The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by @JulietConlin #review @bwpublishing

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner is a very special book. We meet an elderly Alfred as he is sitting in a railway station waiting for his granddaughter Brynja to pick him up. He has never met Brynja, doesn’t even really know what she looks like except from a photo she has sent him. As he sits and waits, he is befriended by Julia who is worried about the old man and takes him to her home. For reasons I’m not going to mention here, it isn’t possible for Alfred to meet Brynja properly at this time but he has a story he must tell her, a story he feels will save her life. Alfred is also convinced that he will die in six days so tells his story to Julia so she can then pass it on Byrnja.

I absolutely loved this book. It is really unusual in its structure. Some chapters are told from Julia’s point of view over the six days she listens to Albert’s story. Some recount Alfred’s extraordinary life from an orphaned child in German, through being in the German army, being held a prisoner-of-war in Scotland then his life with his wife and child. Alfred’s life story is told chronologically. Brynja’s chapters by contrast, work backwards through her life, from just before when she is about to meet Alfred. This was really interesting as both she and Alfred share a family secret (which again I’m not going to reveal to you!) but are affected by it in very different ways. For Alfred, it is a very positive influence in his life but for Brynja, it is the opposite and affects her mental health badly.

This is a book which had me enthralled as I lived Alfred’s life with him through all the amazing experiences he had. It was a book which made me feel profound sadness for him at times but also great joy. Juliet Conlin is a natural storyteller and it almost felt as though Alfred was talking directly to me. His story was incredible not just because of all he had seen and done but because of what influenced him throughout his life. Alfred is a wonderful character who you will take to your heart. Brynja was harder to like initially, though I could understand why she was as she was. Julia has a more minor role but was a character I really became fond of. It was heart-warming that she would take a complete stranger into her home, look after him, listen to him and, more importantly, believe his almost unbelievable tale.

Alfred most definitely has had an uncommon life and his story is one which had me glued to the pages, keen to find out what had happened to him, what would happen to him and whether his story could indeed help Brynja. It is a memorable tale of hope and shows that being a little bit different isn’t always a bad thing.

 

My thanks to Black and White Publishing for my copy of this book. It was released in paperback and as an e-book on 23rd February. You can order a copy online by clicking here.

From the back of the book

Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…

His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.

Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.

A RomCom with a Difference! #GuestPost by author of Brake Failure Ailson Brodie @alisonbrodie2

Alison Brodie

I’m pleased to welcome Alison Brodie to the blog today. Alison Brodie is a Scot with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. She has lived all over the world, including Kansas City, Athens and Basque country. Her latest novel, Brake Failure, which was published in January has been receiving rave reviews from bloggers I follow. Buying links and details of how to find out more about Alison are at the end of the post.

Brake Failure by [Brodie, Alison]

Brake Failure – a romcom with a difference!

Brake Failure is about an English girl, Ruby, who has been strictly brought up to be polite and ladylike – and to bottle up her feelings. Then she arrives in Kansas and collides with Sheriff Hank Gephart, who brings out the rebel in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket and commits minor acts of criminal insanity.

I loved writing this story. It was wonderful to be in Ruby’s skin and just be reckless, rude and raving.  I also love Hank. He is controlling (he is a cop, after all) and very macho, but he has a caring side to him.

When I write a book, I allow my characters to tell the story. With this book, I just didn’t know how – or if – Hank and Ruby could ever get together. It seemed so impossible. I also loved Rowdy, the ugly dog; and Idabel, a Survivalist who teaches Ruby how to shoot a gun ready for Y2K “meltdown”.

I lived in Kansas during the time of the Millennium Bug fears and got quite worried about what would happen when the bell struck midnight of the New Year. TV channels were either saying: “Just prepare as if for a 6-day blizzard.” Other channels were saying “Run for the hills!” I didn’t know what to think, especially as the American government was spending $150 billion preparing for the “bug”. Yikes!

This was an easy story to write because I didn’t need to research. I lived there, went to all the dives, danced with cowboys, met bull-riders, sheriffs, neighbours, Survivalists and shopped at Hy-Vee. The book reads more like a memoir! And the big event that happened right at the end? It really did happen. I have the Kansas City Star newspaper from 2 January, 2000 to prove it!

