Posted by: rangerant | June 3, 2019

Author Interview with Jessica Kealy

For my next interview, I sat down with the multi-talented Jessica Kealy, to talk about her writing, dancing and her debut novel ‘The Adventures Behind Cherridor.’

For those of you not familiar with Jessica, she is a fiction writer and professional dancer. She has danced in Cyprus, all over the UK and even in front of the Dalai Llama. When she is not dancing or writing her next novel, Jessica enjoys sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book (don’t we all)

Thanks for dropping by, Jessica. Let’s jump straight in with the obligatory question I always like to ask a fellow scribe – Have you always known you wanted to be a writer/dancer?

Yes, I always knew I would love to do both, but never thought either would become a career.

Who, or what (or both) was your inspiration for becoming a writer?

Reading books was my inspiration I suppose. I’ve always loved reading and I think that naturally sparked my writing. I was a big Jaqueline Wilson fan as a child, I still have a collection of her books. The more I read the more I wanted to write my own stories.

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The Adventures Behind Cherridor‘ is your debut novel. For anyone not familiar with your book, could tell us a little more about it please? Will there be a sequel?

It is about a young girl named Ellie who enters the realm of Cherridor and has to battle to save the life of the young Prince Blaize. Along the way she meets all sorts of creatures both good and bad….

I’m already writing the sequel. It is going to be a lot longer than the first as it fills in a lot of the back story as well as continuing on from where we finish the first book.

What is the most difficult part about being a writer?

For me I’d say that’s having the time to write – when I’m in the mood to write. There’s times when I’m so inspired to write something but I’m on a dance job, but then other times I have nothing to do so I get my notebook out, and I can’t think of single thing to write next. That’s the most frustrating thing. Because I don’t write my best if I’m forcing it.

What sparked the idea for your novel? Was there a single moment of inspiration you can identify, or was it a collection of ideas that evolved over time?

An easy one to answer. When I was 16 I had a job in a factory, boxing up foam blocks and behind my work station was this old wooden red door which was the fire exit. One hot afternoon they propped this wooden door open and I remember thinking how beautiful the view outside was. You’d expect concrete pavement or buildings and noise from the factory, but instead there was trees, grass, flowers and you could hear the birds chirping away. It was so out of place from the atmosphere of my work I thought I have to write a story using this and that bright red door became the basis of The Adventures Behind Cherridor.

Did you Jessica Kealy Profile Picplan your novel meticulously, or do you explore your own story as you write?

I don’t plan my stories. I like to see where they take me. I started The Adventures Behind Cherridor and just let my mind wander. As I got into the middle of it I began making some plans of where id like it to go just so I could link things back in. But it was always open for change

Do you have a set routine for your writing?

I always have a new notebook which is dedicated to that one story, and I write what comes out in that. Then I start typing it up onto my laptop and sometimes this is where I edit things or move stuff around. It sounds like extra work rather than just typing it up but I’m a writer – I like to write.

Do you have a favourite author?

Jaqueline Wilson will always be one from my childhood. As an adult I can’t say I have one particular favourite. I read a lot, and I read a lot of different genres (my bookshelves are full) so I’d hate to pick just one.

How long did it take you to write The Adventure Behind Cherridor?

I started it when I was sixteen and finished it when I was twenty four. But, I didn’t touch it for a good few years when my dance career first started. The sequel won’t take nearly as long, I’m already halfway and I started it last July.

What is the title for your next book?

Return to Cherridor

Electronic or paper? Which do you prefer?

I prefer paper, always. For reading and writing.

What books do you like to read yourself?

All sorts! I’ve read classics like Black Beauty and Jane Eyre. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books (big fan!), the Fifty Shades Trilogy, The Hunger Games, Twilight etc. I love a good Thriller like The Girl On The Train and The Couple Next Door. I’m just in the middle of Kate O’Hearn’s Pegasus books – mythology is something I’m really into and considering branching into next after my Cherridor sequel.

What’s next for you? Will you be returning to Cherridor, or are you headed somewhere else?

As I mentioned I’m writing the sequel to The Adventures Behind Cherridor. Depending where that takes me, I may move on to another novel about something completely different. or there could even be a third book making Cherridor a Trilogy.

What do you love most about being an author?

Creating a story that people can escape into. It’s the one thing I’ve always loved about reading and one of the reasons I wanted to write.

What do you like least about being an author?

The hand ache I get when I can’t write the ideas down quick enough from my brain!

As an author, I am sure your mind is always whirring away with ideas what do you like to do when/if you have an speare time?

I enjoy binge watching series on Netflix. I love getting on the sofa, or in bed with some chocolate and binging a new series.

