Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Guest Post

Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

Tell_Me_Where_You_Are_Cover

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour the latest novel by Moira Forsyth, Tell Me Where You Are, but also sharing a special guest post from the author herself. But first lets chat a little more about Tell Me Where You Are.  

For thirteen years Frances has raised her two boys alone after her husband, Alec left her for her sister.  For Frances, that’s in the past, she’s moved on and has a full life with her two (now grown) boys, her job as a headteacher and a new man.  Old feelings are reawakened though when Alec calls out of the blue to say that Susan, the sister he left her for, has disappeared. Susan has also left behind her daughter, Kate and he asks for Frances to care for her whilst he tries to find out what happened to Susan.

Family life can be complicated and history can weigh heavy for all involved. Susan is almost like a ghost for most of the book.  We catch glimpses of her through the memory of others and she hovers in the background throughout.  Yet there are many skeletons in the closet of this family and Moira draws them out gradually, with a sensitive hand as you progress through the novel.  As the old saying goes ‘you can’t choose your family’ but you can choose whether to have them in your lives and some things are just too hard to forgive.  Aren’t they?

Tell Me Where You Are is a gentle, family saga that proves that family life can be filled with deceit and heartbreak but also filled with love and hope.

About the author

Moira Forsyth

Moira_Forsyth_Tell_Me_Where_You_AreMoira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Guest Post from Moira Forsyth

THE BEST JOB FOR A WRITER by Moira Forsyth

The Orkney based writer Duncan Maclean once told me that the best job he’d ever had was as a caretaker. Not much to do and no creative thought required, so plenty of time to think about writing, and indeed to write. My best job was as a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in a small town. If nobody was born, got married or died, and my minimal paperwork was up to date, I had nothing to do. I wrote a whole novel in the fifteen months I was in that job.

Now I’m an editor, a job many people might imagine is ideal for a writer. Lots of
practice in editing – my own work must be perfect!

I’ve certainly learned a huge amount about writing through editing. I’m much harder on myself as I redraft, refine and polish. Editing is crucial: the best novels are as tight as a good short story – not a word wasted or superfluous.

As a creative writing tutor, as fiction editor for a literary magazine, and since 2002 as
Editorial Director of Sandstone Press, I’ve been assessing, supporting and editing other writers’ work for nearly twenty-five years. It’s only since Sandstone became established and recognised as a literary publisher that I’ve been doing this almost full time, without another ‘day job’ too. The focus of my working life is other people’s writing.

On a daily basis I assess authors’ ideas and the quality of their writing. This makes
you think hard about what constitutes ‘good writing’ or a ‘good novel’. Once we’ve accepted a text, my aim is to help the author make it as excellent as it possibly can be. Close discussion and exchange of edited versions of the novel are particularly helpful for debut authors, but it’s also a process to which I submit my own work when it goes out to my trusted readers and then my editor. I bear this in mind when I speak to any author about changing their work – it’s not easy to have someone else tell you what’s wrong! Editing means keeping an open mind: you can’t just impose your own views, though I’d not be doing my job if I let something go that was weakening a book.

I’m not sorry I have a job in addition to being a writer. Writers who do nothing else
are at risk of losing touch with the kind of life everyone else lives, so that they end up writing about writers – a subject of limited interest. However, I can’t pretend it’s easy to keep going when I’m dealing daily with other people’s work, when there are meetings and emails, book fairs and launches, staff to support and blurbs to write; when there are designers, agents, and many others to communicate with, with whom it’s essential to build good relationships.

If your head is full of someone else’s novel, you can’t write your own. It’s not finding
time to write that’s difficult, it’s having a dreaming space in your mind for the slow, organic growth of characters and narrative. Despite these constraints, I know I have to start thinking about the next one. In that uneasy space between novels, getting anxious about how Tell Me Where You Are will be received, I feel a bit lost.

However committed I am as an editor, having no work of my own on the go means something is missing that is still, after all these years, important and necessary.

http://moiraforsyth.com/
https://twitter.com/moira_forsyth
https://twitter.com/sandstonepress
https://www.facebook.com/moiraforsythauthor/
Link to the book: https://sandstonepress.com/books/tell-me-where-you-are-1

Tell Me Where You Are is published by Sandstone Press on 15 May 2019 at £7.99 in
paperback.

Blog tour banner - TMWYA small

Advertisements
Adult Fiction, Crime, Fiction, Guest Post, Liz Robinson Reviews, Series

Sarah Hilary – A Liz Robinson Author of the Month

Sarah Hilary is my author of the month, her DI Marnie Rome crime series from Headline Publishing is one of my favourites, and I get way too excited when I know the next book is due. Her series starts with Someone Else’s Skin, which simply blew me away. It won the Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year in 2015, and is followed by No Other Darkness, Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing, and her latest Come and Find Me which for me is quite possibly, her best yet.

I recently saw Sarah talking at ‘Cream of Crime’ held at the Steyning Festival, she chatted alongside Erin Kelly, Mark Billingham, and William Shaw. It was a fabulous evening and gave me a real insight into the way Sarah writes and thinks about her books. Sarah said that she particularly enjoys writing about the psychology of a crime, she really doesn’t want to write about good and bad, and questions who the monster really is. To write about darkness you also need light, and she doesn’t ever want to feel numb about what she is writing about.  Sarah doesn’t like to plan, she just jumps off and starts to write, letting the plot surprise her. She has a friend who keeps a spreadsheet detailing every character in her books so she doesn’t get lost, as her fear is writing herself into a corner.

unnamed
Sarah Hilary talking at Steyning Festival’s ‘Cream of Crime’.

