Teaching down south-west?

Cornish Village School: Second Chances Book Cover Cornish Village School: Second Chances
Cornish Village School series Book 2
Kitty Wilson
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo Escape
4 Oct. 2018

Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the next village, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

 

The Author tells all:

Kitty Wilson tells us some secrets.

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I knew I wanted to write romantic comedy, it’s what I love to escape into and is what I found myself writing whenever I put pen to paper. No matter how seriously I would begin, a little bit of romance and my sense of humour would sneak in. So, with genre decided, I then had to choose the subject matter.

There is an old adage ‘write what you know’ and as a new writer I thought it was worth following. Up until very recently I was lucky enough to have lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years (the first and much of the second book in the series were written whilst I was still there) and when living there became a parent and a primary school teacher, teaching infants in a reception class. So, when it came to story ideas I had to think what do I know? And the answer was Cornwall, schools and small children.

Luckily these are three things that I don’t just know but am passionate about. All three things make my soul sing loud. I’m hoping that is what makes my books slightly different, especially with so much women’s fiction set in Cornwall, the fact that I really know the county and love it, inside out.

The setting allowed me to create a fictional village where I could write about a strong sense of community, something that is very true of the Cornish. They look after each other. Community is important to me and although my books are light-hearted feelgood fiction, having a strong community around my characters allows me to explore the fact that all humans, no matter how lovely their life appears, have difficult things to deal with. And it is frequently the support of others that help us navigate the trickier times.

Having been both sides of the school door, as parent and teacher gives me insight, I hope, into how school communities work. As supportive as communities are I used to be amazed at how the playground can often be fiercely competitive, with parental games of one-upmanship and I wanted to write about this, but in a gently comedic way. I remember one mother used to quiz all the parent volunteers on their qualifications because she wanted to make sure they were people she deemed suitable for sitting and reading with her child!

I hope that my passion for the setting, the subject matter and the themes of each book come through to provide happy, escapist and reassuring reads.

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I have lost count of how many rejections I had before I got the first book in this series published. I had written a romcom before The Cornish Village School which I loved, it was based around an old stately home, a reality show and a new age guru and I naively assumed it would get published as soon as it was finished. I sent it everywhere and had rejection after rejection after rejection. This served the very useful purpose of forcing me to develop a thick skin and accept that getting published was a process and that each rejection was a step along the way. It also taught me the importance of editing my work. Whilst I may have thought a polished first draft was the finished article, all my rejections taught me that there was usually a lot more work to do and that work is best done with a fresh eye. The well-known suggestion to put your work away and then look at it again with an editing hat on is very sage advice, if time constraints allow.

I think tenacity is a vital quality for any wannabe author to have, most of us are going to be rejected time and time again before we get accepted and the one thing that is sure is that if you give up you’re never going to see that book in print.

3. What is your favourite genre?

I write romcom and I love to read it. I love being able to curl up with a book and lose myself in the romance of the will they, won’t they (when we know they will) of the genre. If it makes me giggle as well as sigh with the romanticism of it all, then I am very happy indeed. However, I like to mix up my reading so don’t just stick to one genre. I’m an avid devourer of historical fiction as well, and love a saga. I occasionally like to read literary fiction, have read a huge range of classics albeit in my teens and twenties and have recently dipped a toe into the murky world of crime (reading it, not doing it!). As long as it’s well written and pacy then I’m going to be a fan!

  1. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

When I was eight years old I snuck one of my mother’s Jilly Cooper books out of the bookshelf and smuggled it upstairs. I read five chapters before I reluctantly accepted I didn’t understand a word and popped it back again. However, as a worldly-wise adolescent I gobbled them up. I had always been an avid reader but Jilly Cooper introduced me to romance as opposed to the derring-do of adventure. I was hooked. Not only did she write romance, she wrote it with humour. So, by introducing me to the genre, she had a huge influence. 

  1. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

I am a shocking squirrel, I struggle to throw anything out. Much to the children’s disgust I still have all their teeth and I have even kept the bunk-bed screws from when my mother finally dismantled it (I loved that bed). This means that I have everything I have ever written. More or less.

I moved house earlier in the year and going through the attic I realised I had kept everything, all my exercise books from primary and secondary school, even my rough notes for essays. I’ve also kept every single silly scribbled note that you pass between your friends when you supposed to be doing geography. So, all the writing I did in school can be guaranteed to be in the attic, in fact I read a fair amount of it as I was having my clear out. Will any of it be re-jigged to try and get it to publishable standard? I think not. But if nothing else the poems of my tortured teens gave me a jolly good laugh all these years on.

