Thursday, 30 March 2017

Meet the participants of the Llandeilo Book Fair: John Thompson

Today I present another well known face from the previous Book Fairs: Carmarthen based author John Thompson. Welcome back John. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to theBook Fair.

I will be bringing the first volume of The Brindavan Chronicle, published in 2015, sub-titled Genesis, and hopefully volume two, Nemesis, which is presently at the proof-reading stage.  I also have some books of short stories: Adventures in Time, stories for children; The Female of the Species, stories of murder; and Strange Encounters, a collection of ghost stories.  I am currently putting together a fourth book of paranormal short stories which should be ready in time for the Book Fair.

Which genres do they belong to? 

As can be seen from above, I write in a variety of genres, but the theme which runs through all my stories is human relationships: especially how some people use position or power to control others, and how some victims fight back and turn the tables.  I like to write short stories with a twist in the tale (often a nasty one!), but I like to think that some of the things I write also have a feel-good factor.

 What are the characters and plot like?

In The Brindavan Chronicle the story tells of the relationships between a number of characters and a manipulative but charismatic 'guru'.  Several discover that they have been deceived; some of them run for cover, but one in particular, decides to fight back.  How she does this is the main story in Nemesis.
Tell us about your newest book. 

Nemesis is my latest full-length novel, but I have started on the third volume of the trilogy. which will be set some years in the future.  I have also nearly finished a fictional account of the life of Judas Iscariot, entitled A Man Called Judas, which I hope to publish later this year.

Which of your books are you most proud of? 


I am proud of Genesis, for without that first book there would not be a Nemesis, but I guess that the latter is really my favourite because of what the heroine (Meera) goes through, both in order to exact revenge and in what she suffers as a consequence.  Although she is a figment of my imagination, I really feel for her in what she undergoes.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

So many people who have read Genesis keep asking me when Nemesis is going to be ready because they are desperate to know what happens.  "I just hope that b******d gets his come-uppance" has been said to me more than once, and I take that as a real compliment, for it means that my characters have come alive for them  -  as they have for me!

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair? 

When we heard last year about a book fair in Llandeilo, we were delighted that finally something was happening in our own locality.  It was a great experience  -  meeting so many other local authors, as well as interacting with members of the public.  It gave us the impetus and enthusiasm to start a similar venture in Carmarthen.

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

We began to visit Wales in 1976, and came regularly thereafter until it just seemed common sense to come and live here permanently, which we did in 1990.  Although I have no genetic Welsh connections, I feel thoroughly at home here, and have made many good friends.

What is your personal background?

After leaving school (Windsor Grammar School) I spent the next few years at university in Scotland, England and the United States, gathering degrees in European and American history.  I then taught for a few years in London while studying for a Law degree, and in 1976 passed the Bar exams, and spent the next 20 years as a practising barrister.  This proved an excellent foundation for getting to know the human psyche, and especially how horrible we can be to each other!

Who are your favourite authors?

Over the years I have had so many favourite authors that I have lost track of many of them.  I'm the sort of person who, having liked a book by a certain author, then reads everything that person has written.  For the last few years, however, I have tended to read books which introduce me to different countries and cultures, such as The Kite Runner, The Bookseller of Kabul, and Q & A.  Having said that, I just love Hilary Mantel!


Anyone can contact us through our website, www.thompson-authors.com, or via Facebook (Thompson Authors).  The Brindavan books are available through Amazon, but the books of short stories only directly from me.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Meet the participants of the Llandeilo Book Fair: Colin R. Parsons


Today I have another regular participant, and a very popular at that: Colin R. Parsons. Welcome back to the blog and the book fair. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.

Wizards’ Kingdom trilogy: The Curious World series : Crank Tech One series : House of Darke : D.I.S.C. Direct Interface Shadow Control

Which genres do they belong to?

Wizards’ Kingdom is mythical fantasy
The Curious World is about a parallel universe.
Crank Tech One is science fiction
House of Darke is a sci-fi/steam-punk concoction.
D.I.S.C. is sci-fi and about bullying and how things change when a disk with strange powers is discovered.

What are the characters and plots like?

Each character has to be magnetic, if you don’t empathise or relate somehow, well that won’t make for a good adventure. The plots to my books are always fast-paced, and filled with thrilling adventures with a twist.

