Northern Reads featuring Mary Wood

Today I’m thrilled to welcome saga author Mary Wood (who also writes as Maggie Mason) to my blog as she discusses her Sangronian Trilogy series set in Blackpool by Maggie Mason. For those of you who have read my debut novel, you’ll know that Blackpool has a special place in Lydie’s heart. The Sangronian Trilogy Set in Blackpool by Maggie Mason.

Welcome, Mary! Tell us about how you chose Blackpool as your setting and how the north influenced your writing.

About the books – why I chose your setting – how the north influenced my writing.

The trilogy begins in the late 19th Century, in a Blackpool that is only just seeing its famous tower being built.

I have lived in, and around the outskirts of Blackpool for thirty-seven years. During my last ten years of my working life for The National Probation Service, I was posted in Blackpool, Fleetwood, Blackburn and Lancaster.

Working and living in the north has given my writing a depth, as even for my Mary Wood Books, which are set in many places from London – to France to Poland, I have always brought in a Northern Lass.

I love the north of England, for its down-to-earth people, its culture, its varying dialect and its beautiful countryside scenery.

Since living in Blackpool and surrounding area, I have come to discover that it is far more than the heart of its economy – The Golden Mile, its spectacular illuminations, and its accolade of being the most popular, British Holiday Destination.

It is home to a transient and cosmopolitan population.

And in its back streets and housing estates, the community spirit that was once the backbone of Great Britain, still thrives amongst the Sandgronians – those born in Blackpool, and the Blackpudlians – those who have made their home here, of which I proudly number myself.

Since beginning to set the books I write under a pen name of Maggie Mason in the town, I have also discovered that it has a fascinating history.

This trilogy spans a period of change both in Blackpool and the world as it takes us through life in the latter part of the 19th century through the 1920’s.

The Books, their availability and Blurb.

BOOK ONE:  BLACKPOOL’S ANGEL: Published by Sphere, 25th July 2019 available on kindle and to order in paperback from Waterstones, and all online stores

BOOK TWO: BLACKPOOL SISTERS: Published by Sphere, available on kindle now, and in paperback on June 25 2020 from Supermarkets, Waterstones, and online.

BOOK THREE: A BLACKPOOL CHRISTMAS Published by Sphere in all formats on November 12th 2020, available on kindle, Waterstones and Supermarkets as well as on all online outlets.

Tilly is a young wife and mother of six-year-old twin daughters, Beth and Babs. She is happy and very much in love with her husband, when suddenly tragedy strikes and she is left alone to care for her children, in a world where the only help is charity handouts.

A talented basket maker, Tilly collects willow and hedgerow material to craft her wares and trudges the streets of Blackpool and nearby St Anne’s on Sea trying to sell them. But she cannot keep the wolves from the door.

When she secures a job with the local greengrocer, she thinks her life will improve, but he wants more than help in the shop. A desperate Tilly gives into his demands sealing her fate of sending her life into a downward spiral and she loses everything.

Homeless and penniless, Tilly and her children are offered help by the local gypsies in exchange for her teaching them her craft.

Falling foul of the women, as her vibrant and voluptuous looks turn the eyes of their men, she is duped by them. One night they drug her. When she wakes in hospital, they and her twins have gone and she doesn’t know where to, or if she will ever see her children again.

The gypsies have introduced her to gin – loving the effects of drinking this fiery liquid, Tilly finds solace in the bottle setting off a series of events that leave her out of control of her life and in a deep pit of misery.

But friends she makes sustain and help her.

The twins grow up as gypsy girls, they love the couple who are now their parents, but never forget Tilly their real mother and yearn to be reunited with her.

They take different routes to try to achieve this, Babs, runs away when she is just fourteen years old, which leaves her vulnerable to predators and floundering alone, resulting in her losing her way.

Beth leaves much later, by which time she has learnt to manipulate the gypsy couple to get her own way in life.

As Tilly begins to prosper, having met a man who takes care of her and whom she adores and at last realizes her dreams to follow her talents – for both of her girls,The First World War is a turning point in their lives, bringing each a taste of happiness, and yet heartache as events unfold that change the course of their lives – through it all they always long to reunite with each other and with their true mother.

Will this ever happen? And if it does, will it bring the happiness all three desire? Or will hidden forces work against them making it impossible for them to live in harmony?

It is never easy to go back to a place in life you long for and yet, you are may be seeing through rose-tinted glasses.

