Laura

I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts. I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

Book Extract: The Other You by J.S. Monroe

Welcome today to J.S. Monroe and the blog tour for his latest novel, The Other You. 

 

Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.

At least she has Rob. Young, rich, handsome and successful, Rob runs a tech company on the idyllic Cornish coast. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health. When she’s with him, in his luxury modernist house, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.

Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew. And knows, with absolute certainty, that the man before her has been replaced by an impostor.

Is Rob who he says he is? Or is it all in Kate’s damaged mind?

 

J.S. Monroe and Head of Zeus have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Kate glances across at Rob’s smooth, sleeping body and slips quietly out of bed, wrapping a cotton dressing gown around her as she steps out onto the terrace. It’s a warm August evening and no one can see her here. The isolated house, all glass and oak and concrete, is cut deep into the Cornish hillside and faces out to sea, which is empty tonight, apart from the winking lights of tankers moored in the distance off Falmouth. 

‘You OK?’ Rob calls out.

She swings around. It’s too dark in the bedroom to see him properly. 

‘I couldn’t sleep,’ she says, turning back towards the bay, where a ribbon of moonlight has been laid across the water. 

A moment later, his arms are wrapped around her from behind. ‘Come back to bed,’ he whispers in her ear. 

She can feel him against her, a familiar swelling. She rests her hand on his smooth forearm and thinks again about the necklace he gave her earlier, his insensitive response to her squeal of pain. It still niggles.

‘Thank you for the present,’ she says. He must have just been tired. Hardly surprising after a long week at work and then the flight down.

‘Not too tight?’ he asks.

‘It’s perfect.’

Back inside the bedroom, they snuggle up in the darkness. In all other respects, he’s played it well this evening. He ran her a bath with Moroccan rose oil and brought in two glasses of chilled champagne. Her exhaustion of earlier slipped away. Afterwards, he was the one who fell asleep almost instantly, like a laptop closing.

‘Talk to me,’ she says now, quietly. ‘Tell me about your week.’ 

She still doesn’t understand exactly what Rob does in London. One of the articles she read about his meteoric career described him as a serial ‘techpreneur’, the youngest ever founder of a British ‘unicorn’ company and a pioneering champion of something called ‘direct neural interface’ technology – the interaction between brain and machine. She likes the sound of unicorns. The ‘disruptive’ tag is less appealing. He also runs a charity on the side that puts on art shows in hospitals, which is how they met.

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Cover Reveal: The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James

Today I am getting to reveal the cover for the brand new novel from Daisy James, The Cornish Confetti Agency.

 

A gorgeous sun-filled new story from author of the Villa Limoncello series.

Welcome to The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When the grand finale of Lexie Harrington’s catwalk show ends with a disastrous twist on the ‘ice bucket challenge’, she was expecting her highly-strung boss to fire her on the spot. What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into her fiancé cosied up with an attractive blonde in the restaurant opposite their apartment!

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, Lexie flees to her childhood home of St Ives to hold the fort at The Cornish Confetti Agency for her best friend Freya, leader of the yummy mummy network and firm believer in ‘happily ever afters’. Little did she know that delivering a Caribbean-themed wedding in sunny Cornwall would rival the fashion industry for drama, tantrums and mysterious goings on. 

Who is responsible for dousing the bridesmaid’s dress with tomato ketchup? Or hiding the bride’s beloved Jimmy Choos? Or attaching googly eyes to everything in sight?

The perfect Cornish wedding? Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency? 

 

OK, are you ready to see the cover….. 

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Book Review: All The Rage by Cara Hunter

A girl is taken from the streets of Oxford. But it’s unlike any abduction DI Fawley’s seen before . . .

Faith Appleford was attacked, a plastic bag tied over her head, taken to an isolated location . . . and then, by some miracle, she escaped.

What’s more, when DC Erica Somer interviews Faith, she quickly becomes convinced that Faith knows who her abductor is.

Yet Faith refuses to press charges.

