Q & A with author Kate Murdoch #historicalfiction

stone circle

Today I am pleased to welcome author Kate Murdoch to my blog answering a few questions about her work and inspiration.  Her debut novel Stone Circle is available NOW in ebook and paperback format and was published by Fireship Press.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2nPc4ZZ

Hello Kate and welcome …

  • I understand you were a widely recognised artist prior to writing.  Has your love, skill and experience in painting helped at all with the research work for your writing?

In the case of Stone Circle, it helped in that I’d done a lot of study of the Renaissance period at art school, so I had a sense of the aesthetic, the culture and the society. Most importantly, the art history gave me a fascination with the period in Italy. As a result, I enjoyed delving into further research focusing on alchemy, the role of women and the social hierarchy.

  • Where did the inspiration come for Stone Circle?

Originally from a dream I had of two young men and an old man, rowing in a canoe on a calm stretch of water. I knew the old man was imparting knowledge and that the time period was long ago. Then it was a matter of narrowing down the period, which led me to alchemy and the fact that it was practised at the time. 

  • Can you give us a brief overview of Stone Circle?

Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, a fisherman’s son with psychic abilities, who wins a competition to be apprentice to the town seer. The son of a nobleman also wins, and there is intense rivalry between them for their mentor’s favour and the affection of his daughter as they study alchemy and magic rituals.

  • Do you have a set writing time in your day?  And, do you have a writing room?

Not really. Although my most productive time is the middle of the day and, quite often, the hour before I must pick up my children from school. I don’t have a dedicated writing room – I mainly write in the living room, looking out to the garden. If I have something more challenging, like intensive edits, I sit at the dining table.

  • Do you prefer writing a full length novel or short stories?

I love both. I’ve written many short stories and flash fiction pieces as well as two novels. There is satisfaction in creating a complete narrative in fewer words, but there’s also much enjoyment to be had in long-form, where you can create more detailed descriptions and delve deeper into characterisations. I also like the mystery of long-form – I enter it fairly blindly, never sure where the story will go.

  • If you’ve had time to relax and read this last year, what was your most outstanding book?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was a book that impressed me for many reasons. The luminous prose and the exploration into choices and moral ambiguity. The fact that there is so much we don’t understand about peoples’ actions and the turmoil that can provoke them. Along with the heartbreak of being unable to turn back the clock. I found it deeply moving.

Thank you so much Kate for joining me today.  To learn more about Kate Murdoch and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@KateMurdoch3/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/katemurdochauthor/

 

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Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café by Rachel Griffiths book review

winter at the cosy cottage cafe

Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café written and self-published by Rachel Griffiths is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2A4EHZ3

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Camilla Dix is fiercely independent. Growing up, she had to be strong for her mother and younger sister after her father left them for a new life in Benidorm. Camilla has kept her heart firmly closed to love, and never allows her relationships with men to develop into anything serious.

Tom Stone moved to Heatherlea for a fresh start. He’s been hurt in the past and has no intention of making himself vulnerable again. The only company he wants at night is that of his rescue British Bulldog Hairy Pawter.

However, when Camilla and Tom meet, they can’t deny their mutual attraction, and something deeper soon develops between them.

As snows falls over Heatherlea, mulled wine flows and festive carols fill the air, but can Camilla and Tom put their fears aside and trust each other enough to let love in?

bulldog in the snow

 

This was such a treat to return to one of my favourite cafes (shame it’s fictional)!  Rachel Griffiths has created an idyllic setting for her new book series and Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café is our third outing to the café.  Each book can be read as a standalone but to fully immerse yourself in this picturesque landscape and the characters that the author has created I would fully recommend reading all the books in the series in chronological order.  The books now available are:

  • Summer at The Cosy Cottage Cafe
  • Autumn at The Cosy Cottage Cafe
  • Winter at The Cosy Cottage Cafe

and coming soon …

  • Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

I instantly felt like I was re-visiting my very own book family as Rachel Griffiths has created a lovely myriad of characters for this series.  Characters written with warmth and humour and all set around The Cosy Cottage Café in the fictional country village of Heatherlea.

This story focuses on Camilla, the older sister of Dawn and the glamorous career woman from the friendship group that live in the village and congregate at the café.  Due to heartbreak in the past Camilla is wary of committing to a relationship but when a new vet turns up in the village Camilla is instantly attracted but is confused with her growing feelings.