  My bio

I am the author of 22 novels to date – as we go to press, four of those are in the pipeline. I write under my own name,

Mary Wood published by Pan Macmillan – Historical Saga Fiction

Maggie Mason published by Sphere, an implant of Little Brown Books and Hatchet –

Regional Sagas, set in Blackpool

Molly Kent – Self-published on kindle, writing Gangland Thrillers – to date, I have just one title – The Sweet Taste of Revenge on sale.

I like to think that my talent comes from my Great Grandmother, Dora Langlois, a late 19th century – early 20th century author, who in her day was not only known for her novels, but her informative books, her stage plays and as an actress, and also for her short stories in The People’s Friend. I am honoured to follow in her footsteps to be a contributor to that wonderful magazine – over a hundred years later.

Born the 13th child to a family of 15 children, life hasn’t always been easy, but I am lucky to say, it has been happy.

My education consisted of the four r’s – reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion, but I have since accumulated a wealth of knowledge from The University of Life.

I have a large family of my own now, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and during the summer, live with my adored husband of 57 years in a beautiful lodge in a small village on the outskirts of Blackpool. In the winter months we head south to Spain – this is my writing retreat months, which I love.

If you want to check out my books, or interact with me on social media, where you will be so welcome, here are some links to point you in the right direction.

Amazon page for Maggie Mason – links to all ‘Maggie’ books can be found here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maggie-Mason/e/B07DCNXLNM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Amazon page for Mary Wood – links to all ‘Mary’ books can be found here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Wood/e/B005D4UMGU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Amazon Link for Molly Kent – The Sweet Taste of Revenge

My web page: – https://www.authormarywood.com

Twitter: – @Authomary

Facebook: Books by Mary Wood and Maggie Mason https://facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Fabulous, Mary! Thanks so much for stopping by! Tune in next week for another edition of Northern Reads.

Book Review: The Memory by Judith Barrow

Today on my blog, I have a stellar book review of Judith Barrow’s latest novel, The Memory, out today from Honno Press. Many thanks to Honno for an advanced review copy.

Review:

Hauntingly poignant, The Memory by Judith Barrow had me hooked from the beginning. Relationships between mothers and daughters aren’t always the picture-perfect images we see on social media. In fact, sometimes they are anything but. The relationship between main character Irene and her mother evolves around the birth of baby sister Rose, who was born with Down’s Syndrome during a time when children with handicaps or special needs were treated with shame by society.

Barrow’s beautifully written narrative perfectly captured the tensions that sometimes we inherit from one generation to the next beween mothers and daughters, and our ability to hold on to something we love at any cost.

I loved Irene as a character because although at times heartwrenching, she never gave up on the people that needed her. Her bond with her little sister, Rose, her gran Nanna, her father Derek, and the love of her life, Sam, painted an honest portrait over time of the joys and utter despairs of being a carer for nearly everyone else. I so wanted for her to finally have some peace in the end.

A must read for any mother and daughter as we navitage this challenging thing called sisterhood. Highly recommended. Five stars.

Book Excerpt: Victorine by Drēma Drudge

As I always try to show support for my fellow art in fiction authors, it’s a pleasure to welcome historical fiction author Drēma Drudge to my blog today with an excerpt of her novel Victorine, releasing on March 17th by Fleur de Lis Press

Excerpt:

Chapter One: Portrait of Victorine Meurent, Paris, 1862

I am called The Shrimp, Le Crevette because of my height and because I am as scrappy as those little question-mark-shaped delights that I used to study when my father took me to Les Halles. I would stand before the shrimp tank and watch the wee creatures paw at the water, repeatedly attempting to scale the tank, swimming, sinking, yet always rising again. I hoped eagerly for one to crest the tank, not realizing until later that the lid was there precisely to prevent their escape.  

So why am I reminded of that tank today?

  Today, while I am giving a guitar lesson in my father’s lithography shop, the gifted yet controversial painter, Édouard Manet, enters the shop. He gives me the nod.

 I cover the strings of my guitar with my hand to silence them.

Pѐre has mentioned Manet’s recent patronage of his shop, of course, but I have never been here when the artist has come by.

            “M. Manet, this is my daughter, Victorine. I believe you’ve. . . .”

            “We’ve met,” I say. 

            “And where is it we have met, Mademoiselle?” he asks, wincing as he looks in the vicinity of my nose.

