Browsing articles in "Interviews with our friends!"

Carol’s guest today is Chris Hemingway – Descendent of the famed author Ernest Hemingway!

My guest poet today is Chris Hemingway a librarian and freelance writer.
As an avid traveler and descendant of the famed author Ernest Hemingway, his works have appeared in many magazines and journals worldwide. Chris resides in Connecticut, USA.
Love’s SongHearts ablaze
Torn asunder
Rippling waves
Roaring thunderTides engulfed
Mountains weep
Forever eternity
Falling deepNight’s embrace
Raging mire
Deaths slumber
Passion’s fire

Heavens abound
Destinies await
Hope’s glory
Mercy’s fate

Mar 30, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ today with Author Julia Hughes!


Carol’s ‘Close Up’

Carol Bridgestock

I am thrilled today to be having a chat with Author Julia Hughes. Her latest book I am pleased to say is aimed at young adult readers. ‘The Griffin Cryer’ is her first title in this market. Come with me and learn more about what this enormously talented lady is up to  and what the reviewers say ;-) … 


  Lovely to meet you Julia! Tell me what are you working on now that the ‘The Griffin Cryer’ is out?

Catching up with my sleep: we’ve just finished a major book promotion on “The Griffin Cryer” which is my first title aimed at the young adult market. We’ve had some outstanding support from the indie community, and some outstanding reviews too. I feel as though I’ve bought shares in the words “Thank you!”

I know. A lot of new authors and readers think that once the book is launched that’s it but that is when the work starts isn’t it? For if we don’t promote our work then how does anyone know about it? You’re doing a sterling job Julia – glad to have met you!

Okay, so now we’re friends share something with me that nobody else knows about Julia. ;-)  

Well – I’ve already shared (with the lovely Charlie Plunkett in her “100 Little Words on Parenthood”) that I screamed the hospital down when I was in labour with my first born – like Jen in “White Lilies” I was minutes away from a caesarean and forced to undergo an epidural. Reading Jen’s ordeal brought memories flooding back, and every woman vows ‘Never again.’ Until the next time!

Absolutely! The strange thing was when I came to writing those scenes I had actually forgotten the details (maybe as it was because it is 28yrs since I had Sammy), and had to enlist the help of two friends who were pregnant. Luckily Kate Young actually gave birth to Mattie just as I was about to  write the birth which was  great timing!

Who would you like to share a cup of coffee and a natter with?

Right now, I’d like a coffee and natter with the best-selling authors of the “DI Dylan” series. I’ve heard the book rights have just been snapped up by a major telly company, and I’d love to congratulate them in person.

Although we have sold some rights of ‘Deadly Focus’ we haven’t sold the rights to the Dylan TV series yet. ;-)  The report in the national tabloid yesterday was subbed dramatically from what Natasha Harding actually wrote about us in The Sun newspaper. We are actually working with award winning scriptwriter Sally Wainwright and a production team at Red Production Company who are presently at the cutting edge of British drama for TV, and have been for a few years . ‘Happy Valley’ is reported by the BBC to be a major drama commission for BBC 1, 2013. It’s a 6 x 60min series kidnap drama that will be filmed this year. We will have more news to share in the near future but that’s all I can say for now… ;-)

How do you relax?

R.E.L.A.X. How are you spelling that? Can’t seem to find it in the dictionary – LOL! I seem to remember I enjoy dancing, mucking out horses, and walking dogs.

Me too! We’d have a lot in common – if we had the time! :-) If you won the lottery what do you think you would spend it on?

I’d give it all away – I adore the telly programme “Secret Millionaire” the look on the faces of those people who work tirelessly to make their community a better place to live in is heart-warming. To be able to make a difference to the lives of people who make a difference to others would be worth every penny.

Ha! You’re not going to believe this but when we do talks we give the proceeds to our local hospice and we always say that if we won the lottery, once we have seen our family are okay we too would love to make a real difference to others lives…

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

Depends.  I could be both, or neither and sometimes forget to eat. Whatever’s put in front of me really.  Given the choice, I’m one of those who choose quality over quantity every time, and would rather have a sandwich of homemade bread and good cheese than a McDonalds.

OMG this is really freaky – you are me. I’m sure we are out of the same mould!  Okay, what do you have in your handbag right now?

LOL – I don’t carry a handbag. I do have an oversized beach bag that I drop Tinker into, and then she goes into the bike basket when I’m cycling on roads. I guess you could say Tinker’s in my bag.

Mine’s not a beach bag and I don’t have a bike now but it is a big bag with everything but the kitchen sink in it. Come to think of it Belle and Vegas, our Springers would be hard pushed to fit in. What’s your earliest memory?

Riding on my dad’s shoulders as my parents walked along Hammersmith Broadway. I caught sight of his reflection in a shop window, and I can see him now wearing a hound-dog’s tooth checked suit and his “Buddy Holly” glasses. He still dresses so smartly, and I’m still metaphorically riding on my parents’ shoulders. (At my age(!))

Love it! One of my earlist memories are that of sitting on my dad’s shoulders at a Halifax Town Football match! Mum & Dad live in our house annexe now.What’s your favourite smell?

Blackcurrant. It always reminds me of country lanes after a rainfall.

The figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint?

Nell Gwenn – she seems like a girl who knew how to have a good time!

Absolutely! ;-) We’ve stayed here The house was enlarged by George Brydges to accommodate Charles II and Nell Gwynne.

What piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child?

I think most children would rather listen to fairy tales, rather than some old dear telling them never to accept any limitations.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it?

What makes you think I haven’t already committed it? :D I secretly admire people who manage to pull off betting scams, a la “Ocean’s Eleven.” In fact – I’m currently laying the finishing touches to a horse racing coup. I’m just scouting for a race track where communication is scanty. Would you guys like a piece of the action? (Best not to tell DI Dylan, though he’s a diamond geezer.)

Shh… I won’t tell Dylan. ;-)

We all have a tune that means something to us for one reason or another. What song means the most to you?

This really is a hard one to answer. I’m going for Jose Feliciano’s version of “Twilight Time”. The lyrics are beautiful, the song begins : “Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s twilight time, out of the mist your voice is calling …” It speaks to me of home, and people you adore returning from work, or school, or even a shopping trip or day’s excursion. But they’re home, and here with me again. “Together, at last at twilight time.”

A bit like the old song ‘I’ll be home for Christmas…’

What is the philosophy that underpins your world?

Toleration: if someone happens to be a little snappy or rude – it’s usually because they’re having a bad day, and I think it’s pointless to take offence. Until you’ve walked a mile in another’s shoes, you shouldn’t judge them.

 The way you want to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered as a good mother, a loving daughter, a loyal sister, a supportive member of my community, and an inspired writer. I’ll probably be remembered as someone who was always late though.

The PLUG….