Tell us about your newest book. 

D.I.S.C. launched in mid-February of 2017 and is an adventure about Joseph Lanes. He’d bullied at school and things were looking rather grim, until he discovered a disk in the mud. Joseph, joined by four other teenagers, have to save the earth, as well as confronting the bullies.

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?

I get asked this all the time in school visits and writers groups. I’m proud of each and every one I write. It takes a lot to write a book, and if I don’t like what I’m writing, then I’ll stop. You have to be passionate about your craft.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

I’ve been told by a lot of my readership that House of Darke, my eighth novel, should be made into a film. But saying that, with all the different genres I write in, I’ve been complimented on each one.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

I’m passionate about my writing, and love meeting new readers, as well as the seasoned collector. I love the idea of people being excited about an event, and when they arrive to see a room filled with writers - that’s got to be special.

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

Born here, and lived in the same house for nearly fifty years. I feel I’m rooted to the very core of the Rhondda Valley. There’s so much talent in Wales too. Writers, Poets, Actors, Artists… what’s not to like?

What is your personal background?

Working class, brought up by hard working parents. My love of reading and writing has taken me from the world of factories and warehousing into school visits. I run Able and Reluctant writers workshops, and I also address assemblies with presentations.

Who are your favourite authors?

So many: Neil Gaiman, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Derek Landy, Kenneth Oppel, Richard Matheson, Philip Pullman… the list goes on.




Thursday, 16 March 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Sarada Thompson

Sarada Thompson has been a strong supporter of the Llandeilo Book Fair and will be appearing this April for the third time to present her wonderful books. 
Welcome back Sarada. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to theBook Fair

 I’ll be bringing my picture-books :

 ‘Meenakshi Devi, The Green Goddess,’ ‘ Savitri,’ and ‘The Ten Tales of Ganesha’

Which genres do they belong to?

 Ancient Hindu Stories

 What are the characters and plot like?

1)  Meenakshi is the legendary Warrior Princess of Madurai. Born in ancient times in a land ruled by men, Meenakshi stands invincible amongst them. Who is this and what will become of her?
2)  Savitri is about to lose the love of her life. Is there any way she can prevent this? What will she do? Will she be prepared to go to the end of the world and beyond – to the Land of the Dead and perhaps intercede with Lord Yama, the Soul-Collector himself?
3) Here we have ten tales of the famous Lord Ganesha – from how Lord Ganesha got his elephant head to the story of Lord Ganesha and the frogs! These are utterly playful, down-to-earth stories.

Tell us about your newest book. 


I am at present writing and illustrating: Durga/Shakti – symbolises Power; the Force which, when given form is feminine.
She is shown as Parvati, when she is gentle. Here she is the more ferocious aspects of Devi/Goddess Durga or Kali; she has eight or ten arms and is astride on a tiger or lion.
I am also working on publishing my novella, ‘The Neem Tree.’ This is a story of a girl born as an outcaste, who manages to overcome her disadvantaged background and finally reaches the ultimate-enlightenment she seeks.

Which of your books are you most proud of?

Love them all, as I write these stories, I find myself immersing in a different world.
Meenakshi for being the original feminist-warrior regardless of gender; Savitri for her fearless wisdom, willing to fight with Death for Love; and Lord Ganesha’s allegorical stories are full of fun.
In ‘The Neem Tree’ - the story is about an outcaste girl and her magical relationship with a mystical neem tree.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

 ‘The picture-books are therapeutic for adults and informative and entertaining as they are for children’ – Philip
‘I enjoy Sarada’s artwork, which is unique to her story telling.’ – Bethany Coventry

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair? 

Having travelled to Durham, Warwickshire and Winchester for Book Festivals, it was a pleasure to attend a Book Fair at the ‘doorstep’ and meet local writers and book lovers. I came away, ‘buzzing.’

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

 I feel a deep connection with the ancient Celtic roots which have parallels to Hinduism. I have included a picture of Danu, the Celtic Goddess in my art website.
I love the sound of Welsh and find the people warm and friendly and I take pride in gaining my MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, Trinity St David.
We first moved in to a farmhouse with five acres in a village, with our two teenage children, two horses, three dogs and five cats. Now we live in town with our daughter and three grandchildren with a different set of pets. Wales is our hiraeth cartref – roughly translates as a nostalgia-home.

