I’ve had a very varied career before becoming a writer. My first appearance on stage was as a flying witch in a pantomime, then a slave in the opera ‘Aida’.
My latest book in The Guernsey Novels series, ‘The Betrayal’, is dual-time, with chapters set during the war years and the present day. The events I describe during the Occupation are based on fact, but the characters are fictional.
Rewind to the early 1990’s. I found myself divorced and bringing up my son alone whilst juggling a very hectic full-time job. I was truly frazzled trying to keep up with everything and to be honest, rather lost.
It’s been a very exciting week for me, a weird, amazing, crazy six days since I found out ‘Not Thomas’, my debut novel for adults, is on the long-list for The Guardian’s Not the Booker prize.
Whilst I have never been lucky enough to live in a period property, like the one in my latest novel, ‘Escape to Willow Cottage’, I have had the misfortune of taking on a renovation project.
I was amazed to read, the other day, that one in every three people over the age of 50 in the UK is a grandparent. That’s an awful lot of grandparents – around 14 million, apparently. And with the cost of childcare being so high, many of them are looking after their grandchildren on a regular basis, saving their own children £6.8 billion – as a nation, that is.
The series ‘Wren Jane Beacon goes to War’ has taken me deep into another world.
Dunkirk 1940. The British Army is saved from annihilation by the Royal Navy and a myriad of small boats. But why is a girl there, driving a naval motor cutter to take troops to the ships lying off the beaches under constant bombardment?
As I approached my ninetieth birthday, and as I was still reasonably alert and competent, I had the idea of composing something autobiographical for the benefit of the family.
Good morning Jane, it is lovely to meet you. I feel as if I know you already as I have read many of your books. Margaret (James) my sister first introduced me to you through your novel Please Don’t Stop The Music, which I have read and re read many times.
Thank you so much, Jan and OAPsChat, for inviting me along to share a little bit about the inspiration behind my stories.
Tracy Rees has been called "the most outstanding new voice in historical fiction" by Lucinda Riley and her books are paperback and kindle bestsellers. Tracy has a new novel out and has written this article for the website.
Hot off the press, is the collection of “Light and dark tales” WHERE ANGELS & DEVILS TREAD by Jean Wilson and Joy Lennick.
Thank you for inviting me to chat to you about my new novel, Jan. It’s great to be here on OAPSchat, one of my favourite websites!
Please welcome back Mandy James, one of the lovely contributors for the website.
I am delighted to be interviewing Elizabeth Gill on the day her new book comes out - The Guardian Angel.
Zeb, the hero in my book, calls the sweetshop where they live Alice’s Chocolate Orphanage. Because Alice, my heroine, rescues him after he comes out of prison and adopts his father and a young woman called Susan when they have nowhere to go.
L-R Juliet Greenwood Anne Bennett Margaret James Minna Howard June Kearns meeting Trisha Ashley
This week, June Kearns and I travelled to London for Trisha Ashley‘s book launch at Daunt’s, Marylebone High Street.
‘The town of Bonnyrigg had two railway stations. Dr Beeching, Chairman of British Railways Board closed one and my big brother, Leader of the Black Spot Gang, would accidentally terminate the other. Fortunately, it was on an obsolete branch line which was rarely used: Broomieknowe Railway Station.’
Interviewing Virginia Ironside, Journalist, Agony Aunt, Author And Star Of One -Woman Show Growing Old Disgracefully
Good morning Virginia and welcome to OAPSchat. This stands for Optimistic and Pro Active Seniors Chat and I am delighted to have this opportunity to ‘chat’ to you!
Thanks for letting me chat on your blog today. I thought I’d just give a little bit of background as to what inspired The Girl in the Painting and how it turned into a novel from a short story.
Good morning Clare, lovely to meet you. Please make yourself at home. The tea is brewing and the cup cakes are waiting to be tried out!
‘You look like a crazy rock star,’ said my six-year-old granddaughter staring at a 1980s photo of me in my prime. ‘Did you write books when you were young?’
Catching Up With Debbie Flint, Best Selling Author, T V Presenter on QVC And Ambassador For Medical Detection Dogs Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of our interview Debbie!
Catching Up With Debbie Flint, Best Selling Author, T V Presenter on QVC And Ambassador For Medical Detection Dogs Part 1
Photo copyright Debbie Flint
Hi Debbie, Happy New Year to you and your family and friends. It is a while since our last interview and I think it is time for a ‘catch up!’
The English Agent is set in London and Paris in 1943 and interweaves the stories of Edie, an SOE agent who has been parachuted into Occupied France, and Vera, her agent handler back in Britain:
I am delighted to be interviewing best selling author Sue Moorcroft, a long time favourite of mine.