Having published four titles, including three in “The Celtic Cousins” adventures, marketing guru and fellow author Sean Campbell advised me to consider writing a novel aimed at Young Adult readers. Materially, youngsters today have more than we did, but more is expected from them, especially academically and employment wise.  I do have a huge admiration for the way youngsters cope with parents splitting up, step families, peer pressure and studying for exams. I wanted to pay tribute to the good decent living kids of today, and Sean’s advice began to germinate ideas, in particular an ordinary teenage girl with more than her fair share of problems. Walking my dogs over the fields and hills last September, I paused to admire the view from a summit, and watched in amazement as a massive cloud of vapour began to rise from the lakes behind our village, swelling and ballooning until it had blotted out the entire landscape.

“Anything could be hidden in that mist” I told myself, and there was a feeling that something truly magical was about to happen. That’s how “The Griffin Cryer” was born. 

Over the past thirty days or so, “The Griffin Cryer” has received 47 reviews in the US, and 17 reviews with a solid average of five out of five stars in the UK, as well as complimentary five star reviews from Germany, and Canada. The story line appears to have struck a chord with adults and young readers and I couldn’t be more delighted with the feedback received. The ebook is available to download for 99cents, or around 77p, for a limited time only.

Below is the synopsis for ’The Griffin Cryer’, where you can download and where you can reach Julia.

Thank you so much for our chat Julia I am so very glad that our mutual love of writing brought us together and I hope that you will stay in touch.


Carol x 

Synopsis for The Griffin Cryer:

It’s an easy mistake to make – instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie’s ever met, and Frankie is determined to help the Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world.

Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the easier part of Frankie’s life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren’t always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human. Told in approximately 53,000 words, suitable for young adults, and all those who’ve ever dreamed of riding a griffin.

You can download “The Griffin Cryer” from or for only 77p, or 99cents. This offer is for a limited period only, and subject to change.


You can catch Julia tweeting on twitter @tinksaid, or visit Julia’s site to discover more about Julia and her books: A Raucous Time; A Ripple in Time; An Explosive Time and the stand alone romantic adventure “The Bridle Path.”

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ today with Author Hunter S Jones

Carol Bridgestock


I’m  very excited today to  be interviewing Author Hunter S. Jones who is a lifelong writer and presently resides in Midtown Atlanta. Georgia. Hunter regularly contributes articles to fashion and rock and roll publications, both in print and online. However, you will often find her writing articles for newspapers and quarterly professional publications. 


Great to meet you! Tell me a little about Hunter ?

The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. I was always a complex kid. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history. Currently, I have a music blog and published my debut novella, Fables of the Reconstruction, in 2012. I have a fascination with Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Rice, although like any Southern girl, I will always idolize Margaret Mitchell for writing Gone With The Wind. I live in Atlanta, Georgia with my partner, my books and a million dollar view.

What are you working on now?

My short story Magic in Memphis, the Yule story for the Moon Rose Publishing anthology A Celtic Tapestry has just completed final edits. It’s the first romantic fiction I have ever created. It is  about real people with a happily ever after ending. I am interested to see how the audience takes to it.

Share something with me that nobody else knows about you. 

I have a crush on one of my Facebook friends.

And I guess you’re not going to share with us who? ;-)

Go on then… Who would you like to share a cup of coffee and a natter with? You’re Facebook crush?

Johnny Depp, no doubt. Even though I have no idea what a natter is, I would be willing to attempt it with him.

How do you relax?

Good music and a good book, not necessarily at the same time. I also love the Caribbean and try to visit as often as possible.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

Besides coffee and a natter with Johnny Depp, a year or two spent exploring Europe. Yes, that would be a great start.

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

Def a savoury girl. I even love spicy chocolate.

Have you ever had dark chocolate and chili? That’s my favourite!

What’s your earliest memory?

Tying my shoe.

What has been your favourite year and why?

This year because we don’t know how it ends yet.

I like that… :-)

 What’s your faourite smell?

Le Baiser Du Dragon By Cartier

 What was the last thing you laughed at?

Oh my…I laugh all the time…probably this morning reading Livia Ellis’ comments on Facebook about how she was developing a new character.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Hope for the best & expect the worst. Sage advice.

What’s your favourite band?

The Rolling Stones. I have had a fascination with them my entire life probably because their music gives so much respect to the deep musical heritage of the American South. And, I’ve already mentioned the impression Margaret Mitchell made on me.

Who was the most famous person you have worked with and what were they really like?

I can’t really say…let me think about this one.

The prized possession valued above all others?

I hold the key to someone’s heart and value that above all others.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend?

Same as before…I can’t really say…let me think it and get back to you.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24hrs, with no restrictions?

Now, this is really a loaded question. The day would begin with a call from Clooney in the morning, lunch with Mick in Paris then I would meet Beckham later. Of course, everyone would be taking me shopping and bringing gifts. Although, in my dreams I always end up with Mr. Depp, no matter where my mind roams.

The temptation you wish you could resist.

Lol…chocolate and red wine.

Me too…

The unending quest that drives you on?


The poem that touches your soul?

The one emailed to me this morning.

The misapprehension about yourself that you wish you could erase?

Do these shoes make my feet look big? Does this dress make me look fat? Those, and I actually go through a huge phase of anxiety every time I publish anything.

The event that altered the course of your life/character?

The death of my brother.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it?

The only crime I would want to commit, IF I could get away with it, would be a Cartier jewellery heist. With George Clooney. Somewhere on the French Riviera….

The song that means the most to you?

The one written about me.

The happiest moment you cherish?

No doubt, the minute you realize that you are truly in love.

The saddest time that shook your world?

The loss of my brother. I will never recuperate from that.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you?

It would be great to be able to play the guitar. If I could play guitar, I would rule the world. hehe

The philosophy that underpins your world?

Do unto others. Although there are times I hope karma happens before I have to wait until another life time…

That’s Bob’s philosophy too…

The way you want to be remembered?

She lived her life.

You can find Hunter online at

 Moon Rose Publishing has just released their newest book, A CELTIC TAPESTRY! An anthology between eight authors, each one has taken their own twist on one of the Celtic festivals of the year. From sunny spring to chilly winter, everyone’s favourite season is given a fresh and enticing take in this wonderful collection. To celebrate, Moon Rose Publishing is also hosting a fabulous giveaway as part of the release!




The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.

Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry.






Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Rock Chick,Musician,Cake Eater that is Radio Presenter Heather McCallum!


Carol Bridgestock

Heather Mcallum Radio Presenter


       Rock Chick/Musician


 I  love spending time with the lovely Heather McCallum. Heather  is always a bundle of fun and never without a smile, that lights up any room, the moment she walk in. Now she is usually the one to be interviewing us so come on and let’s find out together more about her…


Hello my Lovely! :-) Now, tell all our followers a little about yourself? 

I’m a 29 year old presenter/musician born and bred on the Isle of Wight! I live with my other half Ross and pet fish called Bob.  

My Bob will be thrilled! :-)

What are you working on now?

