Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Rebecca Bradley – Return Interview…

April 30, 2015

Rebecca Bradley

What inspired you to write your first book? 

I’m one of those people who always wanted to write a novel and a crime novel at that, but I put it off for years as you do. The motivation, rather than inspiration for getting my butt in the chair was an impending birthday I wasn’t happy about. So rather than approach the birthday not having done the things I always wanted to do, I sat down and start typing and I never looked back.

How did you come up with the title? 

This is a funny one. I am absolutely dreadful with titles. Seriously. This novel had an awful title for most of its working life when out of nowhere Shallow Waters came to me. Now I couldn’t be happier with its title.

Shallow Waters

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

Shallow Waters is my first book. I wish I had started when I was younger, when I first dreamed of writing. How many novels would I have under my belt now? But we can’t live with what ifs. This is what I have and I’m proud of it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

The theme is secrets and lies. So many people within the book are hiding something, not quite being honest or telling outright lies. It’s a destructive force as can be seen as the book progresses.

How much of the book is realistic? 

Unfortunately the topics covered within the book are far too realistic. It covers the dark, seedy, underbelly of life where the nasty want to stay hidden and it also shows that our children can be vulnerable no matter where they come from. It’s not always an easy read, but it never gets too close. It’s a police procedural and that is also hopefully realistic.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

It’s a book about murder and darkness, so no. Luckily, nothing is based on events in my own life. As for characters, the protagonist drinks a lot of tea as I do, but she has awful taste in tea because her preference is green tea!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I think if you gave any author their book back and asked them the same question, you would get the same response. Absolutely yes! Are we ever satisfied? I don’t think so. There’s a quote by Leonardo da Vinci that Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I wrote this for you. I do hope that you enjoy it. Please feel free to get in touch with me.  I love to hear from you.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I think the characters. They have become the people I wanted them to be.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write? 

Definitely crime.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I think my first book out has covered the taboo subject, so from here on in I’m pretty safe.

What book are you reading now? 

I’m reading the very short Broadchurch novella.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

So many in 2014! Mary Kubica who wrote The Good Girl and Emma Kavanagh who wrote Falling.

Do you see writing as a career? 

Absolutely. I don’t think you can go into this half-hearted. You can while you are still writing that first novel, you can take all the time in the world and do what you want, when you want, but once you publish, you need to know it’s what you want to do. You could have readers if you’re lucky and they might even want to read something else by you. So be prepared. It’s what I want. I am in it for the long term.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Still writing. Hopefully with lots of novels out and working on another. A strong readership. And enjoying it!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

First Drafts! I hate first drafts. Once that’s down I’m ok, I have a scaffold to work around, but a first draft is scary.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 


What book do you wish you had written?


Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer. It’s about an aspergers young adult who goes to anatomy classes and finds that his cadaver has actually been murdered. It’s brilliant.

What is your best marketing tip?

Be sociable. Active but sociable.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

It’s crime again. This book is the first in a series, so the next book is the follow on. It follows the investigation team after the events of book one and there’s a whole new standalone investigation to jump into.


Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

There are events in Shallow Waters that the team have to deal with emotionally in book two, so we learn how they are dealing with that. The murders they come across in book two have a huge impact on the more local community than they did in book one and these are reactions that they are faced with managing as well. It all gets very complicated and messy for the team.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find me blogging Monday to Friday at and on Twitter at @RebeccaJBradley

Rebecca Bradley lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and her one-year-old Cockerpoo Alfie, who keeps her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

Once a month Rebecca hosts a crime book club on Google+ hangouts where you can live chat about a crime book everyone has read. It’s great fun. Members join in from the UK, the US, France and Australia on a regular basis. As it is online, there are no geographical boundaries and you can sit in your home to join in. You can find details of how this works on the blog

DI Hannah Robbins will return in 2015. Sign up to the newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the launch date to find out what happens next.

Her books can be bought on Amazon and Kobo in all countries.

My social media links are;




Writing Conference 2nd May 2015…

April 30, 2015

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

My writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, is holding their annual conference this Saturday. It is a celebration of 10 years of the group and so we have created an exceptional event. With keynotes, presenters covering numerous topics and a Q&A on publishing plus many vendors, a Silent Auction and a superb networking opportunity, we are excited to celebrate and welcome all writers – any age, any stage of their writing career.

