My Publication Day with Mel Sherratt

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Today, it is my pleasure to welcome Mel Sherratt to my blog to talk about what publication day means to her. Mel has published books that are part of a series and also standalone novels. Her latest novel was published earlier this week and is available to buy here

My Publication Day.

How will you spend the day?

I’ll be on social media for most of it. I interact a lot with my readers so there are blog posts and my website to update, newsletters to send out, messages to reply to as people share my news and a four hour online party with giveaways. It’s great fun, if somewhat tiring.

Will you be following reviews from early readers or do you prefer not to know?

I read every review that comes in on Amazon. It’s great when readers like the book, but not so good if not. For instance, getting a one star review last year from a reviewer that had received an early review copy was like someone blowing candles out on your birthday cake. So it’s both an exciting and a nerve-wracking time. But equally I want to know if the book hit the right spot for my loyal readers. That’s very important to me.

Is it emotional, getting the novel you have worked on for months into the public
eye?

Yes, it’s a definite labour of love. And it’s also such an amazing feeling when someone mentions to you that they liked something in the book which made them feel an emotion that you wanted them to feel too.

If you have had books published before, does the feeling change?

No. She Did It is my fourteenth published novel and yet I still get the same sense of trepidation on launch day and beyond. I’m glad I get it though – I would never want to become complacent.

I often wonder and imagine that when your novel is published and you have been
working on at least one novel since, is the book that is published less important?
And is it a distraction, welcome or otherwise having to focus on what is for you
old material?

I’ve been working fast and furious getting books out for the past two years. So to a certain point it is like a job in the sense that as soon as one is finished, you are right on to the next one (or in my case, working on two at the same time.) Yes, you can forget what the one being published is about – I went for an interview with Audible books and was asked about book one in a series and as I had just finished book two, my mind went completely blank and had to talk about the series character instead.

Do blog tours make you more nervous or do you see them as beneficial?

I haven’t done a blog tour this time but as I know a lot of the bloggers, some of them have kindly offered to put their reviews on their blogs or asked me to do a guest post, or a Q&A like this one. I don’t get nervous about them. I see them as hugely beneficial. Their reach can be far and might peak the interest of someone who has never read any of my books before. There are a lot of passionate bloggers (something I have touched on in She Did It) who give up their time. I’m grateful to them all.

What is your publication day treat? Champagne, cream cake, 10km run?

If I ever have a full day to enjoy one, I’ll let you know! But I definitely have a glass of something chilled and a large slice of something gooey at the end of it.

Thanks very much, Mel, for taking the time to answer my questions. I have the book on my kindle and will read it very soon.
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About the Book

A successful businesswoman, Tamara enjoys her champagne lifestyle to the full. At least, that is the front she displays to the world. As well as being lonely, she’s running out of money. A promising new member of staff brings the injection of fresh blood needed to win the contract that will turn things around.

Working for Tamara is a perfect ruse for Esther. But, along with fake references and qualifications, she also has a plan for revenge. Sensing Tamara’s vulnerability, Esther uses their acquaintance as a way of getting close to someone who hurt her in the past.

Tamara is keeping things secret. Esther has a dark side she is trying to hide. For both of them, lying is a habit. But when mistakes begin to catch up with Esther, and people start dying, Tamara realises she’s chosen the wrong person to trust as a friend.

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements – Review.

About The Book

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.
Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.
When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

My Review

The Coffin Path is an eerie tale that takes place on the Yorkshire Moors in the 17th century. It’s a hard place to live, the bleakness, the years after the war and its in a remote area that is reliant on good weather to make a decent living. And there is a rumour that has never gone away of an evil presence on the moors and especially at Scarcross Hall, the home of Mercy and her father.
The novel has two narrators. Ellis, who has recently arrived in the area and Mercy. Ellis has a barely hinted at past and at first Mercy doesn’t trust him. But, when all her regular workers abandon her he is one of her only allies. There isn’t much of his narration that covers the sinister events, apart from what happens with the livestock.
Mercy is the character who is affected most by what is happening. She can see her father’s health deteriorate with what is occurring as well as changing behavior of Sam, a young boy who lives nearby. Most of her narration had me warily looking over my shoulder and tensing at every noise I heard. If I had a fire screen it would have been removed from the house, it was one of the creepiest parts of the novel, and it brought me out in goosebumps more than once.
As well as being a ghost story it was also a historical one. The English Civil War had an impact on the area and many of the characters in the novel were affected by it. Some of them were living in poverty and suspicious of those who had a different religion. Many of the locals weren’t likeable, but living in fear of losing everything and listening to tales of witchcraft and unexplained occurences must have made a difficult situation to live in. I imagine that this was an accurate description for the time.
I enjoy a ghost story, but I have found it difficult lately to find one that kept me on edge. The Coffin Path has made up for recent disappointments, it is one of the eeriest books that I have read for a few years. And with the addition of historical fiction in a period of time that had an impact locally.