Well, I have recently relocated to the North! So I am currently working as a freelance radio presenter but also taking a little bit of time to check out my new home. After spending some time with you guys I have also started writing a book! After hearing Bob saying anybody can give it a go, I decided to do just that! I am pretty sure no one will want to read it but it’s great setting myself a new challenge!

Hey, don’t say that. How many shades of grey is it did you say? :-)  

Share something with me that nobody else knows about Heather.

I think at least one person knows pretty much everything about me! A lot of my close friends know how partial I am to cake….. well my first word was cake! If only it had been lettuce or something healthier, I would never need to count those calories!

And let me tell you at this point that Heather McCallum is a enviable size 10 at the most. You’d never guess cake even passed her lips!

Who would you like/or do share a cup of coffee and a natter with?

This is really hard… there are so many people I would like to sit and natter to. I am always up for a coffee and a natter with anyone, well within reason. Ha ha! If it was a famous person… I reckon Dave Grohl would be a good one. I think he would have some amazing stories but, although ultimately I would love to have a conversation with Ricky Gervais. A few years ago I got completely addicted to his podcasts and again I think he would have some brilliant stories to share.

How do you relax?

Hmmm… Eating cake? I would like to say running but I usually have to push myself out of the door to go on a run! I Love watching films and socialising with my blooming wonderful friends and family. After a stressful day, there’s nothing better than catching up with one of my buddies over a glass of wine.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

I don’t think I could even try and answer this. It used to be a running joke with all of my colleagues. We used to play the euromillions every week and would spend at least half the day talking about what to do with it all! I seem to remember we all googled the car we would like to have and one of us even went as far as starting to order one ha! ha! I think my number one choice would be a ticket around the world, oh and a supermarket sweep, type challenge in Harrods! I would go to the bed section and order myself the biggest bed there and of course a Jacuzzi!

Girl after my own heart, I love anything with the Harrods label on it! Bob says they could sell me a piece of coal and I’d ‘love’ it.  

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

Well as you know I do love a bit of cake but if I am honest… I LIKE ALL FOOD! Do you know what I really like? A good buffet! There’s always a good mixture of savoury and sweet, you can’t go wrong!

What do you have in your handbag right now?

It’s funny you ask this because I did an interview with an American Psychologist for the show. This Psychologist used to work with people by asking what they had in their handbag. She asked me to look through mine and I had a piece of bread in there, along with a shell, a couple of pennies, fruit pastilles and copious amounts of receipts. I think she decided I was a total scatterbrain!

What’s your earliest memory?

I think my earliest memory has to be on one Christmas eve, I really don’t know how old I was, but I do remember getting out of bed at about three in the morning and running in and waking my big brother up asking ‘has he been yet?’ I don’t think my brother was too impressed.

What’s your favourite smell?

I know its a little clichéd, but I really do love the smell of cut grass in the summer. In fact I love the smell of summer in general, I can’t really explain it but you know what I mean. Oh and Chanel Coco mademoiselle!

What was the last thing you laughed & cried at?

Well I like to have good laugh at least once a day… but the other night I watched the new Ricky Gervais show ‘Derek’, I both laughed and cried during a single episode!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Don’t let yourself hold you back. You know those doubts or negative thoughts that we all torture ourselves with sometimes? Well I was asked by a friend once… ‘Would you ever say those things to someone else to hurt them?’ and the answer of course is no. I really took that on board and always try to think positively.

 What’s your favourite band/film/book as a child or as an adult or both?

OK here we go! Neil Young & Blondie, I loved both these as a child and as an adult too, I could go on and list 100 bands and artists more but I won’t bore you. My favourite film at the moment is ‘Drive’ and I am a bit of an old romantic, so I loved the twilight saga books. Oh, and of course your books too! I am looking forward to ‘White Lilies’ the next instalment in the Dylan series!

The prized possession valued above all others Ok, well; it would have to be my phone. I know that sounds terrible but I’m not sure I would be able to survive without it. I read books on there, write, record and catch up with what’s going on in the world; I really do love a bit of technology.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend?

I try not to have regrets, what’s happened has happened and there is nothing you can do to erase it so move on and learn from it – that’s what I try to tell myself anyway!

How would spend your fantasy 24hrs with no restrictions?

Running up and down the street naked! No… not really, I wouldn’t want to put anyone through that!

The temptation you wish you could resist.


The priority activity if you were the invisible woman for a day.  

I would like to be generally nosey! Wouldn’t it be good to go and spy on the Queen for the day? Or go and look in all those places that are ‘taped off’ to the public for instance at Osborne House. I would definitely like to take a peek in all of those places.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise?

Rude people! I can’t stand grumpy, rude people. I mean how hard is it to smile? That really grinds my gears. I totally understand if someone is having a bad day, but some people … I’m getting wound up just thinking about it!

The figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint?

I would like to buy and then throw a pie at the face of Henry VIII. I mean honestly, there’s really no need to go through that many wives!

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child?

Oh well, again a tricky one… I don’t have any children but I guess if I did… I would have to say, don’t let anybody put you down, or if they do just ignore them and move on. Oh, and honesty really is the best policy!

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it?

Me commit a crime? But I’m such a good girl!!

The song that means the most to you?

Probably Neil Young’s ‘Don’t let it bring you down’ one of the best songs ever written… have a listen and see what you think.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you?

Probably becoming a properly paid musician, I mean most of us have dreamt of becoming a rock star. I still have about a year left; Debbie Harry properly made it when she was thirty so that’s what I judge it on. You never know…


Heather with the Gold Medal we presented her with! :-)

Me in the studio with Hev @ Isle of Wight Radio -

& Bob & Hev clowning around!


 You can follow Heather @!/pages/Heather-Mccallum/154391631382218

And Catalist Band!/pages/Catalist/148427158516203?fref=ts

Feb 17, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Author Steve Christie!


Carol Bridgestock

Author Steve Christie

I recently met Steve through a social networking site for authors and it was nice to see how supportive he was to others, which made me want to know more about the man himself!

Hi Steve,

Tell me a little about Steve?

I’m originally from Aberdeen and moved to Edinburgh in the late eighties to do an HND in applied Consumer Studies after I was made redundant from Texaco and have been here since. I have been married for twenty five years and have two sons my youngest is severely autistic.

What are you working on now?

I hold down a full time job but am also hard at work on my second novel.

Okay so now we’re friends share something about the real Steve Christie that others would maybe not know… ;-)  

I play guitar and played in a band in the seventies. looking back on those times now I cringingly remember having some very weird hair styles and some decidedly strange outfits.Oh, I remember the seventies well! I had every colour of leg warmers and a Suzy Quatro hairstyle!

I guess you don’t have much spare time but if you do how do you relax?

I still play a bit of guitar, more into blues nowadays and I love going for long walks around Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano in the heart of Edinburgh) with my wife and my Border Collie. And of course there’s the writing.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

I think I would buy myself a small farm in the middle of nowhere and spend my time enjoying the piece and quiet. Every thing is so noisy nowadays.