Is this a snub? I run my hand over the swollen, crooked lump of flesh on my face.

  “I must be mistaken.” I turn away, smiling bitterly at my quick temper, at my trying to turn up a nose such as this. Of course he doesn’t recognize me.

            I motion for my student to put her guitar away: “That’s enough for today, dear.” Though she looks at the clock with a puzzled brow, she does as I say.

            My father graciously allows me to give lessons in his shop, claiming he loves to hear young musicians learning to play, though I suspect it’s more because my mother hates allowing anyone into our house besides her regular millinery clients.

Manet moves toward me, puts his face close to mine; I don’t pull away, but only because that is the way painters see.  I would have punched another man for standing so close. He snaps his fingers. “Le Crevette?” he exclaims, backs away.

             I raise my chin to regard the posters on my father’s wall. The Compagnie Francaise de Chocolats et des thes declares my father’s fine sense of color, his signature mingling of coral and scarlet. The other posters reveal his repeated twinning of these colors.

            Manet grasps my hand with frank friendliness that I almost believe. Want to believe. “It is you; I’ve seen you model at Coutoure’s. But what has happened to your nose?”

            I rise on my toes, though the height it gives me is minimal. I motion for Gabrielle to gather her music, and she shuffles the sheets.

            I move closer to him while withdrawing my hand from his, take out my emerald green enamel cigarette case (a gift from a wealthy student at Coutoure’s studio) and light a cigarette. I empty my lungs straight at the yellowing ceiling, though my torso is not a foot from his.

            My father frowns and waves the smoke away; how many times must I tell him that I am eighteen and I will smoke if I please? He smokes a pipe sometimes. What’s the difference?

            “I give guitar lessons now. Obviously, I’m no longer a model.”

            Manet’s eyes graze on me. I stand straighter. When I realize it, I relax.

To continue reading, purchase your copy of Victorine here:

https://amzn.to/2TQkC0W

Blurb:

In 1863 Civil War is raging in the United States. Victorine Meurent is posing nude, in Paris, for paintings that will be heralded as the beginning of modern art: Manet’s Olympia and Picnic on the Grass. However, Victorine’s persistent desire is not to be a model but to be a painter herself. In order to live authentically, she finds the strength to flout the expectations of her parents, bourgeois society, and the dominant male artists (whom she knows personally) while never losing her capacity for affection, kindness, and loyalty. Possessing both the incisive mind of a critic and the intuitive and unconventional impulses of an artist, Victorine and her survival instincts are tested in 1870, when the Prussian army lays siege to Paris and rat becomes a culinary delicacy. Drema Drudge’s powerful first novel Victorine not only gives this determined and gifted artist back to us but also recreates an era of important transition into the modern world.

About the Author:

Drēma Drudge suffers from Stendhal’s Syndrome, the condition in which one becomes overwhelmed in the presence of great art. She attended Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she learned to transform that intensity into fiction.

Drēma has been writing in one capacity or another since she was nine, starting with terrible poems and graduating to melodramatic stories in junior high that her classmates passed around literature class.

She and her husband, musician and writer Barry Drudge, live in Indiana where they record their biweekly podcast, Writing All the Things, when not traveling. Her first novel, Victorine, was literally written in six countries while she and her husband wandered the globe. The pair has two grown children.

In addition to writing fiction, Drēma has served as a writing coach, freelance writer, and educator. She’s represented by literary agent Lisa Gallagher of Defiore and Company.

For more about her writing, art, and travels, please visit her website, www.dremadrudge.com, and sign up for her newsletter. She’s always happy to connect with readers in her Facebook group, The Painted Word Salon, or on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Northern Reads featuring John R McKay

Today on my Northern Read series, I’m proud to have fellow historical fiction author John R McKay on the blog discussing how growing up in Wigan influenced his WWI novel, The Sun Will Always Shine.

Welcome, John. Tell us about how The Sun Will Always Shine and why you set it in the north?

The book is set before and during World War One and is about two brothers who live on a dairy farm with their parents and young sister (who has learning difficulties). Their father is abusive towards them, and, not to give too much of the plot away, they commit a gruesome crime to free themselves and their sister from his evil ways. To escape the fallout, one of the brothers joins the army and ends up in the trenches of the Western Front, whilst his older brother stays at home to face the consequences of what they’ve done.

