Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An interview with author, Christy English

I am thrilled to be interviewing historical romance writer, Christy English, author of ‘The Queen’s Pawn’ and ‘To Be Queen’.

First of all Christy, can I ask how you become an author?
I have been a writer all my life, but about ten years ago it occurred to me that some people actually sell what they write. So I began working on becoming a better writer so that I could be one of them.
I went to writing classes and writers' conferences, and I learned a lot from each of them, but ultimately it comes down to me, my computer and sitting down to work. The only way to become a better writer is to keep writing. And keep reading...other writers are our best teachers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Widowed to an author

My husband is a very patient man, luckily, but at times I do feel that he is a bit of an author widow, left on his own to watch TV and go out alone to see his friends while I tap away on the computer (like I’m doing now).  I’m sure he’s not the only one out there.  There must be hundreds, perhaps thousands (millions?) of other husbands and wives like him who wonder why they married an author.  I haven’t yet shown him this list that I found the other day on Lili Tufel’s blog as it might be a bit too close to the bone for him, but personally I found it hilarious.  I’m reproducing here with Lili’s kind permission.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stephen King on how to be a bestselling author

Stephen King is one of the world's bestselling authors and although I'm not a reader of horror, I couldn't help but think that his book, 'On Writing', might be worth a look and I was right.  The first half is mainly about his journey as a writer (a short autobiography) and the second part is advice on how to write.  I found both parts fascinating (you wouldn't believe how many rejections he received before he finally got published).  If you're an author, a Stephen King fan, or just someone who's interested in how one man became a bestselling writer, this book is a must-read.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mae West - a great movie star

Love the hat!

A while back, I posted a couple of Mae West quotes and this picture on Facebook and ever since I've been meaning to say just a tiny bit more about about her. 

Mae West (1893-1980) was a great movie star and I love watching her films which are now famous for her one-liners, many of which she wrote herself.  Here are some of my favourites (from Wikiquote) that always make me laugh:

  • Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.
    • Response to an exclamation, "Goodness! What lovely diamonds!" in Night After Night (1932). She later used Goodness had nothing to do with it as the title of her autobiography (1953).
  • Why don't you come up sometime and see me? ... Come on up, I'll tell your fortune.
    • She Done Him Wrong (1933)
  • Is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
    • She Done Him Wrong (1933)
  • When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better.
    • I'm No Angel (1933)[1]
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
    • I'm No Angel (1933)[1]
  • Between two evils, I generally like to pick the one I never tried before.
    • Klondike Annie (1936) Sometimes quoted as: "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."[2]
  • A man in the house is worth two in the street.
    • Belle of the Nineties
  • It's not the men in your life that matters, it's the life in your men
    • I'm No Angel
  • When women go wrong, men go right after them.
    • She Done Him Wrong[3]
I other thing I love about Mae West was that she proved that you could be a sex symbol without being a size 0 (or even a size 4, 8 or even 10!)

Friday, August 5, 2011

His Leading Lady - Romance in the West End of London

We LOVE the West End of London - nothing like a great play, ballet or opera - and here's a book based on some of the behind-the-scenes drama, HIS LEADING LADY by Paula Martin.

This is the Amazon product review:
Jess Harper's predictable life is turned upside down when she discovers that Lora, her twin sister, has disappeared. It's just a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new West End musical in which Lora has the lead role. Jess decides to pose as her sister in order to save Lora's career. This brings her into close contact with arrogant theatre director Kyle Drummond. Attraction sparks between them but there's also evidence that he had been dating Lora. So is Jess simply a substitute - in real life as well as in the show? And what will happen when Lora eventually returns?

This is what the reviewers say (and there are HEAPS of great reviews!):
His Leading Lady is the perfect e-read for summer, whether you are waiting for kids at swimming lessons or relaxing on the beach. Paula Martin knows theater, and she's created an exciting backdrop for a sizzling love story. 
I will be quite honest and say that I was taken in by the first chapter and it was hard to put my Kindle down until I'd finished reading the entire novel!! Paula has brilliantly written a page turner that dives the reader head first into romance, intrigue and mystery, set in England's Theatrical West End.

What do I say:
London - what a great place!  The world of the London West End sounds like a wonderful setting for a story.  The reviewers love it and I'm sure I will too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

J K Rowling's doing it, I'm doing it, are you?

J K Rowling and I actually have a few things in common, such as the fact that we have both lived in Edinburgh and we have both taught abroad.  The latest thing that we now share is that we both believe in publishing our books as ebooks.  According to a recent press conference at the Victoria and Albert Museum (a great museum by the way - more on that another time maybe) J K Rowling said, 'I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation.' 

Basically, from October it seems like the whole Harry Potter series will be available as ebooks.  This is great news for all people who have gone into a bookstore to buy the one book that is missing from their collection only to find that it is the one book that the shop does not stock (I have 2 boys and this has happened to me several times - let me just say that there were tears).

Hopefully J K Rowling and I will continue to share many more things in common in the years to come. . . 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eleanor of Aquitaine - Great historical romance

'The Queen's Pawn' and 'To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine' by Christy English both deal with Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Eleanor was a woman who lived at the time of Robin Hood and was the wife and mother of many kings, including King John ('bad King' according to '1066 and All That') and Richard the Lionheart.

This is what the Amazon product review says about 'The Queen's Pawn':
A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne. At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.

Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself.

This is the Amazon product review for 'To Be Queen':
With captivating and lyrical prose, the author of The Queen's Pawn delves into the early life of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine...Duchess at fifteen, Eleanor of Aquitaine marries the King of France. But will she find that she must pay too high a price to be queen?

Although Louis VII is enamored of his bride, the newly crowned king is easily manipulated by forces in the Church. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Eleanor fights for her freedom and for the love of her life. In the arms of Henry of Normandy, Eleanor may finally find the passion she longs for, and the means to fulfill her legacy as Queen.

What the reviewers say:
"An astonishing debut! Christy English spins an unforgettable tale of dangerous splendor..." --C. W. Gortner, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI

"...Treachery, betrayal, lust-and an unusual and compelling love story, beautifully told." --Karen Harper, author of THE QUEEN'S GOVERNESS
"... one of the best written and captivating historical fiction novels of the year... "To Be Queen" is a historical fiction novel you will not want to miss!" --Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner

What I say:
Eleanor of Aquitaine was an amazing woman.  If you love the Tudors and Robin Hood, have a look at some medieval romance and intrigue.  Get both of these books and read them!