A man after my own heart, that’s why we moved to the Isle of  Wight. :-)

Are you a savoury or sweets guy?
Definitely savoury. Especially if Im enjoying a beer or two. You can’t beat a big bowl of dry roasted peanuts.

You men are so predictable! LOL You sound just like Bob.

What’s your earliest memory?

There’s a few acres of woodland in the Hazlehead area of Aberdeen. My dad would always take the family for long walks up there every Sunday. He had a real knowledge of nature and he would tell us the names of all the birds , trees and plants we would come across during the walk. Although I was quite wee at the time I vividly remember these woodland trips. I often surprise my self with just how much of this knowledge I have retained.

What’s your favourite smell?

Damp woodlands on a fresh Autumn morning.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Best advice? Never give up and believe in yourself?

And your favourite book? 

Probably Lord of the rings. I’ve read it a few times now and still go back to it now and again. I suppose that might surprise some people me being a crime writer but I believe if you have a great story with some good characters you can place it into any genre.

That’s really freaky… Bob and I started to watch the Lord of The Rings on DVD just last night…

Who was the most famous person you have worked with and what were they really like?
I havent met a lot of famous people, but I did meet Keith Richard when the stones played Aberdeen many years ago. Seemed a nice guy, very down to earth.

The prized possession valued above all others?

My Guitar collection. It’s not very big but some of them are quite old. Im particularly fond of my vintage Stratocaster and old Martin acoustic.

You sound like Tom our son in law. He plays Base in a couple of bands. Look out for ‘Champs’! :-)

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise?

I hate the way some people punctuate the air with their fingers while telling you stuff.

The person who has influenced you the most?

My wife Audrey who has pushed me when I needed pushing and who has the distinct knack of calming me down when I go off on one!

We have our uses don’t we Audrey? :-) Hi there!

The figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint? 

Probably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simply for this fact. I have always had a great fascination about the Jack The Ripper Murders. I would love to get his take on them. What would Sherlock Holmes do if he was investigating the case? I would love to know.

The unlikely interest that engages you curiosity?

American Wrestling, It’s pure escapism.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again?

My dad had a Rolex watch he got while he was in the army in Singapore. He gave it to me and I told him to hold on to it when I moved to Edinburgh, he died a few years ago and no one seems to know what happened to it.

The song that means the most to you?

Gerry Raffertys Baker Street. It’s a personal thing between me and my wife.

The happiest moment you cherish?

The birth of my two sons. I was present at both.

The saddest time that shook your world?

The death of my father was hard but the death of my younger sister shook me to the core.

The philosophy that underpins your world?

Do unto others as you would have done to yourself, I’m a great believer in karma.

Totally agree Steve which brings me to the first passage of this interview… ;-)

So glad we met Steve! Good luck and thank you, I hope we stay in touch!

Now’s your chance to tell the readers all about your novel ‘Good Deed’ and where they can read more about you and order your book of course!

Good Deed is a fast paced crime novel that captures the reader from beginning to end. The gripping story of Good Deed rattles along relentlessly, leaving the reader breathless but enthralled. Good Deed introduces a new Scottish detective hero, DI Ronnie Buchanan, who is certain to quickly attract a legion of fans.

The events crammed into Good Deed take Buchanan from his base in Aberdeen on a frantic journey around all the major Scottish cities as his increasingly deadly pursuit of a mysterious criminal master mind known only as Vince comes to a breath-taking climax back in Aberdeen.

The pace of Good Deed is exceptional and unremitting. It is the kind of book that demands to be read in one sitting, but most readers will be so breathless as the saga unfolds without pause that they will need occasional rests before eagerly returning for more.

Where You Can Find Me.
Book Links.

Till next time on Carol’s Close Up!

Ta’ra for now!

C x


Feb 16, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Crime Author Graham Smith!


 Carol Bridgestock



Oh, gosh there is so much I want to know about Graham Smith the author and so, I’m sure, will our readers! Now, where to start mmm…

Psss… before we start I know that Graham has orgainsed a ’Crime & Punishment’ weekend event of writing masterclasses, that is certainly a ‘no brainer’ for writers and authors – you can read more about it here or contact Graham directly. (All his contact details are at the end of the interview).


 Author Graham Smith

Hello Graham,

You are a writer of novels and short stories I understand. Tell me, your detectives, are they based on someone you know or are they an amalgam of several influences?

I write gritty fiction filled with twists, turns and surprise endings. My influences come from every book I’ve read. The good books have taught me what works and the bad tells me what doesn’t. Particular influences on my detectives have been outlandish characters such as Gene Hunt, DI Roberta Steel, Reacher, Tom Thorne although every mystery I’ve ever read has been absorbed and now filters into my writing. Authors such as Simon Kernick and Matt Hilton whose books are pace filled adrenaline boosts have also shaped my writing. To me as a writer the most important thing I have to do is make the reader desperate to turn the next page. I named one of my characters after my grandfather and some of Grandad’s traits have surfaced in the character.

 Have you ever co-authored a book?

I have only co-authored once and it was on a short story with Rosalind Smith-Nazilli. We have both released our own stuff both before and after the collaboration. I wouldn’t be averse to co-authoring again in the future but I’m flying solo just now.

 Do you find it easier writing alone or with a co-author?

I loved the experience as I threw down the first draft of the story filled with action and Rosie came along and added depth before editing the story into a better shape. Which means I got to do all the fun stuff, leaving her do the drudge. If you will – I built the house but she came along, did the decorating and furnished my house to make a home.

Must be a man trait that’s what Bob does! ;-)

 Did you harbour childhood fantasies about having a book published or did you have other ambition?

I’d always fancied writing something but becoming an author didn’t feature on my bucket list until I was in my late 30’s.

 What kind of research do you do for your books?

Where possible I visit the places I write about to get a feel for the area. My research assistant (Mr Google) is very helpful and while details are important in a full blown police procedural, the crime thriller author can dispense with detailed analysis of forensics in favour of an over view. I also cheat massively and copy down any relevant pieces from the books of others so I can use their “science” should I need to. Obviously I do not cut and paste this stuff, I just save it as my research should I ever need it.

 Tell me about your short stories did you write short stories before you progressed to novels?

I started off writing a novel a couple of years ago and flapped around half heartedly until a friend give me the kick up the backside I needed to write more often. He also introduced me to short story writing and I flipped between the two for a few months before getting the impetus I’ve needed to concentrate on finishing the second draft of my novel. However there are a bunch of short stories in my head which are demanding to be told.

 Have you ever written anything other than crime?

I’ve only ever written crime but I have looked at it from all angles. Fast paced thrillers, psychological nerve shredders and the odd standard police story mixed up with mystery and of course “what if?” scenarios.

 What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you? And what advice do you, in turn, give out to writing hopefuls?

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to many authors and they have all said much the same thing. Read a lot and write regularly to hone your craft.

 Your covers are very distinctive and eye-catching. Did you any input into their design?

I’m very lucky that I have a friend who is a graphic designer and he does my covers after I give him a rough outline of what I want. He never fails to amaze me with his fantastic designs.