Vet Tom has recently moved to the village following his own heartbreak, with the unique help of his trusted dog HP he is trying to settle into a new community.

With the festive season in full flow the storyline weaves around Christmas markets with festive foodie treats and handmade toys.  Family and relationship unrest but with a close friendship circle any unsettling is minimised by the love of the community within.

This was such a fun, festive read and the author has given us so many comical moments in this story.  A story of letting go of the past and opening your heart to new beginnings.  Cosy, comforting, full of laughter and festive sparkle.

To learn more about Rachel Griffiths and her work please do visit the following pages:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/authorRG

 

 

 

Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple book review

Lord Hunter's Cinderella Heiress

Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress written by Lara Temple, publisher Mills & Boon, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2ihfkYs

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Betrothed…to the wrong man!

Building a life away from her bullying family, schoolmistress Helen Tilney needs to convince her childhood sweetheart she’s a worthy bride. Standing in her way is Lord Hunter―the man Nell has just discovered she’s betrothed to!

Hunter’s offer of marriage to Nell came out of guilt, and now seems less than appealing! So when she asks for his help to win another man he agrees. Until their lessons in flirtation inspire a raging desire which has Hunter longing to keep Nell for himself…

regency couple silhouette

Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress is the first book in a new series by Lara Temple.  After reading this first novel in the series I am already eager to read the other stories in the Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies trilogy.

Lara Temple has taken me to an era where women were courted and often seen swooning upon the men in their sights.  With the fluttering of eyes behind fans and the gentle blushes bestowed upon their delicate cheeks the women had a great part to play in this game of match-making and when the young lady in question was a wealthy heiress then her popularity grew making her prey for unscrupulous rogues.

Young Nell Tilney first met Lord Hunter four years ago when she was 17 years old.  She remembered he had a sadness about him but she could tell he loved horses from the way he acted around the family’s horses.  Four years on from that day when Nell was left feeling hurt by the constant bullying from her aunt and father she is now a different young woman.  Nell has grown in confidence within herself and has been enjoying her work teaching at a local school.  However, learning from the papers that she is engaged to Lord Hunter she immediately pays him a visit to find out exactly what is happening.  If Nell is bestowed to Lord Hunter she then cannot win her heart’s desire of the hand of Charles Welbeck, whom she has been in love with since she was a child.

Although confident in herself Nell is still very shy amongst men, especially Lord Hunter who’s rake-ish reputation bestows him.  A pact is made between Nell and Lord Hunter, he will guide her in her quest to woo Charles Welbeck with some gentle flirtation.  However, the more time the unlikely couple  spend together the more they both start to realise a connection between them is growing.

Lord Hunter with his dark, handsome features and his rake-ish personality leaves many ladies swooning with desire.  However, Hunter has a vulnerability and sadness behind his suave, delicious exterior.

As Nell and Hunter start playing a delicate dance of love the game soon starts to become dangerous with heated exchanges soon confusing both Nell and Hunter’s feelings.

A gorgeous, sexy, regency romp that will leave you with want for more from the Wild Lords …

To learn more about Lara Temple and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://www.laratemple.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/laratemple1

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/LaraTempleAuthor/

Christmas in Whitehorse Bay by Emily Anne Brandon book review

christmas in whitehorse bay

Christmas in Whitehorse Bay written and self-published by Emily Anne Brandon is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2AnzFWt

Product Details (as per amazon page)

It’s happening! Angus and Ruth, Whitehorse Bay’s favourite young-at-heart couple, are tying the knot.

Lexy loves father-figure Angus and village gossip Ruth to pieces and she’s thrilled to be chief organiser of the festive extravaganza. Not that it’s an elaborate affair, but she’s got a few top-secret plans to put into practice.

Until the snow starts.

Being on the Scottish coast, snow doesn’t ordinarily last longer than a day or two. However, the flurries don’t seem to be letting up, and the village is thrown into turmoil as everyone realises there’s no way in and no way out. Lexy is stressed, the villagers are on edge, and what is up with the hush-hush tones and sneaky looks between Lexy’s fiancé and her best friend?

