Book Review- Martini Henry

imageedit_2_9634408254

 

Martini Henry by Sara Crowe
Expected publication by Doubleday on June 16, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Coming of Age
Pages: 416
Amazon
Goodreads

In 1988, seventeen-year-old Sue Bowl has a diary, big dreams and £4.73. What she wants most of all is to make it as a writer, as well as stop her decadent aunt Coral spending money she doesn’t have.

Living in their crumbling ancestral home should provide plenty of inspiration, but between falling in love, hunting for missing heirlooms and internship applications, things keep getting in the way.

So when a young literary professor moves in and catches Sue’s eye, life begins to take an unexpected turn . . .

Martini Henry was a wonderful journey. The story is told completely through the journal entries of Sue Bowl, an aspiring writer in 1988. The way the story is told feels very personal. I was able to see into the mind of Sue, and see the world through her eyes.

In entries of her journal, Sue adds excerpts of For the Concern of the Rich and the Poor, a book written by London Taylor, starting in the year of 1857. His story ties into the past of Sue’s home and family, giving clues as to the whereabouts of a hidden treasure.

One thing I loved about the story was the innocence and naivety of Sue. She is finding her way in the world, and finding herself. She learns about life and love, about sorrow and hope. Sue evolves throughout the story, which is wonderful to witness.

Martini Henry was a great read, and a beautiful coming of age story. I am going to give it five hearts.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

*This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my thoughts on the book.

Advertisements

Author Q&A- Tony Riches

Today I had the pleasure of talking to best-selling historical fiction author Tony Riches. Tony is a full time author and lives in Pembrokeshire, one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK. Read the interview below!

 Tony  Riches Pembroke

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Like many authors, I wrote for magazines and journals before self-publishing my first book on Amazon four years ago. It was a short ebook about how everyone can use the principles of Agile Project Management and was a surprising success. I went on to write non-fiction books on subjects as diverse as the story of Scott’s Antarctic ship, the Terra Nova, to Atlantis, about the last flight of the NASA Space shuttle. Now my focus is very much on historical fiction and I have become something of an expert on the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: My muse is my wife, Liz, who always encourages me to write and helps me develop my ideas and characters. It was Liz’s idea for me to write The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham – about her ancestor who was condemned as a witch and imprisoned for life.

Q: What was the main idea behind your series The Tutor Trilogy?

A: Everyone knows about King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth Ist – but I was surprised to discover there were no books about the amazing story of Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty. I discovered several accounts of the life of Henry Tudor (who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty) but there were no novels that brought his own story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realized Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ with the help of Owen’s son, Jasper Tudor, in book two, and rule England in book three, so there would be plenty of scope to explore his life and times.

Owen and Jasper

Q: Have you always been interested in history? What sparked your passion?

A: Yes – and I enjoy visiting historic sites, so the research for my books is always fun. In June I’m off to explore chateaus in Brittany where Jasper and Henry Tudor lived in exile. I think my passion was ‘sparked’ by the Hollywood historical epics, which raised more questions than they answered – and led to me reading the original sources.

Q: Is there a particular time in history that you find most interesting? If so, when and why?

A: I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, so I feel a special connection with Henry Tudor, who was born there. My historical fiction books have so far been set in the fifteenth century, during what have become known as ‘The Wars of The Roses’ – and I have a wealth of books I’ve collected over the years on life in the period. As a writer I’m glad there are plenty of detailed records of the time – but it’s still little known by most readers, which means they can learn a lot from my books.

Q: If you could travel back in time, when would you go and where would you visit?

A: I’d like to return to Pembroke Castle at Christmas 1460 and find a way to warn Owen Tudor and his son Jasper NOT to take on the army of Edward of York!

Q: Which of your books has been the most fun to write?

A: I’ve particularly enjoyed writing my last book, JASPER, as the hero Jasper Tudor has some great qualities. He never forgot his promise to his brother’s widow, Lady Margaret Beaufort, to always look after her son, Henry Tudor. In the new book he narrowly escapes York’s army and flees with his nephew Henry to exile in Brittany. In an unlikely and daring move, they then return to England with an army to seize the throne for Henry.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each of your books?

A: One of the great things about writing historical fiction is that I have the ‘framework’ of my historical research – so all I have to do is ‘fill in the gaps’. I’ve developed a good system of writing 25 chapters, each around 4000 words long, to arrive at a first draft of 100,000 to reduce in the editing by around 5000 words. The whole process takes about a year, as I allow about six months for the first draft, then about three for editing and revisions. I try to have a long summer break, as my main interests are sailing and sea kayaking, so I like to have the best of the weather. When I first started writing novels I kept making improvements to the final draft but experience makes it easier to know when it’s time to publish.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: I’m now researching book three of my Tudor trilogy, which explores the life of King Henry VII. Henry Tudor was born in book one, and book two takes him up to the Battle of Bosworth, so the final book will follow his life from there to his death at Richmond Palace on the 21st of April 1509. It will be published in the spring or early summer next year

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: I’m sure there are many people who know they could write a novel – if only they had the time. I’d like them to realize that simply writing one page a day is a book a year, so even if you still have to juggle other responsibilities, write something, every day, until it becomes a habit, which it will.

Book Trailers- The Tudor Trilogy

Find Tony Online:

The Writing Desk

WordPress website

Facebook

Twitter @tonyriches.