It’s a heart stopping moment when you see a cover of your novel for the first time isn’t it.

How long does it take you to research and write a book, where do you start?

As I am only writing in the evenings or on days off it can take me a year to write a book with some time spent doing research. My day job as the general manager of a hotel and wedding venue keeps me very busy and I am also a director of a Destination Management Organisation for tourism in Dumfries and Galloway. I’ve also organised a weekend of crime writing master-classes at the hotel I run and I’ve taken on the role of publicist for a crime festival in a local town. Couple all that with a wife and young son, my reviewing for and the CWA and there isn’t much time left for writing.  More info on these events can be found at and

 You’re certainly a busy bee! I don’t know how you have the time to write. Respect! What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I can write almost any time of day but I find that late evening when my wife and son have gone to bed is a good time for me. I put the telly on low in the background and pound the keys for a while.

 What’s your favourite nibble whilst you’re writing? Are you a savoury or a sweets guy?

I don’t nibble when I’m writing as I don’t like oily or food coated  fingers anywhere near my laptop and I’m such a messy eater I would surely spill onto my keyboard.

 Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I do everything on the computer. I have a spreadsheet for characters with their physical attributes and I have a chapter list which I use to record a two or three line synopsis of each chapter after I’ve written it. Zoë Sharp gave me this tip and it is invaluable to me for editing and recordkeeping purposes as it saves one hell of a lot of scrolling back to find out eye colours or other points I can’t remember.

I do something similar as I use the Modus Operandi sheet that we used in the police force – works a treat!

 What do you draw inspiration from? Is it actual cases?

I draw my inspiration from all kinds of places such as the news, overheard conversations and throwaway lines I’ve heard. I also like to dismantle jokes and reassemble then as a short story. Punch-lines are often good because they come from nowhere and as a writer I love having a twist in the tail of my tales.

 Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I try not to set goals as such and while I do keep an eye on word count I tend to not write unless I have at least an hour to concentrate. In this hour I aim for a minimum of 500 words but I have been known to start writing at 11.00pm with the aim of writing for an hour only to discover it is suddenly 3.00am and I’ve hit over 3,000 words.

 Do you own an eBook reading device? Which do you prefer a paperback or an eReader?

I have a Kobo eReader which I enjoy using and find very convenient. However it will never usurp the love I have for physical books. The feel smell, sight of them will always trump and electronic toy, however good it may be.

My thoughts exactly, how anyone can relax reading an electronic device amazes me!

 Who are some of your favourite authors and what are you reading now?

Authors who climb automatically to the top of Mount To Be Read are Stuart MacBride, Matt Hilton, Lee Child, Peter James, Chris Ewan, Simon Kernick, Mark Billingham. This list could continue until I wear my fingers away on the keyboard.

I’m just about to start reading So Low So High by Pete Sortwell. Pete is an online buddy of mine and a publishing stable mate of yours. SLSH is his debut novel and I’m very excited to be reading it ahead of everyone else. This is one of the best things about being a reviewer. Free books before they are even published.

Great idea Graham! :-)

 Are there any particular writers who have influenced your writing?

Every writer I’ve ever read has influenced me by letting me learn what is good and what is bad about writing. Since I started reviewing I have learned how to dismantle a novel into various components and this knowledge is invaluable to me as a writer.

 What do you think of book trailers?

I don’t tend to pay them much attention to be honest. I think that they may or may not work for some people but I get new books sent to me from publishers all the time. My reading choice is influenced by the words on the book cover. Be they the synopsis on the back or the name on the front that is what I use to select my next read. As a reviewer I NEVER read someone else’s opinion of a book until I have read the book and written my own review as I would not want my own opinion influenced.

 How do you come up with the titles of your books?

I just think about the content and then find an appropriate title. Gutshots: Ten Blows to the Abdomen and Eleven the Hardest Way are short story collections which do exactly what it says on the tin. Harry Charters Chronicles was a no brainer for me as it encapsulates the noir private eye stories of yesteryear which is the subject of that collection.

 Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?

I’m working on the second draft of my debut novel which has a working title of “The Ironmonger’s Error”. It is about a middle class couple whose children are kidnapped to force the father to pay his gambling debts. The police are unaware of the kidnapping until halfway through the novel and are pursuing two different spates of thefts.

Sounds great!

 Tell me a little bit of something about you that we haven’t already learned about Graham Smith.

I used to play rugby for South West Scotland Schools and I was in the team the first time SW Scotland beat both the Ayrshire and Borders Teams. I have played darts against Jocky Wilson and Mike Gregory and I once punched Emu on the nose.

Great stuff! :-) I love asking people that question!

 More about Graham and where you can ‘find’ him:-

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

 An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well respected review site for over three years.

 He has three collections of short stories available as Kindle downloads and has featured in anthologies such as True Brit Grit and Action: Pulse Pounding Tales as well as appearing on several popular ezines. His first collection Eleven the Hardest way has been longlisted for a Spinetingler award.

 He can be found at any of these places on a regular basis

Twitter – @GrahamSmith1972

Facebook –

Blog –

 Amazon Author Page



This is the first part of the Harry Charters Chronicles


Detecting Malicious Murder


This is how it started…

Ignoring the knock on my door, I reached for the bottle of rye. I’d already had too much but the headache making my eyeballs throb wouldn’t treat itself.

‘Either let yourself in or beat it.’ I yelled.

The door creaked its way open to reveal a broad I knew from way back. In fact I’d known her when she was merely narrow. Now she was the broadest broad in the whole damn neighbourhood. She’d kept the pretty face she’d been blessed with although the years were smoothed away by the extra pounds. Five kids in four years had smashed the hourglass figure which had once entranced every man she met.

‘Your ghosts can still find you when you’re inside a bottle.’

‘When I put the bottle inside me I can’t find them. Now why are you here?’

‘I want you to find out if my Bert has been alleycatting it.’

This is what my life had become. Trailing errant husbands and frightening bad debtors. For some years I’d been one of the top private dicks in town. Then a case had ended badly for all concerned. Now I kept company with Jim Beam and Jack Daniels while feeding the habit with the kind of moronic jobs I used to pass to my underlings.

‘Who’s he been walking alongside?’

‘I’m not sure but I think it may be the girl from the garage.’


Graham it has been a real pleasure to talk to you today – you’ve been brilliant.

Good luck with the upcoming event – only wish we could make it but we’re 300 miles away. Maybe next year we could try fitting it into our annual book signing tour in the north and staying at the hotel too. :-) I am so looking forward to reading the ‘The Ironmongers Error’ in paperback very soon!

Ta’ra for now,

 Carol x

Titles by Graham Smith



‘Carol’s Close Up’ with newly published author Maggie Jones!

Carol Bridgestock

I am very pleased and proud  to post a ‘Close Up’ today with Maggie Jones.

Maggie was a great  Deputy to me at the ‘Wight Fair Writers Circle’ for nearly five years and so it was with great pleasure that I passed on the role of Chair to her at the end of last year. Maggie is a prolific writer and I am very happy and excited to say she  has just become a published author of short stories!