Oh, and there is the mask. As you lie spread-eagled on the surface like an untidy piece of seaweed, there is one thing you must not forget - ‘Try not to smile!’
On an appropriate date: the 11th day of November, the above book, written by Graham Knight’s grandfather: Frederick Alfred Knight, when he was 83, was published.
I am so delighted about the huge success of my novel- ‘The Truth About Us’. To date it has sold many thousands of copies and continues to do well.
Sophie Duffy, Cathie Hartigan and I all love Christmas, so we thought we would write a little gift book which would offer our readers something for everyone, believer or non-believer, home-lover or holiday-maker, host or guest.
It’s funny how places stick in your mind.
Most authors like to get their research right and usually that means ploughing through numerous boring old tomes, sifting through mountains of information to find that one useful nugget that fits our story.
It is nearly seventeen years since I worked in post-communist Romania, living in Transylvania- the home of ‘Vlad the Impaler’, later to become Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Lots of people want to write a book – apparently, in America, it’s 81% of people!
Looking back, it was love at first sight. This was in 1987 when I first arrived on Guernsey’s shores, my three children in tow, having been invited over for a holiday by two generous sisters, Judy and Sheila.
One day, at a high profile lunch, I was introduced to my idol Jilly Cooper, then a highly successful columnist on the Sunday Times and now an international best-selling author.
As a writer and new member of OAPSchat I was delighted to win a book!
OAPSchat stands for Optimistic and ProActive Seniors. Well that's good, I'm glad it didn't stand for Organised and Professional Seniors because I would have failed on two of those.
Many years ago I began writing a book about a family, but I couldn’t make it work. Truth is, my writing wasn’t good enough, and it took another 10 years before it probably was.
I based the main character of my book upon the above premise, and it’s opened up a bit of a furore in some quarters.
Photo taken by Janey Stevens
Good morning Carol and welcome to OAPSchat. It is lovely to meet you.
As this post is a slight departure from the norm… I’d like to put strangers to my occasional ramblings in the picture, lest they send ‘the men in white coats’ to my door.
A few years ago I saw a snippet of a documentary on relationships. It was a snippet because my daughter was very young, I was the main parent, and for years rarely saw a whole programme in one sitting.
A cryptic note hidden inside a second-hand book sends Hugh Mullion on an obsessive search for its previous owner. Along the way, he uncovers secrets that have lain hidden for sixty years and shatter his views of the certainty of the past.
I am delighted to welcome best selling author Angela Britnell to answer some questions for us.
Old Age Isn’t The Place For Cissies! So said the late great Bette Davies, one of the truly great movie stars.
Copyright Accent Press
My book,The House That Built Me is mentioned by Lorraine Kelly in this month’s Good Housekeeping mag (May issue page 18) and Woman’s Weekly are running a feature on it in May. It was inspired by an encounter with a ghost hunter.
In A Restless Peace, Barbara Murphy has written a warmhearted and perceptive account of the difficulties faced by many in adjusting to life after World War II.
- Written by Barbara Lorna Hudson
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Have you thought about becoming a writer? It isn’t for everyone - that’s for sure - but for some of us it is a tremendously fulfilling new direction. You may want to write a memoir for your family and friends, or magazine articles, or stories, or a novel. I hope this short account of my own journey will give you ideas about how to get going.
Copyright Tirgearr Publishing
Rose leaves her Cornwall café in the capable hands of Hannah, to search in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India, for her daughter Ellie who has been on a gap year but failed to return.
The Unlikely Adventures of Claudia Faraday is about sex. Worse, it’s about sex and the older woman.
I was delighted to receive One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood as a gift from Caitlin at Headline publishers and it is a book that will stay with me for a very long time.
It’s funny how one event can become the catalyst to change your life. This was the case in 2010 when that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano erupted, throwing airlines and air travel into disarray.
Fairy tales have been told as bedtime stories by generations of parents, but the tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood may be even older, dating back thousands of years.
Copyright Enterprise Books
Have you ever had watercress for breakfast? Probably not but in Victorian times it was a vital part of workers’ diets, The ate it for breakfast and tea, buying it fresh every day from girls as young as five who sold it in bunches on the streets.
Good morning Sue, it is lovely to meet you. Please have a flapjack and a cup of tea and we can begin our interview.
Copyright Alan Cooper Design
Barbara Murphy, author of 'Janey's War' is pleased to announce that her novel about a family living in London throughout WWII is now published by Alan Cooper Design as a paperback and available from Amazon, at the price of £6.99.
I spent seven years writing my first saga which was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1995 when I was 45. I had had twenty books published but this was to be the breakthrough, the book that would make me rich and famous.
