Monday, 11 December 2017

Book Review: The French Exchange Whale and Other Rejected Book Ideas

The French Exchange Whale & Other Rejected Book Ideas
By Cal King
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Available in paperback & ebook

Its that time of year again - buying presents for writers and readers in your life, ready for Christmas. How about ditching the usual notebook or pen and buy them something to inspire them with their ideas. The French Exchange Whale and Other Rejected Book Ideas might just be the book you never thought you needed but will now actually need...

If you're a writer then you've probably heard many people say to you (both drunk and sober) that everyone has a book inside them. Either you argue the toss with them or politely nod your head, take a large sip of a cocktail and then slowly back away. Turns out that's not true... so finally writers can politely reply with a wiggle of the finger and point them in the direction of this book.

Cal King is bursting with book ideas and thinks most of them are potential prize-winning novels. Yet, having pitched these ideas - ninja nuns, Sherlock's homes - how to make a killing on the housing market and a time travelling gran - publishers don't seem that keen.

But then Hodder & Stoughton decided to take a chance, and put all of these ideas together in one book so readers can decide for themselves if Cal was on to a good thing or that maybe the publishers have had a lucky escape. Full of strange and wacky book ideas and at some points you start convincing yourself that actually these could make a good plot for a proper book...

This is a funny book that writers and readers will love, and would make a great Christmas present and will keep you entertained through those TV repeats and post-Christmas dinner slump. Trust me, you'll be sniggering to yourself so it might be best to not read this on public transport.

You can buy The French Exchange Whale and Other Rejected Book Ideas from your favourite bookshop.


I was sent a copy from the publisher.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

November's Reading

I'm back in the game with five books read in November - not that I'm competitive but reading only three books for the past couple of months isn't good for me.



2084 Edited by George Sandison
This fantastic anthology of stories depicts possible futures of what life could be like in 2048, one hundred years after George Orwell's 1984You can read my review here.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This is a young adult thriller about a privileged family with their own island, and the younger generation trying to deal with the expectations of family mythology and the pull to follow their own paths in life. We Were Liars includes a brilliant twist near the end. Definitely get your hands on a copy of this.

The French Exchange Whale by Cal King
This small book includes ridiculous rejected book ideas but some of them might have you wanting them to be written into full books. This would make a fun Christmas present for a writer or reader in your life. Review will be appearing later in the week.

His Guilty Secret by Helene Fermont
Affairs, dead husbands, friends with addiction and secret children. This book is full of secrets and lies, exploring the complex tangles of modern life and love. My review will be appearing later this month.

The Power by Naomi Alderman
Winner of the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and I can definitely see why. Women across the global realise they have an electric power within that comes alive when attacked or angry. They can inflict pain or even death. The power struggle between men and women starts to tip the other way, and men are finding they no longer have control. This is a fantastic novel - go and buy this one and read it!

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In November I went to the Gollancz Festival at Foyles, celebrating science fiction writers with talks and workshops. Not only was the day a great way to hear from authors on their inspirations but it was also got me interested in writers who I've not read before - I'm definitely going to read something by Joe Hill. Here are some highlights from the day...

  • Try to tune out 'normal' life for your mind to start working and piecing together ideas
  • Write into the gap of stories
  • Write first then edit afterwards so you know the direction you're heading with the narrative
  • A deadline gives motivation and tricks you into working
  • There are no magic tricks to writing
  • you can't wait for an idea - you need to put down the 'seed' and then tease out the idea into something bigger

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Abi Curtis's Imaginary Bookshop

Today we welcome Abi Curtis to Writer's Little Helper to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series to celebrate the publication of her novel, Water & Glassdystopian tale about human nature and the animal world.

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
The Lantern

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In a lighthouse

Would your bookshop have any special features?
Curved shelves, a reading platform right at the top

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
It would have an amazing view at the edge of the landscape

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
I would have a short-fiction section, as this is under-represented. I’d have fiction, but not separated in ‘genre’ categories. I’d have a larger poetry section than you find in most bookshops.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
My display table would have sea-themed books, but from different genres – fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Because I became fascinated by depictions of the sea when writing my recent novel.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer.
I think I would have to have Shakespeare.