What is your personal background?

I am an Indian artist and writer, resident in the U.K. since 1973, and in Wales since 1990. Born in Singapore, I worked as a journalist for local newspapers. When I arrived in London, I was set to read law, but then spent the next two decades raising a family, and writing for the Northampton and Milton Keynes weeklies during this time.
I have exhibited my artwork in various venues in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia. I have offered story-telling workshops through art, drama and writing in schools and universities; and also art therapy for mental health patients. The Hindu Story-Telling workshops involved art, writing and drama, as part of the National Curriculum.

Who are your favourite authors?

Hermann Hesse, Rabindranath Tagore, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, The Romantic Poets: Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Keats, Byron and Shakespeare to name a few. I also like Francois Gautier, Sanjay Patel and of course, John Thompson, Sally Spedding, Steve Bowkett and I am reading and getting to know more and more writers all the time...



Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair / #LlandeiloLitFest: Siôn Tomos Owen

Today's interview guest is Siôn Tomos Owen, who will  be present at the #LlandeiloBookFair both days and who will also be reading from his work as part of the #LlandeiloLitFest on April 29th at 4pm at the Horeb Chapel, Cawdor Inn
Eventbrite - Siôn Tomos Owen reads from “Cawl”, his collection on Rhondda characters (Bi-lingual event)   
Welcome Siôn Please tell us about the books youll be bringing to the Book Fair.
Cawl (Parthian 2016)

Which genres do they belong to?

Welsh writing, short stories, essays, poetry, comics.

What are the characters and plots like?

The characters range from Disgruntled employees, new fathers, frustrated rugby players, the unemployed, The Welsh Mam and the disengaged electorate.

Tell us about your newest book. 


My book “Cawl” is an anthology of my creative work.  It’s a mix of short stories, bi-lingual poetry, essays and cartoons.  I tried to write it as an anthology of many voices but by one author.  The central piece is a retelling of Rhydwen Williams’ “In Praise of a Valley” and a autobiographical graphic short story about the birth of my daughter.

Which of your books are youre most proud of, and why?

Cawl, not only because it’s my debut but because it is exactly the type of book I wanted to produce. a complete pic n mix of the different type of creative endeavours.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

They are great toilet books because you can dip into them and enjoy a short story, poem or cartoon without having to fully commit to a proper sit down read.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

I was performing at Poems and Pints night at The Queens, Carmarthen and was asked whether i would like to take part in the event.  Initially I decided to hold a stall to sell my caricatures and artwork but now I’m also part of the festival which is a nice mix!

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

I am grounded in the roots of Wales like the Japanese knotweed in it’s back gardens.

What is your personal background?

I was brought up a first language Welsh in the Rhondda. I consider myself a creative polymath and strive to creating things, whether it's writing, art, cabinets or a mess. I studied Illustration at Glamorgan Centre for Art, Design and Technology before going on to study Creative Writing and Media at Trinity College, Carmarthen.
I’m a cartoonist, writer, tutor and recently the presenter of Pobol y Rhondda, a S4C Welsh language documentary series on the Rhondda Valleys,the second series of which starts on 23rd of March 2017. My Book Cawl”, a mix of short stories, bilingual poetry, essays, and comics, was published by Parthian in October 2016.  I am also working on a trilingual anthology of work, The Valley, The City, The Village, with Indian and Welsh writers via a cultural exchange funded by Wales Arts International and the British Council to be published by Parthian and Bee Books in 2018.
I live with my wife and daughter in Treorchy, Rhondda.

Who are your favourite authors?

Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman for comics.
Mikhail Bulgakov, Jeannete Winterson, Cynan Jones for novels.
Owen Sheers, Rhian Elizabeth, M.A.Oliver-Semenov, Frank O’Hara for poetry.
Tyler Keevil, Rachel Trezise, Gwyn Thomas for short stories.