The wedding has been the talk of the town for months and Lexy is desperate for the big day to go ahead as planned. If everyone pitches in, perhaps all will not be lost. Plus, people get ordained online all the time, don’t they?

christmas tree in snow

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon cosied up inside with a hot drink, scented candle burning and a festive treat of a novella by Emily Anne Brandon.  It was the perfect read for a cold winter’s day and it left me chuckling, smiling and warmed my heart.

Christmas in Whitehorse Bay is our second visit to the Scottish coastal village.  I would highly recommend reading Love on the Rocks:  Summer in Whitehorse Bay prior to this novella as you will then fully appreciate the history surrounding the characters and will enjoy the full Whitehorse Bay experience.

I instantly felt reacquainted with Lexy, Jamie, Poppy, Graeme, Angus and Ruth and it was great to learn about new residents in the bay.

The story starts off with Lexy in full wedding planner mode organising Angus and Ruth’s forthcoming Christmas wedding.  Lexy is very vibrant and is buzzing with wonderful and quite frankly extravagant ideas for the couple.  But as the months fly by and December approaches the Scottish winter weather starts to become a threat for this wedding planner extraordinaire.  Excited and super organised Lexy becomes paranoid and starts to panic about her preparations.

Will the wedding take place?  Will Lexy’s carefully thought out plans come to fruition?  Why are Lexy’s two most important people in her life acting strange?

A fabulous, fun filled festive treat of a read.  Once again Emily Anne Brandon held me captive to the storyline with her great dialect including wonderful wit and humour … I could feel the characters coming to life.  I’m hoping for more from the residents of Whitehorse Bay.

To learn more about Emily Anne Brandon and her work please visit the following pages:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/emilyabrandon

 

 

A Winter’s Tale by Carrie Elks book review

a winters tale carrie elks

A Winter’s Tale (The Shakespeare Sisters) written by Carrie Elks, publisher Piatkus, is available from 30th November 2017 in ebook and paperback format.

To pre-order/buy link:  http://amzn.to/2jqYmHB

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is as bad at interviews as she is talented at making films. She’s given herself until the end of the year to score an internship in LA, otherwise it’ll be back to London with her tail between her legs. Unfortunately the only job offer on the table is as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It’s not exactly the career she’d hoped for, but if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – and love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff, rude and completely impossible. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam realise that although the course of true love never does run smooth, just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

log cabin in snow

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I adored this tale of finding love at a time when you least expect it.  A Winter’s Tale is the second book in the Shakespeare Sisters Romance stories.  This is the story of Kitty Shakespeare, the youngest of four sisters.  Each story can be read as a standalone but you are truly missing out on a treat if you don’t catch up with each of the Shakespeare Sisters in their own unique story.

Carrie Elks is a relatively new author to me,  I was first introduced to her work back in August when I read Summer’s Lease.  You can find my review for Summer’s Lease here.  Carrie Elks writes contemporary women’s fiction, her stories sweep you away into the lives of the characters she has created with warmth and humour and you instantly fall in love with them.  There is a sexual chemistry that’s beautifully woven within the storyline that is quite addictive to read about.

Kitty’s story is gorgeous, charming, sexy and much, much more.  I really didn’t want this story to end.

Kitty is 24 and a mature Film Studies student at UCLA.  Kitty always dreamed of moving home from London to LA and wanted to work in the film industry as an Editor.  As part of her studies she needed to complete an internship but was struggling finding one and her lack of confidence during interviews wasn’t helping.  However, her resume which included work as a nanny, proved useful during one of her interviews when she was offered a temporary position of a nanny working over the festive period for a top producer.  This new assignment took her from the sunny coast of LA to the wintry climate of West Virginia to a grand house surrounded by snowy woodland.  Working for the top producer was to prove challenging in more ways than one.  The young boy Jonas was delightful and Kitty soon built up a good relationship with him.  However, Kitty didn’t have on the agenda getting in the middle of a sibling conflict.  This conflict between the two Klein brothers had been going on since the summer and has caused a big rift in the family.

