Guest Post: Writing the Saffron Trail by @RosannaLey

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        The saffron trail book



Guest Post:


Writing a novel takes about a year from the first bit of research and the initial plot ideas through to final copy. The Saffron Trail was pretty much the same...


I begin by finding an idea (or it finds me, to be more accurate) and/or a place I feel I need to explore. The Saffron Trail started with me wanting to write about saffron. That was the seed. I was interested in this mysterious spice. Why is it worth even more ounce for ounce than gold? Where does it come from and how is it produced? So I started reading books like Pat Willard’s ‘The Secrets of Saffron’ and scouring the Internet to find out more. Morocco was a top producer and it felt right. I knew it was colourful and warm and vibrant and so I researched the history and culture of the country with a view of developing a backstory and sub-plot that would fit with my emerging ideas.

Then I developed the characters and started finding out more about other themes and content which would feature in the book e.g. The Vietnam War and ‘draft dodgers’. I also talk a lot to my husband at this stage in the process (that’s not to say I don’t talk a lot to him at other times too...) and we do some joint ‘plot-storming’ – often whilst out cliff-walking. The story is usually developing well by now and I’m about ready to start writing.


But first I visit the places I need to visit – in this case Marrakech, Essaouira, a saffron farm and waterfall in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and Roseland in Cornwall. It was clear from the outset that Marrakech with its labrynthine medina was perfect for the setting of the main story – the maze of alleyways seemed to echo the tangled relationships I wanted to write about - and Essaouira was ideal for my 1960s ‘hippie hang out’. Cornwall has a fascinating history connected to saffron and with its atmospheric landscape, this seemed the obvious place for my saffron growing family to live.


I then start writing in strands of different voices/ stories. So the first story I wrote was Glenn’s – all in one go from start to almost-finish. Then I wrote Lillian’s and then Amy and Nell’s. This works well for me as I can get deeply into the voices – I hope – and the emotions and thoughts of one viewpoint character at a time. And get involved in one lot of research at a time too! But the stories will need to be interwoven later...


I write in my office at home, mainly in the morning from about 10 to 1 and then another session from around 3.30 to 6. It’s all very ‘ish’ as I don’t have strict routines and if it’s sunny and I want to go out for a walk, I do. Walking is also good for working out plots and scenes and by the time I get back I’m itching to start writing. I love writing with a view even though I don’t look at it that much when things are flowing well. My favourite would be a view of the sea but the view from my office is pretty special too. I also try to get to a retreat of some kind during the writing process; often this is Fuerteventura in the Canaries where it’s all writing, walking and swimming in a peaceful place with few distractions. I can get a lot done over there. I like to read every scene out loud, which helps me see if it is working and has a good pace, and sometimes I’ll read it to my husband too, if I need a bit of objective feedback!

When all the writing was done for Saffron (first or zillionth draft) I fitted it all together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fun! (At least, when it works out right). After a few more revisions I sent out to my lovely agent and editor and then did another re-write taking their comments on board.


When I’m not writing and travelling I often take groups on writing retreats and courses. For example, each year I take a writing group to stay in the stunning foothills of the Sierra Almijara, Southern Spain on a Writing Holiday in Andalucía for 7 days in a hotel finca which has been lovingly restored. We meet up as a group for writing practice on a variety of creative writing subjects and themes, with lots of exercises to stimulate the creative juices and help participants develop a current project or begin a new one or three. But there’s also plenty of time for individual writing, leisure (there is a lovely pool) and a group workshop each day will bring everyone together to share writing, thoughts and ideas. It’s a lovely experience – for all of us!



The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley is published 21st May (Quercus, £7.99)




About the Author:


Rosanna has written numerous articles and short stories for magazines, and her novels have been published in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania, Turkey and the Czech Republic. ‘The Villa’ is also published by Quercus in the US.

Rosanna’s books are inspired by a range of different cultures and landscapes and feature strong female voices from the past and present, along with an intense undercurrent of mystery and romance. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at the MBA Literary Agency.

Rosanna has also worked as a creative writing tutor for over 20 years. She has led courses for colleges and universities in England, and runs her own writing retreats and holidays in the UK and in stunning locations in Europe. She has worked with community groups in therapeutic settings and completed an MA in creative writing for personal development in order to support this. She also mentors and appraises the work of new writers.

Travelling and cliff walking are two of Rosanna’s favourite things to do. She also likes tennis, swimming, reading, eating very dark chocolate and drinking Italian coffee (preferably in Italy...) She lives with her artist husband in West Dorset and her favourite writing place is anywhere with a sea view.



Rosanna's Website | Follow Rosanna on Twitter  | Like on facebook



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Spotlight On: Trankarri: The Boy With A Magical Pen by Christopher Dean @TrankarriBook

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                  trankarri_christopher_dean



When talented young artist Nathaniel Hancock receives a new drawing pen for Christmas, he promises his great-grandfather that he'll prepare him a Masterpiece for the following year. But Nathaniel is naive for the Pen is magical-and as he makes his finishing touches, the Masterpiece comes to life before his very eyes. After entering the drawing, he discovers that he's added new territory to the enchanted land that lies beyond: the Inkworld, a pen-and-ink realm where reality is limited only by the artist's imagination. After Nathaniel rescues the drawing of an elf from a deadly prison, he realizes the Inkworld is far more complex than he ever imagined. For dark forces lurk beneath the idyllic surface. In saving the elf, Nathaniel accidentally unleashes an ancient evil that threatens to destroy all that's good in the Inkworld... And it's up to him to set things right...