This is the link to register

We welcome walk-ins as well. Grab a goodie bag, decide on the sessions you wish to attend and meet fellow writers. Purchase from the vendors and bid on the great Silent Auction items.

Postcard front - promotion

Postcard back - promotionConference Bag

Andi O’Connor – Return Interview…

April 27, 2015

Andi O'Connor

What inspired you to write your first book?

I got the idea for The Lost Heir while in college. I’ve always been interested in the possibility of other worlds and beings similar to us existing and thought it would be neat to explore how someone from Earth would react in an alien environment. But the idea wasn’t enough to inspire me to start writing. I did it for my mom. She was an avid reader and is who instilled a love of reading in me.  Originally, I didn’t even think about having it published. I just wanted to give it to her as a gift for a birthday or Christmas. Sadly, she died before I was able to finish it, but it is dedicated to her.

How did you come up with the title?

Coming up with the title for The Lost Heir was actually quite easy. Darrak finds out quite early on in the book that his distant ancestors were actually from Dragonath. A war was raged against the palace for rule of Dragonath. Although the palace ended up winning the war, their victory was exceptionally slim. The remaining survivor with royal blood fled to Earth until it was safe for her or her descendants to return. Darrak is that descendant and the rightful heir to the throne. Hence the title.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

The Lost Heir was my first book. I currently have three series going simultaneously. So far, The Dragonath Chronicles includes The Lost Heir and Awakening, both of which are published. The Vaelinel Trilogy has Silevethiel, which is published, and I am currently working on the second book in the series tentatively titled Chosen. My third series, The Legacy of Ilvania, is a series of short stories. Currently, Redemption and Reclamation are published on Kindle. Retribution is finished and ready for publication. There will be three books in each of the first two series. As far as The Legacy of Ilvania? Don’t ask me, because I have absolutely no idea.


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

I’m going to answer this from all of my books, not just one. A running theme in all of my works is female equality and the empowerment of women. Sometimes it is subtle, while other times it’s extremely obvious. But it’s always there in one way or another. I’m a strong woman, more so now than I was before. I see and hear many instances in our society where women are afraid to stand up for their rights. We live in a society where women are bred and raised to believe they are inferior to men. That they shouldn’t stand up if they’re abused or raped. That their only worth in this world is to marry and have children. That they become property of their husbands and must obey them and look to them as the stronger and superior partner.

Whether or not my readers agree with this philosophy or not, I always raise the issue. I hopefully make them aware and make them think. But my message can and should extend further than female equality. It extends to all forms of equality. No one, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation should be afraid to be themselves. No one should be afraid to stand up for their basic rights as humans and beings of this world. And if I can empower even a handful of people to find the strength to stand against their abusers or fight for their right to be treated as equal human beings, I’ve succeeded. If I can motivate just a handful of people to perhaps treat others with a bit more respect, then I will be the happiest little fantasy writer in the universe.


How much of the book is realistic?

All of my writing, although fantasy, is quite realistic and relatable. Obviously not as far as magic is concerned (much to my chagrin). And while we don’t have dragons or sorcerers or lions we can communicate with telepathically, the storylines are extremely real. I include real situations and issues into all of my writing. The result makes my fantasy extremely real and relatable. I’ve written about rape, abortion, religion, abuse, and widespread epidemics, to name a few. Everything is written within the confines of the world and story I’ve created, but my readers can empathize with situations in their own lives or real world events.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some are loosely based on people I know and events I’ve experienced. Inspiration is everywhere. But everything is quite specific to the world and story in which I’m writing. My characters grow and evolve based on what they experience. So even if the original idea I have for them begins from something I see or someone I know, it doesn’t remain that way for long. The characters lead me through the story. It’s their life. Their experiences. Their emotions. Not mine or someone else’s.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not a thing as far as content. Though if I had to do it again, I would have it printed in hardback instead of paperback. I had it printed in paperback to be consistent with The Lost Heir but I’m definitely partial to hardback.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I have gone through a lot this past year regarding discovering myself. I’ve worked on a number of problems and fears that stemmed from not being able to properly understand and grieve my father’s death when I was a child. It was a difficult process. Because of my problems and my desperate need for help that I refused to get until five months ago, I made a great deal of mistakes. My husband and I went through some extremely tough times, but we persevered and are about to celebrate a wedding anniversary we never thought we’d reach.