What sort of event would they run?
A word-inventing workshop

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Because you can immerse yourself in it as if you were under the ocean.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Fishcakes.

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Abi Curtis is Professor of Creative Writing at York St. John University and is an award-winning poet. In 2004, she received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her first poetry collection, Unexpected Weatherwas published after winning the Crashaw Poetry Prize in 2008. In 2013 Curtis won the Somerset Maugham Award for her second poetry collection, The Glass Delusion, which allowed her to travel to Istanbul, where inspiration for Water & Glass began to flourish. Water & Glass is her first novel.



Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Review: 2048

2084
Edited by George Sandison
Published by Unsung Stories
Available in paperback

Short story anthologies can be a mixed bag and I know that I have found myself in the past skipping over stories to get to the good stuff. Well, 2048 isn't one of those anthologies - ever story is a gem.

This anthology of stories depicts possible futures of what life could be like in 2048, one hundred years after George Orwell's 1984. These are warnings - is this the future we want to head towards?

I was expecting all of these stories to explore variations of big brother and the surveillance world but I was wrong. This anthology is more than just being influenced by Orwell's 1984. The stories springboard from that initial idea and each author has created a powerful, enjoyable and mostly unsettling possible future.

Within these pages are stories about walls wrapped around Europe stopping people from fleeing war-torn countries, social media choking real life and warping the minds of millions and leaving people isolated, the extinction of animals and the way people barter for fur and animal body parts, fashion has turned into a religion. Each story pulls the reader into this compact world and clings on even after reading the story. I've already gone back and read some of these stories again.

Babylon by Dave Hutchinson is a strong opening story with its depiction of an oppressive Europe with its immigration policy allowing only the rich into Europe. This small story packs the punches with the mistreatment of people, the ways people will do to survive and the extremes they will take for a better life. The protagonist in this story changes his DNA to be accepted in Europe.

Malcolm Devlin's March, April, May tells the story of the paranoid world of social media and the way it controls our worldviews and social circles. This sinister story shows a group of friends and the way they interact with a friend who wants to play devil's advocate and try to break the social network's algorithm but it seems to backfire as her account disappears. Users only care about the information presented to them rather than questioning the world through their computers. In a world where fake news and post-truths seem to spread very quickly through social media this possible future feels like it's already starting to take shape.

The anthology finishes with a unsettling story, Shooting an Episode by Christopher Priest, telling the story of reality TV moderator who has become jaded with his job and wants to leave. However, his employer has one more job for him, putting him in the clutches of the 'super' fans who watch the show and want to interact with the actors. Priest explores the foggy area between reality and TV and they way people perceive these truths. 

Within this fantastic collection are stories from Christopher Priest, James Smythe, Jeff Noon, Aliya Whiteley to name just a few. Trust me on this, buy this book even if you don't really like reading short stories. 2048 is an excellent collection which leave you thinking for days about your own version of 2048You can buy 2048 from your favourite book retailer.


List of stories contained in 2048:


Babylon - Dave Hutchinson
Here Comes the Flood - Desirina Boskovich
Fly Away, Peter - Ian Hocking
A Good Citizen - Anne Charnock
The Endling Market - E. J. Swift
Glitterati - Oliver Langmead
Room 149 - Jeff Noon
Percepi - Courttia Newland
Degrees of Ellision - Cassandra Khaw
The Infinite Eye - JP Smythe
Saudade Minus One (S-1=) - Irenosen Okojie
March, April, May - Malcolm Devlin
2084 Satoshi AD - Lavie Tidhar
Uniquo - Aliya Whiteley
Shooting an Episode - Christopher Priest

The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

October's Reading

Just three books read in October - I really am slacking... 

But I've been enjoying theatre trips, going to the Royal Albert Hall to see Jaws with an orchestra accompaniment, and basically being a slower reader.