Some readers may enjoy historical references: I mention Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac (institutes like these gave money to poor people, which would eventually lead to the global economic crash).

The first Harry Potter book had just come out and was being burned by extreme Evangelists (can you remember a time before the Year HP?)

Princess Diana had died two years before and the American people were still stunned, still asking the question:  Was really happened?

The Hadron Collider was just being built. Now it’s up and running and has found the Higgs boson.

So this book is a romcom, a memoir, a slice of history, plus a social document detailing the growing differences between America and Britain.  

BTW:  the English had never heard of a garbage disposal machine (they’re great to play with).  The Americans didn’t know that the English burn a dummy of a man on top of a bonfire every 5 November.

Brake Failure excites, intrigues and educates.  Enjoy!

Book synopsis

Is it too late to tell him you love him when you are looking down the barrel of his gun?”

An English debutante transforms from Miss-Perfectly-Correct to criminally insane as she breaks the bonds of her rigid upbringing. Sheriff Hank Gephart tries to reel her in – but she’s out of control and she’s not hitting the brakes.

What happened to the genteel lady in twin-set and pearls? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Brake Failure is set in 1999 in the months leading up to Y2K “meltdown” when the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: “1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world.”

Buying links

http://amzn.to/2hJfKph   Amazon.com

http://amzn.to/2gLNTDh   Amazon.co.uk

http://amzn.to/2gLOUef   Amazon.canada

AUTHOR LINKS

Twitter: 

 https://twitter.com/alisonbrodie2

Website:
http://alisonbrodiebooks.com

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31683339-brake-failure

Facebook PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/AlisonBrodieAuthor/

Does it get any easier? Guest post by Cursed #author Thomas Enger @orendabooks @engerthomas

I’m very pleased to welcome author Thomas Enger to the blog today, as he shares his thoughts on whether writing gets any easier. His latest novel, Cursed, is the fourth to feature crime reporter Henning Juul and is published by Orenda Books and translated by Kari Dickson. You can order online from Amazon here or directly from Orenda’s new online bookstore here. All reviews I have seen so far have been glowing and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

What the book’s about

What secret would you kill to protect? When Hedda Hellberg fails to return from a retreat in Italy, where she has been grieving for her recently dead father, her husband discovers that his wife’s life is tangled in mystery. Hedda never left Oslo, the retreat has no record of her and, what’s more, she appears to be connected to the death of an old man, gunned down on the first day of the hunting season in the depths of the Swedish forests. Henning Juul becomes involved in the case when his ex-wife joins in the search for the missing woman, and the estranged pair find themselves enmeshed both in the murky secrets of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, and in the painful truths surrounding the death of their own son. With the loss of his son to deal with, as well as threats to his own life and to that of his ex-wife, Juul is prepared to risk everything to uncover a sinister maze of secrets that ultimately leads to the dark heart of European history.

Does it get any easier?

I guess when you work hard at something you eventually get better. At least, that’s my goal when I’m writing. I want each book to be better than the last one, and I am confident that I have achieved that goal with my first three novels (Burned – 2011, Pierced – 2012, Scarred – 2013).

But does writing in itself get any easier?

Yes, and no.

YES, because I have learned a lot during the years I’ve been an author, working almost day and night on my Henning Juul series. I am more aware now of the tools a crime writer has at his or her disposal. How to build a character, how to build a story, how to end a chapter in a manner that makes the reader think “I have to read one more chapter before I turn off the light.” I know more instinctively when plot elements or characters are good and when they’re not. That means I become a lot more efficient when I’m working. It does get easier to produce pages that are good, or at least half way decent.

That doesn’t necessarily mean those pages will remain in the story. And this is where the NO part comes in. It gets harder and harder each time to create a plot that meets the requirements and expectations of the genre.

The standard of crime novels published today is so high, and there are so many extremely talented crime writers out there. To be able to stand out in a genre that has really excelled during the last ten years, you know, as a writer, that you have to be brilliant. And to be brilliant on cue is not an easy exercise, let me tell you. It’s like trying to invent the next big Apple product that will blow away the competition with the ghost of Steve Jobs looking over your shoulder. You know you have to raise the bar.