Adam Klein, the younger of the brothers and acclaimed Documentarian is still reeling from this conflict, the emotions that his brother’s action brought out in him were still quite raw.  Since the summer Adam has been living the life of a recluse in the wooden cabin in the grounds of the family home.  He’d taken himself ‘off the grid’ and was seeking guidance for his anger and emotion issues.  Adam wasn’t looking forward to the big family Christmas and coming into contact with his brother again.  But a new visitor to the family property was causing him a new distraction and making him question his emotions.  An instant attraction was felt when he first met his nephew’s new nanny Kitty but his current mood didn’t always show his true feelings.

Two young people feeling lost and at odds with the world find a common ground in family values.  With growing sexual attraction can Kitty and Adam find a way of bringing their lost souls home?

Another screen-worthy performance from Carrie Elks.

To learn more about Carrie Elks and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://carrieelks.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/CarrieElks

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/CarrieElksAuthor/

 

Away for Christmas by Jan Ruth book review

away for christmas

Away for Christmas, written and self-published by Jan Ruth, is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  myBook.to/Away4Xmas

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster.
When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated.
Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?

rocking horse

Away for Christmas is a 107 page novella by author Jan Ruth.  Jan Ruth is a contemporary women’s fiction writer and sets her stories in the countryside, specifically her beloved Welsh countryside.  I really enjoyed Away for Christmas, so much that I didn’t want it to end, this was mainly because the storyline is set around a bookshop, which is every book lover’s dream to own and run their own bookshop.This festive story tackles real life issues which made the storyline and characters more easily recognisable.

Jonathan Jones was a despondent accountant in a lovely coastal town in Wales.  For the last year or two his mind has been more focused on words rather than numbers as he is an aspiring author.  With his first book written he was now part way through his second novel and was obsessed with getting his characters and ideas in his head noted down.  After a particular bad day at work he makes a radical decision about his career.  With a failed marriage under his belt he’s hoping his relationship with Charlotte will not go the same way as his writing obsession does have the habit of taking over his life.

We follow Jonathon’s journey fulfilling his dreams of seeing his own books in print in a bookshop.  His steps to become a published author hit many wrong turns and you are left wondering whether Jonathon will realise his dreams.  We also follow his relationship woes and over the months and years pursuing his writing career he is given time to ponder his future.

Jan Ruth transported me to the ruggedness of Wales with it’s natural beauty.  I fell in love with the rundown bookshop and could picture it in my head and also images were swimming around my head of my very own imaginary book shop.  The text flowed very well and I was sad to see the story come to an end.

A festive story that will entertain and inspire you.

To learn more about Jan Ruth please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://janruth.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JanRuthAuthor

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanRuthAuthor/

A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding book review

a pearl for my mistress

A Pearl for My Mistress written by Annabel Fielding, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2mKYKFK

Product Details (as per amazon page)

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

vintage pearls

 

This debut novel by Annabel Fielding is loosely based on a pivotal moment in Britain’s political history.  To a time in the early 1930’s were a political uprising was brewing bringing with it fear, unease and danger. I didn’t know a great deal about this part of history and this is the beauty of historical fiction it does give the opportunity for the author to bring history to life to a new audience that otherwise wouldn’t have known about it.

The story starts with young Hester Blake leaving home and starting her job in service as a Ladies Maid.  She was to aid the Earl of Hereford’s daughter, Lady Lucy Fitzmartin, to care for her needs and play chaperone during her first appearances in society.  Hester’s first impression of Lady Lucy was of a delicate, porcelain-esque young lady that held an almost ethereal beauty.

Underneath this delicate cloak Lady Lucy held a strong attitude especially towards her beliefs in politics and this was clearly evident in her writing with her articles in the press.  When her writings take on an almost obsessive indulgence to this new regime her life together with those around her becomes in danger.  I felt that this fear almost drove her on and Lucy became blinkered to the whole picture of what was really going on in the country and Europe.

This was a story of a political uprising filled with secrets and espionage and a fear bringing danger.  Amongst all this upheaval the author has woven a love within the storyline.  A love that had to be kept hidden, a love that the lovers greedily sought comfort with each other.  Two women from very different backgrounds, both with a harrowing and heart breaking past, brought together at a time when women were glamorous but also finding that they had a useful place in society and their efforts could make a difference.  An interesting story that had me gripped wanting to know where the author would take me next.

To learn more about Annabel Fielding please do visit the following pages:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/dearestannabel

Blog:  http://historygeekintown.com/