Without more evidence, it’s looking like the police may have to drop the case.

But what happens if Faith’s attacker strikes again?

 

I was very excited to be invited to take part in the blog tour for All The Rage, the latest book from Cara Hunter.

A girl is found in a state, walking along the side of the road. It is obvious she has been attacked.

DI Adam Fawley and his team have little to go on, especially as the victim doesn’t want to press charges.

When a second girl disappears, Adam knows time is short.

This story really played on my fears. I did creep myself out whilst reading, jumping at little noises.

Cara Hunter is becoming one of my favourite authors in this genre.

This story did have a slightly different feel than the others I’ve read but in my opinion, that wasn’t a bad thing.

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Book Extract: Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall by Alison Sherlock

I am happy to be welcoming Alison Sherlock and the blog tour for her book, Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall. 

Here’s a little about the book:

Romance blossoms under the stars in this feel good love story for fans of Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain.

Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.

Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.

Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.

Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…

Full of warmth, tears, love and laughter, this is a gripping romance for fans of Heidi Swain and Philippa Ashley.

 

Alison and Aria have shared an extract today. Enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Lily looked around the room again for Mark but couldn’t see him. Perhaps he was in the gents’, trying out his speech. She wondered what he would say. Would he go down on one knee, even in the middle of the dancefloor? She secretly hoped so. That was how she had always wanted it to be done. And now the time was finally near.

A small frown creased her forehead. In fact, the time was actually a little overdue according to her life plan. She had wanted to get engaged on her birthday, but Mark had given her a lovely necklace instead of a ring. He knew about her plans to be engaged by the time she was thirty, so he only had until her next birthday to propose.

But she could forgive him for the short delay, as it was such a glorious setting that summer evening and would make an amazing story to tell their children. Perhaps they would come back to the Natural History Museum when the kids were old enough to understand.

‘And that’s where Daddy proposed to Mummy. Right by that dinosaur.’

Lily smiled expectantly at her reflection in the hallway mirror. She tucked a stray lock of red hair behind her ear, but her ponytail and simple makeup had remained in place. Her green eyes were framed with just a lick of dark mascara, her lips painted with a natural matte colour. Nice and neat. Nothing too outlandish.

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My Writing Ramblings – Goodbye January, Hello February

We are about to say goodbye to January and greet February.

My niece turned 21 this month and if there is one thing that has done, it’s made me aware of time.

As I get older, I am finding that time is going so much quicker. It was something my Mum would warn me about but it’s easy to take time for granted.

Time. We always think we have more than we do.

Amongst other things, I have been thinking about the time I give to writing.

For many years, I have wanted to write a novel. It’s been my dream for a long time. Yet, I don’t allow myself the time and commitment it needs.

Why don’t I?

Confidence and not knowing where to begin are elements for sure, but I am coming to the belief that I am not respecting my goal to be a writer. Or in fact, my right to call myself a writer.

“I don’t have time.” “I would have done it but I ran out of time.” 

These reasons are how I have justified it. When I sit back and look at it though, I realise that they are simply excuses.

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My January Favourites

Columbia Pictures

January favourites time. My first of 2020. 

I love reading posts like this as you never know what you’re going to discover. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

My film favourite for January was Little Women. 

Starring Emma Watson, Laura Dern and Saoirse Ronan, this adaptation was directed by Greta Gerwig.

I was one of those people who was a little sceptical about a new adaption of this novel. I didn’t hate the 1994 version but, like many classic novels, there are many.

I saw this one with a friend who is as in love with this story as I am.

The beginning was slightly confusing but when it becomes clear how the timeline is set up, it had a huge amount of charm. It’s a lovely adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. I know I haven’t got much to compare it to seeing as we are only in January but it’s my favourite film so far this year. Upcoming films I do want to see include A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood starring Tom Hanks, Emma (yes, another adaptation,) and Bill and Ted Face The Music. It’s part of a classic series. Don’t judge me. Hahaha.

 

My favourite app this month is Procreate.