I chose the north of England for two reasons. The first is that I am from Wigan in Lancashire/Greater Manchester and wanted to write a novel set near to my home town. The second is that I wanted to write something about the ‘Pals Battalions’ of the First World War, many of which hailed from the north of England. These were groups of friends who joined up together and paid the ultimate price together on the Somme and other battles. Rather than just write about what happened to those young men, I decided to incorporate a drama around those events to show the human element to an awful historic event.
Being from the north of England myself and having been stationed near to a lot of WW1 sites when in the RAF in Belgium, this is a period of history that has always fascinated me.

I have managed to incorporate a couple of scenes into the novel that are set in my home town of Wigan, including a convalescent home that actually existed at the time.

I am proud to be a northerner and my latest project will also be set in the north west of England.

Can’t wait to read it!

More about The Sun Will Always Shine:

Set before and during the First World War The Sun Will Always Shine tells the story of brothers Harry and Charlie Davenport, who live on a farm in northern England, and their attempts to protect their mother and sister from their abusive and violent father.
They believe that their father’s increasing brutality needs to be stopped and they will need to carry out strong action to do that in order to protect their family.
With war approaching they realise that these actions could have terrible consequences upon the very people they have sworn to protect.
As suspicions grow ever stronger, could they find an escape in the trenches of the Western Front before their secret is revealed and their world is ripped apart?
This is a tale of war, grief, horror, lost love and sacrifice and is John R McKay’s most powerful novel to date.

About John R McKay:

John R McKay was born and raised in Wigan, Greater Manchester where he lives with his wife, Dawn. He has two grown up daughters Jessica and Sophie.
John has recently become a USA Today Bestselling author following the success of the anthology ‘The Darkest Hour – Tales of WW2 Resistance.’ John’s contribution to the anthology ‘V for Victory’ has now been released as a standalone novella.
His other works include ‘The Absolution Of Otto Finkel’, a historical novel covering largely unknown events of World War 2 and how war affects people in different ways. His latest novel, ‘Codename: GREYMAN’ concludes the tale.
In ‘Mosquitoes’, which is a break from his normal genre, John has produced a contemporary study of how a man can ‘lose the plot’ when circumstances in his life change suddenly. A black comedy, Mosquitoes is a uniquely written story, told from the perspective of a man unable to cope with the both the pressures of modern society and those pressures he puts upon himself in a constant struggle to accept the situation fate has given him.
His novel, ‘The Worst Journey In The World’ is set aboard a Royal Navy frigate which carries out perilous journeys to the Soviet Union during World War 2.
He cites his modern literary favourites as Sebastian Faulkes, Robert Harris and Wilbur Smith.

John is a qualified Advanced Open Water Scuba diver and also enjoys cinema, reading books of various genres and following the fortunes of his beloved Liverpool Football Club.

I loved V for Victory! Where can we find you on social media?

Twitter: @JohnMcKay68
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnRMcKayAuthor

Instagram: mckay1968

Website: www.johnrmckay.com

Thanks so much for sharing, John! I can’t wait to read your latest project.

Northern Reads featuring AnneMarie Brear

Today on the blog for this edition of Northern Reads we welcome Anne Marie Brear as she discusses her novel The Slum Angel which is set in York.

Welcome, AnneMarie. Please tell us about why you chose to set The Slum Angel it in York?

Although Australian born, my family are from Wakefield in West Yorkshire. I’ve lived in England and love the history. The Slum Angel is set in York, where several of my books are set. York is a great place and I only lived an hour’s drive from there so I could visit and walk the streets to help with my research. York has a fascinating history in all eras, and I thought to set a book there which highlighted the slum problems in the Victorian era.

That’s fascinating! My grandfather’s name was Wakefield. 🙂 He never got to see his namesake, though. What can readers expect from The Slum Angel?

Orphan Victoria Carlton is brought up by her uncle, a banker, to be a lady and make a good marriage. Yet, she is drawn to help the poor families in the slums, much to her family’s disgust. When her uncle dies suddenly, her cousins blame Victoria, and she is thrown out of the house with nothing.
Victoria flees to the poor side of York to start again in a world that is full of perils. To combat the heartache of being without her family, she befriends the destitute women and children in the slums, but such friendships come with the danger of disease, and increasing poverty, and the threat of a brutal man could cost her everything.
Can Victoria find the security she has lost? Will a certain doctor be the man she can give her heart to? Or will the ghosts of the past return to take away everything she has worked so hard for?

Sounds like a page-turner.

