Thursday, 22 December 2016

Author Interview: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Photo courtesy of Kim and Amy

It is getting so close to Christmas, and so as an extra treat I have an interview with TWO authors today!

Kim Askew (left of the picture) and Amy Helmes (right of the picture) are authors of the new 'Twisted Lit' novel, Puck, and they have kindly agreed to be interviewed by me!

1. Hi girls! How are you both?

We’re doing well, thanks, and we’re excited to talk about the latest offering in our Twisted Lit collection of YA novels!

2. What inspired you to write Puck?

Our first three novels — Tempestuous, Exposure and Anyone But You — were inspired by Shakespeare plays. (“The Tempest,” “Macbeth,” and “Romeo and Juliet,” respectively). We wanted our fourth book to be a modern twist on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” because not only is it it arguably the most beloved of Shakespeare’s comedies, but Puck is one of the playwright’s most iconic characters. 

3. Why did you focus on Shakespeare's plays?

Shakespeare’s fingerprint is everywhere in pop culture, from the movies 10 Things I Hate about You and Grease to TV series like “House Of Cards” and “Westworld.” His plays really capture the drama and emotion of the human experience, and they lend themselves perfectly for reinventions. In Puck, we were inspired by the trouble-making fairies who wreak such unprecedented havoc in the forest in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Yanking the story into the 21st century, we decided that a rehabilitation wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents would give us the perfect framework. It all fell into place from there.

4. Can you briefly tell us what Puck is about?

It’s the story of a 15-year-old girl who lands at DreamRoads, a wilderness camp for troubled kids in the wilds of Utah. Her fellow campers include a famous pop star with a diva attitude, a geeky, “fish out of water” math whiz, and a surly gang-banger with a chip on his shoulder. The program’s steely director aims to break Puck, but she knows that every adult has a breaking point, too. She’s determined to defy this realm of agonizing nature hikes and soul-sucking psychobabble — even if that means manipulating four lovestruck camp counsellors and the director’s dim-witted second-in-command.

5. Describe Puck! What kind of character is she?

She’s our most kick-A$$, controversial heroine yet. Having been seemingly chewed up and spit out by the foster care system, she’s guarded, hostile, even whiny, at times. She also lies, which can make the reader’s experience with her tricky indeed. On the other hand, she’s fiery, funny and lovable. We wouldn’t have her any other way.

6. Have you got any other Shakespeare retellings in the works?

We both sort of have a weakness for brooding hot guys, so “Hamlet” is on our list of plays to tackle, as is the sisterly drama that’s so rife in “King Lear!”

7. Sell us the book! Why should people pick this up RIGHT NOW?

If you enjoy John Hughes movies like The Breakfast Club, you’ll love taking the journey with our modern-day “brat pack,” whose attitude and antics will surely keep you guessing!

Thank you so much Kim and Amy! Good luck with your future books.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Last Minute Bookish-Themed Christmas Gifts!

Today I have lovingly hand-picked great bookish-themed gift ideas for a range of people in your life. As a book addict, I would be so happy with any of these! 

Most of these gifts have free shipping in the UK too, so that's less for you to pay and you don't have to go outside in the freezing British weather. 

The Body in the Library tote bag (Waterstones, £12.99)

Those of us who are book-obsessed also love a good tote bag. Trust me. If you know someone who loves books, I can guarantee they have a full cupboard or draw full of tote bags that they have collected from events and personal shopping sprees. Perfect for any university student too - become the eternal body in the library with this The Body in the Library bag. 

Gimble (Waterstones, £4.99)

There isn't much to say about this gadget except for HANDS FREE READING. No more hand cramp from keeping your book held up for hours on end! And its such a reasonable price, meaning its a great stocking filler!

Poldark adult colouring book (The Book Depository, £4.99)

So pretty much everyone you know is probably obsessed with Poldark (except for me, sorry world!) and adult colouring books are so popular. So, why not get this for the people in your life who have a giant crush on this guy - which I can guarantee is like 90% of your friendship group. 

Cozy Reading Sloth t-shirt (RedBubble, starting from £14.93)

So. Cute. I cannot think of a single person who would not want this gift.

"I read banned books" pin badge (, £7.50)

A perfect little gift for those on a budget and it will guarantee to make the book-lover in your life smile. Also, it would look really good pinned onto that tote bag or t-shirt I showed you. 

'Two books and two beers' gift set (, £18.99)

One for the adults now - a gift set of two books individual picked by the seller and two beers which you can choose yourself. You can also choose the genre of the books that they pick, so you have control but still let other people do most of the work. Perfect for those stubborn dads who say they "don't want anything" but are actually really picky on Christmas day.

Personalised children's book (, £14.99) 

This is the most exciting gift idea that I picked, and it is for the little ones in your life. You get to choose everything about the main character - gender, hair colour, eye colour, clothes, name etc... and you get to write a little message too. Then, the magical seller fairy will put it all together and send it to you! This would have been a dream present to open when I was younger. 

Pride and Prejudice literary rose (notonthehighstreet, £19.50)

Isn't this so cute? I would love to get one of these, and they could even be bought as thoughtful Valentine's gifts. This is the perfect gift for a partner who loves classic literature, and if they don't like Pride and Prejudice? Don't worry! There are lots of other book roses on the seller's page. 

Are you going to buy any of these for people in your life? Or maybe a cheeky present for yourself? 

Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

5 Romance and Drama eBooks you need in your life!

Hello! You'll be seeing a lot from me over Christmas and the new year as a treat for being so lovely!

Or is it a Christmas nightmare? You decide.

Anyway, Inkitt asked me to share with you some of the newest authors who deserve recognition for their great writing and general awesomeness. And so that's what I'm going to do!

In case you didn't know, Inkitt is a writing site that you can connect to your Facebook or Twitter and share your writing with the world. There are so many talented writers on there and the creators of the site have even put together 3 collections of fabulous writers so you don't even have to go looking for them yourself!

Collection 1

Collection 2

Collection 3

The 5 books I'm going to tell you about are from these collections and look SO GOOD.

1. The Apple and the Tree by Tash Boden 

Unraveling the mystery surrounding her parents’ deaths has put Kitsey’s life in danger. As she learns of her family’s dark legacy, she worries that she, too, will be lost to its wake.
2. Deliverance by Christopher Willson 

Cast out of an immoral world by unjust actions, follow the intertwining tale of two souls looking for redemption.

3. November Frost by Alicia Cameron 

Celeste Minton can’t take life anymore. When she tries to end it one day after endless bullying and depression in her life, Lucas Smith saves her. When the drama continues in her life non-stop, she eventually realizes that she has to fight her own battles and overcome personal obstacles. Having Lucas as a guide is a bonus, though.

4. Apocalypse on Broadway by Ron2BSure 

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and get your tickets to tonight’s show, which features a murder mystery, a love story and a scathing satire of the Great White Way. Hurry!

5. Tarnished by rebekahnored 

Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough? Have you ever been called a freak or damaged? Take a walk with Emma and learn to love who you are on the inside.

If you want to read any of these, then copies are absolutely free! Just click on the link, and make sure to hurry, as there are limited downloads available for each story.

Tell me in the comments if you know anymore amazing authors on Inkiiit or write on there yourself! If not, are you going to check some of these stories out?

I'll be back soon with another post!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Author Interview: Melissa Burch

Hello! Today I'm interviewing Melissa Burch, author of My Journey through War and Peace, and I'm going to be asking her all about the stories behind her book as well as the years she travelled. 

I was so intrigued by Melissa, because she has done so much with her life so far, and I wanted to hear all about her experiences.

If you want to learn more about her life, her book is available on Amazon.

Here's the interview!

1. Hello Melissa! First of all, how has your 2016 been?

2016 was an amazing year where my husband and I bought an RV, named her Gaia, and set off on a 12,000 mile book tour across the United States. I fell in love with the beauty and majestic parts of this country, and the people who came to hear me talk. We called the trip The Heroine's Journey: Road Trip and Quest, and it became so much more. Our son joined us and so it also became a family adventure where we found ourselves really together and enjoying each others company before sending our only child off to college.

2. Why did you decide to write this memoir?

I never intended to write a memoir. My friend and I wanted to write and so we agreed to wake each other up at 6 am and then check back at 11 am to see how it went. This deep dive into writing built up a muscle and the shitty first draft began... I thought it would be about something completely different but all these memories of my twenties poured out. I kept following the momentum until I had a manuscript that needed a lot of work in order to be interesting to anyone outside of my family and close friends.

3. What is the best memory of your time travelling?

I was surprised when I had a memory and thought this doesn't make any sense. For example I remember there were roses all over Peshawar in Pakistan. I thought this can't be true because it is so desert like there. Then I googled "Peshawar + roses," and discovered that the British had brought roses from England. They were so celebrated that they wrote about them in many songs and poetry.

4. What is the worst memory?

I had to revisit parts of my life where I wished I had done things differently. I had hurt people so close to me. When I recorded the audio version, the one section that went missing, was the one part of the memoir that I didn't not want to have to revisit again. So I had to read one more time about my breakup with my boyfriend at the time (now he's my husband). It became a way of processing that younger self and her choices.

5. How, as a woman, did you struggle compared to the men you worked with whilst travelling?

There were not many women going into war zones as a filmmaker. I had many privileges because I could meet some of the women in Afghanistan where male journalists were not allowed. I also had issues with sexual abuse that also happened because I was a woman. Overall I was well taken care of by the moujahedeen in some difficult circumstances like when I climbed a 14,000 ft mountain in the Hindu Kusch and thought I will never make it. They nearly pulled me up the last stretch of that mountain to a safe place.

6. Did you grow as a person whilst travelling? (Spiritually/mentally?)

I grew in so many ways (mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically), and I also understood the origins of parts of who I became. Before writing the memoir, I had not realized that I began to fully trust my intuition in Afghanistan. On my way out of the country I pushed the moujahedeen when they were praying to get them back in the truck. This crazy and not PC action ended up saving all of our lives. Spoiler alert: I hurried them so much that we ran into another group of moujahedeen that had mined the road so if we had arrived any later we would all been blown up.

7. What do you think your life would have been like if you hadn't have had these experiences?

I've had such an unconventional life and continue to follow what feels right that I cannot say how things would have been different. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and the adults around me were acting irrational so much so that I had to find my own way. Of course I developed a strong feedback loop because I made enough mistakes to know what not to do too.

8. Do you regret any part of your travelling?

I've been a traveler all my life and continue in this tradition. We've sold our Cambridge home and living on the road now in Gaia, our RV, for six months of the year, and in our tiny house in Tinos, Greece. We're true vagabonds right now.

9. Lastly, What are you up to these days?

I have no idea--taking it day by day! I just completed the book tour for "My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker." I have the second memoir ready to be launched called, "Yearning for Magic: The Spiritual Journey of a Mother, Healer and Lover," about having our child after a difficult infertility period and becoming a homeopath. I want to get back to writing and finish my third memoir currently titled "Sacred Marriage," which is about relationships and how to balance the feminine and male energies. I'm writing this interview from Wimborne, England just before I dive into a shamanic bee initiation at the Sacred Trust...

Thanks Melissa!

Pick up My Journey through War and Peace now!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Christmas Gifts for Fangirls and Fanboys

So, we all know people who are in a fandom.

Or should I say multiple fandoms.

And the world of fandom merch is a huge and scary and confusing one, so I thought I'd make a post showing you a few bits and pieces that you can get your crazy fandom-obsessed friends for Christmas. 

Because Mary Berry is life.

Who doesn't want bread in the shape of an ood?

This gorgeous hardcover book goes behind the scenes of the new film and is perfect for literally anyone in the world... because there is no one that doesn't like Harry Potter. That's a scientific fact. 

Not a book but still pretty awesome. I've never seen this before! Cluedo used to be a favourite in my house and with this your screams will be down to your intense fangirling AND your competitive behaviour. 

You can get these little dudes for pretty much any fandom and so I would highly recommend them as they are cheap and your friends can collect them. If you want your friends and family to have nightmares, I suggest getting them one from American Horror Story

This is SO COOL. Get your Ghostbuster's-obsessed friend one of these to keep them distracted from the anti-feminist haters who boycotted the new movie. Oh yeah - and Slimer glows too!

Fandom jewellery is such a thoughtful present to get anyone who loves a thing, because then they can wear the thing! 

Yes, I'm ending the list with a book. And it had to be Dan and Phil's book! Even if someone you know could not get tickets for their tour around parts of the world, this is a great gift as it documents their travels and is a necessity for any Dan and Phil shrine.

Will you get any of these gifts for someone you know or yourself?

Let me know in the comments!