Friday, 31 May 2013

Novel idea

Where do you start? Historical fiction requires serious discipline.

The next book in this most exciting year is Dark Interlude, a project close to my heart.



The main character, of course, is Scottish. Possibly based on my grandmother who quite the bluestocking in her day.  Holidays near Loch Lomond and Perthshire may feature, along with trips to St Andrews. Then there's Melrose, of course. Big family story, there.

However, the story then moves to Glasgow. Shock horror. I’d changed trains there in my youth, but that was it. I did some research. And then some more. Have you heard of the revolution that never was


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Video release: Dark Interlude

Now out on 21 June

DARK INTERLUDE is a post World-War-One romantic adventure inspired by the little-known revolution known as ‘Black Friday’ in Scotland in 1919.

Winter 1918. In a sweeping story of social and emotional conflict, Alexandra Milton is a female academic who is ousted from her post at a tranquil university library, ending up in a small, post-war Scottish town which is struggling to cope in the aftermath of World War One. Her job is to archive a valuable bequest of 17th-century Spanish documents.

Meanwhile, demobbed soldiers pour back in their thousands only to find there is no work.

In Glasgow, many join a dockworkers’ protest in a turbulent Clydeside conflict that suddenly teeters on full-blown revolution causing the establishment to panic in a week of tension that became to be known as ‘Black Friday’.

When it transpires the death of the benefactress was indeed suspicious, Alexandra digs deeper and uncovers a sinister plot which could bring the nation to its knees …

See the video trailer here.

The book will be available on MuseItUp here.

Monday, 27 May 2013

New release date - Dark Interlude

Release date for post_WWI historical mystery Dark Interlude has been rescheduled to 21 June! http://bit.ly/17cWj02

Friday, 24 May 2013

Dark Interlude ... are you ready?

Gearing up for the release on 21 June. Doing the online thing. Check out FB. If you can't get an invitation, let me know: pamkelt@gmail.com

http://bit.ly/17cWj02

Meanwhile, did you know it's set in Scotland? Here's a taste of Glasgow, with just a hint of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. And a few orchids from the botanical gardens. I couldn't help myself.



Monday, 20 May 2013

Tom Ward writes about the books he loves

A big welcome to young award-winning author Tom Ward, author of the spectacular dystopian novel A Departure. Over to you, Tom:
   
The Books I Love and How They’ve Shaped Me

I never made a conscious decision to become a ‘reader’. It was just something I did. I remember being in the first few years of primary school, and being excited to take a new book home to read. How could reading a story be homework? It was fun to let your mind wander for an hour or so. I raced through those books in primary school, eager to get ahead of the other children. I couldn’t play football, but I could beat them at reading.

Writing too seemed to come fairly easily. Having such an appetite for books helped, it meant I knew how sentences were supposed to be structured, how to lead up to a point and argue my case. Of course my writing is better now than it was a primary school, but not as good as it will be in ten years, or even ten years after that.

What we read too, is also an evolving process. Roald Dahl should be one of the earliest stepping stones for all children. I remember reading the wonderful story of Henry Sugar, aged 8 or 9, and thinking it was too difficult. This was the first sign that Roald Dahl would be with me for the rest of my life. His book of adult short stories is still one of the best things I’ve ever read. He’s truly the master of the twist in the tail.

Despite my love of reading, I never wanted to go back to school after the summer holidays (or even after a weekend). How could it be the law that you had to spend your childhood doing things you didn’t want to do? It was appalling. On these nights when I couldn’t get to sleep, I’d listen to Roald Dahl audiobooks. The B.F.G was a favourite. This was what life should be: adventures, dreams and giants, not maths and playtimes and queuing for school dinners.

After Roald Dahl, I encountered Brian Jacques and his Redwall books when the book fair came to school. My mum ran the fair and I was allowed a book as a bribe to not complain about having to stay hours after school. The Pearls of Lutra was the first Redwall book I read, and from then on I had to have them all. Each time a new book came out, or we went on a trip to a town with a large book shop, I’d take out the money I’d saved and buy a new part of the story of Redwall. They were innocent books, about mice and badgers defending an abbey, but there was evil in those books, evil, honour and adventure. It was everything I wanted. I collected almost the entire series and positioned them on my self in the order I’d read them, their gold spines glinting in the sunlight.

