Blog Tour | Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas: A Monster by Violet by Laura Wake *Author Q&A & Book Review* @LauraWakeWriter @urbanebooks

Welcome to my second stop on Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour, today I’ve got a Q&A with Laura Wake, author of A Monster by Violet, and I’ll also be sharing my review of Wake’s debut novel, which I received a copy of in my Urbane Book Club subscription.

Q&A with Laura Wake:

  • Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

I grew up in the suburbs of London. As a child I read a lot, and wanted to either be a roller waitress or a marine biologist. I was obsessed with being on wheels, rollerblading, skateboarding, go karting, motorbiking etc and performed a lot of stunts. After school I went to Italy and became a ski instructor, which I did for seven years worldwide. When I wasn’t ski instructing I did part time jobs from factory work, sandwich making, teaching English as a foreign language and stewardessing on boats. When I was 25 I decided to do an English degree, and started writing stories, one of which sparked the idea for A Monster by Violet. A lot of the places I lived and worked crop up in my writing, and generally there is a theme of travel present in most of my work.

I teach Creative Writing and currently live in Sheffield with my partner, son, and two cats.

My novel, A Monster by Violet opens with twenty one year old Violet Kale waking up after a three day drug and alcohol binge to the sound of her friend’s five month old baby crying with hunger. It’s a familiar situation for Violet, but this time she takes the baby… and runs. It was a perfect way for me to start the novel as the character had to think on her feet as she ran with a five month old baby, and so did I! Intercut with the main narrative is the story of Violet aged seven. Young Violet inhabits a nightmarish world of hunchbacked gardeners, a headmaster with a giant tumour of the side of his head and the very real monster, Mrs Martin, a teacher with an obsessive fixation on Violet. In the childhood story you see glimpses of the ingenuity that serves the reckless twenty one year old Violet as she runs. Likewise in the adult narrative are echoes of the tough little girl who wasn’t afraid to take a claw hammer to a teacher’s desk to prove her innocence, and reflections of the daredevil child who climbed higher on the climbing frame just to see how far she could fall. Continue reading “Blog Tour | Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas: A Monster by Violet by Laura Wake *Author Q&A & Book Review* @LauraWakeWriter @urbanebooks”


Blog Tour | Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas: The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes *Author Q&A & #Giveaway* @urbanebooks

Welcome to my stop on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour, hosted by Urbane Publications. I’m delighted to bring you a Q&A with Mark Mayes, author of The Gift Maker, and a chance to win a copy of his novel.

But first, a bit about Mark:

Mark Mayes author pic
Author photo is courtesy of Tina White

Before becoming a writer, Mark trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He subsequently worked in theatre and television for several years, both in the UK and abroad. He has worked variously as a cleaner, care-worker and carer, salesman, barman, medical transcriptionist, warehouse worker, and administrator.

Mark has published numerous stories and poems in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Eire, and Italy, and in particular has had several stories published in (or accepted for) the celebrated Unthology series (Unthank Books). His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. He has been shortlisted for literary prizes, including the prestigious Bridport Prize.

In 2009, Mark graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in English (Creative Writing and Critical Practice) from Ruskin College, Oxford.

Currently living in South Wales, Mark is also a musician and songwriter, and some of his songs may be found here:

Among his favourite writers are: Jean Rhys, Franz Kafka, Anton Chekhov, and Christopher Priest.

Q&A with Mark Mayes:

  • For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

Continue reading “Blog Tour | Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas: The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes *Author Q&A & #Giveaway* @urbanebooks”

Blog Blitz | Book Review: A Justifiable Madness by AB Morgan

A Justifiable Madness - AB Morgan

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this blog blitz so I can share my review of this entertaining novel with you all. Bloodhound Books has fast become a reliable publisher for crime fiction titles, and A Justifiable Madness is proof of that.

Book Description:

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?

Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?

When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.

Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life is about to go from bad to worse.

Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it seems… Continue reading “Blog Blitz | Book Review: A Justifiable Madness by AB Morgan”

Book Review: My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

My Sister's Bones - Nualla Ellwood

I’ve had my eye on My Sister’s Bones ever since it was released in hardback, but due to my crazy TBR, I never got around to reading it. It was published in paperback on 7th September and I’m happy to report, I finally got around to reading it.

From the back cover:

If you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never managed to leave.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her? Continue reading “Book Review: My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood”

Book Review: Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Gather the Daughters - Jennie Melamed

I don’t tend to read books centred around cults but I couldn’t pass this one by when I saw the praise it was receiving.

Book Description:

On a small island, cut off from the rest of the world, there’s a community that lives by its own rules. Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.

But before that time comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve. Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees.

They are free.

It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost laces the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see. And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.

Compulsive, chilling and yet deeply tender, GATHER THE DAUGHTERS is a smouldering debut that explores the resilience of the human heart in the darkest of circumstances and the strength we find in each other. Continue reading “Book Review: Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed”