Category: Uncategorized

Author Spotlight: Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Today on my blog, I’m having a chat with historical fiction author Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger about her books, research, and latest projects. Welcome, Chrystyna.

Tell us about your books. What topics inspire you? Are there any particular settings that you’re drawn to?

My stories tend to focus on the things that make my blood boil. One of my greatest values is fairness, tolerance and justice. Combine that with my love for discovering stories beneath the surface of things, and you’ve got a writer who writes the institutionalized stories: join ‘em, leave ‘em or take ‘em down.

My Reschen Valley series is set in northern Italy, in the province that was once Austria, and is based on the building of a dam. The fascist regime destroyed the entire valley and displaced hundreds of German-speaking families.

Souvenirs from Kiev is based on my relatives’ histories during WWII in Ukraine and takes readers on a perilous journey from the Underground to the DP camps of Germany.

Magda’s Mark, which is releasing in a collection, The Road to Liberation, this May, is based on a true story about my friend’s husband. Her father-in-law was a district SS officer in Moravia. When his son was born, he was returned to the mother circumcised.

Now, can you imagine the repercussions? My first thought was, “Holy ****! Who had the cajones to do that —pun intended—and what had pushed that person to take that great of risk?” My next question was, “And when we are pushed that far, are we not just becoming ‘one of ‘em’?”

As soon as I start asking those questions, I know I have a story—or an entire book. Magda’s Mark started off as a short story but when I got invited to take part in the Road to Liberation collection, it was burning to be expanded into novel length. I’m so glad I tackled that. I loved going to the beginning and to the end of Magda’s story.

What inspired you to become a historical novelist and write about the Second World War?

I had no intention of being a historical fiction novelist. It just happened that way. First, was the project I undertook in my mid-twenties to record the events my relatives experienced in WWII Ukraine. After I was done with writing what would become an publishable piece of work, I drove down to South Tyrol—that area of northern Italy I mentioned above—to recover. I passed Reschen Lake as I always did, haunted by that steeple poking out of the water. But this time the community had set up an exhibit illustrating exactly how the valley had been flooded. I took a walk after that, and wham! Like spirits rising from the waters, I had a whole cast of characters hovering before me, just above where those villages had once stood. I took in a deep breath and thought, another historical? Really? But they all crawled into my Nissan Micra and accompanied me for the next ten years.

I’ve got two more books to go and when I hit the WWII years with the current WIP, I realised I still have quite a few WWII stories in me. Souvenirs…came out in January and to rave reviews! Magda’s Mark was written in parallel and releases May 5th. I’ve got at least two more in me that I will tackle after the current series.

How do you go about researching your books?

I always, always visit the places I write about. I’m grateful to be able to do that. I live in central Europe, so hopping into the car and driving to my locales is hardly a challenge. In January this year I visited Litomerice, Czech Republic with my friend and cover designer. She goes on these research trips with me because she finds them inspiring and enriching. The visit was a surprise. I had written ahead to some of the libraries and ministries requesting to meet with sources I needed. Litomerice is not a terribly small town but a number of people knew who we were when we arrived. They’re kind of excited that someone from America is writing about them.

How do you think fiction, especially historical fiction, help us learn about different eras?

I think stories help us to understand the past, the present and the future. We function on narrative as much as we do on air and water. Now, in my opinion, historical fiction and science fiction serve the purposes of helping us to understand ourselves as a species, and the societies we live in. Surely, we learn historical details from our novels, but these stories are character-driven. They should resonate with the reader. Otherwise, we are writing non-fiction. I made that mistake of not drawing the lines in my first manuscripts. I still read some historical fiction and think, uh-oh, the author is info-dumping and the characters—as one mentor of mine remarked about my first drafts—are just being moved around like pieces on a chess board. I even saw a play like that in London a week ago. I was at the theatre with Marion Kummerow, who also writes WWII, and the story took place in Austria from 1899 to 1955. There was so much info-dumping done by the characters through monologues, Marion and I would glance at each other in the dark and kind of roll our eyes.

What can we look for next with you?