And the bar, when it comes to crime fiction nowadays, with writers like Gillian Flynn and John Hart out there (to name but a very few), is extremely difficult to surpass. I would even claim that it’s more difficult to write a good crime novel now than what it was when I was first published back in 2010.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of GOOD crime novels out there. I’m talking about the GREAT ones. The ones that people remember and talk about even years after they were published.

So how do you write GREAT crime novels?

I don’t know. God knows I wish I knew. What I do know is that every time I start a new novel, that’s my goal. That’s my motivation. Also; that’s what I think I will be able to accomplish each and every time I sit down at my computer.

But because crime fiction has become the reader’s favourite genre, the reader herself becomes a lot more skilled and used to plot devices and twist endings. That means you, as a writer, have to invent new ways to outsmart your readers. Not an easy thing to do. And try to imagine what it’s like to be a Scandinavian on top of it all…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Not for a second. I push myself every day in order to become better at what I do. I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love most in life. What’s there to complain about?

It can, of course, get to you if you feel like your stories aren’t progressing the way you want them to. The key for me in situations like that is to just keep writing. I don’t expect anything I write to be gold right off the bat. I am not afraid to write something that stinks. It is a lot better to have some material to work with than nothing at all. As the old saying goes, writing is re-writing. No authors are brilliant the first time.

But I think there will be a shift in the way crime novels are written in the years to come. Readers will grow tired, I think, of bodies mutilated in ways previously unknown to man. I’m not saying I have the recipe for the next big thing in crime fiction, like Dan Brown had some years ago. And even if I did, I’m not sure I would have shared it with you…

.@CharlotteReads1 shares her #FridayFour

the-friday-four-1

Selecting her Friday Four today is Charlotte who you can find blogging at charlottereads26.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @CharlotteReads1. You may notice that the book to film category is missing. That’s because Charlotte prefers her books to stay as books – fair enough!

CharlotteReads26🎀

Four books everyone should read and why.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – this is a relevant and needed story about racism in America. Everyone should read it because it makes you questions yourself and your own role in racism and discrimination within this world, regardless of how not racist or discriminate you are.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – this isn’t very original but I just think everyone should read Harry Potter at least once in their lifetime. Each time I read them I find something new that I missed before. And no, watching the movies is not the same.

Anne Frank’s Diary – This is probably one of the most famous and moving historical account of World Ward 2 and the holocaust. People need to remember what happened and I think Anne Frank’s raw storytelling is a unique view of this historical event.

Little Women (Vintage Children's Classics) by [Alcott, Louisa May]

Little Women by Louisa Allcott – I just love this classic. Everyone should read a classic at least once in their lifetime and this is such a beautiful story with some great characters.

Four favourite children’s books

The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson – I loved this book when I was younger. I’m not sure if it’s the writing, the illustrations or the fact the main character is called Charlotte but I used to read and re-read this book over and over when I was younger. It flicks between present day and Victorian times and I found it fascinating.

The Twits by Roald Dahl – Roald Dahl was a genius and I loved all his books but I think this was my favourite. It’s really funny and again, the illustrations are great!

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – Can I say Harry Potter again? This was such a significant book when I was growing up because it really started my reading off. I loved going back to Hogwarts every year and Harry and Co were all the same age as me so I literally grew up with them!

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – This is another classic that I grew up with. The imagination that I had when reading this was amazing! I think because I was quite young when I read this and it’s a bit longer I thought it was an achievement I finished it but I also loved all the characters and settings that I had created in my head!

Four Favourite book characters

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – She’s just so badass and feisty but she has a heart of gold and I love her!

Broken Dolls (Jefferson Winter Book 1) by [Carol, James]

Jefferson Winter from The Detective Winter series by James Carol – I love these books and it’s all because of this character! He’s so arrogant but with a little charm along with it. He’s also not perfect and gets things wrong and he’s portrayed really well!

Hercule Poirot from the Detective Poirot series by Agatha Christie – I love his humour and the way he speaks (in my head) with his little French accent. He has the best quotes!

Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George RR Martin – Shes so young but she’s also so badass and I wouldn’t want to cross her. I love how much confidence she has and how determined she is.