For anyone who is in to digital art or digital planning knows all about the Procreate app. I am in no way an artist but by following many tutorials online and things like drawing assistance, it has allowed me to produce doodles and artwork.

This app has so many incredible features and if you have an iPad or an iPhone then Procreate is a great app if you want to do creative things. It helps me when I am creatively blocked.

I am not being paid to say great things about them. I just love this app.

 

Netflix

The TV show I have been bingeing this month is Suits on Netflix.

The last series has been available for a while but I have been putting it off because I don’t want it to end. The law firm in this series has had more name changes than I’ve had pens though. I own a lot of pens.

I couldn’t put it off any longer thanks to someone I work with saying how good the last series was. I am loving this last lot of episodes and it is filling the void whilst I wait for the new series of Lucifer and Line of Duty later in the year.

It also makes a nice change from all the crime documentaries I have been watching.

I am going to miss Harvey when he goes. I have enjoyed Suits as a whole but I guess everything has to come to an end.

 

Abbie Emmons is my favourite You Tube channel for January.

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February Upcoming Book Releases

Michael Joseph

There has already been some great book releases already this year and we’ve only just made it through January.

With February approaching, I wanted to share some upcoming book releases that I am excited about.

The first book is from the fabulous Marian Keyes. Grownups is due to be released on 6th February and it sounds fantastic.

The basic premise is that the Caseys are glamorous. Three brothers, Johnny, Ed and Liam, their wives and kids. They spend a lot of time together. Birthdays, anniversaries and weekends away.

Things bubble under the surface though and secrets start to spill out. Each one of the adults eventually start to wonder whether it’s time to grow up.

 

Another novel due out on 6th February is Perfect Kill by Helen Fields. This is book six in the DI Callanach series.

Piatkus

Avon

Bert Campbell is alone in the dark with little chance of being found alive. He’s found himself locked inside a shipping container miles from his Edinburgh home.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach separate cases soon collide and with many lives at stake, they face an impossible task but failure is not an option.

 

Staying in the same genre, Golden in Death is the latest novel from J.D. Robb (the pseudonym of Nora Roberts) and it’s the new novel in the Eve Dallas series.

When Kent Abner is found dead in his home, Detective Eve Dallas and her team have a real mystery on their hands.

Who would want to kill the baby doctor, model husband and father?

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NK Chats To… Michelle Vernal

Hello Michelle, thank you so much for joining me today and inviting me on your blog tour. Can you tell me a little about your novel, When We Say Goodbye and what inspired the story?

Thank you so much for having me.

When we say Goodbye is a story about love, loss and learning to live and open yourself up to possibilities.

This book was inspired by two things. The first was the loss of someone close to me when I was the same age as Ellie. I’d also not long bought an old house which I was in the process of doing up and I believe it was that house and the responsibility I’d taken on in purchasing it that helped me through a difficult time.

There are scenes in the story that I experienced first-hand. Secondly, we here in Christchurch, New Zealand lived through a massive earthquake which had devastating ramifications for people and I couldn’t set a story here, in Christchurch without acknowledging what happened in our city.

 

Do you think character or plot is more important in a story?

I write character driven novels. I don’t know if this is more important it’s just my style of writing.

 

What would be on a playlist for this novel?

Oh, a playlist would definitely feature Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? Where do you like to write? Do you prefer silence, do you need coffee?

I need coffee before I do anything! My typical writing day starts after I’ve dropped my boys at school. I think about doing some exercise before I begin (then usually don’t!) before making a coffee and getting comfy on the couch in our conservatory. It’s a lovely space as we are surrounded by greenery and I can hear the birds and not much else.

Our black, three-legged cat called Blue usually joins me and I write until lunchtime. When I say write I flick far too often onto social media as I have a Facebook page I love interacting on.

After lunch, I carry on until it’s time to get the boys. Once they’re home, I have another coffee and work on the marketing side of being an author and then stop for the day when it’s time to make dinner.

