Kitty Wilson. Top Author Of The Week.

Happy Thursday everyone. Today’s Top Author is incredible author, Kitty Wilson. Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

With the exception of my family and some teaching colleagues from years ago, this was one of the few photos I could think of that hadn’t been seen. Look at those curls, I would love to still have those! Don’t look like an odd little toddler that would lick rocks for fun, do I?

Where do you write?

I struggle with chronic illness and can’t sit up for long periods of time so I tend to write lying down (any excuse!) or with my feet up, either from my bedroom or living room. So no grown-up authors desk for me, comfy old sofa’s and plenty of cushions make up my writing space.

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

Like many people I am a bit of a mish-mash, but these three sum me up pretty well. I’m a country girl, madly into her history who adores her family, friends and dancing in a field.

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination.

This was tough as there are so many places I love, Cornwall is my number one but I think of it as going home rather than holiday. So, I chose Switzerland which I visited for the first time last year and where I fell deeply in love with mountains in the summertime.

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.

Aha! I taught myself to make masks, and triple-layered ones at that. There has been some cursing at that sewing machine over the last few weeks but now I whizz through and send them out to family and friends.

The Cornish Village School – Christmas Wishes. https://amzn.to/2Hxw7nc

Paula Williams. Top Author Of The Week.

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This week’s TOP AUTHOR, Paula Williams, is a friend of mine and a fellow Crooked Cat Books Author. Paula writes incredible novels that I highly recommend, as well as being a regular columnist for the very popular writing magazine, Writer’s Forum. I’ve absolutely loved seeing an insight into Paula’s writing life today with the photos she’s provided.

Paula Williams is living her dream.  She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her various plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it and she has sold over 400 short stories and serials both in the UK and overseas.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  She still writes for magazines but now writes novels as well.  She is currently writing the Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries, set in a village not unlike the one she lives in –  although as far as she knows, none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies.

A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature  a murder or two, and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.

She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum.  And she blogs about her books, other people’s books and, sometimes, Dalmatians at paulawilliamswriter.com.

She gives talks on writing at writing festivals and to organised groups and has appeared several times of local radio.  In fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.

But, as with all dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

This picture was taken at my youngest son’s wedding.  I look as if I’m about to deliver the sermon but I was, in fact, doing a reading.  My lovely daughter-in-law asked me to write something for the occasion.  But when I asked her to give me an idea of the sort of thing she wanted me to say, she sent me some notes which she said for me to edit as I saw fit.  But her words were so beautiful and sincere that I didn’t change a single word.

Where do you write?

This is where I write.  My favourite room in the whole house, it overlooks the garden where I get hugely distracted by birds when they come down to use the bird bath.  The whiteboard to the side of my desk contains pictures of some of the characters in my latest Much Winchmoor novel.  The cup of tea is always there!

 

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

I am an intensely shy person and love my own company – and yet I also love public speaking!  I will quite happily stand up in a room full of people and talk about writing and my books.  But ask me to talk about my non-writing self to someone I don’t know very well, or speak up at a meeting, my brain freezes and I am a stammering, stuttering wreck. As for speaking on the phone…..

 

I have written six pantomimes for our village theatre company and, I am told, they are very, very funny and completely off the wall.  The one in the picture, Calamity Wayne, was a take on Calamity Jane, but the character playing Jane was a man, hence the name change.  At one time we had a scene where a man was dressed as a woman who dressed as a man!  You had to be there!  The villain (also a man!) was Scary Mary from Castle Cary.  I had such fun writing them and the cast (and audience) all seemed to enjoy them too.

 

This is one of my favourite places in the world.  It’s a view of Wells Cathedral taken from the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace.  My husband and I are regular visitors  and this is one place I missed more than anywhere else during lockdown.  There’s a wooden bench on the other side of the magnolia tree and I love to sit there on a Sunday morning and listen to the music from the cathedral.  (I adore choral music and used to sing in the cathedral choral society.)

 

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination.

My favourite holiday destination. In fact, not just holiday – any time as I live just over an hour away.  This is West Bay in Dorset.  I grew up not far from there and still have family in the area so we go back whenever we can.  The picture, with the now famous Broadchurch cliffs in the background, was taken on a cold grey December day but it’s still lovely. And it contains two of my favourite people – my husband and our dog – a rescue Dalmatian called Duke.  Sadly, though, no sign of David Tennant, another favourite of mine who appears quite often in my Much Winchmoor books!