I’ve got a number of audiobook projects in the works—three to be exact, but the virus is preventing us from moving further on certain aspects—and then I will be releasing at least Book 5 of the Reschen Valley series by the end of October and perhaps the last one in December or January. Then possibly a whole slew of non-fiction books for my other business, two more WWII novels, and then I’m switching to a series that takes place in the 16th century in the Ottoman Empire. It’s going to be a doozie. In either case, if I have to be quarantined for a long time, I have a thousand ways to keep busy.

Can you give us a teaser of Magda’s Mark?

When the German military rolled past Voštiny, they were on the road opposite the Elbe River. Magda and her mother were singing “Meadows Green” and threshing the wheat but at the sight of those black automobiles and grey-green trucks, their song dissipated like smoke into the air. Magda’s mother straightened, one hand on her headscarf, like a gesture of disbelief. No tanks. No marching soldiers. Just the caravan, moving on south, growing smaller in size but larger in meaning.

When she looked towards the fields, Magda saw her father and her two brothers also pausing, one at a time, to witness the Germans chalking off the Sudetenland boundary with their exhaust fumes. The Nováks’ farm lay within it.

Magda’s father faced the cottage, and an entire exchange silently took place between her parents.

Then the rumors are true, her father said with a simple lift of his head.

What now? her mother asked via a glance toward the river and the pursing of lips.

Her father lowered his head. We finish the wheat.

And with that, Magda, her two brothers, and her parents stuck their heads in the sand and went back to work.

Later, at midday, urgent knocking rattled their door. Everyone froze except Magda. She looked around the room, as if this was to be the last scene she should remember. Her father held the edge of the table. Her mother stood. She was straight and proud and beautiful with an open face, the kindest light-brown eyes, and full lips. Magda’s brothers sat rigid in their chairs. Each of their wives held a child. And her grandparents sat so close to each other on the bench against the oven that they might as well have been in each other’s laps.

The knocking came more insistently, and this time they stirred into action. Magda’s father pushed himself from the table and left the room. The rest were in various stages of trying to look normal. A moment later, her father returned with the village heads. With baffling lightness, he offered them Becherovka, as if it were Christmas, and shared a joke about a cow and a farmer—Magda could never remember the story or the punch line that had made them laugh so.

The Sudetenland, the village wisemen announced, was now part of the Third Reich. Hitler was protecting his people. And that was why none of the other countries called foul on breaching the treaty.

“But we will not go to war,” one village elder had said, “as we may have feared.”

“Imagine that,” Magda’s father had said abruptly, in the tone he used when angry.

Her brothers, however, had visibly relaxed. They shouldn’t have.

Where can we find you online?

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger is at www.inktreks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/inktreks

@ckalyna on Twitter

And on Bookbub and LinkedIn.

Currently, all of her titles are available KU, in ebook format and paperback.

All of her books will be available over all platforms in eBook and paperback by end of April, and audiobooks over the next few months.

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Chrystyna! I’m looking forward towards your next release.

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.

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.

The Road to Liberation: Author spotlight Fenella J. Miller

This week on The Road to Liberation blog series, I’m pleased to welcome Fenella J. Miller, as she shares her inspiration for A Long Way Back, and a lovely extract to boot.

A Long Way Back, my contribution to this incredible ten book collection of World War II stories, was inspired by a comment from my editor. I was racking my brains as to what to write about that fitted the title – The Road to Liberation – when she suggested that I write about a character from my bestselling Barbara’s War series. Squadron Leader Alex Everton, the hero of the series, is missing for half the final book as he’s been shot down somewhere over France.

The Long Way Back is his story and fills in the missing nine months. I became so engrossed in my research I’m determined to write a series featuring the French Resistance.

Everything that Alex experiences after his Spitfire is shot down over Dieppe actually happened to someone during the war. Obviously, no Evader was unfortunate enough to endure all the hardships and misadventures that he and his fellow pilots did, but he’s a resourceful young man and, of course, eventually made his way back to his wife and son.

I always have RAF fighter pilots as my heroes because both my father and stepfather were in the RAF during World War II. When they were alive, I wasn’t a historical fiction writer and I really wish that I’d talked more about their exploits when I’d had the opportunity.