Please share your social media links and buy links to your books.

www.parthianbooks.com
@sionmun on Twitter



































Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Angela Fish

Angela will not only be at the Book Fair on Saturday, but will also be giving a rading of her work as part of the #LlandeiloLitFest programme on Saturday April 29th 4pm at Eve’s Toy Shop.
Eventbrite - Angela Fish reading from her latest book ‘Ben and the Spider Lake’ (ages 5-9)   Saturday April 29th  4pm at Eve’s Toy Shop. Admission is Free Ben and the Spider Lake
Welcome to this blog Angela. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.

Ben and the Spider Gate
Ben and the Spider Prince
Ben and the Spider Lake

Which genres do they belong to?

Children’s – magic realism.

What are the characters and plots like?

Ben and the Spider Gate
Ben loves chatting to his wise Gran, playing computer games with his best friend Jess, and helping his dad to train his clever dog Scoot. Best of all though, he likes playing ball in the garden with Scoot.
Then one hot, summer day Ben meets Lox, the gate-keeper of the spider kingdom under the garden hedge. Lox desperately needs Ben’s help before the end of the autumn, but can Ben save the spider kingdom without leaving the garden and going into the deep, dark wood? The leaves are starting to fall, and Ben and Jess must take a brave decision if the spiders are to have a safe winter. Talking to Gran, Ben begins to suspect that she might know more about his quest than she’s admitting.

Ben and the Spider Prince 

Lox, the gate-keeper of the spider kingdom under the hedge in Ben’s garden, asks Ben
for help again. The Spider Wizard needs three special ingredients before the next full moon to make a magic potion to cure the Spider Prince, but can Ben find them in time? He meets some unusual creatures on his quest who are not all as scary as they first seem. Ben wants to tell his best friend Jess but she’d rather spend time with the new girl in school, so he asks his gran instead. They look for clues on the computer and in the library, but how much does
Gran really know, and will she tell Ben a secret that will keep him safe from Spindra, the evil sister of the Spider Queen?

Ben and the Spider Lake
In the summer holidays Ben, his family, his dog Scoot, and his best friend Jess, stay in a cottage near the Dark Mountains, where Ben and Jess meet a white owl called Hiboo and a mysterious lady.
When Ben arrives home he finds out that the lane at the back of his garden is going to be dug up. He has to find Lox, the guardian of the Spider Gate to tell him what’s going to happen. Ben and Jess try desperately to think of somewhere that the spiders could live but they only have four weeks before the workmen arrive. Can they find a safe home for the spiders in time? If they do, how will they move them? Is there anyone who could help? Maybe Gran has some ideas.

Tell us about your newest book.

I have just completed the first book of a trilogy, with books two and three ‘mapped out’. Molly and the Magic Mirror is aimed at the 7-10-year-old age group. Book one is The Key and the Copper Horse; book two will be The Dreaming Tree Forest and the Stolen Child, and book three will be The Snow Ghost and the Emerald Clover Leaf.  

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?

That’s difficult! Probably Spider Gate as it was the first one accepted for publication.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

‘A joyous and magical story with wonderful illustrations; so well-written that it can delight children and adult readers alike. Can’t wait for the third sequel!  D J, Book Guild Customer Review (5 star)’
‘The story Ben and the Spider Prince was so extraordinary and amazing it made me want to be involved in the exciting tale. In my opinion you are the most fascinating author in the world! Your tale is so unique!’ Feedback from a junior school pupil.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

I met a number of local authors at the Tenby Book Fair last year and found the whole experience so rewarding that I decided to try to become involved with other, similar events. I’ve also heard that last year’s festival at Llandeilo was exciting and rewarding for authors.

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

I was born in Cardiff; grew up under the shadow of Castell Coch in Tongwynlais; went to school in Llandaff; worked in Whitchurch and Treforest; studied at the University of Glamorgan, and have lived in south Wales all my life.

Who are your favourite authors?

I don’t have one particular favourite. I like the work of Robert Goddard, J K Rowling, Helen Dunmore, Sian James, Bernice Rubens, James Patterson, for example, but I’m always happy to read work by authors I’ve not encountered before.

Please share your social media links and buy links to your books.

Twitter: @angelaEfish
LinkedIn:
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/AngelaEFish
Buy from the publisher’s online bookstore: https://www.bookguild.co.uk/bookshop/
 from Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hempbyt  or from other online bookstores (Waterstones, WHSmiths). Signed copies available via my website.