What was it like to dance in front of the Dalai Llama?

It was incredible. I was only fifteen at the time but it was definitely an honour. We did a dance about the Earth and the Sun, and then at the end he came on stage to speak to the audience. So he was like a hands reach away from me. I’ve always been interested in Buddhism so I was in awe.

Final question for now, Jessica if you were fleeing to a desert island to escape an apocalypse, which three books would you take with you and why?

Ooh! Tough question! Okay, so I have this old battered Mills & Boons romance novel that I must’ve read a million times but it always cheers me up when I’m feeling lonely, so I guess that would definitely have to come (Sounds corny I know but who doesn’t love a romance). The second book I’d take would be Jane Eyre because it’s a classic and at least one classic has to survive an apocalypse. Thirdly, I’d take a copy of my own book (sounds vain I know) but if I didn’t survive on the island and years later my three books were dug up by a new civilisation, then my book would start literature off again in a new world alongside Charlotte Bronte!

Thanks for chatting Jessica, it was a real pleasure.

If you enjoyed the interview and would like to find out more about Jesscia and her work, you can click on the cover art shown above to find out more about the The Adventures Behind Cherridor, check out her youtube trailer, or head on over to her publisher’s website right now.

And thanks to you for sparing your valuable time. Please check back again soon for further interviews and more book reviews.

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Posted by: rangerant | April 29, 2019

Evoloution of a Storm

Although it is not quite with the same fanfare I had imagined a year ago when I signed my publishing deal with Steel Sage Press, I am so pleased I can now reveal the cover artwork (Kindle version) for the forthcoming re-release of Whispers of a Storm, as created by the very talented Omercan Cirit.

Even though it was not meant to be, and Steel Sage has been shut down before the book could even be released, I have come away from the publishing experiences of the last year with a fantastic cover, amazing map and a wonderfully editied mansucript, all of which I hope to be able to share with you very soon.

Whispers of a Storm Cover KINDLE FINAL

Posted by: rangerant | April 28, 2019

Adventures of a Storm

2014 was a busy time for me – after three years of patient waiting, Shadows of a Storm, the second book of the Storm Trilogy was released in April, following on from the second edition re-release of Whispers of a Storm, the fabulous cover art done by the most excellent Jamie Wallis

It was the cover I had been imaginging when the 1st edition came out, one that would show that, altough Cassana could not know at that time, she, her charge and her protector were riding towards more danger than they had left behind…

 

Stay tuned for this Monday, when I reveal the Kindle cover artwork for the almost-published, yet unreleased third edition version of Whispers of a Storm.

Posted by: rangerant | April 26, 2019

History of a Storm

It is quite hard to believe that it was eight years ago now, after two years of writing, that I released my first novel, Whispers of a Storm.

Published by Author House, this was the first cover produced for it, which I had very little input with, other than to have to choose an image at the last minute, after the cover they produced was, to put it frankly, quite strange, and I would have had to pay them a small fortune for a different cover.

Whispers of a Storm

Paperback First Edition (AuthorHouse 2011)

Little did I know then where my adventures would take me – how much I would learn about the life of an author, how little I knew, much I would discover about myself. But, like all good adventures, I had to start it, had to have the courage to do so and put myself out there, and in April 2011 the first book of the Storm trilogy came out in paperback, two years before it would appear as an ebook.

Over the next few days, I will continue to chart the Storm tilogy’s history for you, as I work my way steadily towards the rel-release of Whispers of a Storm, and finally be able to share with you the new cover art for its third edition polish.

Posted by: rangerant | April 15, 2019

Book Review – Tipping Point by Terry Tyler

I could not think of a better author to start off a hopefully regular Book Review feature on my blog, than the brilliant Terry Tyler and her novel “Tipping Point” – Book One of the Project Renova series.

About the book

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

Year 2024. New social networking site Private Life bursts onto the scene.51sfapbF6iL._SY346_ Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made – and that Private Life might not be as private as it claims.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

As the country descends into chaos, there are scores to be settled further north….

 

My Review

Good dystopian novels act as a looking-glass into the future, shaping a vision for the reader that is both imaginative and thought-provoking – Great Dystopia, and Terry Tyler’s first book in the Project Renova series is highly placed amongst these, takes all of the above and underlines them chillingly with a warning aimed at just as much as where we are today in society, as to the future we are shaping for generations to come.

To review the book in depth would be to spoil the pleasure awaiting potential readers, and there is much pleasure to be found within those pages. Tyler’s writing is pacey, crisp, clean and fabulously well written (and, despite the subject matter, full of as much wit as tragedy). The future landscape she paints is vividly portrayed, with an authenticity that is well constructed and very well thought out.