 Maggie Jones

First of all Maggie, well done you! Short stories are hard to get published and I know you’re as pleased as punch to have two stories now published and one story accepted on People can find you on the site through your name can’t they?

Yes, that’s right and they are only 39p so it won’t break the bank.

So come on Maggie tell us all how on earth do you manage to juggle working, writing being a wife and a mother?

I’m a magician :-)  No seriously I somehow find the time during the evenings and at weekends to do my writing.  And my husband, Graeme is great helping out with the housework, and cooking.  My daughters are at an age now where they don’t need too much from me, apart from  an odd  ’taxi’ at four in the morning!

What inspired you to write?

A few things have happened to me in my lifetime, and I found solace in writing about them.  I started off with writing poetry and then progressed to writing short stories and a few novels.

Who do you admire in the literary world?

I know this is where I am supposed to say the literary giants like Keats, Dickens and the Bronte Sisters, but I just love chick flick, and adore reading Sophie Kinsella, Jane Moore, anyone slushy like that.  I’m also a fan of Jackie Collins, her and Jilly Cooper, were my favourite authors when I was at school. I also like Crime & Intrigue, and my favourite writers of that genre are R C Bridgestock!

:-) That’s great news for us! Who do you consider your mentor?

I suppose my mentors would have to be my English teachers.  When I left school, I didn’t achieve much in the way of qualifications, apart from in English.  My teachers encouraged me to read and write.

Where do you work? Do you have a regular pattern or routine?

I work at Ryde Academy as a Science Technician.  I’m lucky in that I only work three days a week, so on my days off, and at the weekends I tend to be sat on the sofa with my little purple laptop doing as much writing as I can.

What are you working on now?

I have recently finished a novel, ‘The London Boys’ and I am trying to find a publisher/literary agent for it.  Also I have been working on a lot of short stories that I have written over the years, whilst thinking of  new ideas for some  short stories to send to my publisher at Alfie Dog, an e-book publisher,

Share something with me that nobody else knows about you?

I got married  in a registry office, and I just brought an ordinary dress, nothing special.  But the one thing I would love to do, even now, is go into a bridal shop and try on something white and floaty.  Even at my age.

Who do you like sharing a cup of coffee and a natter with?

I like catching up with colleagues from a school  I worked at on the island before it closed.  A lot of them retired, but one of them went to France and set up a camping businesses.  She was on ITV last year on a programme called ‘Little England’. We all got on so well, just like one big happy family, and I miss working with them now. 

 How do you relax?

I like going for  long walks or reading a good book.  I also like sitting on the sofa with my laptop, and watching the telly whilst typing away.  I especially like watching old black and white movies, much to my children’s horror.  They remind me of happy times when I watched them with my Nan. 

What would you do if you won the lottery, what would you spend it on?

I would spend it on my wonderful family, making sure that my girls had a house each.  Also that Graeme got that motorbike that he yearns for, and I would also see my sisters were looked after.  And friends, who are like family to me too, I would make sure that they were alright for the future.

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

I am definitely a savoury girl.  Any crisps, cheese biscuits, cheese straws, cheddars, etc you get the picture!

What do you have in your handbag right now?

This question took me an hour and half to answer, as by the time I had emptied my bag and looked at all my rubbish, I meant all my wonderful things, that’s how much time had passed.  I have a purse, keys, (car, house, work,) hairbrush, driving licence, makeup, receipts, tissues, two pairs of reading glasses, one pair of sunglasses, cheque book, credit cards, mobile phone, sore throat sweets, inhalers, hand cream and my diary.

What’s your earliest memory?

When I was aged four, upstairs in bed one evening, my dad came home from my Nan’s shop with some ice cream.  He shouted at me and my sisters to get up and come downstairs and have some.

What has been your favourite year and why?

I have quite a few favourite years, but I think the best year for me was 1987 when I married Graeme.  I can’t believe we have been married for over 25 years!  The time has simply flown by, he is my best friend.

What’s your favourite smell?

My favourite smell is Lilly of the valley.  It reminds me of my Nan who used to wear the perfume.  And Mrs Foord, who lived over the road from us, grew them, and always picked a bunch for me for my birthday, as they only come out at that time of year, being a spring flower.

What was the last thing you laughed/cried at?

I cry at sad films…  My daughter and I went to see ‘Les Mis’ last week, and at the end of it she asked if I liked it.  I loved it, but was so choked up, could only nod at her.  As a family we are always laughing and joking with one another and taking the mickey out of each other, but in a fun way.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

The best advice I would give about writing is believe in yourself and what you are writing.  Go with your gut instinct. 

And another bit advice I would give is in winter, if you are going to wear a vest, wear big girl’s knickers and then you can tuck your vest into them.  This will keep your back nice and toastie! 

What’s your favourite book/Film as a child/adult?

My favourite book(s) are Jackie Collins, The Lucky books.  I absolutely loved reading them when I was at school.  I have so many favourite films, but as a child I used to love musicals and going to the pictures with my Nan to watch them.  I think my favourite film as a child was ‘Hello Dolly.’  One of my favourite films I love now and only watched a little while ago is ‘It’s a wonderful life,’ with James Stewart.

Where can people contact you Maggie?

I am on facebook and linkedIn as Maggie Jones

Thanks Maggie for speaking to me today. Good luck with your writing for you work so hard you  fully deserve your success.

C x




Carol’s ‘Close Up’ today with Author Geraldine Evans!

Carol Bridgestock

I am so lucky today to get the chance to interview the prolific author Geraldine Evans! Let’s see how it’s done shall we?

Geraldine has had twenty novels published–seventeen crime, one contemporary women/suspense, one historical and one romance. She has been plucked from slush piles twice: once by Robert Hale, and once by Macmillan, who took her very first mystery novel, DEAD BEFORE MORNING, and published it in 1993. They sold it in turn to St Martin’s Press in the US and thence on to Worldwide for softcover publication. Not bad for a writer who had endured six long years of rejections for her first six novels. But, admittedly, they had been romances.



Geraldine Evans

Hello Geraldine! Thank you for agreeing to let our readers to get to know you a little. I am so excited about this interview as I know you also give help and advice to writers too.

What inspired you to write a novel?

Hatred of  the dead-end day jobs. I needed something creatively fulfilling in my life. I’d always been a keen reader, so it seemed as natural as breathing that I’d one day try my hand at writing. Like Colin Dexter, the author of Morse, who one day, during a wet weekend in Wales, read a crime novel that was so bad he thought he could do better. And he did, didn’t he? Well, I had a similar experience, though not until I’d spent years trying to write a romantic novel suitable for the Mills & Boon market. I failed miserably, though Land of Dreams, the last of the six failures, was taken from Robert Hale’s slush pile and published (1991). But then they rejected my next romance.

