Month: February 2017

‘Visiting Today’ – Crooked Cat Author, Carol Maginn

Today’s visitor is fabulous Crooked Cat Author – Carol Maginn – who is going to share some interesting thoughts on the wonderful world of writing fiction

Welcome to London, Carol 






Hello June!  Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog. 


I’ve been thinking recently about how much of ourselves and our lives sneak into our fiction. 

New Yorker storyteller David Sedaris (whose book, Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy, I bought for several friends) amiably shares tales of a family so startling that…. they may just be real.   Many journalists, too, routinely utilise their real life experiences – I recall one who reported that none of her family would tell her anything anymore; they would begin, and then narrow their eyes and say ‘No, you’re just going to put it in your column.  ’

It was only after I’d finished my first novel, Ruin, that I realised that all the characters – hyperactive mother Lorraine, materialistic and grasping Suzanne, troubled and lovelorn Max, pragmatic ten-year-old Joely, and sociopathic secretary Luke – were in fact me.   All of them. 



My second, Daniel Taylor, is a thriller set in Rome, and I wrote it whilst living there.   The first eponymous Daniel – the hero – knows the city well and speaks effortless Italian, whereas the second Daniel is a hapless tourist who gets lost, misunderstands, and is almost permanently bewildered,….  well, you can guess which one was reflecting my reality…. 



Many of the Crooked Cat books I’ve read have insights which come from the lived experiences of their authors – Jane Bwye and Miriam Dori, for example, to name just two – and gain strength and authenticity from this.   

But I suspect that more of us goes into our characters than we perhaps altogether intend – it may be that it couldn’t be otherwise.   Lionel Shriver has said that she had no difficulty in writing the psychopathic Kevin, in We Need to Talk About Kevin because she felt herself developing empathy with him as she wrote.   The angels and demons of our natures get the chance to flap their wings, harmlessly, on the page.  (more…)


‘Visiting Today’ From Dublin – Irish filmmaker turned author, Lorcan Kavanagh

Welcome to London, Lorcan – and congratulations on your forthcoming, exciting debut novel, Texas Dakota



Thanks, June. It’s great to be here.

What inspired you to write Texas Dakota?  From the pre-release info, it appears dark and different. 

It all began when I was researching for a different novel. I stumbled upon some information about the meth manufacture and trade that ran from Texas all the way to North Dakota. It was run by the Hells Angels and was destroying poor communities in Middle America. I found the story interesting and sad. It stayed with me for a long time so I looked into it some more and then decided it might make a good story.

We have something in common – actually two somethings.  We both took around three years to write our first book – and, we are both represented by the same fabulous publisher, Crooked Cat Books. 
What are you working on at the moment?


I’m working on another thriller. I am just past outline stage. It is set in the dark world of organ trafficking. Hopefully, it will be an exciting page-turner while also highlighting the impact organ harvesting has on the vulnerable in the world. Concept-wise it is bigger than Texas Dakota but I am hoping I can finish it in less than three years. 

You come from a film background – what inspired you to move in a different direction?  Would you like to see Texas Dakota in a film production?  If so, who would you cast as your main character, Brolin Walker?


Visiting Today – Author, Angela Wren, takes us on a virtual visit to Argentat


While the February weather here in the UK is cold and miserable, the offer of a trip to South West France was always likely to win my attention.  When that offer is from fellow Crooked Cat author, Angela Wren – I wasted no time in packing my virtual passport. 


Visiting Argentat  

Hi June and thank you very much for inviting me to visit your blog.  I thought we’d go on a little trip together rather than just chat over coffee and cake – and my favourite is Tarte au Citron, just in case you were wondering!



I spend a lot of time in France and always have done, so it’s probably no surprise to you to find that my novel Messandrierre is set in south-west France.  But I want to invite you and your readers to stroll with me along the river Dordogne and into the town of Argentat. A small place, of about 3000 inhabitants, nestled in the high valley of the Dordogne. As you approach you cannot help but notice the houses rising up the hillside with their timbered walls with dark rooves covered in tiles hewed from of local stone.