I have read many great books over the last few years, some highly regarded and praised by the press, and I found the writer’s style and the story that unfolds to be as good as, if not better than, a great many of those receiving such accolades.

The central story focuses on lead character Vicky, and her daughter Lottie, monitoring the news and events starting to unfold in the world beyond their sleepy coastal town in Norfolk, via their technology. From the outset, their relationship is believable and you warm to them immediately, such is the writer’s skill, who paints a vivid portrayal of their home life in Shipden, and of the lives of the people who live there.

As events unfold (and to even talk about it would be to spoil it for you), the story starts to really bite.

There should be a stark warning in Dystopia/Post-Apocalyptic novels, acting as a two-way mirror that looks into the future, whilst reflecting upon the present. Underlying this wonderful read, Tyler’s observations of modern life, however seemingly mundane, warn us about our increasingly addictive reliance upon the ever-advancing technology put before us, and of the social media platforms we choose to install upon them. It’s all so very plausible, and with each page, a chill starts to settle under your skin.

In the chaos of the modern world we live in today, every aspect is drawn together brilliantly by the author, whispering at first, then shouting at the reader to be aware of everything we have come to accept; the internet, the scandals of our data being shared, stolen, and who-knows what else – of our daily movements being monitored.

When you think of Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic novels, you imagine a futuristic world, crushed under the boot and heel of its dictators; you imagine the living, trying to survive being torn to pieces by the dead, of bands of heroic survivors fighting to survive in the aftermath of the future we made for ourselves. TippingPoint, Book One of the Project Renova series ticks all those boxes and Tyler’s skillful tale adds a great many unique ones of her own.

George Orwell warned us many years ago about this, and Terry Tyler’s wonderful read shouts as loudly as any Dystopian novel I have ever read.

Tipping Point will stay with you for a long time, and before you rush to delete your online accounts and ditch your tech, you should, with great anticipation, read this book, and then the rest of this wonderful series.

5/5 Stars

About the Author

Terry Tyler is the author of eighteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Legacy’, the final book in her post apocalyptic series. She is currently at work on a new dystopian novel, set in the UK, twelve years in the future. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, and you can find out more about her by heading over to her excellent Blog.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Posted by: rangerant | April 8, 2019

Author Re-interview with the talented Simon Williams

It has been far too long since  I interviewed any of my fellow authors on my blog and I thought it was high-time that I started showcasing  some of the talent that is out there at the moment. First up, I can’t think of a better person to start back with, than dark fantasy, science ficiton and horror writer, Simon Williams.

It’s been five years since I last interviewed Simon Williams, author of many novels, including the wonderful Aona fantasy series. Back in the February of 2014, Simon was three books through a proposed five-books series, so I thought it was long overdue that we sat down and had another chat to see where his wonderful imagination has taken him and his readers to.

As we welcome back Simon, let’s jump straight in with a follow-up question to the very last question I asked him in 2014 which was “What’s next for you?” Back then he was working on his Aona series and about to launch Summer’s Dark Waters.

So, in short, Simon, what have you been up to since then?

I’ve been writing, reading and sleeping, and occasionally eating. Life has been one long stream of adverbs. 😉

What sparked the idea for your Aona series? Was there a single moment of inspiration you can identify, or was it a collection of ideas that evolved over time?

It evolved (slowly) over time really. The first book was changed and edited considerably over a number of years until I was finally happy with it. Once I’d got that right, the other books flowed considerably more easily – each one took about a year, which is not bad for me, considering that they’re all a decent length. I would say that the moment I finished Oblivion’s Forge (the first book) qualifies as a single moment of inspiration, because I immediately knew how to craft the remaining books, even if I didn’t know the precise plot they would follow. I also had the beginnings of an idea about how it should all end, so I had something to work towards from that point of view.

Your Aona series has had some wonderful reviews to date – can you tell everyone about how you found writing a 5-books series, a little about your own writing journey and the process of creating such a grand saga?

My process appears like chaos to the outside world. I often chop and change things and I often have little idea what the journey a particular book takes will be. But that works for me. I don’t need to plan meticulously in detail – for a start, I often find that I don’t like something or I have a better idea, so plans just end up in the bin. Aside from that, I love the fact that the journey is unknown even as I set off along it. I have a vision of how it should feel, I know a lot of detail about characters, and quite often I know the end point, but the journey is just some dark void between A and Z and there’s a lot of fun in shining a light through that chasm and painting the story based on what I see or imagine.