Extra:

I was recently invited to do a live interview on the Roy Noble Show for BBC Radio Wales. Great experience.  

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Lisa Shambrook

Today's interview guest is an old favourite and well-known guest at the Llandeilo Book fair. Welcome back Lisa Shambrook, deom Carmarthen. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair. 

Beneath the Rainbow:
Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death. Freya’s family are left to fulfil her dreams, but as time runs out final yearned for wishes remain lost. Only Freya can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

Beneath the Old Oak:
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control and she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.
Beneath the Distant Star:
Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember and has something her sister never will – life. She fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and her reckless abandon threatens to destroy what she needs most.

My newest release A Symphony of Dragons is a collection of my own short stories which connect my Hope Within books and my new chronicles, and follow the theme of dragons…

Which genres do they belong to? 


My three Hope Within Novels belong in the contemporary and Young Adult genres, but have delighted all ages. The short story collection embraces dragons and the eclectic genres of Steampunk, fantasy, contemporary, romance and more!

What are the characters and plots like?

My characters are real and vulnerable in the Hope Within novels, the plots cover a range of difficult subjects which will inspire those who read them.

Tell us about your newest book.

I’m currently working on The Seren Stone Chronicles which I am loving writing. This is Wales far, far into the future: ‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?

I am totally engaged in my current writing, but I am proud of each of my books in different ways.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books? 


One of the best compliment has been having my writing likened to Virginia Woolf and Mitch Albom.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

I have been before and the atmosphere is fun and friendly and the visitors are lovely!

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

I moved to Wales twenty-three years ago and I love it. The Welsh countryside has inspired my latest writing, and the myths, legends, and nature continue to enchant and rouse me.

What is your personal background?

I am a quiet introvert and I live within my words! I have a lovely husband and three children, and have been writing since my youngest was born.  I also have cats and a neurotic German Shepherd!

Who are your favourite authors?

It’s always been Garth Nix and Tolkien, but Patrick Rothfuss and Philip Pullman are right up there.


 Links
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/LisaShambrookAuthor

Beneath the Rainbow: http://bit.ly/1hXMt8J
Beneath the Old Oak: http://bit.ly/1EYpnXK
Beneath the Distant Star: http://bit.ly/1NMziGb
Human 76: http://bit.ly/29O7FLk
A Symphony of Dragons: not yet released

Monday, 13 March 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Judith Arnopp

Today I welcome back Judith Arnopp, a familiar face to the Llandeilo Book Fair whose historical novels include:
The Beaufort Bride: Book one of The Beaufort Chronicles (the life of Margaret Beaufort)
The Beaufort Woman: Book Two of The Beaufort Chronicles
A Song of Sixpence: A story of Elizabeth of York and Perkin Warbeck
Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr
The Kiss of the Concubine: A story of Anne Boleyn
The Winchester Goose: at the court of Henry VIII
The Song of Heledd: a fiction of what might have been
The Forest Dwellers: Anglo Saxon/Norman conflict
Peaceweaver: the story of Eadgyth, queen to Gruffydd ap Llewellyn and Harold II

Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.

I shall bring copies of all my books. I have always been intrigued by medieval women, there is very little on the record to illustrate how they coped with the demands of their day. In my books I explore how it might have felt to live in a male orientated world, beneath the jurisdiction of often very misguided men. My current project, Margaret Beaufort, faced many conflicts as she manoeuvred her way through the wars of the roses. Married as a child, taken into the comparatively hostile environment of Wales, she was widowed at the age of thirteen and left pregnant and vulnerable. It is believed the birth of her son caused such physical damage she was never to conceive a child again, yet that didn’t prevent her from negotiating two further marriages to powerful men. Margaret was intelligent, a political player in a man’s world who fought tirelessly for the rights of her son, Henry Tudor, ultimately seeing him on the throne of England and launching the Tudor dynasty.
And Margaret wasn’t alone. My novels explore the lives of other women who bore witness to events that are unthinkable to us today. Just how does a young woman stand bravely on the scaffold, waiting for the axe to fall, and speak kindly of the king who signed the death warrant? I examine this in The Kiss of the Concubine and The Winchester Goose with the deaths of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard.
We are all tested and my novels examine the resilience and determination required to withstand such trials, in whatever form they come.