I’m sharing this because I know how hard it is to admit we have faults. I know how hard it is to face fears and overcome them. But the person I am today is far greater, stronger, confident, and happier than the person I was before.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t look to others for happiness. Love yourself. Be confident in who and what you are. Be proud of what you’ve achieved. Have the strength to stand up for yourself and don’t let people take advantage of your weaknesses. You will be so much happier and content with who you are. Once you find happiness with yourself, you will find happiness with others and your relationships will flourish.


What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

Wow! Tough question! I think my favorite scene is the second scene from the third short story in The Legacy of Ilvania, titled Retribution. It’s when Juriel goes to stand against her father and brothers after they beat her with the intent of killing her in order to restore honour to their family. Because I’m awesome, I’ll give you a little teaser. Be forewarned…this is NOT for younger audiences.

Before Juriel had a chance to respond, her father closed the distance between them. He hit her so hard she fell backwards, landing hard on her bum. She tried to stand, but his muddy boot slammed onto her chest and pinned her to the ground. “Süryn! Norn! Kint! Léthan!” he bellowed, calling to her brothers. “Look who’s come to play!”

One by one their faces came into view. Each one wore a more sadistic expression than the one previous.

“What do you say boys?” her father continued. “How about we show our Juriel how a woman gets knocked up? Maybe she’ll learn a thing or two about how to fuck!”

Her brothers’ laughter grated on her soul. Syrn knelt before her and her stomach turned. “Look on the bright side,” her father said tearing the front of her skirt to expose her bare legs, “if you survive your lesson, you won’t be as much of a fucking disappointment to your next husband should anyone find a miserable little whore like you worth taking as a wife!”

Her fury rose even more at her brothers’ jeers. They closed in around her. Spreading her arms and legs, they pinned them to the ground. Her father slid his hand up her inner thigh and over her vagina before grasping the tie on her knickers.


Juriel’s magic exploded from her body. All five men were thrown aside as if they were nothing more than rag dolls. They lay sprawled on the ground, dazed and confused. Juriel was up on her feet before any of them had a moment to recover. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her mother move toward Léthan. Letting out a rush of magic, Juriel paralyzed Berla before the woman walked two steps.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I only write fantasy and lately have been leaning towards more of the darker themes of the genre. What draws me to fantasy is that, when done well, although it’s entirely make believe, it’s real. The characters experience the same feelings/emotions/experiences as us. They love. They hate. They feel joy, loss, fear, and betrayal. They face hardships. And although solutions to their problems often times involve a crafty combination of magic and swords, we can relate to them. We can learn from them even though we might not realize it until long after we’ve finished their story and placed the book back on the shelf.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

No. I’ve already included subjects such as rape, abortion, abuse, and discrimination in my writing, to name a few. I will not shy away from anything else. If it fits with the characters, storyline, and situation, I will write about it. I am a firm believer in including powerful situations and issues in my writing that cause my readers to think. Whether or not they agree with the characters’ opinions or the actions they take is irrelevant. What’s important is that my readers are facing an issue and not ignoring it. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Brush With Darkness by Jamie Maltman. Both are for book clubs. One at a local bookstore and one online called Rave Reviews Book Club.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

I’m becoming a fan of a few fellow indie fantasy authors. Kurt D. Springs, author of Price of Vengeance, Scott Marlowe author of The Five Elements and Jaxon Reed author of Redwood: Servant of the State. I am following all of them and looking forward to what they’ll release next. I think all of them have quite amazing potential.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, definitely. Writing is what I do full time. Between writing, daily promotion, and traveling for festivals/cons/signings, I don’t have much time for anything else!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself doing exactly what I’m doing now: writing, writing, and more writing! Just with more tattoos and probably not a strand of hair on my head that’s a natural color. Who knows how many series I’ll have by then. The way I’m currently trending, it’ll probably be somewhere in the vicinity of three million. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Actually, there really isn’t anything I find challenging. The biggest thing I would say is keeping the three worlds separate in my brain. I don’t outline or plan ahead, so everything is just up there, locked away in my mind. It’s not as difficult as one would think, which means I’m either a genius or completely nuts. You choose.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

I don’t know if this is normal or not, but no, I’ve never hating something I wrote. I’ve evolved over the years and my style is much different than when I began, but even with that, I don’t hate my early writing. That being said, I have hated a character I wrote. Not in the sense that I didn’t write him well, but rather that I wrote him too well. Garenth from The Dragonath Chronicles is EXTREMELY misogynistic and a right prat. I remember editing Awakening and reading a scene with him and hating him so much I wanted to disembowel him with a vegetable peeler. … Don’t judge.