 

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.

When lockdown first started, it paralysed me.  I received a letter very early on telling me I was on the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable list’ and it scared the life out of me and sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety.  I have never in my life considered myself vulnerable in any way (I have asthma but it is very well controlled) and yet my doctor and the NHS told me I was and gave me a quite terrifying list of dos and don’ts.

I couldn’t write for ages.  Instead, I took up a totally different form of creativity. I have always liked the idea of bead weaving and, over the years, have acquired mountains of beads.  But could never get the hang of it, mainly, I now realise, because I am left-handed and most of the books and tutorials on YouTube are for right-handed people.  But this time I persevered and finally something clicked.  And now, as you can see from the picture, I can’t stop! (Guess what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year?)

I love beading (and the beading community) so much, in fact, that I’m planning to start a beading blog which I think I’m going to call The Bookish Beader (or maybe Beaders and Readers?) to run alongside my writing blog. (At paulawilliamswriter.com ). I truly believe beading saved my sanity and I hope my blog may inspire others to have a go at this intensely satisfying and ancient craft.

Book link. Https://mybook.to/buryingbadnews

www.paulawilliamswriter.co.uk

Social media links

Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author.

Twitter.  @paulawilliams44.

Instagram. paulawilliams_author

Amazon author page

Lorraine Mace. Top Author Of The Week.

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I was lucky enough to meet this week’s Top Author in Spain a few years ago. Lorraine Mace is an inspiring lady and an incredible author, so I’m really excited to tell you more about her latest work, today.

Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.

When not working on the D.I. Sterling series of crime novels, Lorraine is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service.

Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

Where do you write?

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination. (The Turkish coast).

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.

Universal link: http://mybook.to/Rage_and_Retribution

Rage and Retribution

Can two wrongs ever make a right?

A man is found by the side of a canal, comatose and brutally attacked.

It quickly becomes clear that someone is abducting men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. After three days they’re released, fighting for their lives and refusing to speak.

A councillor is accused of fraud.

Montague Mason is an upstanding member of the community. That is until he’s publicly accused of stealing the youth centre’s funds – an accusation that threatens to rip through the very heart of the community and expose his best-kept secret. But how far would he go to protect himself?

Two cases. One deadly answer.

As the two cases collide, D.I. Paolo Sterling finds he has more questions than answers. And, when torture escalates to murder, he suddenly finds himself in a race against time to find the killer and put an end to the depravity – once and for all.

‘A dark, cleverly plotted tale . . . I was gripped from the opening scene and raced through the book to its final, shocking ending. Crime writing at its very best‘ Sheila Bugler

‘Gritty, topical, sometimes lacerating, but always enthralling. A truly compulsive read‘ Abbie Frost

Lorraine Mace brings us the fourth instalment in her dark, gritty and shocking series featuring DI Paolo Sterling – perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen and Mo Hayder.

Find her at:

Website: www.lorrainemace.com

Blog: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lomace

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorraine.mace.52

The D.I. Sterling Fan Club: https://www.facebook.com/DISterlingFanClub/



Siren Spirit by Elizabeth M. Hurst

Guest post: By Elizabeth M. Hurst.

My writing journey began, as many do, with short stories. The idea of writing something as complicated as a novel, or even a novella, seemed much too big a challenge at that stage. Besides, I was still finding my feet, my author’s voice, so to learn the art of crafting a tale just a couple of thousand words long seemed more manageable. At the time, I was going through a phase of reading rather a lot of erotica so my stories reflected that and this is how Siren Spirit began, as an erotic short story.

It was as I writing the last few lines that the story was feeling somewhat unfinished. Without realising it, I had moulded the character of Emma on myself and my own feelings of disorientation after a marriage breakup. Her sense of loss, her grief and the desire to hide away to heal were all emotions I felt around that time. I should point out, however, that the similarities end there. I have never experienced any paranormal events, sexual or otherwise.

It was after this bombshell that it became clear that I needed to concentrate less on the erotic content of the story and more on Emma herself. Enter Lewis Carrington, her neighbour.