 

 

Author Q&A- T P Keane

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most interesting authors out there; T P Keane! She is getting ready to publish The Paladins of Naretia, her debut novel!

j5K0006X

Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A; I suppose I’ve been writing all my life. As a child, I was never a really good student. In fact, I wouldn’t be amiss at saying that I was probably one of the worst. That was somewhat of a confidence stomper. But I loved stories, and I would often imagine my new worlds and adventures while I lay in bed at night. It wasn’t until I had my two children, and started telling them the adventures I dreamed, that I began to write them down.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I have many muses. Every time I pick up a work of art by a great author, and see how he/she has twisted words and descriptions to not only describe the world I’ve been plunged into, but also the atmosphere. It’s something I’m trying very hard to emulate, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten it down yet. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin. I have to say, that is as close to perfection as I ever hope to become.

 

Q: You are the middle child of seven children! What was it like growing up with that many siblings? How close are you in age?

A: Growing up with six other brothers and sisters and be described in two words, loud and constant. Thankfully I was subject to the “middle-child syndrome” where often I would be forgotten, or paid very little attention to. But that only applied to my parents, who were too busy running around after a multitude of diaper-wearing monsters that were only content when they were dismantling the house from the ground up. It was tough going for my parents, and I often wondered how my mother did it all. Most of us, with the exception of the eldest, were only a year to two years apart.

 

Q: You fell back in love with storytelling when you began telling your two children bedtime stories. Did these stories spawn the birth of your upcoming book, The Paladins of Naretia?

A: The stories I told my kids were more quirky, odd-ball tales of green elephants with ten wings and a perpetual need to fart. While those kinds of stories weren’t the seeds for The Paladins of Naretia, they were the stirrings that began my need, my want, to create a world properly. I wanted to explore my talent, or lack thereof, in story-telling, regardless of my inability to spell (thank God for spellcheck). It has also just occurred to me that if this all flops on its face, I can blame them.

 

Q: Tell me about The Paladins of Naretia. What went on behind the scenes of creating such an amazing book?

A: I could tell you the plot and the characters behind it, but that can be read on the cover of the book. Behind the scenes, however, is a completely different story. While Olórin, an aged wizard, is set the task of saving the29354761 kingdom by also saving his adopted son from his real father, the dark god Dantet, this isn’t the crux of the story. The Paladins of Naretia is about love. It examines, on three fronts, the bravery and destructiveness that love can bring. Firstly, we have the broken love between Dantet and Edwina, the two ruling gods. They are the divorced parents, if you will, caught up in the hatred of each other and using their children, the people of Naretia, as pawns. Secondly, we have the false love between Olórin and his adopted son, Aramus, who he hopes against all odds will have inherited some humanity from his mother’s side. But Aramus, like Dantet, is incapable of truly loving anything. In the end, Olórin must face the truth of what this means. Our third, but not last, portrayal of love, is true love. Through the novel, we begin to hope, to pray, that Aramus falls in love with the tyrannical queen, Aria, who must put aside her demons to help them. Olórin hopes that love between them would help Aramus stay away from the darkness. But there is only one true love in The Paladins of Naretia, and that is between Aria and her seven-year-old brother Pearan. Her love for him is unconditional and fearless. In the end she will make the ultimate sacrifice to save his life.

 

Q: If you could go back to when you first began writing, what would you tell yourself?

A: Read more, examine how other authors convey their meaning and believe in yourself.

 

Q: If you could be any one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Superficially, I would like to be Aramus, because I would love the ability to fly. But truthfully, I thing I would like to be Sudia, an elf who is half-turned and fighting for her life and for a cure. She intrigues me. Although she is not a main character in the book, she will play a bigger role in the subsequent books and I can’t wait to see how she, a grey-elf, will end up being the moral compass.

 

Q: What is your absolute favorite book? Why?

A: I have so many. I love John Green’s Fault in our Stars, because it is such a heart-warming and breaking story. I also love Ransom Riggs because of the way he uses old photos to spin a tale in Ms Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. Although I have many authors I love to read, I’m slowly becoming an uber-fan of NK Jeminsin, purely because of his skill… and maybe because it’s an awesome story.

 

Q: You have lived in several places. What has been your favorite so far? What makes that place special?

A: I’ve lived and worked in Ireland, UK and in USA. It’s been a wonderful experience to get the opportunity to not just visit each of them, but become part of them. There are certain aspects of each that I both loved and disliked, but for the most part, they bring their own unique cultural and social differences… which is fodder for my books, of course.

 

While I was born in Ireland, and it has many of my family and friends, I’ve never been a fan of the weather. Too much rain and grey skies for me. The States has yielded many more friends and I’ve loved the snowy winters and hot summers of New England. But the UK has always held a special place in my heart. I can’t really explain why, but something inside of me keeps drawing me back to the UK and we may very well end up settling there again.

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?

A: That if I can do it, so can they. Anyone who knew me as a child, would have never thought that I would publish a book. I would never have thought it either, but my love of story-telling is like breathing to me. It’s something I have to do. So, if I can get around my inability to spell, my lack of experience, the little voice in my head telling me to “not be so stupid and don’t embarrass yourself,” then so can anyone. Self-belief is crucial to following your dreams no matter what they are.

 

You can find T P Keane online:

Website: www.tpkeane.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009366060306

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TPKeaneauthor

Amazon book link: http://www.amazon.com/Paladins-Naretia-Book-one-ebook/dp/B01AYC44ZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455206850&sr=8-1&keywords=the+paladins+of+naretia

Facebook book release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/988671311200675/