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Valerie Keogh, the latest addition to Bookouture’s stable


I’ve known Valerie for years and count her as a close friend so when I heard of her long awaited success with Bookouture I  wouldn’t wait, pen at the ready, to interview her for my little blog. I’m hoping this will be the first interview of many for such a lovely lady. 

Over to Valerie…

About submitting to Bookouture 

I’d submitted to Bookouture when I was going through a tough time in work and never really expected to get anywhere. You get used to rejection after a while. So, when they contacted me and said they loved my writing but didn’t want to take on what was obviously part of a series and asked was I working on anything else, I was stunned. I had actually started a novel so I mentioned it, they thought it sounded interesting and asked to see what I’d already written – only about 3 chapters. And they loved it.

They asked to see it when it was finished. Of course, I worried then that they wouldn’t like the finished novel but they did. A contract was mentioned but they wanted an outline for a second book which I did and two weeks later I signed a two-book deal.

It wasn’t until the official announcement came that I stopped pinching myself. Now, I’m hard at work on the second novel and waiting to start the editing process on the first. After being self-published for so long, it’s strange to be having input from different people. The Bookouture team seem to be really helpful and friendly. I’ve already been invited to a Summer Afternoon Tea Party in June.

I’m excited to see what this huge change will lead to and look forward to my first novel coming out in November. Provisionally named Twin, it’s the story of two sisters, identical to look at but with completely different lives. When their lives become tangled, trouble starts. Can one of them have it all?

 20 things we don’t know about Valerie, actually it’s not quite 20 as I took the editorial decision to remove one as I didn’t want to upset Santa 🙂 

I’ve always made up stories in my head, I thought it was normal until I was in my thirties!

Since watching the movie Hotel, many years ago, I have a slight fear of lifts. If anyone remembers, the lift collapsed in Hotel. I stand in the lift and wonder if I should try to jump upward if it suddenly starts to drop.

The first LP I ever bought was Gene Pitney’s Best Hits.

My first crush was on Daniel Boone and my next was on John Wayne.

I discovered, while on a mule ride in the Grand Canyon, that I’m a coward. If it hadn’t been for the very young child on the mule in front of me I’d have cried to be let down. As it was, all I saw the whole ride, was the back of the mule’s neck.

My first boyfriend was Swedish.

I was over 40 when I met my husband. He told me later that he wouldn’t have asked me out if he’d known I was so old – he is all of 4 years younger than me!

My father died when I was five. I have only 3 clear memories of being with him, I don’t take them out very often, almost as if I’m afraid I’ll wear them out.

I wet the bed until I was about six.

My first memory is of being able to open the door by myself!

I remember being delighted the first time I got homework. That didn’t last.

 Finally, tell us what your favourite book is? 

There are so many so I’ll go for ones I’ve read several times. E.F.Benson’s amazingly wonderful Mapp and Lucia books. If you haven’t read them, give them a go, I bet you’ll be hooked and buy all six. Everyone I’ve recommended them to has done so.

Finally…finally… 

Whilst we do have to wait awhile for Valerie’s next book there’s plenty to choose from over on Amazon here, I love Garda West and as for the psychopathic murdering nurse…😂 
 

 

 

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A writer’s life

What a funny old day. Saturdays as a writer follow an expected path. A swim – a must. It has to be sea water (no wetsuit), something I’ve been doing all winter. That’s usually followed by an emergency shop (bread, milk, loo roll). An emergency house clean (floors, dishwasher, washing machine) closely followed by as much writing as I can squeeze in-between. 

Today was different…

As a user of the Guernsey Bathing Pools (as featured in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society) I have a responsibility to help maintain what I use so I spent the morning cleaning up weed and rocks. Did I do any writing? No.

After, I was dragged to the Guernsey Boat show to look at all the boats we couldn’t afford. Did I write? No. 

The cupboard’s bare which necessitated a mercy dash to the Coop. Did I write? No.

We have a problem at home, a huge problem that is covered in feathers ( Hamish, the seagull)  and seems to like sitting on our chimney, just under my car so an urgent visit to the car wash was called for. Did I write? Too right. In the five minutes while the washers were working their magic I filled four sides with my own form of illegible hand writing. 