Of course, if I have a book releasing and I’m up against it, which always seems to happen no matter how on top of things I think I am, I get back on my laptop after dinner. Most nights though my husband and I go for a walk. It’s important to get out and do that after a day in front of the computer.

 

What is your planning process like?

My planning is pretty much non-existent. A book begins with a thread of an idea and then I just find a place to start. I also find that the hardest part. I’m a definite pantser and the book comes together as I write.

 

Do you tend to edit as you go or wait for a first draft?

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Book Review: Little Boy Lost by J.P. Carter

One early October afternoon, ten-year-old Jacob Rossi begins the short walk home from school. But he never makes it.
 
Days later, DCI Anna Tate is called to the scene of a burning building, where an awful discovery has been made. A body has been found, and the label in his school blazer reads: J. Rossi.
 
As Anna starts digging, she soon learns that a lot of people had grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far as to take his son?

And is the boy’s abductor closer than she thinks?

 

I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Little Boy Lost, the latest novel by J.P. Carter.

Little Boy Lost begins when the wife of a suspected drug dealer is shot dead in a Police raid. When this event sparks riots all over London, DCI Anna Tate know she’s in for a long few nights.

It doesn’t take long until the riots begin to claim their victims including schoolboy Jacob Rossi.

However, he may have been accidentally killed but his presence in the cellar of a derelict pub is far from an accident and Anna and her team find themselves battling to bring both the abductor and arsonist to justice, before it’s too late.

I knew from the first few sentences that I was going to like this novel. It immediately puts the reader into the heart of the action. It also doesn’t shy away from gritty plot lines, all equally sad and compelling.

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Book Extract: The Other Woman by Jane Isaac

Happy Saturday everyone. I am pleased to be welcoming Jane Isaac and the blog tour for her latest book, The Other Woman (previously published as After He’s Gone.) 

The grieving widow. The other woman. Which one is which?

When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.

Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.

Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.

Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years…

Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed.

As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…

Previously published as After He’s Gone.

 

To celebrate the book’s release, Jane and Aria have shared an extract. Enjoy.

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Residents of Collingtree Park were just taking their waking breaths when the roar of a motorbike broke their Sunday morning reverie.

At high speed, the rider took the bends effortlessly, radiating a cool calmness in dark leathers. He passed houses with curtains drawn tightly, manicured lawns, driveways adorned with estate cars and people-carriers screaming out for their weekend wash.

Exhaust fumes dispersed into an air thick from a sun already flexing its muscles, reigning supreme in the clear blue sky. Summer was in full swing, the recent heatwave showing no signs of abating. In a few hours, paddling pools would be refilled in back gardens, the sound of children’s shrieks and laughter filling the area.

At precisely 7.05 a.m., Cameron Swift emerged from number sixteen Meadowbrook Close, pulling the door to a gentle close behind him.

The bike dropped a gear, rounded the lip of the close, and pulled up the incline.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Movie Scenes

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction 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: Movie scenes. 

Your character claims to have a glamorous life when in reality, they live their life through the films they watch on TV.

One day, they magically find themselves in the scene of their favourite movie.

They need to work to get out and back to real life but with every action, it is changing the outcome of the movie and therefore, your character’s knowledge of it.

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NK Chats To… Patricia Ann Bowen

Hello Patricia, thank you so much for joining me today and for inviting me onto your blog tour. Can you tell me a little about your novel, The Cure and what inspired the story?

I was at a meeting of Sisters in Crime in Atlanta when the leader asked the audience to write a quick book blurb and share it. I’d been doing a lot of volunteer work with senior citizens, and my dad had recently passed away with dementia, so the topic of Alzheimer’s was top of mind. I raised my hand with an idea, the audience applauded, and two long years later I published the book.