It was a fun story to write and, when the first draft was complete, I was confident that I would eventually publish. Then I had a revelation about telling the stories of Emma’s friends, too, and thus the Lost Souls series was born. The second book, A Friend in Need, was published a couple of years later, and the third (working title Letter of Lament) is due out some time in 2021.

This whole journey has ignited an interest in history that I didn’t know I possessed. I hated the subject at school, dropping it as soon as I could. It was only when I decided to trace my family tree around ten years ago that matching actual people with history began to bring the subject to life for me. Indeed, Grace’s father in Siren Spirit, Joseph, is based on one of my ancestors, who was a blacksmith.

People often ask us, as writers, where we get our inspiration from. For me, it is everywhere – in my own life, the things I do, the places I visit and the people I meet. I just need to be open to receive it. Once I am in the right head space, ideas come thick and fast; the creativity flows like a river in flood and I struggle to get it all down on paper fast enough!

 

 

Elizabeth has always been a voracious reader since her preschool years, so perhaps it’s not surprising that when she hit middle age, the urge for a career change brought her into the world of writing.

The Lost Souls series brings together her love of the supernatural together with romance and historical settings to create provocative stories around her central female characters.

She has recently left the world of automotive engineering to concentrate full-time on writing and her freelance editing business, and is making plans to move to the south of France, fulfilling a lifelong dream. She is keeping her fingers crossed that her two cats will forgive her at some point in the future.

Book buy link: https://geni.us/AFSki



Lucy keeling. Top Author Of The Week.

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Today’s guest and Top Author, is Lucy Keeling!

Author bio:

Lucy  is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking*. Lucy is currently writing the third book in the Friends Romantic Comedy series, the first of which was Runner-Up in ChocLit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition, ‘Make It Up to You’. The sequel ‘Just Friends’ is also available with the third book due out early 2021. *Lucy asked me to note here that she aware that her bio needs updating to reflect life more accurately for 2020.

Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

Where do you write?

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination. (Lol!) 

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.

Book link: Just Friends https://amzn.to/2Si1I1U



Launch Day! Networking For Writers.

Hello everyone. Today I’m celebrating the launch of my latest book, Networking for writers! We are living in unprecedented times and I would usually be hosting a book launch party in a beautiful venue, but things like that are not possible right now, so we have to think of different ways to reach out to our book loving community and still find ways to enjoy happy moments and memories  together.

For me, I’m very lucky to have been hosted on around forty blogs in the last month, after putting a shout out for help in my book group, which shows how wonderful networking can be. I also decided to host a competition and giveaway, as I mention how to run them in this book. I’ve had an amazing response and now have hundreds of new followers on Twitter and an incredible amount of entrants into my competition, which in turn lets people know about my book. I will be announcing the winner of my £50/$50 Amazon voucher giveaway here today 8pm midday, UK time, so there is still time to enter via Twitter and my pinned tweet.  Good luck everyone!

I wrote this book during the pandemic, so it also mentions how to network online and offers tips on expanding your customer base through social media and online groups. I have already had some amazing reviews, which I am thrilled to share with you today.

Customer reviews:

‘I have been a published author and teacher of creative writing for over two decades, so thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about social media and networking for writers. How wrong I was! Lizzie Chantree’s book showed me I still had a great deal to learn. The tips are laid out in easy to follow stages and I will be making full use of her advice over the next few months. I highly recommend this book for writers of all levels who want to expand (or start) their network and gain new readers.’

‘Lizzie Chantree is a bestselling author and an experienced networker, so who better to share advice on using the power of social media and networking to sell books? Even though I am pretty savvy – I thought – with social media – I found lots of tips in this book and read it with a pen and paper at hand to write notes. An easy, concise and informative read, recommended for all writers who want to find their own network and learn to use the power of social media more effectively.’

‘I found this book so VERY helpful. It’s a little gem, covering aspects of networking, promotion, and improving visibility that other marketing books for authors have neglected to even think about! Lizzie Chantree’s social media followings are impressive and that’s testament to her aptitude for business (as well as the fact that she is a great writer – I’m a huge fan of her romantic comedies). All in all, this treature trove of hints and tips comes highly recommended.’

Universal link: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

 

 



Gillian Harvey. Top Author OfThe Week.