So, here are the books I read this month. I'm aiming to read more than three in November!



Western Fringes - Amer Anwar
Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger award, Western Fringes is a gritty, hard-hitting crime thriller full of violence, family feuds and revenge. Twisty turns in this gritty crime thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. You can read my review here.

How to be Champion - Sarah Millican
Part autobiography, part self-help, part confession, Sarah Millican, that comedian off the telly, shares her normal life with laugh out loud stories and snippets on how to deal with those crap times in your life. Sarah comes up with a fool-proof way to come up top after a divorce (why wasn't this chapter available when I needed advice like this), how to deal with crap jobs and those embarrassing IBS moments. This book is really funny and will definitely cheer you up with the colder nights.

Men Explain Things To Me - Rebecca Solnit
This important set of essays looks at the way women have to still struggle in society to have their voices and actions heard. This book will make you think about your position in society and is thought-provoking. Even though this is a serious book it is still entertaining!

What did you read in October?

Monday, 30 October 2017

Book Review: Western Fringes by Amer Anwar

Western Fringes
Amer Anwar
Published by Edurus Books
Available in paperback & ebook

Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger award, Western Fringes is a gritty, hard-hitting crime thriller full of violence, family feuds and revenge.

Zaq Khan, recently released from prison, is working a dead-end job in a builder's yard, trying to make enough money to survive and keep out of trouble. However his boss has other ideas, and those involve looking for his missing daughter, Rita, with one requirement: no police.

Gritty and gripping, Zaq's assignment seems simple until he realises that a girl on the run from an arranged marriage isn't what it seems. Her brothers seem to be dealing drugs from a warehouse and they seem to be very keen on their sister being returned.

Zaq plants himself right in the middle of a family argument, full of deceit, jealousy and murder. He not only needs to keep himself alive but also keep Rita from the clutches of her brothers. He is pulled further and further into a world where he could end up back in prison. Fights, car chases, and stakeouts, Zaq turns detective to find out why this family are ripping each other and the local community apart.

Western Fringes is a tough Asian crime thriller full of sharp dialogue, enough punches to make you flinch and a plot that will having you gripping the edge of your seat. Anwar explores the things people will do to survive not only within their local community (not going to the police), within their own culture (running away from an arranged marriage) but also for themselves. Anwar looks at the way traditions and cultures impact people's lives and the way some generations will do their best to void their heritage.

Amer Anwar's debut novel is a fast paced thriller, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page. This book will make you very tense so make sure you run yourself a relaxing bath after reaching the last page.

You can buy Western Fringes from your favourite bookshop.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

September's Reading

Not many books read in September...

But I finished redrafting my novel, and I've sent it to a few agents (cross your fingers and toes for me), and I've finally cracked the shell of short story that has been driving me around the bend for two years. Yes, two bloody years - the structure and the voice was wrong but I think I'm now on the right path.

I'm now having a crisis of 'what if I can never write another novel again' - it's really fun. The same thoughts go around in my head, one minute saying that I can still write and then there's the other side telling me that I'm done and I should stick to reading. Tell me you all have inner voices and that I haven't cracked? Please?

Anyway, books read in September....

Madame Bovary of the Suburbs - Sophie Divry (translated by Alison Anderson)
Sophie Divry, author of the fantastic The Library of Unrequited Love, tackles Madame Bovary with a modern retelling of a woman who moves through life, successful with a job, family, children and friends but is frustrated and bored told in the second-person narrative. Divry uses this narrative to pull the reader into the story, implicating them into the affairs of the narrator. This is a book full of dark humour and compelling.

Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
On the surface this is a courtroom drama, telling the story of the trial of Kabuo Miyamoto who has been accused of the murder of Carl Heine on the small island of San Piedro, Puget Sound, Washington but this is more than a who done it. This is a book about a the conflicts in a small, close-knit island community, tenses between the Japan and America post WWII. This book is full of rich details and characterisation.

