Holly Seddon – My Publication Day.

 

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It is my pleasure to welcome Holly Seddon to my blog to talk about what publication day means to her. Holly has had two novels published and I have read and enjoyed both of them.

How did you spend the day?

When my first book, Try Not to Breathe, came out in the UK, I was in Amsterdam where I live. I felt very weird and disconnected, and a little jealous as I watched my friends and family sharing pictures of themselves in bookshops with it, while I sat at home. So, this time, I made sure I was in the UK.

The evening was spent at my launch party, where I failed to eat anything (rookie error) and then got completely trashed. The run up to the party (and the dreaded speech) was full of welcome distractions like having my hair done and finalising the party play list.

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

I do follow reviews. I probably shouldn’t, it’s not good for the ego either way! Good reviews can be a little paralysing when you’re also working on your next book, while bad reviews can be tough to move past. You want to reply to reviewers and explain, or defend your characters, and of course you can’t do that.

I’ve been very lucky with reviews, but I am getting to the point where I’m trying to wean myself off the daily checks!

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

Very. With Don’t Close Your Eyes, I feel especially emotional about the characters being in the public eye. One in particular (I can’t say who without giving things away) broke my heart to write and so I was very moved knowing they were out there, and a bit protective.

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

Yes and no. I knew what to expect, so it wasn’t so heightened, but I still felt nervous, emotional, proud… and then drunk.

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?

That’s a good question. It’s not less important as such, but it can be jarring leaving the world of your current work in progress to revisit a plot, setting and characters that you finished working on some time ago. Embarrassingly, I actually forgot a minor plot point during an interview… hopefully I styled it out but it does happen!

And is it a distraction, welcome or otherwise having to focus on what is for you old material?

It’s a quirk of the job that’s unlike many other things. I guess people who work in films or television have a similar experience where they’ve ‘wrapped up’ months or years before and then have to talk about it like it’s as fresh for them as everyone watching for the first time.

I can’t think of many careers – certainly none I’ve had before – where that’s part of the job description. But it’s a privilege and I’m happy to do it.

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

Bit of a weird one, considering I don’t eat meat, but it’s going to the burger joint Shake Shack.

We don’t have them in Holland and when we flew over to London for my first launch party last January, we took our youngest kids to Shake Shack for dinner and decided that would be our ritual. So, at lunch time on the day Don’t Close Your Eyes came out, during a heat wave, we were clustered around a small table eating burgers (or, in my case, a Portobello mushroom in a bap), fries and milkshakes. I probably should have chosen champagne…

Thanks Holly

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon – Review.

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About the Book

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.
But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

My Review

Wow!
Whilst I enjoyed reading Holly Seddon’s debut novel last year, Try Not To Breathe, I found this book to be much more gripping. Robin and Sarah are twins who are unidentical in every way. They don’t even appear to have the bond that you always hear about with twins.
The novel switches narrative between the two of them throughout the entire novel. Both in modern day and when they were children, when their lives started to disintegrate. Much of novel concerns emotional trauma and how each of the children coped. Mainly without any assistance from their selfish parents who don’t even seem to notice what they might be going through.
In modern day, Robin was struggling to cope. She is agoraphobic and has become fascinated about what she sees out of her window. The way that she deals with what is happening around her is convincing and upsetting equally. She could come across in her childhood and as an adult as being aggressive and unreliable but I loved her.
Sarah was more of a good girl. The sister who was always clean and tidy and good at being noticed. But she also had issues, she just handled them differently. I ached to know what had gone so wrong with her marriage and what her plans were to resolve them.
In no way at all did I see the twist coming. I went back over parts of the book and reread, just so I could see how easily I had been duped. It was jaw dropping.
This was a fantastic follow up and I’m certain it will be one of the top books for the summer.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay – Review.