What’s a girl to do? I felt pretty murderous, so turning to crime seemed the obvious thing. What a difference from my experience of writing romances. Because Dead Before Morning, that very first mystery and the first in my now 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn humorous police procedural series, was yet another slush pile pluck. Macmillan published it in 1993. They sold it to St Martin’s Press in the US, who then sold it on to Worldwide for paperback publication.

Who do you admire in the literary world? Who do you consider your mentor?

I don’t know that I consider anyone my mentor. Like a lot of new writers, I struggled on alone while the rejections piled up. I felt unsupported for so long in the literary world. Perhaps if I’d been a middle-class woman, the support would have been there. And the education! Mine was pretty basic and ended at sixteen.

As for who I admire, the writers who come under this banner are the crime writers who can make me laugh while they’re killing people. Like Shakespeare, I do like a bit of comedy amidst the tragedy! So, I have  to say that I admire the late Reginald Hill. Love his Andy Dalziel. That man is so real you can practically smell him! The other writers who have my admiration are Ruth Dudley Edwards, Cynthia Harrod Eagles and Christopher Brookmyre. Amongst American writers, I like Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovitch. If I’m talking about crime novels  that don’t go for the funny bone, I have to say a certain pair of writers called  R C Bridgestock (!), Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, P D James, Ruth Rendell (but only her Wexford novels. Didn’t take to her psychological ones), Dorothy Simpson, June Thomson and Margaret Yorke. I also love historicals and adore the novels of Sharon Penman, Jean Plaidy and Philippa Gregory.


Where do you work? Do you have a regular pattern or routine or other?

I used to work in my little office upstairs. But then, when my stepson gave me a second-hand laptop, I moved downstairs (nearer the kettle and the loo). So, as you can imagine, my living room looks a bit of a shambles! Yes, I have a regular pattern. I try to write every day, even if it’s only emails, my blog or comments on some other writer’s blog. At the moment, I’m still concentrating on getting my backlist professionally e-formatted, proofed and uploaded  to Kindle and Smashwords. This has taken some time and my ‘Work in Progress’ (so-called. It’s not ‘progressing’ at all), has had to sit on the back burner for some weeks; a situation compounded by problems with my website. None of my links wanted  to go where they were meant to, but instead went wherever they damn well liked! Nightmare. I was unable to fix the problem and eventually, I knew I had no choice but to abandon my oh-so-carefully created and maintained website of nine years’ standing and hire a professional web site designer.

What are you working on now?

I’m trying to pen another couple of talks. At the moment, I’ve only got one half-hour talk to my name. It was starting to feel lonely, and over-used, hence the attempt to provide it with some company. I’m also still proofing the e-formatting of more of my backlist. Between these two, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time left for anything else. I’ve really been burning the midnight oil lately, trying to get on top of everything, so I can do what I’m meant to be doing and actually write crime novels. My email inbox is currently up to 1,500 (and counting). A lot of it is tiresome crap. But it still takes time to wade through and delete. I can’t seem to get on top of it at all.

Share something with us that nobody else knows about you.

Ha! Ha! I love the smell of tar and creosote. Better than any perfume. My day is made if I come across some road-works. The hunky men are just a bonus.

Who would you like to share a cup of coffee and a natter with?     

I’d love to meet you and Bob. Watch out. I might just descend on you one day!  As for who I actually do share a coffee with, that would be Chrissie, the neighbour a few doors down, who runs a B and B. We also go out to lunch regularly and go dancing. Altogether, a fun lady.

Oh, bless you! I’m sure one day very soon we will meet in person. :-)

How do you relax?

I’m not one of those people who can just sit and stare into space. I need to do something. Reading’s my usual way to relax. Or watching Mama Mia for the umpteenth time. That’s such a ‘feel good’ film. I love it.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

I  was brought up poor, on a south London Council estate, so I have sympathy for the underdog. I certainly wouldn’t need or want all of the millions. So I’d perhaps divide it and give one half to good causes, not necessarily through licensed charities who often seem to pay their top brass quite extraordinary salaries. Then, I’d give generous hand outs to mine and my late husband’s family. And I  suppose (after having a major spending spree) I’d probably invest the rest. Very boring, I know. Very sensible. Not like the ‘Spend! Spend! Spend! lady.

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

I’m both. I love mature Cheddar, thin, buttered crackers and silverskin pickled onions. But I’m also a Chocaholic. It’s a good job Chrissie has signed this couch potato up for a local social club, so I do a bit of bopping and get some exercise, or God knows how big I’d become.

What’s your earliest memory?

I’ve got a couple, actually. One is of standing on a box so I could wash the dishes. I’d have been about four. And the other is of me, when I was about five. It was Christmas and I had my first umbrella as a present. It was sunshine yellow and I loved it to bits. Unfortunately, no one had explained to me that it was necessary to put the umbrella down when you went through a door (we had an outside toilet at the time) and my brand new, lovely yellow brolly, broke in the door. I was devastated. Something like that is a major tragedy at five.

What has been your favourite year and why?

It was being ten. Before the painful transition into womanhood began. Before we moved house. Before a lot of things. I was carefree. Only interested in playing games of chase, and marbles and French skipping. It was such an innocent time to be ten. I don’t envy youngsters now, with the pressure on them to be sexual beings. God, my eldest brother was still playing with Meccano when he was fifteen. Such innocent times. I often think my generation was the lucky generation. We were born at a time and young at a time when teenagers had just been ‘invented’! We had the best music. Great fashions. And then you could fall out of a job one week and fall into another the next. And we could actually afford to buy a house without placing ourselves impossibly in hock. And those who had the inclination to go to university were actually paid Grants to do so. Not like nowadays where youngsters have to take on a debt larger than our first mortgage.

What was the last thing you laughed & cried at?

I’m quite a happy person, so I laugh a lot. I laugh easily. I don’t cry easily. I didn’t cry at my darling husband’s funeral. I’ve never been a crier. So the last time I laughed was today (Saturday), when I went dancing with my neighbour’s friend. Great band. Great atmosphere. Cheap drinks (it’s a social club). What more do you want? I had a fab time and laughed a lot at probably quite inconsequential things.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

They’re the same. Go the ebook route. It’s been a far better earner for me than the traditional publishing one. Now I can afford to go on holiday. Now I can afford to go to writers’ conferences. Now, I can afford all sorts of things, that I never could before. Okay, the vast majority of my income comes from Amazon, which makes me uneasy. I don’t like having all my eggs in one basket. Of course, I still get royalties from my ex-publisher, as they’ve brought out one of my crime novels as an ebook. And hopefully, will bring out the other two to which they hold the rights as ebooks also. And my earnings through Smashwords are slowly rising as they distribute to Barnes and Noble, Apple and Kobo, etc. And, with Amazon, I get 70% of the sale price of each book (as long as it’s priced between $2.99 and $9.99). All my ex-publisher was offering was 25%, which I gather is pretty common. No contest! So I decided  to part company with my then publisher and go the Indie route. I haven’t regretted it.

What’s your favourite book/film as a child/adult?