The Little Book of Hygge - Meik Wiking
I've been dipping in and out of this book for several months, and I've finally finished it and it turns out hygge was 'so last season' - must read faster. This stylish little book is full of ways to live a happy life just like the Danish. Blankets, cosy nights, candles, comfort food - all of the things I already enjoy. Turns out I've been 'hygge' for years and I think I'm going to celebrate this fact with buying yet another candle.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Book Review: The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

The Easy Way Out
By Steven Amsterdam
Published by Riverrun
Available in paperback & ebook

Steven Amsterdam's latest novel, The Easy Way Out, is in interesting novel looking at the end of life care and the right to die. Using his experiences as a palliative nurse, Amsterdam explores the choices people make to stop the suffering from horrendous diseases.

Evan is a suicide assistant, a legal job, where he provides support and care needed for someone ready to die on their own terms. He hands the patient their last drink, being supportive to the patient's family, offering advice, standing on the sidelines for the patient's final moments. He keeps his job a secret from his friends, mother and lovers to escape the people he loves from judging him.

Evan pushes at the limits of the law and his own morality for the patients he cares for. All he cares about are the patients rather than his boss's concerns on Evan's approaches. But more and more he starts to wonder who might be there for him, when the time comes... and life starts to unravel for Evan.

This is a bleak novel about the way people choose die if they had a choice, and the way these types of decisions can leave family and friends left behind wondering about this life choice. Amsterdam has written a sensitive novel about end of life care, and it will leave you wondering about your end of life choices (if you could have a choice). Yet, it isn't all bleak - this book has plenty of warmth and humour.

This book is full of compassion and sad but with dashes of dark humour. This is a sensitive topic for many people and won't be suitable for everybody. The Easy Way Out is available from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy via Bookbridgr.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

July & August's Reading

This month's catch up is a bumper edition, covering July and August.

I'm trying to come up with a witty excuse for not blogging as much at the moment but it's simply that I'm trying to juggle several things at the moment. I'm currently painting each room and I'm not the world's fastest DIYer. I'm also trying to do a few craft projects as I want to have some homemade pictures up on my walls.

I've been reading too but the writing has definitely fallen off the radar. I've finished the redrafting of my novel, and have started to research agents and also sending out to few too! I've already had two rejections but I really do believe there's an agent out there who would be the perfect fit for my novel.

Here are the books I've read over the summer:

Various Pets Alive and Dead - Marina Lewycka
Serge grew up on a commune but shunned its values and lifestyle to work in the banking section in the city. However, his previous life has started to catch up with him. Sometimes you need a book full of dysfunctional families and this book will deliver on this! this is a witty and wise novel.

Little Black Book - Otegha Uwagba
This small book has really big ideas about being a woman, having a career, trying to achieve your dreams. This book is amazing. This book has already motivated me to re-think my finances, getting better deal with my mortgage, using my time to do the things I want to do. Buy this book, read it and then buy it for all of your friends.
This is a novel full of laughter, fashion, hissy fits and ambition. If you like Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones or even Ugly Betty then you will love this book. You can read my review here.

Yesterday - Felicia Yap
If you're looking for a book with twists and turns then this is the book for you. This is a novel about memory, lies and deceit. What if you are the unreliable narrator of your own life? You can read my review here.


Whispers Underground - Ben Aaronovitch
This is the third novel in the Peter Grant series, a supernatural crime series. There's something horrible happening in the tunnels under London and Peter has been called in to work alongside the police to find out the cause of all of these mysterious happenings. This is an entertaining read full of witty characters that make you want to read the next book in the series as soon as possible.

The Easy Way Out - Steven Amsterdam
This is a interesting read looking at end of life care. Evan is a suicide assistant, a legal job, where he provides support and care needed for someone ready to die. This book is full of compassion, sad with dashes of dark humour. Look out for my review soon.

Bleaker House - Nell Stevens
Nell Stevens has been given a writing grant to spend three months to write a novel in a location of her choice. She picks Bleaker Island, Falklands. But this book is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a woman realizing a novel doesn’t lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nell wants to teach herself the art of loneliness and then she’ll know if she is a proper author. This is a great book, full of great details and funny insights.