Who do MSPs wish they were? Audacious Women Festival @AWFest

In a departure from books today, I’m going to tell you a bit about an event I attended this afternoon at The Scottish Parliament as part of the Audacious Women Festival. Don’t worry, I’m not going all political on you! First of all what does that word audacious mean? I’ve always thought it had negative connotations as in ‘having the audacity to do something’ usually meaning having the cheek to do it. There are two meanings though. One is ‘showing an impudent lack of respect’ but the other is ‘showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks’. It is the second kind of audacity which is being explored at this festival.

audacious-women-23-02-17

At this event, four Members of the Scottish Parliament, chaired by Geraldine Wooley from the Festival, talked a bit about audacious women who had inspired them. (Thanks to Sophie Castle for letting me use her photo of the panel above.) I’m a bit ashamed to say that I had only heard of one of their choices, although I had an excuse when it came to Rhoda Grant’s choice as you will see!

  

First we heard from Alison Johnstone, an MSP for The Green Party representing Lothian. She told us about Wangari Maathai. Wangari was a Kenyan environmental campaigner who among many firsts was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize and the first woman for whom a state funeral was held in Kenya. She worked tirelessly campaigning for women’s rights and environmental conservation. Her organisation,  the Green Belt Movement, focused on planting trees and she was known as ‘Mama Trees’. She was jailed for standing up to the government and commercial organisations and refused to be submissive. Alison said she was audacious as she led by example and spoke up on issues that mattered. She inspired Alison to get out in the community, to get involved and be active.

Next was Rhoda Grant, a Labour MSP representing Highlands and Islands. I don’t have a photo of her audacious woman as it is her granny, Catherine McCush (apologies if that’s spelled wrongly). Rhoda said that when she was little and asked what she wanted to be she said a granny! She hugely admired her granny who ruled the roost in a man’s world. She was married at 18 and moved with her husband and his four brothers far from her family, She had six children while living a nine mile walk, as it was in those days, from any medical assistance. She was a hard worker with a bad temper whose nickname behind her back was Fiery Kate. Rhoda said being called Kate would have annoyed her more than being called Fiery! Despite this, she saw humour in everything. She was audacious in seeing what needed done and just getting on with it. Rhoda pointed out that we are all shaped by the people who came before us who worked to create a better world, collectively building change. Those who make a difference aren’t always famous! She inspired Rhoda in showing that ordinary women can step up and make a difference in their communities.

                    

Jenny Gilruth, SNP MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, chose Winnie Ewing as her audacious woman. Winnie Ewing was elected as MP for Hamilton in 1967. Hamilton was considered a safe Labour seat and her victory was rather unexpected. At the time she was the only SNP Member of Parliament and was subject to a lot of misogynistic abuse. She was 100s of miles from her family with no political support so it was rather a lonely life.  She had three young children and was a practising solicitor and the media focussed on her role as a mother and not her political achievements. Sometimes I wonder if we have made much progress! She was also an MEP known as Madame Ecosse and was Britain’s longest serving MEP. In 1999 she was elected MSP for Highlands and Islands in the first Session of the Scottish Parliament and as the oldest MSP presided over its opening. Jenny admires her as she challenged the political status quo in  a very different political scene and made a difference to  the perception of  women politicians. Jenny was inspired by Winnie Ewing to find common ground with other politicians whatever their differences, to try speak to everyone on a human level.

                    

Last to speak was Annie Wells, Conservative MSP for Glasgow. She had chosen Mary Barbour as her audacious woman. Mary Barbour was a political activist, councillor and magistrate who was instrumental in organising the women who took part in the rent strike of 1915. Unscrupulous landlords were taking advantage of the need for accommodation in Glasgow during WW1 and were raising the rents. Thousands of women marched with ship workers to raise awareness of the issue. Annie finds her inspirational as she was from a normal working class background, just an ordinary woman who wanted to get things done and was so influential. She showed that it didn’t matter what your background is, if you want to make a change, you can take the steps to do it.

Geraldine Wooley then asked those attending about audacious women who inspired them, saying she greatly admired early women explorers such as Gertrude Bell and Isabella Bird. She felt they displayed amazing courage travelling as lone women in a world with little communication as we know it today and in a world where often only men travelled.