Which genres do they belong to?

All my books are Historical Fiction. I studied for a master’s degree in medieval history at university and when I began to write seriously historical fiction was my instinctive choice. I am far more at home in the middle ages than in the modern world. There is nothing I like more than dressing up in my 16th century style gown for the Tudor Weekend at Raglan Castle where I meet readers old and new and sign books, discuss history and generally have a great time. You should come. It is on August Bank Holiday this year.

What are the characters and plots like?

I have to be quite careful with my characters, the historical ones at least. They were real people, their experiences were real and I don’t like to belittle or demonise them for the sake of entertainment.  I keep that for the fictional characters that rub shoulders with the royalty and noblewomen of the past.
When it comes to plot, I have to follow the historical record but I usually weave a fictional narrative alongside the historical events. For instance, in The Winchester Goose, Joanie Toogood is a prostitute working the streets of Southwark, just across the river from the royal palace. Joanie’s irreverent observations on the political events of her day are illuminating, her fictional story revealing that her life is very little different to Henry’s queens.
Most critics have remarked that I provide a different perspective to other authors of the same genre. Initially I was unaware of that but once it was pointed out to me it seemed a good idea to continue. Once I am in character and writing the people I am writing about seem to take on a life of their own and tell me, in some strange subliminal way, the sort of person they want to be.

Tell us about your newest book.

My most recent publication is The Beaufort Woman, Book Two of The Beaufort Chronicles. It follows Margaret Beaufort’s life during the most unsettled part of the wars of the roses. Separated from her son, she marries first Henry Stafford and then, after his death, Thomas Stanley. Never once does she falter in her campaign to have her son’s rights and properties reinstated. She is prominent at the Yorkist court, close companion of Queen Elizabeth Woodville and later, Richard III’s queen, Anne.  The Beaufort Woman takes us to the day after the battle at Bosworth.
I am currently working on Book Three of the Beaufort Chronicles: The King’s Mother, in which Margaret has achieved her ambitions but finds life at the top is not as secure as she had imagined. Her son’s reign is beset by rebellion, imposters and invasion and as one of the king’s chief advisors, Margaret pits all her hard won skills at strategy to keep him on his throne. The King’s Mother should be published before Christmas if I get my finger out!
I am also working with other historical authors on a non-fiction anthology to be released by Pen and Sword Books. It is to be called In Bed with the British, focussing on love and romance. My piece is about a possible romantic relationship between Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt. It has taken up quite a lot of my time recently, a very intriguing subject. There is another non-fiction project in the pipe-line but I cannot talk about that yet.

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?

I am proud of all of them. My first, Peaceweaver, was the most surprising of all. When I published it was more for my own benefit than anything else. I wanted to prove to myself that I could complete a whole novel. What I hadn’t expected was that people would buy it AND enjoy it. I wouldn’t say it was an overnight success but the people who did read it, loved it and are still supporters of my work today.
Even though The Beaufort Chronicles are selling very well, my bestseller is still The Winchester Goose – I think the risky subject matter attracts readers and they then progress to read all my others. The Beaufort Chronicles is the hardest thing I have attempted so far. Margaret’s life was long and very eventful so it was necessary to split it into three volumes.
Because she has been portrayed in fiction and on screen in a rather negative light, people think they know Margaret but in my books she is telling her own story. People in Margaret’s position had to make choices to preserve both themselves and the people they loved. When she makes a harsh decision, she provides reasons for her actions, and emerges very differently to the overly pious harridan previously described. The response to the first two books of The Beaufort Chronicles has been great. Every day I have a pile of emails to go through asking when book three will be available. Readers can be very demanding but I love that, it keeps me motivated.
Now I am approaching the end of The Beaufort Chronicles I am certain I will never attempt such a lengthy project again. I have lived and breathed as Margaret Beaufort for about four years now and I fancy more comfortable shoes to walk in. My next project will be more fiction based, I think, still historical but perhaps a fictional character set against a historical background.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

There have been so many good things said about them but the one that stands out was a favourable comparison to Hilary Mantel – I don’t agree of course. Hilary Mantel is way better than me, she is my idol. Her historical fiction may not suit everyone, her detail may not be 100% accurate but the world she creates is astoundingly authentic. I re-read that review when I am feeling defeated and it gives me a boost.
I also had an email from a couple who read Peaceweaver and thanked me because it had helped them come to terms with the loss of their teenage son. They mentioned a passage from the end of the book that I could not even recall writing. At the end of the telephone call, I flicked through to find the part they referred to near the end of the book.