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop - Annie Darling
I really needed a sweet book with the ability to give you a hug and this book did just this which was needed when I went on my first ever spa day. Verity Love works in a bookshop, is obsessed with Jane Austen and also has a fake boyfriend. Yet, her fake boyfriend doesn't seem to behaving and their promise not to fall in love seems to have cracks appearing in this guarantee to each other.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Book Review: Yesterday

Yesterday
By Felicia Yap
Published by Wildfire
Available in hardback & ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

You know how Samuel L. Jackson's character is Jurassic Park says 'hold on to your butts' well that's what you need to know before reading this book. Felicia Yap's debut novel, Yesterday, is an addictive psychological drama with twists and turns and you'll find that you might not be able to put this book down.

There are two types of people - those who can only remember yesterday (monos), and those who can also recall the day before (duos). Each night events of the day are recorded - all the things that matter or you need to remember. Every morning your diary tells you where you were, who you love, what you do each day.

Yet, those diary entries can turn against your future self....

Claire believes she has the perfect life - living in Cambridge with her author husband who has a new political career on the horizon - she doesn't need to work, enjoying her garden. Yet, the police are at her door, saying that the body of her husband's mistresses was found in the River Cam.  They think her husband killed her... yet her husband is telling her another thing. All of the evidence is suspect and she has no idea who is telling the truth.

This is a story of betrayal, love and deceit where it's hard to trust the people around you and quite possibly you are the unreliable narrator to your own life. Yap taps into society's fears of losing our identities, memory and love. Who can be trusted?

This story will keep you gripped until the end. So grab a copy soon but don't blame me if you can't put the book down! You can buy Yesterday from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy by the publisher.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Frances Gapper's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Writer's Little Helper welcomes Frances Gapper to the Imaginary Bookshop to celebrate her new short story collection, In the Wild Wood.

In the Wild Wood has had fantastic reviews from Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs. Some of the biggest names from your bookshelves. Plus look at this fantastic book cover!

Over to Frances...

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
The Dream Palace

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In a beautiful and surprisingly accessible part of the UK that hasn’t yet been discovered. The bookshop would have sea views from its many bay windows (with window seats), nearby woodland walks and a lovely river also within easy walking distance.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.

It would have lots of very comfortable sofas and other lounging-around types of furniture. Also fountains, verandas, covered walkways.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
My bookshop would be very different indeed from all the other ones. The emphasis would be on relaxation. Women over 60 would be invited to stay over free of charge for as long as they liked in private book-lined bedrooms with large bathrooms and writing tables.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Plenty of fiction, poetry, biography and nature writing, plus a lot of odd and unusual books that don’t really fit into any category. I’d probably ditch anything too technical, apart from gardening books with a strongly autobiographical bent.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
On the display table I’d put old editions in great condition and very reasonably priced, eg Pan paperbacks from the 60s, vintage Penguins and leather-covered classics. Well bound and printed on good paper. The sort of thing I look out for myself in second-hand book shops.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?

Emily Dickinson. She would read aloud selected poems, her personal favourites plus a few new ones we’ve never heard before, and some of her letters to friends including the expurgated bits. She’d then answer questions from the audience in her inimitable fashion.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
My novel? I’d say, did you know you can get this for £0.01 plus postage on Amazon Marketplace? As for my book of short stories, if it had gone missing I’d suggest they order a copy direct from the publisher Cultured Llama. They could look on the CL website to see what Helen Oyeyemi and Paul Magrs say about my book and view the cover picture, Night Tree by Jane Eccles. If that doesn’t persuade them to buy it, nothing will.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I never thought I’d see myself saying this, but cake without any nuts or seeds, so there’d be no nasty surprises for diverticulitis-prone intestines. Nb I love nuts and seeds – or used to.

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You can either buy In the Wild Wood directly from the publisher or from Amazon.