It’s women’s fiction, a tale of a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease who is visited by a man from the future with a cure. I call it a hopeful fantasy. He’s a doctor, head of a medical research team, and needs her to conduct a long-term study to prove the safety and efficacy of their drug, and the only way for him to do this quickly is to get patients in the past to take the drug and get the results to him. The plot thickens as their relationship gets complicated, as the study must be done under the legal and ethical radar, and as the doctor ignores his directive to change nothing during his trip to the past.

 

What’s your writing day like and what do you need around you, for example, silence, coffee?

I either write or revise almost every day. If I’m writing, I shoot for at least one thousand words. If I’m revising, at least a couple of hours. I’m a morning person, up at around four most days, and my mental state is best early in the day. So, I’m that weird neighbour you see out walking in the dark of the morning in the light of the moon for exercise, then come home for coffee and breakfast, two cats show  up on my desk, pictures of my muses surround me (Flannery O’Connor, Elena Ferrante, Pascal Garnier, Patricia Highsmith), my laptop has ready research available from google and Wikipedia, and I begin to write.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

Great question. After much thought, I’d have to say “care”. I want to care about the important things, things that will help me and others, inspire me to give back to all who’ve helped me and cared for me. It’s easy to say we like something, but do we care about it?

Do we care enough about something to do something about it…put some time in for it? We have so many challenges today, life is not simple anymore, and I think that caring becomes a differentiator, whether it’s a small thing like making a good cup of coffee or a big one like what can I personally do to make someone else’s life better today.

Like write a better story, take someone away from their troubles for a page at a time. Listen, we writers aren’t in this for the money, and I love hearing that a reader cared about my story, that it made them think, or laugh, or grin, or even that it put them to sleep after a long day.

 

How do you approach the editing process?

With sheer dread. I can’t say that writing is easy, but I find it a breeze compared to editing and revising. It’s difficult to tear your own work apart, to read it like a reader and not the author of all those words. As for my process, I make five passes: first to review the draft and mark it up for obvious changes; second to enhance the plot, subplot(s) and scenes… too much detail, not enough, right details; third, enhance the characters and their dialog; fourth, check spelling, grammar, for weak and passive words, check names and dates and places; fifth, polish it, show off, spice it up, add some clues, ramp up the pace. Then I send it out to four to six beta readers and attend to their advice, making changes, rereading, reediting. There are no short-cuts.

 

Do you think character or plot is more important?

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Book Extract: The Beach House by P.R. Black

I am happy to be part of the blog tour for The Beach House, the latest novel from P.R. Black. 

This vacation is about to turn deadly…

Cora’s on the island vacation of her dreams: a private beach in paradise, a romantic proposal, and an eight-figure cheque following the sale of her new fiancé’s business.

When their island turns out to be not so private after all, Cora tries to make the best of a bad situation by inviting their strangely friendly neighbours to celebrate with them.

But it doesn’t take long for her once-in-a-lifetime holiday to take a very sinister turn…

 

P.R. Black and Aria have shared an extract today. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Once the call was over, Jonathan dropped the phone onto the sand. He grinned, slipping on a pair of shorts he’d discarded by the side of the beach chair the night before. ‘Now you believe me?’

‘I’m not sure I do… This is incredible. What happens now?’

‘How about everything you’ve ever wanted?’

‘The amount of money… it’s a dream, but my God. The responsibility.’ She drew a hand through her tight black curls. ‘It’s a great thing. But a terrible thing.’

‘Yeah, I know. With absolute power, comes great, whatever. Spider-Man. Uncle Ben. Loved that movie. The Tobey Maguire one, I mean. Real Spider-Man.’

‘I’m serious. And what if we get kidnapped?’

‘Kidnapped!’ Jonathan spluttered. ‘Bit presumptuous. The money’s only just gone in the bank!’

‘It happens – you hear about it all the time. It happens to millionaires, it’s common. They get targeted. For cars, or ransom demands. They capture their kids, their wives. We’ll need security guards… and cameras… or a really big dog.’

‘How about a tyrannosaur? We could afford one of those. We’ll need a really big doghouse. Come to think of it, we’ll need a big house of our own. You always wanted a swimming pool, right?’