What book do you wish you had written?

This is a question I’ve never been asked and one that I had to take a great deal of time thinking about. I would have to say I wish I wrote Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks. It’s the only book I’ve ever read where I cried. The emotion he was able to instil in me was stunning and terribly beautiful. I felt an immense sense of connection with the characters and events. The underlying messages were touching and heartbreaking, yet done so in a magnificently subtle way.

What is your best marketing tip?

I suppose this answer technically contains two tips, but I’m going to tell you both of them anyway. Variety and frequency. People need to see you and your books often and in different forms. Now, we have the opportunity to get really creative with our marketing, which is awesome. But if our potential readers don’t see us and learn about us in different ways (interviews, guest posts, Q&A’s, promos, etc.) and they don’t see us often, they’re not going to become our readers.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

Fantasy of course! I’m currently working on the second book of The Vaelinel Trilogy, tentatively titled Chosen. It continues Irewen’s journey to discover the truth about her heritage and stand against her cousin Elthad, the leader of the Drulaack who is seeking not only her death but also rule of Vaelinel.

After that, I will continue with The Legacy of Ilvania and begin the fourth short story. Don’t ask me what will happen. I have no idea!

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I can’t tell you anything for certain. Since I don’t outline or plan ahead, I really don’t know what’s going to happen until I write the specific scene or chapter. That being said, I will say Chosen has some exciting and unexpected happening. The enemy is now hunting Irewen in both reality and the world of the dead. And while fighting the Drulaack, Laegon became inflicted with a form of illness that is turning him mad. Both of them will be challenged to continue to find who they are as individuals while fighting to save the world of Vaelinel from destruction.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

My bio/books/blog are on my website

While you’re on my website, take a minute to visit the store! There’s some exciting new swag as well as all my books! Signed copies are available!

You can also find me on Twitter @OConnorAndi and Facebook at

See Andi’s previous interview here:

Elements – Which one are your stories?

April 23, 2015

I found this post relating your writing to the elements and found it fascinating. Why not research yours?

What is your writing element? Air, Earth, Fire or Water?

Which element dominates the stories you write and read?

The Four ElementsAir (Mystery)
Earth (Setting)
Water (Character)
Fire (Happenings)Your choice reflects your passion. Whichever element is strongest in your story is the one you should concentrate on writing. This does not mean you exclude the others. It simply helps you find your ‘voice’ and write to your strengths. All stories require a good plot. Identifying the type of story you like to write about is not the same as plotting. However, it will give you guidelines for choosing plots that suit your writing style.

Air – Mystery 

Air asksIf you plot a story around a question – uncovering information, looking for someone and searching for clues – mystery is the most important element. Your story begins with a question and ends with an answer. All mysteries follow the format of the chase, as do most adventure stories.

Examples: The Firm, The Da Vinci Code, Black & Blue, The Poet, The Star, Sherlock Holmes, The Hunt for Red October, The Colour of Magic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Animal Farm, The FugitiveThe best way to tell this story? You want a character to find out who did it, how they did it and why they did it. Tell the story from the viewpoint of both the protagonist and the antagonist. ~~~  

Earth – Setting

Earth experiencesIf you plot a story around the world you create, the setting is your most important element. Your character travels to a new ‘world’, changes and chooses to either stay in that world or come home. Your story begins when the character arrives in this setting and ends when he leaves. Some Science Fiction and Fantasy novels fit into this category. Historical, and pioneering, journeys also qualify for this story type.

Examples: Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, Shogun, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The Fountainhead, Treasure Island, Mort, The Magic Faraway Tree, On the Road, The Heart of Darkness, SpudThe best way to tell this story? You want a character to explore or discover your creation. Tell the story from that character’s viewpoint. ~~~

Water – Character

Water feelsIf you plot a story around a character whose ‘character’ changes then this is your element. The protagonist’s role in society changes. Your book begins when the character is so unhappy that he begins to change. It ends when the character either accepts a new role or remains in the old role. The character could end up being happy or unhappy whichever way the story ends.