To Buy: http://www.annemarierbrear.com

About AnneMarie Brear:

Amazon UK bestseller and award winning Australian author, AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has written 22 novels and several short stories. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

Where can readers find you on social media?

http://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear  

Twitter: @annemariebrear

Instagram: annemariebrear

Thanks so much for stopping by! Come back next week as we feature Wigan-born historical novelist John R. McKay.

Northern Reads featuring Jo Fenton

On this edition for Northern Reads in February, we cap the month off with Jo Fenton and her brand new release Revelation.

I’d like to thank you, Kellie, for allowing me to appear on your blog today.

Revelation is my latest novel, released by Darkstroke Publishing on Monday 24th February.

It is set in Manchester in 1989, and is about students, Becky and Dan, whose friend, Rick, was found dead in suspicious circumstances. It’s a story of unrequited love, grief, friendship, betrayal and revenge.

The setting is the Halls of Residence where I lived as a student, and other areas around Manchester University and Fallowfield.

 I remained in Manchester after graduating, as my parents moved to North Manchester at the end of my first term at University, and I’ve lived in the area ever since. I definitely consider myself an adopted Northerner!

Revelation is the start of a series of books, featuring Becky as a Manchester-based detective.

In Revelation, she investigates the death of her friend, Rick. In subsequent books, we meet her as a middle-aged adult – married with kids, and a recent trauma.

My detailed knowledge of the area and community where I live features strongly in the novels, and adds a distinct local flavour. However, readers will not need to know the area to enjoy the books.

Book 2, Paparazzi, is in progress, and will hopefully be ready for release next winter.

About the book:

Manchester, 1989

A student, Rick, is found dead in halls of residence.

His friends get caught up in the aftermath: Dan, who was in love with Rick; and Becky, who is in love with Dan.

Their fraught emotions lead them into dark places – particularly a connection to a mysterious Kabbalistic sect.

Will Becky discover who killed Rick in time to save her best friend?

About the author:

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age and, at eleven, discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer. She now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her family and is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and two reading groups.

Revelation was released on Amazon on 24th February

It’s available to buy at mybook.to/beckywhite1

My other books are also available on Amazon:

The Brotherhood: https://t.co/YXdn8AM506

The Refuge: http://mybook.to/therefuge

You can find me on social media at:

Website www.jofenton137.com                 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jofentonauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jl_fenton

Northern Reads featuring Sandra Danby

Today on my edition of Northern Reads, I’m pleased to welcome Sandra Danby as she discusses her novel Connectednesss and growing up in East Yorkshire.

Thanks for stopping by, Sandra. Tell us about Connectedness.

Connectedness is the second novel in the ‘Identity Detective’ series of adoption reunion mysteries and it is set partly in Spain and partly on the East Yorkshire coast. I lived for ten years in Southern Spain and grew up on a dairy farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, half a mile from the coastline. This meant I woke early on a summer’s day to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and the call of ‘Good Morning Campers!’ from the local Butlins camp. A few miles away is Rudston, the Wolds village where Winifred Holtby was born. So I grew up in awe of the author who wrote South Riding. They say you should always write what you know, Holtby did. The Yorkshire Wolds are present in her writing, but particularly in South Riding and Anderby Wold.

Cobles at North Landing, Flamborough

Ignoring Gravity, first in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, is set in Wimbledon because that’s where I was living when I wrote it. For Connectedness I returned home, to the place on the East Yorkshire coast where my heart belongs even though I live hundreds of miles away. The cliffs that feature in Connectedness are the cliffs where I grew up, my sister recognised many references when she read the book. There’s a Christmas scene where mother and daughter arrange biscuits in a tin, it is a moment of togetherness, of belonging, and it’s something I did with my own mother every year in that excitable week before Christmas.

Deep Cleft in Cliffs, Bempton, East Yorkshire
Cliffs at Bempton, Yorkshire

When I started writing fiction, I naively didn’t expect my own upbringing to have a big effect on my writing. I’d been a journalist in the South for over thirty years, surely I had left my childhood behind.

Sandra Danby, aged 10

But the imagination has a uncanny way of unlocking memories and emotions and I soon found that instead of imagining a make-believe place, I was remembering a real one. So for Connectedness I harnessed this energy in a positive way, by having my main character grow up where I did. I suspect Yorkshire will sneak into my future books too.

Book Blurb:

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

To buy Connectedness: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BKM6VG3/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Bio:

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted. She is now writing Sweet Joy, third in the ‘Identity Detective’ series.

Links:

Author website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sandradanby?lang=en

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

Thanks so much for stopping by, Sandra! I cannot wait to read it!

Come back next week for another edition of Northern Reads.

Calling ARC readers!

My manuscript for Liberation Street is nearly finished, so I’m a gathering a team that will read my manuscript and write a review! I can provide PDF , mobi, or epub copies of my novella that will be part of The Road to Liberation collection releasing on May 5th! You must post a review on Goodreads or Amazon by publication date. You may post to Goodreads prior to that, and I really encourage it!

If you are interested in joining my team, then please contact me at kellierbutler@gmail.com and I will give you more details. I’m thrilled to bring this story to you that’s inspired by true events.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Book Review: Milly’s Marvelous Mistakes by Peta Rainford

Milly’s Marvelous Mistakes, Illustrated and Written by Peta Rainford (Dogpigeon Books, February 2020)

Rating: 5 stars

Being the ‘author of a family saga series, I’m always searching for books that not only tell stories but also provide instruction. Having two artists in that series, especially my first one with teenage Lydia, I was immediately intrigued by Milly’s Marvelous Mistakes.

Some of the greatest lessons in life are found in books for young readers. With Milly, one of life’s great lessons is narrated in such a beautiful poetic form: good things require hard work, and to be good, you must also be willing to be bad first. Or as my grand would say, nothing good comes without patience and effort.

In a world of instant gratification, taking the easy way out, and so called “instant success” (which usually never is), we’re reminded that part of life is making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. They make us better people if we’re willing to learn from them, and they make us who we are.

While it’s important to strive for excellence, we can also remember that those bad spots make us unique, and sometimes more prized.

The book is beautifully illustrated with vivid colors and whimsical drawings that bring the story to life.

This is certainly a must give for any child on your list or for teachers of young children. It made me smile through and through.

Milly’s Marvelous Mistakes is available in paperback at Amazon and other fine retailers.

About the author:

Peta writes and illustrates her funny picture books on the Isle of Wight, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and hairy jack russell, Archie. Peta loves going into schools to share her books and inspire children in their writing and art. She has appeared at a number of festivals and other events, including: Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Exmoor Dark Skies Festival and Ventnor Fringe. She is one of the organisers of the inaugural IW Story Festival, taking place in February 2020.

Northern Reads featuring Paula Martin

On a very special Valentine’s Day edition of Northern Reads,  we have romance writer Paula Martin joining us to discuss her novel Changing the Future.

Welcome, Paula. Tell us about Changing the Future, and what inspired you to set it in the Lake District?

Changing the Future is set on the edge of the English Lake District in North West England, mainly in a (fictitious) higher education college near the town of Kenton. Readers who know the area will recognize the town as it has a flourishing Arts Centre which I’ve featured a couple of times in the story. My heroine lives in a village near the college; in this case, I ‘moved’ one village that I know well to a different location!

I set the story in the Lake District because, being a ‘Northerner’, I’m very familiar with this area. I had a caravan there for many years which I visited as often as I could – and even climbed few of the fells (when I was younger!). It’s always easier to write about a place you know, and I hope I’ve been able to give readers a flavour of the Lakeland area as well as a glimpse of its beautiful mountains and lakes.

It also provides a contrast to the dramatic scene in the latter part of the story when the hero is caught up in a volcanic eruption in Iceland!

ChangingtheFuturebyPaulaMartin500 (2)

Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change the past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?

To purchase your copy, visit this page to find your favorite bookseller:

www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula

About Me:

Paula Martin (1)

I’ve lived in North West England all my life. Born and brought up in Preston in Lancashire, I now live near Manchester.

I had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while I brought up a young family and also pursued my career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. I returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and since then I’ve had 11 novels published in the last eight years. My original publisher closed just over two years ago, but my current publisher, Tirgearr Publishing, has re-published six of my backlist and also two new novels.

To find Paula on the web and social media, visit here:

Website: paulamartinromances.webs.com/

Tirgearr Publishing Author Page (which has buy links to Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo and Nook: www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.co.uk/Paula-Martin/e/B005BRF9AI

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulamartinromances

Twitter: @PaulaRomances

Sounds like my kind of read, and the Lake District is always so lovely! Thank you for joining Northern Reads for a special Valentine’s Day edition! Come back next week for a new author from the north.