One of the audience said she admired Margaret Sievwright who was born in Pencaitland and emigrated to New Zealand in the 1870s. She became involved in the women’s suffragette movement which in 1893 saw New Zealand become only the second country in the world to give women to vote. She continued to work for women’s rights after this.

Another audience member spoke of how we often focus on people who have done big things but that we should also look to our families to find audacious women. The small things done by people in our own families can inspire us in small ways. Even choosing to become a mother, perhaps giving up a career, could be seen to be audacious today.

Another audience member recited a poem she had written, perhaps called ‘Broke the Mould’ which was about women who had changed the way we live today. It was a great way to end the session.

Geraldine finished by reminding us that what can seem ordinary and everyday to someone can be audacious to someone else. Audacious acts are being carried out every day by audacious women in all walks of life.

It was a most enjoyable and informative session and I’d like to thank the organisers. The Audacious Women Festival continues until Sunday and you can find out about the remaining events on the website Audacious Women.

Sins of the Father by @SherylBrowne #review @choclituk

Sins of the Father ebook by Sheryl Browne

I was lucky enough to read this book quite a few months ago when it was still at the stage of being considered for publication by ChocLit under their Death by ChocLit label. I didn’t know at the time it was written by Sheryl Browne, whose romance novels I really love. Sins of the Father is the sequel to After She’s Gone which was published on Tuesday. Sins of the Father will follow next week on 28th February.

I LOVED this book. It is a terrific thriller that I literally couldn’t put down! The main character DI Matthew Adams’ life goes out of control when he is set up by someone to makes it look like he has committed a terrible crime. The story follows his desperate attempts to prove his innocence, especially to his wife Rebecca, while the person who is out to get him has plans which put his family at risk.

I was gripped by the story from the beginning and the tension is kept up the whole way through the book. The writing style with viewpoints from all the main characters really made me feel like I was right there, watching the action. And there was plenty action right to the very end.

The characters were very believable and likeable – apart from Jasmine but you’re not meant to like her, of course. She is a really nasty piece of work and very very clever. I even felt a bit sorry for her sidekick who she tricked into helping her. Matthew’s wife Rebecca doesn’t feature hugely but when she does, she is someone you feel a lot of sympathy for. She’s been through so much yet has remained a loving and dedicated wife to Matthew, trusting him implicitly. Even her trust is shaken by the events but at heart she knows her husband is innocent of what he is being accused of.

A fast paced read packed with lots of dramatic incidents. Would make a great film too! Sheryl Browne can clearly write a gripping thriller just as well as she can write an emotional love story.

From the back of the book

What if you’d been accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable?

Detective Inspector Matthew Adams is slowly picking up the pieces from a case that nearly cost him the lives of his entire family and his own sanity too. On the surface, he seems to be moving on, but he drinks to forget and when he closes his eyes, the nightmares still come.

But the past is the past or is it? Because the evil Patrick Sullivan might be out of the picture, but there’s somebody who is just as intent on making Matthew’s life hell, and they’re doing it in the cruellest way possible.

When Matthew finds himself accused of a horrific and violent crime, will his family stand by him? And will he even be around to help when his new enemy goes after them as well?

What Not to Say to a Writer! Guest post by Karen Murdarasi @kcmurdarasi

karen2016cropped

I’m pleased to be joined today by Karen Murdarasi. I met Karen when she was reading at Noir at The Bar in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. Her story about a secretary who accidentally kills her boss was very funny! Karen is a Scottish author of books for adults and young people. After studying Ancient History at the University of St Andrews, she served as a missionary in Albania for a few years, taking home a husband as a souvenir. She now lives in Glasgow and spends a lot of time with her beautiful nieces.

Today she explains the top things not to say to a writer. Her piece certainly made me smile and will make me think more carefully about how I talk to authors in future!

You can connect with Karen and find out more at these links

Twitter@kcmurdarasi

Top Five Things Not to Say to a Writer

Writers are a touchy bunch. We are often more sensitive than the rest of the population, which makes us better at observing people, relationships and the world. That’s very handy for writing interesting stories, but less helpful when it comes to dealing with the inevitable rejections (“I’m a failure! No one likes my work!”) or to interacting with non-writers, and their well-meaning questions.