‘How things change,’ I say. ‘How strange that, even when all is lost, we still find beauty in simple things.’
He stands behind me with his hands upon my shoulders, both of us looking up at the sky; a sky that reminds me of the night Harold returned from Normandy and asked me to be his wife.
‘Resilience is what keeps us all from madness,’ Godwin says. ‘If we didn’t have the power to heal, to move on and overcome our grief, the human race would not survive.’

I was astounded that a few throwaway lines I had written had somehow given them the strength to move on. I don’t think anyone can make a more rewarding comment about my work than that.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

I am very shy person. Large crowds terrify me but these days, book fairs are part of being an author. I have attended a few now, was at Llandeilo last year and met some lovely people, both authors and readers. I also attended the Carmarthen, and Tenby Book fair, and have signed up for Narberth this year. It is good to mingle with other writers and discover we all suffer from insecurity, uncertainty – we are all feeling our way in the dark. I now have some very good writer friends who provide mutual support and advice. Authors need other authors both to keep us grounded, and to boost us when we feel we are failing.
Of course, the best thing about book fairs is the face to face contact with readers, both new and old. Sometimes they come along with a well-read copy of my book and ask me to sign it. Sometimes they stagger out the door with a bag full they haven’t yet read. Readers tell you what they liked, what they didn’t like. One reader said of The Kiss of the Concubine. ‘From the beginning, I knew Anne Boleyn had to die but I really hoped she wouldn’t.’ This was very comforting because Anne Boleyn has been the subject of so many books that I wasn’t sure when I began writing, that there was room for another. I think she is timeless, appealing to each new generation of readers of HF.

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

As a child we came to Wales for holidays. We stayed on farms where I helped with the milking and feeding the chickens. It was always my dream to live here, to have a farm and some animals. Twenty years ago we bought a smallholding near Lampeter and raised our children in the countryside, living the dream. The kids are all grown up now, and a few years after the last ones left home, we sold up. We now live in Aberporth on the coast and although I still miss the silence and beauty of our old home, I love it here. Instead of a view of Llanwnni mountain, my study now looks across Cardigan Bay toward Snowdon and the Llyn Peninsular. Sometimes the sea is wild and dangerous, sometimes it sparkles, dotted with yachts and soaring gulls. The view is ever-changing but always inspiring.

What is your personal background?


As a child we lived in a small town in England but most weekends saw us in the countryside on picnics or walks. Our holidays were always taken in rural areas, often Wales. I developed a deep need to live close to nature and have never for one moment regretted leaving Hertfordshire and coming here twenty or so years ago.
In the early days we concentrated on the children, we kept ponies, poultry and goats, grew our own vegetables and provided a free and happy childhood for our family. When the youngest was ten I began to think about my future, what I might like to do when I was no longer just ‘Mum.’ After discussion with my soul mate, John, I enrolled at university in Lampeter to do a BA in English and Creative Writing – after graduating I enrolled again, this time for a Masters in Medieval Studies. Since then I haven’t looked back. Writing is a great career choice, although it does require an awful lot of discipline. It really doesn’t do to spend all day chatting on Facebook, or to allow the sun to lure me outside for a walk along the cliff. I set myself daily targets and usually manage to stick to them.

Who are your favourite authors?

I already mentioned Hilary Mantel, I particularly loved Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. She took a traditionally unloved stock Tudor villain and made him human, although I don’t think she did Anne Boleyn many favours.
I think, these days, the bulk of my reading is non-fiction relating to my current project. Although it is my favourite genre, while I am writing I try not to read historical fiction for fear of tainting my own voice. Instead I read contemporary crime, or something set much later in history. I also read a lot of indie authors. I enjoy Anna Belfrage’s time slip novels, M.M Bennetts, Of Honest Fame, and May 1812, oh, and so many more, it would take too long!