Examples: Room, To Kill A Mockingbird, Pride & Prejudice, The Prince of Tides, A Man in Full, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, White Oleander, The Pilot’s Wife, I Know This Much is True, Gone with the Wind, Emma, The Great Gatsby, The Old Man & The SeaThe best way to tell this story? You want to watch the character change. Tell the story mainly from that character’s viewpoint, using first or third person. Using other characters as viewpoint characters adds mystery, texture and perspective. ~~~

Fire – Happening

Fire actsIf you plot a story around ‘something’ that happens that makes the world a dangerous place, this is your element. Your book begins when a threat is perceived; it moves into a journey and builds up to a battle. The story ends when a new order takes over, an old order is restored or when anarchy descends. The plot here is the quest. All fantasy and science fiction uses this ‘happening’ for a story premise. The hero here has to find something or someone who can save the world. Sometimes, the hero is the saviour.

Examples: The Hunger Games, Star Wars, Dune, Macbeth, Lord of the Rings, Mad Max, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, The Count of Monte Christo, The Stand, Artemis Fowl, The GodfatherThe best way to tell this story? Do not make the mistake of using a narrator. The viewpoint character experiences the story. He guides us with what he knows and understands. We only care about this type of story when we care about him. ~~~The Fifth Element? The Abyss – aka Reader’s HellThis is for all of those books you should think of as worthy, but secretly you know they’re not. You just don’t know how to describe them.Examples: The Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, July’s People, The God of Small Things, The Reader (Feel free to add your own to this list.)

Except #2 – YA horror story – Clickety Click…

April 20, 2015

monster claw

Alice breathed in the fresh spring air and looked upward through the tree branches where the sun glistened and danced through the leaves. The lane to her Aunt and Uncle’s home was narrow and not suitable for vehicles. She wondered how her Aunt and Uncle managed to shop but maybe there was some sort of short cut she was unaware of; after all, she had only been with them for three days. The pain hit her in the chest unexpectedly and completely. Her legs gave way and she landed heavily on her knees on the gravel. Tears flowed and her sobbing filled the air startling several chattering birds into silence.

            They’re gone…forever. Aunt and Uncle are so kind but I miss my parents so much. A rabbit hopped across the lane in front of Alice. She looked at its white tail bobbing up and down. Wiping her nose and wet cheeks with her sleeve, Alice stood up and brushed the debris from her knees. There were small pits in the flesh where small stones had pressed into her skin. I have to be brave, that’s what Uncle says. Wiping away a stray tear, Alice breathed in deeply and began walking toward the lane’s end again. Dwelling on it will stop you healing, Alice. Remember the good times with them, my dear. Her aunt wisdom echoed in her mind. She understood nothing would change the fact her parents were dead but it still hurt and the previous year with no-one to comfort her had taken its toll. When her Aunt and Uncle appeared at the care home, Alice felt saved.

A car’s horn sounding brought her out of her thoughts. She looked up to see Bernadette waving at her from the vehicle’s rear window.

“Hurry up, Alice. I want to get to the fair.”

Alice ran toward her friend, her only friend so far in this small town in the middle of a forested valley.



An hour later, Gregor joined Cattrine, complaining the pen’s inhabitants were too noisy and his ears hurt.


“Will you stop your complaining? They won’t be noisy for much longer, Gregor. Come and help me form the sausages.”


Given a much nicer task, Gregor cheered up and pushed the mince into the sausage machine, as Cattrine guided the sausage skin ensuring the meat encased evenly. She expertly twisted the skin without hindering the flow to form perfect sausages. When the machine was empty of meat, Cattrine laid the long string of sausages out along the counter.


“I suppose there’s no way we could have a couple now, is there, dear?”


Cattrine turned to Gregor with a smile.


“Well, maybe a couple each. We have worked hard after all.”


She gave Gregor a large rectangular pan and he began laying the sausage tube in lines back and forth. Cattrine cut four sausages off one end and took a frying pan from the shelf. While they sizzled in the pan, Gregor filled the tray and then put it into a large freezer hidden at the back of the pantry. After consuming the delicious morsels, they both licked their lips and giggled. Free meat was more delicious than bought meat.

Blog at