This is inevitably a personal list, but I’m sure there are a few phrases on here that make other writers’ hearts sink too. So here’s my take on what not to say to a writer.

What do you write?

Yes, I know, this is a perfectly reasonable question, and it’s probably a welcome question if you’re the kind of writer who has found a comfortable niche and can happily answer “crime fiction” or “political thrillers” or “magical realism set in Welsh former mining villages”. But I am left either mumbling something unhelpful about “different things” or listing the various genres I write in, from YA historical adventures stories to Christian devotional material to darkly humorous contemporary short stories, while your eyes glaze over and you start to back away.

A better question is “what are you working on just now?” That I can answer, that I can talk about, and if you look genuinely interested you might be there for some time. In fact, do you want to take some pages and give me comments?

Have you written anything I would have seen/heard of?

You remember that one about international religious conspiracy? The one with Tom Hanks in the film? No, that wasn’t me.

How do I answer this question? I don’t know what magazines or websites you read. Maybe you’ve seen my work, maybe you haven’t – but given the number of books, magazines and websites that are out there, it’s far more likely that you haven’t. So what this question does is force me to admit that no, I am not famous, I am not especially successful, I do not have a glittering literary career (yet). So thanks for that.

By the way, someone once said pretty much the opposite of this question to me: “Oh yes, I’ve heard of you.” I could have kissed her.

Have you had anything published?

On the other hand, some people’s expectations are too low. You might not have seen my books in the window at Waterstones, but if you ask me what I do and I say “I’m an author”, it would be pretty strange if I’d never had anything published. I bake some pretty amazing cakes but I don’t say “I’m a baker” when people ask what I do. Unlike my cakes, people pay (at least occasionally) for my writing; it’s my profession. But I shrink from saying “I’m a professional author” because I can’t help feeling it makes me sound like a fraud. I mean, when was the last time someone was introduced to you as a “professional doctor”?

“Have you had anything published recently” is a bit better. If I have, I love to be asked this, but if you catch me during a dry patch you will just increase my feelings of despondency.

You should write my life story.

Or my mother’s life story, or my father’s, or my next-door neighbours, or this bloke I met once, can’t remember his name; it would make a great book!

Oh, where to start with this one? Firstly, I write mainly fiction. You’re probably familiar with that; it means making stuff up. I have plenty of ideas, ideas are not the problem; writing it up into a story is the problem. If I have time and energy, I’m going to spend it on my own creations, not someone else’s life story.

Secondly, biography doesn’t usually sell, however interesting it might be, unless it’s of someone famous. My great uncle had a fascinating life, but if I ever do write an account of it, there would be no point in publishing it commercially because only people who knew him would ever want to read it. In fact, I’ve had a pretty interesting life myself so far; if I can’t even be bothered to write my own memoirs, I’m not going to write yours.

I have actually had a couple of biographies published, but they are fictionalised biographies of extremely famous and influential people (St Augustine and St Patrick) who lived exciting lives. Unless you’ve been kidnapped by pirates or blockaded by the fleet of a false emperor, while simultaneously changing the face of the Christian church, I’m afraid I’m not very interested in writing an account of your life.

You’ll be the next J K Rowling!

People say this to me, usually with a laugh, because I write children’s books, but I’m sure other authors get told “the next Stephen King” or “the next John Grisham” or some other staggeringly famous and successful writer. Now don’t get me wrong, it would be lovely to be rich, famous and successful, but you don’t really believe I’ll ever be J K Rowling, I don’t really believe it, and all you’re doing is making me feel bad that I’ll never attain such a ridiculously high level of success.

My main ambition as a writer is to be able to live on what I earn from writing, and not have to do other part-time jobs. How about letting me get there first, before thinking about a glittering international career? In fact, how about helping me get there by buying my books? 😉

And by the way, even if I should attain to those dizzy heights some day, I still wouldn’t be the next J K Rowling; I would be the first K C Murdarasi.

If you’re a reader and you have ever said any (or all) of these things to me, please don’t take offence; it’s better to be asked about writing than not, however many times I might have heard the question. If you’re a writer and this list strikes a chord with you, or if you entirely disagree, feel free to add your own most-hated questions in the comments section.