The Coffin Path can be pre ordered here

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Review.

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About the Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared..

My Review

I moved this book to the top of the pile of books to read when I realised that the author was local and that there was an event to support the publication at the local bookshop.
Like many novels at the moment the synopsis concerns a missing child. Where the book does differ is that there is a connection to a child that went missing years earlier.
There are multiple narrators, some have said that they got confused but I found it easy enough to follow with most of the chapter headings saying who the narrator was. There were only a few occasions where the narrator was anonymous to keep the mystery intact. I thought that this was done very well, the narrators were all different and she managed to get into the heads of all of them. My favourite character was Maggie, the oldest one who has lost everything but still managed to keep going. I liked everything about her.
I thought the novel would be set in the local area, and even though one of the characters was from Preston it was mainly set elsewhere. This didn’t detract from the story, I found it all extremely enjoyable.
There is a twist, I could see it coming and thought I had worked it out but I was completely wrong. If you go into this novel assuming that it is just another missing person novel you would be wrong, most of the storyline is different to every other book that I have read.
It’s a great debut and after hearing about the next novel at the event I am looking forward to keeping up with this author.

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Book Launch.

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On Tuesday 12th September Libby Carpenter had an event to support the launch of her debut novel – 99 Red Balloons at Waterstones Preston. I have been to a few events there in the last few years and this was probably one of the busiest. The evening was very enjoyable with a good selection of wine and nibbles. Libby answered many questions giving everyone a personal insight into her motivation for writing.

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I finished reading the book a couple of days ago and enjoyed it immensely, my review will be up next week.


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About The Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club – Diving In by Katie May – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

In the gorgeous seaside town of Whitstable, broken-hearted Deb begins to swim each day and gathers a new group of friends around her. But can the magic of sea heal the hurt of the past? Or will family ties drag her underwater again?
A heart-warming, funny and poignant story of romance, friendship and second chances. It’s also a song to the author’s home town of Whitstable, where the sea is smooth, the shingle is painful on bare feet, and the air is full of possibilities.

My Review

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club – Diving In is the first part of a trilogy that will be released over the next few months. I have only ever seen something like this once before and liked the idea then.
After reading this delightful novella I am eagerly looking forward to part two. I liked Debs very much, and had a lot of sympathy for her and the way she felt she was treated by her estranged husband and adult children. I can see some great friendships form between all the women, even though they don’t initially have much in common. Part one focused mainly on Debs and Marcie, I feel that each of the women will be focused on in the rest of the series. One of them I wasn’t keen on but if we do get to know more about her later my feeling may change.
It’s not an area I know but I could picture it clearly. A quieter area of a seaside town that has the usual beach huts and bars that the little club wanted to protect. They all get pleasure from the club and all use it for different reasons.
There is poignancy and loneliness, humour and loss. And an overwhelming unity to keep the club going. Bring on Part Two.
With thanks for the publisher for the copy received for review.

 

Cocktail Hour

Cocktail inspired by The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club from Katie May.

My Instagram feed is testimony to the fact that I’m a bit of a cocktail fiend. Here is a cocktail to sip while you read.
West Beach Martini
A fragrant dry martini that reminds me of the beach in high summer.
50 ml gin (I love Bombay Sapphire in this)
I tsp white vermouth
1 strip orange zest
1 sprig rosemary
1 pinch sea salt

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add all the ingredients, crushing the rosemary between your fingers as you put it in (this releases the oils).
Shake very well, and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with another shred of orange zest, or an olive

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