I would like to thank Jan and Oapschat for inviting me to promote my latest book. DI Ted Darling is a brand new type of detective with a unique style. Perfect if you are looking for a different type of read. Shut Up And Drive is the fourth book in the series.
Copyright Elliott & Thompson
There is a super book out on 18 February - ‘Spring’ edited by Melissa Harrison. The book will help to raise funds for the Wildlife Trusts around the UK. Spring is a very gentle and positive topic that I am sure will appeal to members.
River Cleddau and Doveston
Today I am delighted to be interviewing Judith Barrow, author of books, poetry and plays and a teacher of Creative Writing. Her latest book Living in the Shadows is now on special offer on Amazon for the month of February.
Copyright Simon and Schuster UK
Welcome to Oapschat Clare, it is lovely to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for us. Let’s have a cup of tea and we can begin!
Copyright Choc Lit
It should be the happiest day of her life. Despite past heartache, Sarah Yates is finally marrying her true love, John Needler.
Thanks OAPschat so much for inviting me to the blog. I have met so many people who have had no time to write during a busy working life and would like to write their “book of the heart” when they retire. It’s never too late. The fabulous Mary Wesley had her first book published when she was in her seventies.
Eric, Sydney with a Y Lennick, surprised himself at the age of 87, by writing his, unexpurgated…autobiography in long-hand (dutifully typed by his wife).
Many thanks to Oapschat for inviting me here on to tell you about my book.
EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE, don’t they? That is the question ANNA is asking herself when FREDDY unexpectedly comes back into her life.
Copyright Choc Lit
I recently invited Margaret to tell us a bit about herself and her latest novel, Magic Sometimes Happens. Over a cup of tea and some of her favourite brand of chocolates, Margaret began by writing a short synopsis and then answered some questions.
Copyright Blue Forest Publishing
Fifty Tails of Grey is a collection of true stories about rehomed greyhounds. With the foreword by Uri Geller, the stories are happy, sad and funny, but they all show why people fall in love with these gentle, sensitive hounds.
Have you ever wondered who writes the bits and pieces that fill the gaps between longer items in magazines and newspapers? Well, I’m one of those contributors and have been reaping the rewards – whether in the form of cash, vouchers or prizes – for many years.
Copyright Little G Books
In case it has escaped your notice, the third in my Victorian Crime series was launched on Tuesday. The book is being marketed as a Murder Mystery but you, canny prospective purchaser that you are, have already noticed that it actually says: 'A Victorian Sensation Novel' on the cover.
Copyright Legend Press
Many thanks to Oapschat for inviting me to talk about my latest novel ‘Bright Stars’.
"OF COURSE I BELIEVE in FATHER CHRISTMAS" is up and running and is available from CreateSpace.com and Amazon.
This anthology is a varied collection of short stories, featuring the scarlet clad, jolly gent who appears annually in December, each containing the words "Of Course I Believe in Father Christmas."
I first heard of ‘earworms’ on the radio a few months ago. How horrid, I thought, but don’t worry, they’re not related to earwigs. It’s a good name for the thing it describes – those maddening tunes that keep going round and round in your head, something akin to a ‘haunting melody’ perhaps, but more irritating.
I would like to thank Jan and Oapschat for inviting me to promote my latest book. DI Ted Darling is a brand new type of detective with a unique style. Perfect if you're looking for a different type of read. 'When I'm Old and Grey' is the third book in the series.
Copyright Guy Richardson
In the summer of 1965, with ‘A’ levels looming the following year, I crossed the Channel for the first time in the hope of making much needed improvements to my spoken French.
Copyright Crooked Cat Publishing Company
You may be aware that the fourteenth Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, Trial by Fire, is released tomorrow, August 7th. I’m offering four Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery e-books as a raffle prize for one lucky Oapschat winner. Details are at the end of the article.
I would like to share with you four synopses of some of my books. I published the first book of a trilogy, 'Fallyn and the Dragons', in 2012. The second book 'Fallyn in the Forbidden Land', was published in June 2013. The third book 'Fallyn and the Sea Dragons', was published April, 2014.
I write books for children under my pen name, Trevor Forest. Here is an extract from Magic Molly The Murky Marshes. It's the 7th Magic Molly book and my 13th children's book in total.
Copyright Enterprise Books
When Tilly Thompson, a girl from the canal, is caught stealing a pie from the terrace of The Imperial Hotel, Athelstone the intervention of Captain Charles Thackery saves her from prison. Tilly soon finds out the real reason for the rescue.
Copyright Harper Impulse
Many thanks to Oapschat for inviting me on to tell you about my latest book.
