, about people in floaty dresses or long coats falling passionately in love and being driven to acts of violence, all while striding through heather with brooding looks on their faces. And in our most pretentious moments – and at this time there were many – we imagined ourselves as Heathcliff or Cathy as we smoked Silk Cuts perched on drystone walls and stared out gloomily at misty moors.

Wuthering Heights affirmed our Northern-ness and told us that, in the adult world, it was OK to have extremes of emotion so strong you might hang someone’s pet spaniel. Something that, as teenagers, we identified with all too well.

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A Moment With… Jonathan Whitelaw

Jonathan Whitelaw Author ImageHellCorp is the new novel by Jonathan Whitelaw and was released by Urbane Publications on 5thJuly 2018. It’s great to welcome him and the blog tour to Novel Kicks today. 

Sometimes even the Devil deserves a break!

Life is hard for The Devil and he desperately wants to take a holiday. Growing weary from playing the cosmic bad guy, he resolves to set up a company that will do his job for him so the sins of the world will tick over while he takes a vacation. God tells him he can have his vacation just as soon as he solves an ancient crime.

But nothing is ever easy and before long he is up to his pitchfork in solving murders, desperate to crack the case so he can finally take the holiday he so badly needs…

 

Jonathan has joined me today to chat about research when writing a novel. Over to you, Jonathan.

Research is a vital part of any writer’s work. It’s so vital in fact that it seeps beyond the writing and becomes a part of your life. Like living with a new pet – a dog that constantly needs walked or a cat that’s all over your keyboard, you can’t shake it off.

And it’s just as well really. Accuracy and attention to detail can be the difference between stories being believable for readers and being dismissed as total hocum. So it’s vital for writers to take into account research and how important a role it plays in the overall production of writing and novels.

For HellCorp I was incredibly lucky. The story itself involves a lot of history, mythology and culture from all across society. From traditional Christian tropes to Jewish philosophy, Buddhist culture and even a little Norse folklore, I was totally immersed in something that can potentially be endless.

Just as well that I really, really love research!

As the old saying goes – knowledge is power. That phrase has never really sat well with me. I’ve always found it to be a little on the sinister side of things. It implies that be knowing all you can, educating yourself and being in a position to learn means that you can wield that against others. In actual fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Audition

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1.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: Audition…

You are instructed to attend an audition. When you get there, you see many people who look a little like you. This is confusing.

When you get into the room, you feel unprepared. It is now that a piece of paper containing lines from a scene is thrust into your hand.

You discover that you’re auditioning to play yourself in a play of your life.

Write about the audition. POV is up to you.

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NK Chats To… Riley Sager

pseudonymHi Riley. Thank you for joining me today. Your new book is called Last Time I Lied and was released in the UK on 10th July by Ebury Publishing. Can you tell me about it? 

LAST TIME I LIED is about an artist named Emma who went to a fancy all-girl’s camp when she was 13 and watched her three cabinmates leave in the middle of the night. They never returned.

Fifteen years later, she returns to that same camp as a painting instructor, hoping to learn more about what happened to her friends. Nothing goes according to plan. I think of it as my version of “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”

 

What’s your writing process like from idea, to planning, to writing and finally editing?

For me, it varies from book to book. FINAL GIRLS, for example, was a bolt of lightning. From writing to revising to finding it a good home, everything about that book was fast. I’m usually much slower. Once I get an idea, I spend a lot of time thinking, taking notes and trying to figure out how to turn it into a book.

LAST TIME I LIED took twice as long to write because I still didn’t quite know what to do with it even after I started written. Like some of the characters in the book, I spent a lot of time lost in the woods, trying to find my way out.

 

What advice do you have for when you’ve finished your book and want to try and get it published? 

The act of trying to get a book published can be so difficult that it’s easy to overlook the obvious—You’ve written a book! It’s such a huge accomplishment that quickly gets overshadowed by the rest of it. So I advise writers to remember to pat themselves on the back.

There’s a lot of negative involved in trying to get a book published. Rejections come fast and furious. At least they did for me. And I wish I had taken the time to be more proud of what I’d already accomplished instead of agonizing over what I had yet to accomplish.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why? 

Mary Poppins. She’d fly in, we’d go on a grand adventure and when it’s over I’ll hopefully have learned an important life lesson or two.

 

Do you have advice for someone who may be experiencing writer’s block?

I find reading helps. Just pick up a book, open it and start reading. If it’s good, you’ll be inspired to be just as good. But I’ve found it’s more helpful if the book is bad. Because I can tell myself, “If this dreck can get published, then what I’m doing also has a fair shot of making it!”

 

What are you currently working on? 

I can’t say very much. It’s still a work in progress and I’m still trying to figure it out. But it features a very ornate, very famous apartment building in New York City where horrible things happen.

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July’s Novel Kicks Book Club: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

eleanor oliphantIt’s July and summer is officially here.

I am loving this beautiful weather and the many chances to read in the sunshine.

This month, I’ve picked a book I’ve heard great things about and have been wanted to read for a while.

I’ve picked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. 

As usual, I’ve added a question below to kick off the discussion. Anyone is welcome to join in and it can be from the comfort of your sofa, armchair, bed.

About the book: 

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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