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About the Book

Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn’t. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie.
Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum, it’s not easy for Zoe, but life is good.
But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts.
The sender claims to be her birth father.
He has been looking for his daughter.
And now he is coming to take her back…

My Review

The Stolen Child starts with an excerpt from one of my favourite poems and had me hooked from the opening chapter.
Zoe and Ollie Morley adopted a baby girl and then a few years later had a son of their own. They moved back to Zoe’s home town of Ilkley where Ollie has a successful career as an accountant and Zoe is trying to build a career as an artist.
Evie has a few problems, some of which appear to be caused by her natural mother taking drugs whilst she was pregnant with her. So, life isn’t always easy for Zoe, Ollie is absent a lot with his work and she must deal with Evie’s issues on her own. But these are nothing compared to how hard life gets when Evie’s natural father contacts her.
I don’t recall ever feeling so tense when reading a novel before. Not only from the anxiety experienced by Zoe and Ollie but also the threat to other members of the family. I think I suspected everybody who featured, and as my options run out and I guessed who it was, it was all for the wrong reasons.
It wasn’t just the storyline that had me so gripped. There was also the description of Ilkley Moor which also has a major role in the novel. The power and remoteness that in the wrong weather could be dangerous. It is an area that I am now looking at going to later in the year. I would love to see what Zoe painted.
An excellent follow up to Bone by Bone, readers of that will not be disappointed.
You can buy the book here
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Even my little pal enjoyed it…

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Where I Lost Her by T Greenwood – Review.

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About the book

Tess is visiting friends in rural Vermont when she is driving alone at night and sees a young, half-dressed toddler in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.
The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police point out, Tess’s imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, in a desperate effort to save the little girl she can’t forget.

My Review

I hadn’t realised when I started reading this novel that it wasn’t the first book set in rural Vermont and some of the characters had appeared in the earlier books. But I didn’t feel like I had missed any backstory and that they could all be read as standalone novels very easily.
When Tess goes for wine late at night, she shouldn’t really be driving. On her journey home through a remote area she sees a very young girl in the road and when she can’t find her notifies the police. After a search by everybody in the area fails to turn up any evidence the town loses faith in her account. But she refuses to give up, breaking the law and placing herself in danger trying to find her.
The narrative occasionally switches back to a time in Guatemala. You know that she has had had a hard time in the past and it is these flashbacks that reveal what happened. Some of these are only brief but show an increasing amount of sadness and tragedy.
I couldn’t escape a feeling that I had read something similar last year but I did enjoy the novel. The characters were all likeable and believable. The lead investigating officer wasn’t the most approachable or understanding member of the police but I tried to understand his reasoning behind his actions. However, his role was quite small, this is more of a family drama even though it includes an investigation into a missing child.
I loved the description of the area, the remoteness that could be both beautiful and threatening. I will look for the other books that feature the same characters.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without trace. Then a letter from her father arrives – ‘I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl.’ Has her father’s dementia worsened, or has he really seen Corinne? Returning home, Nicolette must finally face what happened on that terrible night all those years ago. Then, another young woman goes missing, almost to the day of the anniversary of when Corinne vanished. And like ten years ago, the whole town is a suspect. Told backwards – Day 15 to Day 1 – Nicolette works to unravel the truth, revealing shocking secrets about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne. Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls is a brilliantly plotted debut thriller that will leave you breathless.

My Review

All the Missing Girls, apart from being a well written novel is unique. It starts off just like every other novel I’ve ever read but then after the introduction goes to Day 15 in the investigation into the disappearance of Annaleise. Subsequent chapters countdown to day one where everything is revealed.
I found it very strange to read at first, I had to resist the temptation to start at the back of the book and read towards the beginning. As I got further in, however I’m glad I went with the way the author wanted. There were a couple of times I had to flick back but they did lessen as I progressed.
I loved the description of the area, the people, even the accent that Nic did her best to disguise. I didn’t like Everett at all. I thought him cold, elitist and controlling. His only redeeming grace was that he was the only character in the entire book who had to be innocent.
Did it work? Yes, in hindsight it did, helped by the beauty of the writing, the characterisation and the story which was very powerful. I don’t think it would have the same impact if it had been a conventional novel. I had no idea at all who was responsible for anything that had happened either in the past or the present and I like to think that it was a happy ending.
I have never read any of Megan Miranda’s previous books which I gather are a different genre but I would be interested in the future. I would like to thank the publisher for the copy received and the introduction to a new author to read.

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