The narrow streets provide respite from the heat of the summer sun and the small windows and shutters keep the houses warm in winter.  As we take a right here we can make our way down to the quay. 

The river flows from here along a circuitous route out towards the west coast beside Bordeaux where it flows alongside the Garonne and then into the Gironde estuary and the Bay of Biscay.  




‘Visiting Today’ – Seumas Gallacher


 Speaking in his own, inimitable language about life as an author.  



Hello Seumas, and a warm welcome to London.  Where do I start?  Your life has been far from dull, and your writing is a dizzy contrast from the world of finance to writing crime thrillers! Or…

You call yourself a computer Jurassic, Seumas – yet your social media presence portrays anything, but.  You have taken the role of ‘building a platform’ to new heights.  How did you start?  Marketing anything is difficult and needs a keen eye and ear to find the niche that might take the product from just an idea to achieving respect and success and then making that success continue to work for you. 

  • If the term ‘computer Jurassic’ applies to emb’dy who still thinks he needs a ‘winder handle’ to start up a laptop, then I’m yer Huckleberry… my first ever purchase of a Mac was almost ten years ago to write the first Jack Calder novel, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY’… it was typed using one finger from each hand, which is still my masterpiece creation modus operandi… the ‘building the platform’ piece came from reading the blogs of the highly successful and terrific author, Rachel Abbott, who convinced me that ‘writing is a business’, and that the scribbling was the comparatively easy bit… all the rest, particularly the use of SOSYAL NETWURKS was key to being part of the modern author’s industry… and so it began…

So –  Jack Calder – how did he come into your life? (more…)


Visiting Today – Writer and poet – Vicki Case


Vicki is an acclaimed author and poet by night. By day she works as a criminal analyst with an Australian law enforcement agency.


Welcome to London, Vicki. I hope the sudden temperature change between your home in Australia and the current frosty winter here isn’t too much of a shock.

Hello, June. I’m glad to be here with you today. Although I’m not a lover of the cold, it’s certainly refreshing after the spate of 40+ degree days we have been enduring down under.

For me, poetry often depicts tragedy or sorrow – it is frequently overlooked – but when read – we realise it is the dark, raw, emotional side of life mixed with love, anger, and disappointment – whilst at the same time, tender and soothing.  A brave author or poet opens up to the world to say, ‘this is me, this is my life’.  Many readers will have experienced a few of the feelings in the words.  Some will say, opening up is like picking at a wound and it will make the sorrow deeper – yet many will read the words and gain some degree of healing as they will have an empathy with the writer.

To me, poetry has been the ultimate form of expression – through both the good times and the not so good. If I am totally honest, poetry was my saviour when all seemed lost. When I found it difficult to convey my love and feelings of love and happiness to my soul mate, poetry was the answer. When I was devastated and lost after his sudden departure, and contemplated the ultimate sacrifice, poetry was my salvation.


I find it very sad that most people will openly confess that they have never read poetry. Poetry was the first form of literature and yet today, sadly, it is a forgotten and discarded form of expression (verbal and written).


As you said earlier, I opened up to the world through my poetry after I lost my soul mate – and laid my heart and soul bare on a silver platter for the entire world to see. People that have read my books have christened me the “Aussie Poet of Love.” This is a title I gladly accept. Every thought, feeling, the moment of anger and sadness, happiness and joy, are all openly penned in the prose within the pages of my four poetry books.


Another thing that makes me sad, is the common reaction of people when they discover I write poetry. When it becomes known I am an author, people want to know me and talk to me. However, when I tell them I write poetry, they generally just shrug their shoulders, say ‘oh’, and walk off – totally disinterested any longer. It’s like you said earlier, poetry and poets are overlooked and discounted writers. When you read a poem, you are reading the very thoughts and feelings of the author at that moment in time. Whether their poems are expressing the finding or losing of love, or merely describing the myriad of natural beauty that surrounds us every day, poets write from the heart and soul. You can tell a lot from the very words of a poet. This is much different from an author – they usually conceal themselves behind words of fiction and express themselves through Worlds and people that don’t exist.