 

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Author Bio: 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.

Twitter: @KittyWilson23

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And the Truth is?

Where the Truth Lies Book Cover Where the Truth Lies
DI Ridpath #1
M J Lee
crime fiction
Canelo
22nd October 2018

A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.

DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.

As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.

When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a nail-biting crime thriller, full of breathtaking twists and turns in this fast-paced and extraordinarily original novel. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Faith Martin

 

‘We seek evidence, it’s all that counts. The truth always lies. Only evidence is clear. Pure, unadulterated evidence.’

This is the quote that is at the heart of this book. It is used to explain the difference between the police and how they find a criminal and bring him/her to court, and the Coroner’s office and their investigations. In the Coroner’s office, they look for the truth. The truth of how a person died. How they died and where. And sometimes, they also look for who might have committed a crime – if what they find out indicates it.

So sometimes, the police use evidence to put someone in prison for a crime they did not commit but the evidence is there for the court- or sometimes it is put there.

In this story, the evidence is manipulated it appears as one body is lost and others are found.

I really liked this story and the way it was told. I felt I could understand the motives of the Coroner and Tom and his wife. This is crime writing at its best.

About the Author

M J Lee has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a university researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the north of England, in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning advertising awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and the United Nations.

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Enter fashionable Norway?

Love at the Northern Lights Book Cover Love at the Northern Lights
A Christmas holiday romance
Darcey Boleyn
contemporary fiction, romance,
Canelo Escape
17 Sept. 2018
Kindle

‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’

Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind - find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.

When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date - the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.

Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice...play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

This story gives you arranged marriages for family business and dynastic importance…  where love is not important just prestige and money … so the brides runs away from her over-bearing grandmother and rather weak willed father who arranged the wedding. And her fiancee who doesn’t love her, but thought that they could come to an ‘arrangement’ that suited the families and left him free as long as the heir and the spare were produced.

She runs (by chance) to Norway and finds some surprises.

I thought this a rather hackneyed storyline and found the idea of her settling down in Norway unlikely; the author didn’t convince me that she could forgive her mother so easily.

I also thought the issues of post-partum depression could have been better discussed and been made more central to the story – this would permit the forgiveness of the daughter better.

I was also not convinced about her being able to set up a fashion house with all the necessary manufacturing and shipping etc so easily even if her designs were interesting. She had been sewing each item herself for instance. I think  again, the author, could have made more of this.

Am I getting too cynical?

 

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When parents can’t agree

More Than Us Book Cover More Than Us
Dawn Barker
families, parents, autism
Canelo
21st May 2018
Kindle

When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?

Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.

When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.

While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.

Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

When you first start reading this book, you are convinced that Cameron is autistic and has OCD. But as you read on, you realise that this is too simplistic – and anyway, the experts have said he isn’t on the spectrum.

Now the spectrum is very wide indeed as I know from my own family and so it is difficult to be so definitive. It is clear Cameron has some social difficulties and has some of the repetitive behaviours one might expect, but on the other hand, the meds don’t work and his behaviour remains challenging. His father is convinced that what he really needs is time away from his, in his view, overfussy mother, and no medicines.

So the parents disagree as to what is the best way to help their son, which is not unusual, and in this novel leads to extreme behaviour.

I thought the story rang true until we got to the last section about the cult. It  just seemed to be too easy to join, especially as most of the members were rich. This seems to have been a twist added in for the sake of not having a straightforward storyline.

If you want to know how realistic the behaviour of Cameron is, then look back at the blog published on this site, on 23rd June by the book’s author, who is a practicing child psychiatrist.

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New baby in the house?

Confessions of a First Time Mum
Poppy Dolan
parenting, raising children, humour, women's fiction
Canelo
(25 Jun. 2018)
Kindle

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby. Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

Oh yes, I remember it well. 5 years of no sleep except in short naps (preparation for menopause and beyond if i did but know); exploding poo – or rabbit droppings all over a friend’s guest bedroom; the wee in the eye (little boys); the sick and more sick; the joy of measles when the youngest catches it at 13 months just before her injection and you’re in hospital after an op, and husband brings her in to see Mum!

And don’t get the kids started on being forgotten in a supermarket car park and then there was Orlando and Disney!

So I’ve been there and thus my memory helped me laugh at the tales of mishaps and joys that are in this book. So much truth and such great fun to read.  May not appeal to those without knowledge of bringing up a child.

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