AonaSeries5

In view of that, if you could send a message back to yourself at the start of your writing journey, what advice and/or warnings would you would pass on?

Ditch the pompous trad-fantasy approach. Bring to life characters who the readers care about (or hate – both work fine – you need a balance).

You have recently re-released the Aona series with some fantastic new covers. Can you tell us Aona 1more about them?

They’re created by Russian artist Slava Gerj, and I knew when I first saw them that they would be perfect for the Aona series. The previous covers (the “symbol” covrs) had proved divisive- some people loved them, others hated them, but so far I’ve had almost universal good feedback on the new covers, with people who’ve read the series telling me what I believed straight away- that they’re perfect for the series.

 

 

 

If you really had to pick a favourite, which of your novels to date would you be fondest of, and why?salvations door

Salvation’s Door, the final volume in the Aona series, perhaps because I was able to draw a lot of character threads together, bring closure to a number of things (and deliberately leave others open to debate) and because it goes some way towards explaining the (admittedly pretty deep) concept at the heart of the series. I don’t want to give away spoilers, hence my annoyingly enigmatic response to this question…

 

 

 

The Light From Far Below‘ is the sequel to your YA Fantasy novel, the wonderful ‘Summer’s Dark Waters‘ – for anyone not familiar with these books, could you tell us a little about them? Will there be more?

Summer’s Dark Waters deals with two children who find that they’re rather more than they assumed and the world is not what they thought. It’s a coming-of-age saga and broadly speaking a YA / sci-fi adventure. The Light From Far Below is quite different- set roughly a year and a half after the events in the first book, it’s (despite the title) darker in theme and works in a number of themes relating to today’s society that kids / teens would empathise with. But although the setting and some of the themes are in some ways contemporary, the book is also very much a chase / fight for survival and lays to rest many threads from Summer’s Dark Waters. The scope is also wider and I guess you could say it’s a slightly more challenging read in some senses.

summersAnd I’ve had a lot of people ask if there will be a third book! The short answer is, actually, wait, I don’t do short answers- the *answer* is possibly, but not for some time. Again without giving anything away, the ending gives closure but at the same time there is scope for a third book. That said, I think it would be set years later and I might even write this one for adults (which sounds odd, but Alan Garner did something very similar- his recent novel Boneland is a distant sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Moon of Gomrath, and is written for people who read the first two books as kids and are now adults). By the time I write any third book, many people who read the first two will probably be adults so it’s something I might do. *Might*.

 

 

How did you approach writing them? Was it the same process you employed when writing the Aona series, or did you have to approach writing for YAs The lightin a different way?

In terms of process it was the same, but I did have to consciously think harder about the characters and their mannerisms, ways of acting and reacting, simply because of their age. That was the one thing that made it tougher than writing the Aona books. But it was also a voyage of discovery because I proved to myself that I could write for a different readership and have just as much enjoyment in so doing. It was therefore a very satisfying experience.

 

 

 

What’s next for you? Will you be returning to Aona? Or are you headed somewhere else?

I’m working on various standalone novels, all of which are very different to one another.

One is a dark epic fantasy but with maybe a smaller cast than the Aona books, and with more of a gothic horror feel and less of the sci-fi element. It introduces more fairy-tale imagery and I also decided to bring religion to the fore (particularly as a point of comparison between “religious magic” (miracles, for example) and “natural magic” (denounced by the practitioners of “religious magic” as the work of demons and shades from other dimensions). I wanted to do this as there’s so much conflict and dubious morality to work with. In terms of plot, something that complex could go anywhere which makes it exciting to work with. Somehow, I also seem to have ended up with a “trinity” of three powerful female characters who (at the moment) are also the main protagonists. Suffice to say there’ll be no simpering at court dances or marrying off to fatuous princelings in this cheery tale. As I said, there’s a lot of material to work with here so it’s immensely rewarding.

The second is difficult even for me to explain- set in a mysterious city it follows the paths of four very different characters- it’s broadly speculative / dystopian / fantasy but with elements of steampunk and even a sort of noir detective touch (as one of the characters is a detective… a very special kind).

The third may well turn out to be a bit smaller, perhaps novella size, and is more in the realm of magical realism / horror. This is about a boy who sees something amazing and terrifying on the beach one morning, and then the struggles he has with reality in the years that follow. It’s about the nature of reality in one sense, and the interface between the unknown depths of the sea and the world we think we know. Also tied into it is the grim setting of an archetypal English seaside town (particularly in the off season). I think those settings are great for inspiring works of horror and dark fantasy- there’s something seedy and dated about them in a creepy way that makes you wonder what happens when you peel away the surface.