Liz – What is your first book memory, is it a happy one, does it have any reflection on, or link to what you write today? What were your childhood must reads.

Sarah – My first is a very happy memory: my grandmother reading a book called ‘Helen’s Babies’ to me and my siblings as we rolled around with laughter. We were a great family for books. All my earliest reads were recommended by my mother who introduced me to Georgette Heyer, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Stewart. As a small child, I love the Faraway Tree and Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, but also the Greek myths and short stories by Eleanor Farjeon some of which have really disturbing themes. I loved being scared by stories, even then.

Liz – For how long were Marnie, Noah, and Stephen in your mind before they escaped onto the page? In which order did they appear and did they exist first or the story?

Sarah – Marnie had a walk-on part in an earlier story where I needed a detective. The first time she appeared she was undercover in biker boots and a punk wig, which I’ve always thought oddly appropriate. In fact, that might be why I gave her such a spiky vibe, and the backstory about her teenage years as a rebel. Noah came much later, and made a far calmer entrance. There’s a solidity and a happiness to Noah which readers love (and I love, too). Stephen was the last to appear. He likes to stay in the shadows, as you might expect for a double murderer who’s keeping terrible secrets.

Liz – I’m rather taken with Stephen as a character, what is it like to have Stephen prowling around in your mind, how often does he knock at the door of your consciousness and how does he speak to you?

Sarah – Stephen is one of my favourite characters to write, although it’s really all about the tension in the scenes between him and Marnie. Stephen doesn’t speak to me much, but he has a habit of standing at my shoulder as I write, or else watching me with his dark eyes from across the room. I find him quite frightening, but I do love writing (and reading) these very dark characters.

Liz – I love your integrity on social media, if something riles you, do you wait, strategise, or launch straight in?

Sarah – Oh blimey ..! Sometimes I don’t wait, although I always try to because it never helps to just add fuel to a fight. There’s an awful lot of bullying and bigotry online. I cannot bear bullies so I find it hard to ignore that sort of thing. It’s becoming harder and harder to be on social media, though. Trump and Brexit have both had the effect of giving nasty people a sense of validation – I’m constantly staggered by the malice and ignorance I see online.

Liz – Who would have the best social media presence and why… Marnie, Noah, or Stephen?

Sarah – Noah, for sure. He would post pics of him and Dan dancing, plus Jamaican recipes and sunny words of wisdom. I don’t think Marnie would go near social media. As for Stephen, can you imagine his Twitter account? “Mood: murderous”. Maybe an Instagram account with photoshopped pictures of him and Marnie as siblings …

Liz – Is there a question you’ve never been asked and wish you had?

Sarah – I love to be asked who I think the real monsters are in my books. Stephen is many things, but I don’t think of him as a monster. There’s a woman in ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ who works in a refuge. She’s one of the worst monsters I’ve ever written.

LizThank you Sarah, fabulous answers – and just to let you know, I now really want to see Stephen’s instagram account!

You can find Sarah at http://sarah-crawl-space.blogspot.com

Sarah can be found on twitter as @sarah_hilary she has a strong social media presence, and is wonderfully approachable.

Come and Find Me was published in hardback and eBook on the 22nd of March and will be published in paperback on the 4th of October 2018.

Book six in the series, Never Be Broken, is due to be published in May 2019 and so now is the perfect time to discover this fantastic author if you haven’t done so already.

 

Adult Fiction, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Liz Robinson Reviews, Relationship Stories

Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley – a guest review by Liz Robinson

Last Letter from Istanbul is the latest offering from Sunday Times bestselling author, Lucy Foley.

Last letter from IstanbulJust gorgeous, this is a story to shine a light in the darkness, even in moments of despair.

Constantinople in 1921 is a confusing, often frightening place to be, in the first few pages, two reports from 1918, perfectly sum up the two opposing sides, each report almost interchangeable. Nur’s house is in the hands of the British and being used as a hospital, she finds her thoughts on the occupiers altering and conflicted when she takes an orphan in her care to be treated by George Munroe. Five separate yet entwined stories exist side by side, different time frames ensure the past spears the present, while the future whispers to the past. Lucy Foley has developed a beautiful writing style, the vivid colour stamps it’s impression on the pages, conjuring taste, touch, smells and sounds, as well as creating a feast for your eyes.

As the book began to come to a close, it felt as though two trains were on an inevitable collision course. The sweeping horror of war and occupation, both momentous and insidious, is clearly felt, yet it is the intimate, the individual connections, that were the highlight of this read for me. ‘Last Letter from Istanbul’ caresses, sparks and skewers thoughts and feelings, it is a truly penetrating and captivating read – highly recommended.

Synopsis:

Constantinople, 1921

Each day Nur gazes across the waters of the Bosphorus to her childhood home, a grand white house, nestled on the opposite bank. Memories float on the breeze – the fragrance of the fig trees, the saffron sunsets of languid summer evenings. But now those days are dead.

The house has been transformed into an army hospital, it is a prize of war in the hands of the British. And as Nur weaves through the streets carrying the embroideries that have become her livelihood, Constantinople swarms with Allied soldiers – a reminder of how far she and her city have fallen.

The most precious thing in Nur’s new life is the orphan in her care – a boy with a terrible secret. When he falls dangerously ill Nur’s world becomes entwined with the enemy’s. She must return to where she grew up, and plead for help from Medical Officer George Monroe.

As the lines between enemy and friend become fainter, a new danger emerges – something even more threatening than the lingering shadow of war.

Last Letter From Istanbul will be published by HarperCollins on the 5th of April 2018.