About the Author:

Christopher Dean spent the majority of his career operating a landscape business in Austin, TX. While in the field with 105 degree summers, stories of far-off lands kept his mind occupied and in his spare time he dedicated himself to the art of writing.

In 2010 he graduated from the Institute of Children's Literature and started writing his first novel for children, Trankarri. Five years later it is now published and doing well on the market with its follow up coming in 2016. He lives with his wife and three kids in Austin, TX.



Visit Trankarri.com | Like Trankarri on Facebook



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Review: These Secrets We Share by @MsEmmaHannigan

10:26

          These_secrets_we_share_Emma_hannigan

Published: April 2015
Publisher: Hachette
Format: Paperback



A review copy was provided by Hachette in return for an honest review



Emma Hannigan has a real talent for sucking you in and really making you feel for the people she rights about. They don't feel like fictional characters. They feel like real people.

An event has torn the Conway family apart. An event so jarring that it sent her son half way across the world never to be heard from again.

Max has his own life now. He is a successful doctor and has a loving wife and daughter. He doesn't need anyone else.

That is until an event shatters his daughters world and leaves her confused and lost about life and her future.

At the same time Max's mother Clara decides its time to reach out. She wants to put the past in the past. She wants to know her family again.

They decide it that it will do Nathalie some good do get away for a while and to get to know her grandmother.

Initially Nathalie is less than delighted about being shipped of but as she gets to know Clara she finds they have more in common than she first thought. Their shared love of fashion and fabric brings them together to design a quilt for Nathalie to take home.

Clara's history is revealed through a series of heartbreaking letters that Nathalie finds in Clara's sewing room. As each square of the quilt is added a piece of the past comes to life. Past and present come together and the two form an unbreakable bond.

When the two families are finally reunited they discover that family is more important than even in the past that can't be changed. The last chapter had me in pieces!

These Secrets We Share was a real heartwarming read. Full of warm characters that will remind you of the importance of home and family

Highly recommended


Rating:

★★★★★ 

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Spotlight on: Emotional Healing After Being Cheated on by Hersh Alexander @avoid_drama

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Emotional Healing is a follow up to You Cheated (Now Fix It). This volume captures the heartrending, emotionally-charged collapse that occurs when someone discovers their greatest trust has been discarded. The phase following such a calamity, and how you handle it, will determine your psychological health and ultimately your future.

The author speaks directly to the offended party, drawing from the mistakes of others to capture the do’s and don’ts of post cheating behaviors. At first, the hurt and anguish will seem unbearable, driving your self-esteem and confidence to all new lows. A sense of worthlessness will temp you back into the arms of the ‘cheater’, before you have a chance to heal and understand. Stop! Take the time, and follow the steps outlined in this guide to heal your heart, before you attempt to heal a rocky relationship.

Can, or should you forgive? A truly difficult decision, but one that should be made after your head’s on straight and you’ve worked through some issues. However, revenge is never the answer. It will merely lead to further bitterness and heartache. Learn to cleanse your mind, to laugh, and to trust again. Don’t accept unnecessary blame for circumstances that are out of your control, and when needed, seek counseling.

Patience will be your ally in this battle to regain your life, and if you decide to salvage your relationship, it will be a must to reassemble the shattered pieces in an attempt to make it whole. A caution about depression: watch for the signs and pursue avenues of help rather than trying to cope alone.

Accept, heal, and move on to a renewed life of love and support. Buy this book to take the first step on the road to recovery.




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About The Author 



Bertram Alexander, known among friends as “Hersh.” After growing weary of folks asking if he was related to “Alexander the Great,” Hersh now uses the moniker “Alexander the Creative” as his identity with new friends on this website.

Hersh offers, “I believe that most people would rather hear real answers as opposed to buttered-up niceties that only reveal half the truth. Humor can be a great way to handle stressful relationship moments. Researching views and feedback is one of the oldest ways of finding out what truly works.”

For the record, he admits to making plenty of mistakes in his personal life—and learning from each and every challenge along the way. Researching to decipher life’s “why’s” and “what if’s” prevents one from making the same mistakes again and again. And let’s face it: We’re all hoping that as we go through life’s journey, each step will move us forward in the quest for lasting love… because relationships are something you should never take for granted.



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Review: Two Fridays in April by @roisinmeaney

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Published: March 2015
Publisher : Hachette Ireland
Format: Paperback 


Thanks to Hachette Ireland for the review copy 


Roisin does it again! Another brilliant read full of wonderful characters!

Two Fridays In the same month. but what a difference a year can make.

It's the second of April and its Una's birthday but no one feels like celebrating. Why? Because its also a year to the day since Una's dad was knocked from his bike and killed.

Since then nothings been the same. A rift has been created in the family. Daphne is not Una's biological mother so she now feels like a liability.

Daphne adores Una but feels unsure around her. She wants her to feel safe and loved but she doesn't know how to do it. She cant turn to her own mother, who is distant and seemingly uncaring.

Mo feels totally alone in the world. Her husband was gone long before he died due to dementia and now then her only son was taken from her. She feels like she has no part left to play.

In the end it takes Una to realize that one of them needs to act in order to save what they have left. Throughout the course of the day they discover that all the ever needed was right in front of them. They just needed to open there eyes and see it.

The character development in Two Fridays is fantastic. You really fall for the characters and you as a reader go on the same journey as they do. You feel what they feel. It takes a really talented author to evoke such empathy.

As always I hate to turn the last page but I loved every minute of the journey.

Rating:

★ ★ ★ ★  ☆

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