Please share your social media links and buy links to your books.

author.to/juditharnoppbooks

twitter@juditharnopp

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Haydn Corper

Llandeilo LitFest interview with Haydn Corper, author of The Scent of Lilacs

Please tell us about the book you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.


My book, The Scent of Lilacs, is historical fiction. It is a story set during the fall of Berlin to the Red Army in the spring of 1945. It tells of the experiences of ordinary civilians and soldiers. It paints a picture of wartime Europe set against the backdrop of the momentous and terrible events taking place at the end of World War Two; events which shaped our modern world. I am passionate about telling the story of those times, lest we forget that it did 'happen here;' and that it could do so again if we are not vigilant.

Tell us about your newest book.

I am currently writing a second novel set in Germany in 1947, not a strict sequel to The Scent of Lilacs but with some of the same characters. This was a time of continuing upheaval and deprivation in  Europe. Against the background of massive refugee problems, starvation, and lawlessness, a British Officer searches for his missing love and child; and discovers sinister evidence implicating the British establishment in a treasonable war-time plot.

What is the best thing that has been said about your book? 

I am proud of the very good reviews I am receiving on Amazon. I think that the best things said are how good the characterisation is and how realistic the portrayal of time and place seems. Please see: https://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1781325170/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_summary?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=helpful
and


Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?

Although I live mainly in the Middle East, I am a local author and wish to support events such as this.

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

I am Welsh; I was born near Cardiff and my family are from South-East Wales. Some of my ancestors come from the Ammanford area. I have a home in Manordeilo.

What is your personal background?

I’ve been passionate about military and social history since I was at school and always intended to be a writer. I drafted my first novel when I was fifteen and have written novels and scripts since then. I started my professional life as an astronomer. Then I was a defence analyst for twelve years. I served at that time in the Territorial Army as an infantryman and intelligence specialist at the height of the Cold War. Subsequently I became a marketing and public affairs professional. During this time I was involved in politics in London and at UK level. I set up a small company making community films, editing much of the material myself. I also helped establish an audio company to promote works by Shakespeare. I have run a large guest-house in Manordeilo and worked at senior level for the Welsh Government. In short, I've had a very varied life: but always I have been passionate about books and writing. I live in the Middle East most of the time now, surrounded by the same sorts of conflicts that I portray in my books.

Who are your favourite authors?

Which authors I prefer depends on my mood and what I am reading for but some of those I like best include:  Robert Harris, Mary Stewart and Sharon Penman for historical fiction; again Robert Harris and also Sebastian Faulks for general fiction; James Blish and Frank Herbert for Science Fiction. I like to read biographies, tales of travel and histories but really my reading tastes are wide ranging and the authors I like too many to list. A good writer is a good writer and will engage the reader irrespective of genre.

Please share your social media links and buy links to your books.

Website:          www.haydncorper.com
E:                     Haydn@haydncorper.com
Twitter:           @CorperHaydn

Facebook:        Haydn.Corper

Haydn Corper was born in Wales in 1959.  He grew up and went to University in London and Scotland.  At first an astrophysicist and astronomer, he then had a long and successful career as an international defence analyst, specialising in Soviet military affairs.  He served in an intelligence role in the Territorial Army for several years. During this time he was active in London and UK politics, becoming a Councillor and Group Chief Whip in Enfield.
When the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991, he became a Public Affairs, PR and marketing consultant. In 1997 he quit the city for green fields and mountains.  Moving first to Herefordshire and then back to rural Wales, he set up his own community film company and then became a partner in a business consultancy advising small enterprises.
He has always been passionate about history, especially social and military history.  He started war-gaming when he was fifteen, the same age he was when he wrote his first novel, a spy thriller.
He took up re-enacting twenty years ago, has worn the kit, eaten the food, fired the weapons and lain in the mud and snow just as the characters of his book do.  He steeps himself deeply in the eras he writes about, reading both fiction and non-fiction.  He watches as many good movies and documentaries as he can about his subject and listens to period music. He always visits the settings for his stories.
He has written fiction for pleasure, and had technical and feature articles published in professional journals. It is the consequences for ordinary people of politics and war which really engages him; he believes it is their stories which count most and which he is keen to tell.
In 2014 Haydn moved to Amman, Jordan.