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I’m excited to showcase the work of Gillian Harvey today. She writes books full of laughter and strong women, which I love.

About Gillian:

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and although I worked several different jobs over the years, I always had a book or short story on the go! I started my career as a legal secretary, then quit my job to go to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, where I studied English Literature. In 2001, I started work as a teacher, and taught ages 9-18 in two different schools in the noughties. Then in 2009, my husband and I made a life-changing move to France, as well as starting our family. We now have five children, aged 5-10.

I finished my first novel in 2004, but it was many years before I managed to land myself an agent. Over those years, I wrote several books, trying different genres and honing my skills. I experienced my fair share of near-misses and frustrations, but never quite landed on the right desk at the right moment!

In 2012, I started approaching magazines with article ideas, and by 2014 was working full-time as a freelance writer. Writing for different audiences gave me a greater understanding of how to consider my reader and there was a marked change in my novel writing. I also got to grips with proper editing – something I’ll admit I never really did enough of beforehand.

Finally, in 2018 I started writing Everything is Fine. In 2019, Ger Nichol of the Book Bureau (the first agent I approached with this novel) offered me a contract, and shortly after I signed a book deal with Orion.

My work is humorous, but I like to think there’s a serious message under the lols. My heroines don’t need rescuing by men, are pretty successful and – while they get in a mess – show how strong women can be.

I have asked Gillian to send me photos as answers for my interview today.

Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

 

The unseen photo is one of me helping out at my son’s school carnival. It was the cutest thing!

Where do you write?

I USED to write in a downstairs study in our house, but since lockdown have been relegated to the attic. We wanted to give our children more space, so moved one of my sons into the ‘better’ room. I do have BIG plans for painting… eventually.

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

The three images that describe my personality… I am always trying to do things for and with the kids, but it’s often motivated by ‘mum guilt.’ And sometimes (as the photo on the grass will testify) I simply have to give up!

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination. 

We don’t get to go on holiday much. As we live in France, our holidays are often spent in Bedfordshire UK visiting family! I suppose we live in a holiday(ish) destination here in Limousin (the lake district of France). But we did manage a French escape a couple of years go – we visited Biscarrosse on the French coast and it was blissful.

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown.

During lockdown, I made 4 birthday cakes – one each for my twins, one for my youngest boy, Robbie. My best one (at least best-looking) was the unicorn cake I made for Evie (7). My cakes always taste good, but I’m rubbish at the presentation. This time I nearly killed myself and created a passable unicorn…

Link to Everything is Fine: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=everything+is+fine

Blurb: When a celebrity retweets one of her gym pictures, blogger Jessica Bradley is thrust into the limelight. She’d only set out to blog about her weight loss, but with her new-found followers turning to her for #fitspo, she feels she’s got to keep up with the Kardashians!

As a result, she’s stuck in a role she didn’t choose – and forced to continue to hone her abs, even though she’d rather reach for a Dime bar than a dumbbell.

When her photogenic boyfriend Dave decides to dump her unexpectedly, she’s left trying to maintain a happy exterior amongst the chaos.

Everything is Fine focuses on the hilarious disconnect between Jessica’s real and online lives, but has a serious message too: can we find ‘real’ happiness in a fake world?



Victoria Mcdonald.

 

Hello everyone. Today I’m doing a shoutout post for a lady I met on Twitter. Her 8th children’s book is out today and I’m so happy to help her celebrate. The book that’s launching today is The Road To Somewhere, by Victoria Mcdonald. Happy launch day Victoria!

When his precious teddy bear disappears during a thunderstorm, Wesley McDuff is determined to get him back. Armed with just a backpack, he sets off on an adventure that will include a strange land and even stranger creatures! Join Wesley as he makes new friends in order to save an old one…
 
Paperback : 236 pages
Chaptered book
Publisher : Clementine Publishing

My Adventure So Far.

Based in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, I am a very creative person enjoying arts and crafts.

One of my many passions is books, as a former bookseller, I have always loved writing and drawing. I have been writing stories for 20 years but never had the courage to let anyone see them. When our children came along, my writing was reignited mainly for them to read my stories.

In 2018, I rediscovered my writing box full of stories and illustration ideas hidden at the bottom of our wardrobe. Questions started to niggle, should I try or shouldn’t I try to see if my ideas are any good? I decided to have a go at querying publishers so I could at least say that I finally had the courage to try.