She giggled. ‘Is this actually happening?’

He nodded and bit his lip. ‘Are you pleased? Tell me you’re pleased.’

She paused. ‘We have to do something good with it.’

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Book Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles.

There are 192 passengers aboard: among them a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a Wall Street millionaire flirting with the air hostess; an injured soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons, bickering over who gets the window seat. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.

Dear Edward depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he struggles to make sense of the meaning of his survival, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and find his place in the world without his family. In his new home with his aunt and uncle, the only solace comes from his friendship with the girl next door, Shay. Together Edward and Shay make a startling discovery: hidden in his uncle’s garage are sacks of letters from the relatives of the other passengers, addressed to Edward.

As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront some of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given? And what does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

 

I am very happy to be part of the blog tour for Dear Edward, the latest novel from Ann Napolitano.

Dear Edward is the story of Edward who is a sole survivor of a plane crash that claims the lives of his parents and older brother. Now living with his Auntie and Uncle, this twelve-year-old is having adjust to life that is so different to everything he’s ever known whilst being in the spotlight post plane crash.

Dear Edward is unlike any novel I’ve ever read. You know when you pick up a book and just from the blurb on the back of the novel you know that you’re going to like it/get a lot from it? This book was an example of that for me.

Set between the events prior to the crash and the aftermath, it is so much more than how one boy deals with it.

This book is beautifully written. I found Edward’s story pre-crash interesting. He, as well as John and Lacey, are incredibly brave and complex people.

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A Moment With… D.B. Carter

A big lovely welcome today to D.B. Carter. His book, The Wild Roses was released by Mirador at the end of 2019.

Three friendships torn apart by one chance meeting. By autumn 1984 Sharon and Pip are in their final years of school and on the verge of adulthood. Best friends for as long as they can remember, the two young women befriend their badly bullied schoolmate, Gavin.

Their futures are bright until a chance meeting leads to a path of corruption, anger and malicious betrayal. Sometimes, when we can’t rely on those we love, our only hope is in the kindness of strangers. All three teens are driven from their homes to follow very different paths. They face dark times of heartbreak and new temptations.

But there may be ways out and better futures, if they are willing to take risks. What will they choose, and will they ever see each other again?

The Wild Roses is a coming-of-age drama for all ages that speaks honestly of love, loss, jealousy, coercion and self-discovery.

 

D.B. Carter has joined me today to chat about writing contemporary drama and romance and the challenges he faces. Over to you.

 

With two published novels, The Cherries and The Wild Roses, I’m starting to accept I may use “author” to refer to myself. I’ve worked in many sectors, including art, computer sciences, and business, but I felt I had come home to the place where I was meant to be when I started writing. My parents were artists and a creative drive runs deep in my psyche, but it took nearly half a century for fulfil my lifelong desire to write the kind of drama-romances that I’ve enjoyed for so long.

I’ve always enjoyed listening to people’s true-life stories. They give so many fascinating details and perspectives on society that the history books will never tell. When I was a lad, I would go with my mum to visit my grandmother, whereupon I’d be presented with a comic (generally the Beano or Dandy) and sent to read in the corner of the room while they chatted about life or reminisced about the past; even then, I realised how many anecdotes they had to relate and how many of life’s pleasures are to be discovered in small details. Since then, I’ve stored away decades of chats and reminiscences and they help me remember the rich assortment of people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.

I hope I’ve carried these observations into my work as a writer. I’d never replicate anyone’s true story, but I draw inspiration from them. It seems to me we tell most about a character from how they react in a situation – the remarks they make or the tears they shed are testaments to their very souls. To me, the people who inhabit my books are real, and I often miss them when I finish writing.

I get so many kind messages from readers of my books, some of which touch me deeply. It’s a wonderful thing when someone says your writing has helped them in some way. I often cover difficult subjects, but I hope I do so in a compassionate and respectful manner, and I believe creating believable and relatable characters helps foster empathy.

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

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