You can visit Frances's website here http://www.francesgapper.co.uk/

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Book Review: Amber Green Takes Manhattan

Amber Green Takes Manhattan
By Rosie Nixon
Published by HQ
Available in paperback, ebook and audio

Looking for a book to take your mind off the world's problems?

Looking for something glamorous and sparkly?

Looking for something to make you laugh and cringe?

Yes to all of the above?

Then I have the book for you....

Rosie Nixon's second book in the Amber Green series, Amber Green Takes Manhattan, is a novel full of laughter, fashion, hissy fits and ambition. If you like Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones or even Ugly Betty then you will love this book.

Amber Green moves to New York with her boyfriend, Rob, where he will be filming a documentary about lingerie models. Amber doesn't want to be stuck all day in their teeny tiny flat and wants to make her own stamp on New York. Fashion is in her blood and she's determined that everyone in fashion will know about her sooner rather than later.

High profile styling by Amber for celebrities, mixing with controversial fashion designers, an Instagram account with thousands of followers and before Amber knows it she's becoming the talk of the town but maybe not for the reasons she was hoping for. Her new life is hanging in the balance after alienating both her best friend and her boyfriend. She must stitch back together her life, her career and her reputation.

This is a fast pace novel as the reader rushes with Amber through the streets of New York as she battles against unruly toddler photo shoots, finds herself involved with a designer handbag scam, having to smile at celebrities who only want to wear their undies on the red carpet and partying all night before job interviews.

If you're looking for a feel good novel full of glamour, adventure, ambition, friendship and love all serving in New York then this is the book for you. Amber Green Takes Manhattan is a fun read, and definitely a book to retreat to after a long hard day. You can buy Amber Green Takes Manhattan from your favourite bookshop.


I was sent a copy via the publisher.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chuck Caruso's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Chuck Caruso has popped over to Writer's Little Helper to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

Chuck Caruso's debut thriller, The Lawn Job, is a dark-comedy thriller about a femme fatal, Sheila Pasarelli, who is plotting to take revenge on her adulterous husband with the help of their gardener and ex-con man Craig Collins.

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What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
My imaginary bookshop would be called Café Noir and it would specialize in crime, horror, and other dark writing. Decorated with Persian rugs and heavy draperies, my shop would also include a coffee bar and a salon area with padded chairs and push sofas.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
My bookshop would be located in downtown Seattle, Washington. Set in the gritty urban core and overshadowed by the heavy clouds and constant rain, my bookshop would be a dark little haven for readers who love dark writing.

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
Yes, in addition to a full coffee bar with espresso machines and delicious pastries, my bookshop would feature a small stage for author events, dramatic readings, and acoustic music events.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?

The thing that would make my bookshop different from others is that it would become a focus of the local community of mystery readers and crime writers by hosting writers’ groups, book clubs, and weekly salons to discuss important topics and issues.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
Because the bookshop would be entirely oriented around dark fiction, it could feature many of the usual sections like mystery, science fiction, biography, philosophy, etc., but patrons would know every section is stocked with dark materials.

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Our display table would feature staff favourites, books by members of our writing groups, and things currently being read by our book clubs and discussion groups.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
If we could run only one author event, we would have a reading by Edgar Allan Poe who would read one of his macabre tales and answer questions about our enduring fascination with mystery and horror.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Customers will want to read my novel, The Lawn Job firstly for the amazing thrill ride. It’s a fast-paced crime story with engaging characters and lots of plot twists. A friend told me my book should come with a beach towel and a six-pack. That said, one of my early readers described the novel as having layers like an onion. I like that it’s an exciting read but also a novel that lingers in the mind and provokes readers to reflect more deeply on my characters and their motivations. Those are aspects that I appreciate in the novels I read, so I’m pleased to offer that to my own readers.

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
I would offer the richest and darkest espresso chocolate cake I could find. Slices would be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to balance out the darkness with a lighter flavor. You always have to a little light to make the shadows deeper.




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The Lawn Job by Chuck Caruso is out now (£9.99, Cloud Lodge Books)