BILLY’S RED BALL SAVES CHRISTMAS, is my first picture book published in December 2018. BETTY LONG LEGS, BORIS THE BAD SHEEP and THERE’S A MONSTER AT THE DOOR are also picture books that followed shortly after Billy.

In October 2019, my debut children’s chaptered book SCAREDY WITCH was published. I loved taking on this new challenge and enjoyed learning a new way to write and illustrate a book. It was interesting to do from the previous picture books and it opened up a whole new audience to my books.

THE CHOCOLATE MONSTER was a picture book published in November 2019 which concluded and incredible first year. Who knew from discovering the forgotten writing box that it would lead to 6 books published!

THE ADVENTURES OF SPUDLEY SPUD is book one in a new series of books that was published in January 2020. I already have book two completed and book three isn’t far behind either.

24th October 2020 – THE ROAD TO SOMEWHERE is released. This is my second chapter book and my biggest one so far with a whopping 17,734 words!

For more news about my books or latest creations can be found on my social media pages, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Feel free to drop by anytime and say hi.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VLMcDonald1

Lorraine Turnbull. Top Author Of The Week.

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This week’s Top Author, is Lorraine Turnbull. Lorraine wanted to be a farmer since she was five years old.  After running a successful gardening business in Glasgow she uprooted herself and her family and moved to a run-down agriculturally tied bungalow in Cornwall.  She retrained as a teacher and taught horticulture at both adult & further education level, whilst running a one acre smallholding.  After working as a Skills Co-ordinator for The Rural Business School, she began started Spotty Dog Cider in 2010.

In 2014 she was recognised for her contribution to sustainable living by winning the Cornwall Sustainability Awards Best Individual category.

After successfully removing the Agricultural Occupancy Condition on her home she relocated to France; where unsurprisingly, she continues to run a smallholding and make cider.

She has published three books, The Sustainable Smallholders’ Handbook (2019), How to live the Good Life in France (2020) and Living off the Land: My Cornish Smallholding Dream (2020).

Hi Lorraine. Thank you for joining us today! Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else. (What a brilliant photo, Lorraine!)

Where do you write?

Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination.

Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made during lockdown. (Great work! I can’t sew or knit, so I find this mightily impressive.)

You can purchase Lorraine’s book here: Amazon book page.



Gilli Allan. Top Author Of The Week.

It’s my great pleasure to introduce this week’s top author. Gilli Allan is a member of my Facebook book group, Lizzie’s Book Group and I always love to hear about her amazing writing journey. Today I have asked her to answer my questions in photos, so we can learn a little bit more about her life in a different way.

1. Post a photo of you that we won’t have seen everywhere else.

This is the author picture for when I was first, main-stream published in the pre-digital age!

2. Where do you write? 

The study. Colloquially known as Gilli’s cave

3. Use three photos or images to describe your personality.

I am an artist and illustrator.  This is the front cover image from my son’s first publication, the children’s book, The Tale of King Harald – The Last Viking Adventure.

I love the English landscape, particularly the view from the back of my house down the valley

I love family.  I can’t find a picture of all of us together, but this is me and my son.

4. Share a photo of your favourite holiday destination.

Assos, in Kefalonia.  Unfortunately it is not looking so beautiful at the moment as they suffered a lot of destruction as a result of the recent medicane (Mediterranean hurricane) we will be returning as soon as possible because we have so many friends there.

5. Post a photo of something that you baked, learnt or made, during lockdown.

During lockdown I discovered the location of the grave (plus some additional information) about my great grandfather, John James Allan (stage name JJ Dallas). He was buried in Ladywell Cemetery, Lewisham as were other members of the family. I already he knew he was a Music Hall performer and a sometime member of the D’Oyley Carte Company, touring with them in America.

Find out more about Gilli and her amazing work here:

Links:

 Buried Treasure:

mybook.to/BURIEDTREASURE  or https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SN5NWJ2

 Other books – Amazon author page:      

author.to/GILLIALLAN  or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilli-Allan/

Biography: 

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

She was published by Accent Press, now Accent Headline, and each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL as well as the independently published BURIED TREASURE, has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. He is published by William Collins.