Here is an extract to give you a taste of what my book’s about:

They’d barely reached cruising height and speed when the radio crackled into life. ‘Red Leader, bandits include many snappers. I say again, many snappers, keep a good lookout. Over.’

Snappers was the codename for Messerschmitt 109s. He acknowledged the information and kept his eyes peeled. Then he saw them approaching. They looked like a small swarm of bees from that distance.

There was a well-known saying in the RAF that it wasn’t the Jerry that you saw that got you, but the one that you didn’t. How true that was.

‘Tally-ho, lads, stay in your pairs. Good luck and good hunting.’ There was no time to say more as the first of the 109s screamed towards him. Streams of tracer twisted past his port wing and he could see the flashes of the Germans guns. His eight Brownings spluttered and the pungent smell of burnt charges filtered into his mask. The bullets found the target and the cockpit of his enemy disintegrated.

No time to congratulate himself as two more were on him seeking revenge. He hauled on the stick and the drag pressed on his face and he almost blacked out. He kicked on the left rudder in the hope that this would confuse his opponents.

His head cleared and for a moment the sky was empty. Then from nowhere they were on him. A stream of solid fire engulfed the kite. He was hit. Flames engulfed his right wing. Bail or burn. He heaved and struggled to get out.

About Fenella:

Fenella J Miller was born in the Isle of Man. Her father was a Yorkshire man and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She has worked as a nanny, cleaner, field worker, hotelier, chef, secondary and primary teacher and is now a full time writer.

She has over fifty Regency romantic adventures published plus four Jane Austen variations, four Victorian sagas and eight WW2 family sagas. She is a hybrid writer producing two World War II books a year for Aria Head of Zeus as well as four Regency romances. She lives in a small village in Essex with her British Shorthair cat. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.

To connect with Fenella, visit her website, connect with her on social media, or email her.

Website: www.fnellajmiller.co.uk

Email: fenella57@yahoo.com

Twitter: @fenellawriter

Fenella J Miller Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FenellaJMiller/

To pre-order your copy of the The Road to Liberation Collection, click here:

https://books2read.com/RoadtoLiberation?fbclid=IwAR3WzxSp2Nr4bDUcps0U7zz9eBcBdDrFDZjc-X49i4Qk24JxbHGE4p1B2Ko

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

The Road to Liberation Author Spotlight: JJ Toner and Liberation Berlin

Today I kick off a new series on my blog featuring guest posts by the other authors in The Road to Liberation collection. It’s my honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with these talented individuals.

It’s a pleasure to introduce award-winning thriller author JJ Toner as he provides some of the historical context behind his novel Liberation Berlin.

The Liberation of Berlin 1945

The end of the war in Germany liberated those countries occupied by the Nazis, and the survivors of the deadly concentration camps. My book, Liberation Berlin, was inspired by the thought that the German people were also liberated in 1945. Held in thrall for 12 years by a mesmerizing leader and the ubiquitous, oppressive jackboot of the Schutzstaffel (SS), only the radical removal of the whole miserable edifice could have freed the German people from the evil that had invaded their souls.

Consider the mindset of Hitler and his ministers in 1944 after the D-Day invasion and the military reverses suffered in Russia. They must have known that the war would end in defeat and that their actions against the Jews and others, amounting to millions of innocent deaths, would be viewed as heinous crimes by the international community. What did they do? For months, Hitler insisted that the war could still be won. Then, as the situation got worse, he demanded that the Wehrmacht and the German people fight on to the last bullet, to the last man. The fanatical SS dug their heels in, and put these suicidal orders into effect.

As Berlin was encircled by the Allies from the west and the Red Army from the east, old men and young boys (and girls) were recruited to the defence of the city, while Josef Goebbels stoked the fires of obdurate self-delusion on the radio. Even as the end drew inexorably closer, the SS continued to seek out Jews and other ‘undesirables’ for transport to the camps. Squads of Feldjägerkorps ‘head hunters’ roamed the streets in search of deserters to shoot. Right up until the end of March 1945, London was still being bombed by V1 doodlebugs and V2 rockets.

The civilian population of Berlin huddled in underground shelters, suffering hunger and thirst, while Western Allied bombers pounded the city day and night. The bombardment ceased on Hitler’s birthday, April 20. Even then, ten days before the Führer shot himself in his bunker, rumours abounded, fuelled by Nazi propaganda, of a new secret V3 weapon that would turn the tide of the war in Germany’s favour.

Josef Goebbels was Gauleiter (regional leader) for Berlin for the duration of the war. He also held the position of Minister for Propaganda and Enlightenment. As Gauleiter of Berlin, he proved himself a fanatical Nazi and ardent apostle of Hitler’s. Seriously antisemitic, he embraced and promoted with enthusiasm the ‘final solution of the Jewish question’ (devised at the 1942 Wannsee Conference).

Some Gauleiter were assassinated by resistance cells during the war; one or two were executed by the SS. Many of those that survived to the end of the war were tried for crimes against humanity and most of those were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Some were executed. Many died by their own hands.

Goebbels found his own ‘final solution’. Within 24 hours of Hitler’s suicide, he had poisoned his six children and his wife, and followed his leader to the abyss of hell.

About Liberation Berlin:

Berlin 1944. Inge, a 14-year-old Jewish girl is in hiding. She fears the Gestapo more than she fears the advancing Soviet troops.
As the Red Army encircles the city, the remains of a defeated German army face overwhelming odds. But the fanatical SS refuse to give up, recruiting boys and old men to man the trenches.
Led by a baker’s assistant and a one-legged ex-soldier, a ragtag collection of friends makes desperate plans to help Inge escape.
They are up against a continuous day-and-night Allied bombing campaign and Anton, a 12- year-old Hitler Youth, who can’t wait to join the battle and have his moment of glory.

About JJ Toner:

JJ Toner is an award-winning author of novels and short stories. Best known for his Black Orchestra series and his Kommissar Saxon detective stories, he lives in Ireland.

To find out more about JJ Toner, visit his website, https://www.JJToner.com/ , where you can follow him on social media and sign up for his newsletter.

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!

Pre-order Out of Night now!

Disclosure: Please note that the link in this post is an affiliate link and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase books using my Amazon affiliate link, they compensate me, which helps make this blog possible. Know that I only recommend books that I personally stand behind, or feel could enrich others’ lives.

The wait is over! I’m so excited to bring the fourth book of the Laurelhurst series to you at long last! I recently received feedback from my beta readers and they believe it’s my best book yet, and I wholeheartedly agree.

1968. Two mothers living polar opposite lives, yet united by a common thread. Forcibly separated from their children and the ones they love, these two women will forge new paths to reclaim themselves, finding it in the most unexpected of places.

Kate. The quintessential society girl, Kate has been a mainstay on Swinging London’s party circuit for years. As her old vices of alcohol and drug consume her pain from yet another failed marriage, Kate finds herself left to her own devices as Lord Elliott Cutterworth, a master architect of chaos, kicks her out of her home and takes custody of their daughter, Violet.  Kate is plunged into the seedy underbelly of London, and must figure out a way to reclaim her life and get her daughter back. Determined to start anew, she finds assistance in her reluctant brother-in-law (and the one that got away), all while trying to stay away from Elliott’s evil clutches, lest she becomes yet another person to mysteriously disappear..

Lydie.  When Lydie and her husband Henry discover that their youngest son, Cole, can’t speak beyond the mind of an infant, it leads them down a path of a revolving door of doctors visits. Faced with institutionalization of her baby boy, Lydie enters into a deep sea of depression, and her once loving marriage to Henry is in jeopardy.  After a lengthy series of ECT treatments at another hospital leaves her memory in tatters, Lydie is sent to the famed Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.
When Lydie’s brother Edward and long lost childhood friend, Kit Alderley, come to visit her in Kansas, it opens a new set of problems. Will she make peace with her estranged brother, and will Kit’s presence spell more trouble for Henry and Lydie’s marriage, or will he reconcile them all? 

Poignantly beautiful yet at times gritty, Out of Night mirrors the decade of the 1960s as innocence is lost, confusion abounds, yet hope is always on the horizon.

Available also for pre-order at Barnes and Nobles, Apple, and Kobo books.

https://www.draft2digital.com/book/518968

The paperback edition to follow at a later date.