Copyright Crooked Cat Publishing
I am thinking of maybe including a new link on the website to promote our wonderful author contributors new publications as they become available.
Although I enjoy writing, and think it will always be my first love, I do relish the challenge of self-publishing my own work. It can be tough making all the decisions as to what one wants the finished article to look like – not least of which is the design of the cover.
The Café Paradise is a fictional café in York, North Yorkshire. I have set the books there as it is one of my favourite cities and I know it well. At present there are two books published in the trilogy and I hope to write the third one over the course of the next winter.
How A Short Story Turned Into A Book To Help Charity - The Look 4 Books Medley Of Short Stories Is Now Out!
A few months ago, Gary Walker from Look 4 Books suggested that maybe authors featured on his web site might like to contribute a short story to produce a book that could be sold with all proceeds going to charity.
Copyright Garth Publications
In 1986, at the age of 37, I set out to walk around the whole of Britain's coastline. I finished exactly 11 months later, having walked almost 5,000 miles; then I wrote a book about it. “Midges, Maps & Muesli” has been in print almost continuously ever since, and is still very popular. So how did this all come about?
" When peace was at last declared, we were all ecstatic. The feared black-out disappeared in a blaze of lights. Theatres, long used to gloomy exteriors, suddenly found themselves bathed in the brightest glow, illuminating the pavements."
My good friend Louise Marley interviewed me recently for the Novelistas Ink Blog. Here is the article I would like to share with Oapschatters.
I am delighted to welcome Jo Milne, best selling author of Breaking The Silence and Ambassador for Hearing Fund UK to answer some questions for us today.
How does a woman in her seventies achieve publication of her debut novel in the current economic climate? I have done just that by publishing 'A Suitable Young Man' as an ebook on Kindle and as a paperback using Amazon's Createspace.
A Complete Change In Direction - From Writing About Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, To Gorgito's Ice Rink
Last month, I completed a seven-year journey, when my debut novel Gorgito's Ice Rink was published.
In an earlier post for Oapschat I described how, for me, life really did begin at 55 when I realised my dream of becoming a published author. I could not have succeeded without the help and support of my three best friends –Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford. Together, in July 2012, we formed The New Romantics 4 and chose as our theme song: SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES and went on to become indie authors.
I am delighted to welcome Debbie Flint- TV presenter to Oapschat. Below is a profile of Debbie and she has very kindly agreed to answer some questions for me.
I'm a Novelist and I can write Anywhere! - Liz Fenwick Talks Writing And Travelling, From Cornwall To Dubai
I'm a novelist and I can write anywhere. This is a good thing because I live in three different places - Dubai, London and Cornwall. When people discover that I live in Dubai and the UK they look at me enviously. And I understand why, I do , I really do, but the reality is a bit different. From the mundane - that the item you want like the book you really fancy reading to the perfect shoes for the day are always in the wrong location...to the important-you are in the wrong place to attend something special.
For me, life really did begin at fifty five. I was fifty five years old when I took early retirement from teaching after thirty four years at the chalk face and pursued my dream to become a published author.
Today, I'm delighted to welcome best selling author Carole Matthews to answer some questions for us. I have enjoyed reading Carole's books for a number of years now and am intrigued to read her answers to my questions!
Following on from her article on water voles, I am privileged to be interviewing Kate Long.
From The West Country To Brittany (French Reflections) - An Interview With Successful Author Jennifer Bohnet
I'm delighted to welcome best selling author Jennifer Bohnet to Oapschat. Jennifer is a West Country girl now living in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She's still not sure how she ended up there! The saying 'Life is what happens while you're deciding what to do' is certainly true in her case. She's always written alongside having various jobs: playgroup leader, bookseller, landlady, restauranteur, farmer's wife, secretary/p,a - the list is endless but does provide a rich vein of inspiration for her stories.
Festive Celebrations In Wales (Cake, Concerts And Christmas) - An Interview With Best Selling Author Juliet Greenwood
Juliet lives in a traditional Welsh quarryman's cottage between Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia. She has a large garden that would have been used by original inhabitants to grow vegetables and fruit to supplement their wages. Juliet tries to follow in their footsteps with the aid of a polytunnel and plenty of experimenting with the results. Juliet has been told that her great-grandmother was the cook at a big country house at the beginning of the last century. She has definitely inherited the baking gene - her chocolate-and-orange cake is legendary!
I'm delighted to welcome Tottie Limejuice, the best selling author of Sell The Pig. She has agreed to answer some questions for us, which I'm sure you will enjoy reading about. Tottie has very kindly offered to donate, and post a signed copy of her book, which will be our raffle prize for tomorrow.