And there’s a fourth- one that suddenly popped into my head the other day. This has the feel of an Edwardian YA magical realism / horror at the moment but I haven’t yet decided when it will be based. As is often the case, the characters have come fully alive with only the beginnings of a plot at the moment – they’re angrily waiting in the attic of my mind, so I’d better sketch them a path to follow sooner rather than later.

What do you love most about being an author?

Lots of things. Those flashes of deep, profound inspiration. Receiving a personal message out of the blue from an author who loved one of my books. Completing a book or a series. Wondering what will happen next. Never plan the journey! – let the journey show you its own plan.

What do you like least about being an author?

Marketing! Could someone tell me how to do it, please?

As an author I am sure your mind is always whirring away with ideas – what do you like to do when/if you have any spare time?

Reading, music, travel, keeping fit

Final question for now, Simon (hopefully it won’t be 5 years before we chat again) – if you were fleeing to a desert island, to escape an apocalypse, which three books would you take with you and why?

Three? Meanie! I think Clive Barker’s “Imajica” (or possibly “The Great and Secret Show”), Tad Williams’ “Otherland” (yes, I’m cheating – they’re four fat volumes) and Cecilia Dart-Thornton’s Crowthistle Chronicles. I might have different answers tomorrow, but I have a permanent love for all these, and others.

If you would like to find out more about Simon and his work, you can click on any of the cover art shown above to find out more about each book, or head on over to his website right now.

Thanks for your time, and check back again soon for further interviews and book reviews (coming soon).

Posted by: rangerant | March 29, 2019

News from the Four Vales

It has been far too long, since my last blog update, and I thought it was high-time I filled the ether in with what has been happening with my writing.

Last May, I had an offer of a publishing deal for the ebook rights to the Storm Trilogy, and since then, I have been working with the publisher, Steelsage Press, in America, on the the new manuscript for Whispers of a Storm. New, professional line-edit, new cover art and a map of the Four Vales. It has been a very exciting time for me, and in that time, I have also finished my fourth novel, a modern thriller called ‘The Last Tiger’, which I hope to have out this year.

Let’s fast-forward to what’s happening today:-

It is now, almost exactly ten years ago, that I started writing down an idea I had, whilst shopping in my local store. A decade later, I have just finished my final read-through of the final copy-edit of Whispers of a Storm, and it, like I, has come a long way.

It is a bitter sweet moment for me, as the adventure I have been on for a decade now, culminates with the imminent release of this new edition – but without, sadly, my publisher….

Only 3 weeks ago I had a message to say that my publisher, and the hope I had for their support, experience and marketing, had been shut down before my book could even be released.

Naturally, I am disappointed, but I have taken this next turn of events on my path as another quest to complete, as I journey on. I have come away from the experiences of the last year with so much positivity, it would be foolish and selfish of me to look at the negatvies.

As I move forward on this new adventure, and more frequent contact with the wider world, I hope you will join me again, when Whispers of a Storm returns, in all its shiny new glory, later this April.

Thank you.

Anthony

Posted by: rangerant | September 4, 2017

Hungerford Book-signing

This Saturday I will be returning to the Award-winning Hungerford Bookshop and signing copies of my Storm Trilogy.

I will be there between 11am-1pm, so if you are in West Berkshire, if you love epic fantasy (or know someone who does), pop along on the day, It would be great to see you there!

For more details, click on the event link below the cover art.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00015]

https://www.facebook.com/events/357008414719373/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%222%22%2C%22ref_dashboard_filter%22%3A%22upcoming%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22dashboard%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22main_list%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A[]%7D]%22%7D

Posted by: rangerant | March 8, 2017

Win a set of signed copies of the Storm Trilogy

Don’t miss out on your chance to win a set of signed paperback copies of the Storm Trilogy.

If you love reading, enjoy tales of adventure and heroism, this one’s for you.

Prolific book blogger Dannii Elle has written an amazing review on the Trilogy, so before you decide, why not head over to her blog on United By Pop’s website and check out what she has to say.

http://unitedbypop.com/young-adult-books/reviews-books/the-storm-trilogy-anthony-lavisher/

And then enter the competitio, which runs for one week only.

http://unitedbypop.com/win/the-storm-trilogy-signed-anthony-lavisher/

Good luck!

Posted by: rangerant | January 31, 2017

In fine company…

My first novel Whispers of a Storm has just appeared on a blog and counted as one of their Top Ten reads of 2016. Naturally, I am over the moon with this, especially when I see who I am keeping company with.

Grab a cuppa and check out the list here for yourself:-

http://unitedbypop.com/young-adult-books/top-10-reads-girl-on-fire/

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