I’ve reaches the 20% mark on my current WIP, a psychological thriller and my second in this genre. The first is with a very special book publisher but there’s no point in getting my hopes up too much. While I wait I’ll carry on writing and carry on selling books. In this vein ENGLISHWOMAN IN PARIS is free this weekend. Here’s the link 

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Little Pink Taxi, review


Book Blurb

Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline. 

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too. 
On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …
My review

Sometimes all I feel like doing is curling up with a good book and, after a pretty traumatic week that’s just what I’ve been doing.

The cover of the Little Pink Taxi, along with the amazing title drew me in but the fact that the writer is French made it a done deal. Rosalie, and her pink taxi are the heart of the remote Scottish village but when French stranger, Marc, arrives with his cold, aloof manner and worrying briefcase, things go down hill rapidly. Strange things happen both to the taxi and the isolated castle inhabited by more than one ghost. 

I loved this. It’s more than a straightforward romance. It’s a cross between a suspense, an historical and a ghost story and takes the reader from Scotland, Paris and finally Denmark. A writer to watch…

Available from Amazon here 

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Writers can be star-struck too

 

So today was just one of those days. The stars aligned and I got to meet Lily James and Tom Courteney. It was by complete accident and, while everyone was preparing for the Guernsey Red Carpet event, I was just taking my daughter sea swimming in the Bathing Pools. What a delightful woman Lily is. Okay, so I know she’s tall and stunning but actually it was her personality that did it for me. She’s got this effervescence to her and not only that… She was kind to my daughter, Freya, giving the thumbs up when I mouthed could we get a photo. She even took the time to comment on her choice of clothing. As a nurse I know more than most that it’s the little things that count and Freya will have a beautiful memory to draw on forever… As a little Whovian the only thing that could have bested it would have been if she’d brought Matt along but maybe next time 😉. Thank you, Lily. I’m hoping you get an Oscar nom 👍🏻


I also got to finish the most amazing book. So there’s no secret to writing an Amazon number one bestseller like the very talented, Sue Moorcroft.  Just write a book as good as One Summer in Italy… This is currently available to pre-order for only £2.99 here. I just count myself lucky that I’m a book reviewer, amongst other things and got to read an ARC. And the photo – of course, if you’re me and you have a book to read set in Italy you take it to France.

And finally, the icing on the cake although topping meeting a box office sensation like Lily and reading a book by a writer like Sue is hard to top. I’ve had the first feedback from my latest project, a Psychological Thriller and my first in this genre. Apparently it’s fab – phew…

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Where the missing go: Book review


Book blurb

MY NAME IS KATE.

I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But today a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.
The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.
AND SOPHIE IS MY DAUGHTER.
Available here 

My review 

As a NetGalley book reviewer I’m spoilt for choice as regards reading material. But when I read Jo Robertson’s, (my chestnut reading tree) review I hopped across to Amazon to pre-order and promptly forgot all about it until I needed something for Alexa to read to me when ironing. Yeah, I know, but I hate ironing and Alexa is my new bestie. 

Needless to say, when I’d ironed everything in the house, I soon realised that I had to bite the bullet and flip to reading from my Kindle and I finished in one sitting. 

For a debut this is superb: a nail-biting twisty turny thriller which would make an excellent movie. It’s difficult to review something like this without spoilers, but it’s impossible until quite near the end to know what’s going on. Kate is excellently drawn as an ordinary mother in an extraordinary situation , which is after all any parent’s worst nightmare. What she does is what we’d do, take up the gauntlet when the police seem to be flagging. What she finds is so unexpected… 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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The curious heart of Ailsa Rae: Book review 

Book blurb 

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.

Have her friends left her behind?

And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own. Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

Available to pre-order here

My review 

Cleverly written and with a great story line but that’s not why this book touched me…

A very long time ago, working as a student nurse, I was involved in something similar. Working on nightduty the call came at 3am that the long-awaited heart had been found and within an hour an air ambulance had arrived to whisk her on her journey of a lifetime. As memories go it is a distant one. It happened in the 80’s and is something I haven’t thought of in years. But it’s all there in this book; the hope, expectation and fear of the future. And in being given that second chance the realisation that there’s an expectation to make the most of it. Finally there’s the added edge of sadness as, of course, there’s tragedy lingering…another person who hasn’t been as lucky, another set of grieving parents… 

Excellently executed

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