Nothing really grabbed me as a teenager. I’ve always thought teenage literature was awkward. Children’s authors could write for children without patronising them, but teenage authors seemed to underestimate their audience, and treat them as children at a time when they strived to be grown up. Harry Potter was a revelation, and Artemis Fowl was enjoyable enough, but it wasn’t until I encountered Lord of the Flies that I became hooked on literature again.

By now I had started to write some awful stories. I had however, been getting A*s in my GCSE English coursework, so I must have been on the right path. Then, I started work at a cinema and as we tried to avoid work, a friend told me about Hemingway, Bukowski and Cormac McCarthy. Here were stories full of adventure, blood, drinking, sex and fighting. I devoured Bukowski’s accessible style, limped over McCarthy and pushed on through Hemingway until, eventually; I could speak their language, and almost write it too.

University introduced me to writers I would never have read of my own accord. Sam Selvon, Angela Carter, Ballard etc etc. By now I was actively searching out writers. I loved Buk, so wanted to read Fante and Celine. McCarthy was a hero and Patrick DeWitt filled the gap that McCarthy’s long-awaited next novel is sure to fill. I’d read On the Road, but began to explore The Beats and fell in love with The Dharma Bums.

Whenever I’d set off on my own adventures abroad (India, Mexico, Guatemala...) I’d take a beaten copy of Catch-22 along with me. Yossarian is my favourite literary creation ever. He’s funny, he’s romantic, and he’s a broken man. What’s not to love? No matter how many times I read that book, I discover something new. The same can be said of Bulgakov’s fantastic The Master and Margarita.

The list of writers goes on and on. When I won the GQ Norman Mailer Award in October 2012, I set about discovering Mailer’s work and that of judge Tony Parsons. I then spent a month in Mailer’s house, trawling through his personal collection of his own books, as well as manuscripts adoring fans had sent him, that had never got very far.

Everyday I hear about a new writer I want to read and I try not to splurge whenever I’m in Waterstones. Don Dellio, I’ll get to you. Carson McCullers, you’re on the list. Tom Wolfe, we’ve got a date. Steinbeck, I’ll be reading you for the rest of my life.

It’s important to read widely, even if you don’t want to be a writer. Even if it’s just to help pass the day. If you choose wisely and read something important, a book with something to say, a book which will make you think, not just hum along in the back of your mind for a few hours, you’ll find yourself a changed person afterwards and you’ll grieve for a long time after the last page, until, that is, you find another book to fill that void.

Info
Tom Ward’s first novel, ‘A Departure’ has been described as ‘a book that self-consciously elbows its way into the company of J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun and Cormac McCathy’s The Road – and like those great books, it will stay with you for long after you have read the final page.’ - Tony Parsons.

‘A Departure’ is available here and you can follow Tom on Twitter here.





Thanks, Tom. Inspiring stuff. I think it's definitely time to re-read some of the classics. And finally ... Good luck with all your literary ventures,

Pam

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Watch out for Tom Ward

For some serious literary inspiration, drop by on Monday for my latest guest blog ...

What kickstarts the fevered brain of young writer Tom Ward, author of The Departure, a crackingly dark dystopian debut novel for Crooked Cat?

Find out here soon ...
 


Friday, 17 May 2013

Ten reasons to read Tomorrow’s Anecdote

1 – It doesn’t fit into any category. Mystery? Yes. Thriller? Yes. Family saga? Yes. With a twist! Actually, read it and tell me what genre it is. I haven’t a clue.

2 – It’s set mainly in the 1980s – which is now officially retro, and therefore cool. And don’t worry. It’s not about Dallas and ghetto-blasters. This is anchored in the ‘real’ 1980s. Remember the Great Storm of October 1987? Thatcher in power? The Black Monday market crash? Oh, yes. It’s all there.

3 – It’s so British it hurts. Wince at the awful stuff on telly. Snigger at Michael Fish’s hair. Sigh at the memory of the wonderful anthems of the era (and Kylie doesn’t get a look-in). It’ll take you back …

4 – Enjoy the company of unlikely male and female leads. They’re imperfect, unpredictable, messy – and, I hope – irresistible. And if you know of an actor who’s a cross between Colin Firth and Martin Freeman, I vote for them to play the part when the movie comes out.

5 – It’s not set in London. Hurrah. It’s based on Bath, although I haven’t called it that to protect the guilty. And every pub, every street corner, every bus stop is authentic. Trust me. I was there.

6 – Tomorrow’s Anecdote is published by Crooked Cat, an awesome independent publisher that looks after its writers.

7 –  It has a cool cover, designed by the talented Laurence, of said awesome independent publisher.

8 – Tomorrow’s Anecdote is semi-autobiographical, stress on the semi, so for once, you’re getting a realistic depiction of a newsroom where people actually work long hours, get stressed, lose their rag and stomp about, swearing.

9 – It’s a great bargain at £1.99 for the ebook, available at Crooked Cat. If you prefer a paperback, you can do that too on Amazon.

10 – It might even make you laugh.



If you’re not convinced, enjoy a short extract:

Chapter 1
No-one could have seen the line of trees falling like dominoes as they toppled towards the A36 under cover of darkness that Thursday evening. One minute, I was driving back in a rental car from Brighton to the West Country, my shoulders aching with keeping it on the road as a crosswind buffeted. The next, I was slowing down to tackle a tricky bend when a giant tree trunk landed on the bonnet with an almighty thump.

As the car juddered to a standstill, I rammed on the brakes out of instinct. The seatbelt cut into my neck as I lurched forwards, then back, just like a test mannequin. For a moment, I sat there, pulse palpitating, still gripping the wheel. Then I counted to ten, opened my eyes and found myself staring out at a confused mass of branches and yellowing leaves. They glowed oddly in the light of my remaining headlamp. It was like being upside-down in a tree house, but much less fun.

If I’d arrived at that spot a split second later, the tree would have landed plum on the roof. And me.

My chest hurt. I realised the steering wheel was crushing my sternum. The crash had shunted my seat forward. Hands shaking, I fumbled for the belt release, and pinged it loose. Wincing, I bent down and yanked at the floor-level bar, shoving backwards with the balls of my feet. Nothing. Grunting with the effort, I tried again to no avail. The sliding mechanism must have jammed in the crash.

At that point, the electrics gave up and everything went pitch black. My forehead ached. I must have hit my head against the steering wheel. Darkness seeped into my mind and I slumped in my seat, semi-conscious. My brain seemed to float away from my body and I began to relive the past three days I had spent in a ghastly Portakabin where I had endured the vilest form of professional torture … that most feared phenomenon of all, The Management Course.


By Pamela Kelt 



Tomorrow's Anecdote (ebook) is available from Crooked Cat. Find the Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon.




Monday, 13 May 2013

Introducing Anthony Price



Hi, Anthony. Welcome! This is my first blog interview, so let’s get started …

Can you describe The House of Wood in a sentence?
When I first got asked this question, I was so tongue tied. But I’ve been practising. Here goes… The House of Wood is a nightmarish trip in to one girl’s grisly past and her connection to the house.

Where did you get the idea for the story? Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Most of the time my inspiration for stories comes from T.V. or film, but this particular story started off as a writing exercise on my MA course. It was originally only supposed to be a short story, but it kept growing, taking on a life of its own. Much like the house! In the end, to do it justice, it had to be a novel.


Do you ever cast your characters? If so, who would play whom in the movie?

Hmmm, that’s a good question. In The House of Wood, I’d have to cast an awesome actresses to play Rachel, as she’d have to play two different ages.  I’d have to say either Chloe Grace-Moretz, who’s going to be brilliant in the upcoming, Carrie, or Jennifer Lawrence who’s always fantastic.


How long did it take you to write the first draft?
I have a really bad habit of procrastinating, so it got put on the backburner quite a bit. But if you put the hours together, I would say three months. In reality it was three years.


What did you do when Crooked Cat accepted your novel?
I went absolutely mental, screaming my head off in glee. It was a fantastic moment. All those hours, all that eyestrain from staring at the screen, meant something. I celebrated… A lot!


Love the cover. Were you involved in the process? How did it go?
It’s impressive isn’t it? Crooked Cat made some suggestions and sent me some mock-ups, which I approved straight away. I’m not very artistic and Crooked Cat are fantastic at what they do, so I trusted their instincts.


What was it like when you first saw the book online – and started to get those great reviews?
It was an amazing feeling to finally see it there. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s my name and my words for the world to see’. It was fantastic. The reviews have been brilliant so far too. So many people are telling me how much they enjoyed reading it. It’s all very humbling. I couldn’t have wished for a better start to my career.


Where do you like to work? And when?
You can always find me at my desk in my bedroom. It’s my little place in this big world that I can go to and shut out the world. I find it really inspiring to be surrounded by my books and DVDs.


How do you work? A caffeine-fuelled rush listening to heavy metal? Or Earl Grey and Bach, perhaps?
I’m definitely the heavy metal type. I work in short, heavy bursts a couple of times a day. Everything else gets shut out. I have been known to work for eight hours flat.


What’s your favourite suspense novel?
I’m a massive fan of Stephen King and James Herbert. James Herbert was the first horror writer I read with his Rats series and Stephen King single-handedly saved the horror genre from obscurity by giving it a fresh, new take with Carrie. I admire them both very much.


What about movies and television? As a fan of suspense myself, I’m always on the lookout for something juicy and new …
Film’s a massive passion of mine. There are so many amazing suspense films out there that it would take me an entire blog to talk about them. But on T.V., there’s a new show just started in the US called Bates Motel that’s brilliant. It’s based on Hitchcock’s, Psycho. Failing that, Hannibal looks awesome, or The Following with Kevin Bacon is good.


What’s next for Anthony Price, Author?
I’m currently working on my next novel. It’s kind of a spinoff from The House of Wood and will hopefully become a quadrilogy. I’m also waiting to hear back from a publisher about publishing my young adult superhero novel and working on a feature film screenplay and a potential T.V. show. Having a novel published has opened up a lot of doors. I’m very humbled by it all and feel very privileged.

Thanks, Anthony. Good luck!

Info:
Anthony Price is a twenty-eight year old male residing in the UK, in Canterbury. An avid reader and film fanatic and having always wanted to be a writer, he was first published at age fifteen and since achieving his MA in Creative Writing, has had several short stories published in e-zines and anthologies. He’s also the author of his own horror anthology titled, Tales of Merryville, which is available to buy in e-book format on Amazon.

His novel, The House of Wood, has been in the works for three years and started off as a small writing exercise on his MA. Being a disabled writer, he has had his fair share of doubters, so this novel is extra special. It’s available in paperback via Amazon and e-book format at all other retailers.
 
Anthony is currently working on several creative projects to look out for in the future, including more horror novels, a feature film and a TV show.

To buy a copy of The House of Wood, go to:
It's also available to buy at iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords!
Follow him on:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/anthonyjpricepage
Twitter - @anthonyprice84

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Confessions of a journo

Fellow Crooked Cat author Sarah England kindly invited me to her blog.

Read it here.

Read about my love/hate relationship with journalism, and inspiration behind Tomorrow's Anecdote.


Thanks, Sarah. Will reciprocate when your book comes out ...

By Pamela Kelt


Friday, 10 May 2013

I'm an A to Z survivor

Yup. I think I deserve a pat on the back - and a badge.

Thanks to the A to Z team.

By Pamela Kelt

PS This is the shortest blog post I've ever done. Ain't it grand?

A taste for horror?

Next week, I'm interviewing up-and-coming horror writer Anthony Price, whose debut novel The House of Wood is causing a stir. Tune in on Monday ...

It's the first of a series of guest blogs and interviews from some exciting new authors in all genres.

By Pamela Kelt

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Best wishes from ...

I signed my first books today. What a strange experience. I had to practise.

I'm used to fountain pens, but then, only I have to read the results.

Hand shook, couldn't get comfortable, couldn't position books correctly.

And this from someone used to three-hour essay exams. (Good luck, Lauren.)

I struggled through. It was all so odd, given how many words I can write in a day via the keyboard.

All I can say, in this fractured bloggy moment, is a major thanks to Maureen and Janet. They have followed my staggering progress over the years and they're still interested. Brilliant!

Hope the books arrived in one piece.

'Best wishes
Pam'

PS Much easier on screen.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The power of visuals

Lovely Jane Bwye, author of Breath of Africa, invited me to her blog today. I burble on merrily about how different ways of using images can stimulate the writing juices.

Here it is if you fancy a little diversion:
http://jbwye.com/2013/05/07/words-and-pictures/


Saturday, 4 May 2013

One week old today

Tomorrow's Anecdote has been out for a week.

Phew.

Got your copy yet? Go to CROOKED CAT or Amazon.

If you fancy doing a review, feel free! Time for some feedback!