I used to love Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. And I liked Tugboat Annie on the television and William Tell. I wasn’t allowed to go to the cinema (though my siblings were. I was the baby of the family). My mother wouldn’t let me go. She said it would ruin my eyesight! Actually, it was getting measles very badly that ruined my eyesight. As an adult, I’m a Harrison Ford fan and loved Frantic and Airforce One. Oh, and I also loved Dirty Dancing. (And Mama Mia, of course). Books, I’ve loved: Sharon Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour. Fabulous book set in the Fifteenth century about the period of the Wars of the Roses. That book still resonates with me. And St Thomas’ Eve by Jean Plaidy, about St Thomas More. The crime novel I still remember vividly is Christopher Brookmyer’s Quite Ugly, One Morning. Oh, how that book made me laugh. Terrific. Heartily recommend all of them.

Who was the most famous person you have worked with and what were they really like?

I don’t actually know any famous people. Until I went the epublishing route, I couldn’t afford to go anywhere. Though I am Twitter friends with Val McDermid, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Mark Billingham. And you and Bob. :-)

Do you think doing the work you did has an impact on what you write and how you write it?

Undoubtedly. As does my working-class background. I couldn’t imagine writing about an educated, middle-class, copper, not ever having lived that lifestyle. That’s why I invented DI Joe Rafferty. I wanted a main character who reflected the reality of the average Joe. Most police officers are still working-class and far from over-educated. I wanted to depict that.

The prized possession valued above all others?

I don’t know if you’d call it a ‘possession’. But I have to say it’s my ability to persist in the face of rejection. It’s that ability that brought me up and enabled me to get twenty novels published (though, admittedly, the last two, Kith and Kill, my fifteenth in the Rafferty series and The Egg Factory, a standalone Contemporary/Suspense novel set in the world of the infertile, I published myself).

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend?

Not realising how important education is. Though, of course, it’s never too late to amend that and, periodically, I have stabs at it. I was a late developer and far more interested in winning Jimmy Smith’s fourer marble  than I was in passing tests, hence the 11+ failure and the Secondary Modern ‘education’ (sic). But I’ve spent my life educating myself. At the moment, I’m re-learning the keyboards, which I originally taught myself about fifteen years ago and let slide. This time I’ve got myself a music teacher. I’m also having a refresher course in driving as I became horribly rusty and lacking in confidence. It’s going well, I’m pleased to say.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24hrs, with no restrictions?

I’d have a pied-ā-terre in London and Paris. And go to see all the shows I’ve never seen. The Mousetrap and Cats and Les Miserables. All of them. And I’d have tea at The Ritz. And an after theatre dinner at The Ivy. With Harrison Ford. And then we’d retire to the plush suite with the four-poster and hot and cold waiter service. And then we’d make mad, passionate love. Hope Harrison is up for it…! Not to mention up to it (as he’s no spring chicken).

Les Mis is our absolute favourite show Geraldine if you haven’t seen it, it’s a must!

The temptation you wish you could resist.

Eating a whole bar of chocolate. I really pig out and am unable to just have a few squares.

The priority activity if you were the invisible woman for a day.

I’d love to sit in on a Cabinet meeting. Just to learn what they talk about and how on earth they come to the decisions they do. Because some of them are unfathomable. I just heard today that they want to scrap The Red Arrows. But what prestige they give our country. God knows, as a nation, we have less and less to be proud of. We invariably feature at the bottom of any European survey. But The Red Arrows are something to make our chests swell. They’re an institution and someone told me they’ve been going since the mid-sixties. It would be criminal to destroy that.

Absolutely! What’s the pet hate that makes your hackles rise?

Idle people who waste their lives living on the State (ie me, the taxpayer). Do they think life’s a rehearsal? To me, life is a precious gift. Not something to be squandered. I tend not to read articles about them and their twenty kids and the outrageous income and accommodation the state provides any more, as it just infuriates me. Not good for the blood pressure. Especially as I can’t do anything about it.

Who is the person who has influenced you the most?

I’m not conscious of any influence. When I came up with the working-class DI Joe Rafferty, I was ploughing my own furrow. Like Frank Sinatra, I did it My Way.

And the figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint?

There’s so many. But, I think I’d have to plump for Guy Fawkes. I so admire people who take up a worthy cause and pursue it to the bitter end, no matter what the possible consequences. The courage required is awesome.

What is the piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child?

Treat others as you wish to be treated. Such consideration will take you far and make you friends. And we all need friends. And anything worth doing is worth persisting at ‘till you get it right.

Funnily enough that is Bob’s mantra too…

The unlikely interest that engages you curiosity?

Painting. I love doing portraiture. I’m good at getting a likeness, but hopeless at applying the paint. I’m self-taught, you see. But the local Community Centre has advertised art lessons and I’m going to sign up.

Good for you! That sounds amazing. There are so many courses at the local college if only we take the time to seek them out. That’s where we did our ‘Write Your First Novel,’ course.

What is the treasured item you lost and wish you could have again?

My green leather handbag. It was stolen at Streatham ice rink.

The unending quest that drives you on?

To get better at what I do. And to stop ‘telling’, rather than ‘showing’. I’ve been told (by one of my Amazon reviewers), that I’m way too keen on that. And until only the other day, I didn’t know my ‘em’ dash from my ‘en’ dash. Didn’t even know they had names. At school, I was taught about a verb being a ‘doing’ word and nouns being ‘names’. That was about it as far as grammar and sentence construction went.

Which poem touches your soul?

It would have to be the one that goes: ‘…a corner of a foreign field that is forever England.’ I might have got the quote wrong – I haven’t had anything  to do with poetry since I was at school (though the other evening, my writers’ group had a local poet, Phil Barrett, give us a talk, and it was so interesting. An absolute revelation. I didn’t know you could write poetry about everyday things. It was an absolutely marvellous evening and had me sufficiently stimulated to consider ordering the work of some of the poets Phil recommended.

The misapprehension about yourself that you wish you could erase?

I don’t know that there is any misapprehension. Why? What’s the gossip? What have you heard about me?!

Ha ha! No, I’ve never heard any gossip about you Geraldine… but perhaps there is time yet! ;-)

The event that altered the course of your life?

Getting published for the first time. It confirmed for me that I ‘Could do it.’

I agree wholeheartedly. The feeling that someone loves your work as much as you is one to behold.

If you could commit a crime and know you would get away with it what would it be?

I’d probably do a Robin Hood and rob from the rich and give it to the (deserving) poor.

What is the song that means the most to you?

I love sixties’ music. And I love Abba. Sorry. Can’t decide. But somehow, YMCA became me and my late husband’s ‘song’. Can’t remember how that happened!

The happiest moment you cherish?

Going for the first Brighton ‘Dirty Weekend’ with George, my late husband. We had such fun.

How lovely…

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you?

I want to play keyboards like a professional. I’m currently taking lessons. I’ve advanced as far as chord G7. Long way to go yet.

I always wanted to play the piano … my grandad was said to beable to play by ear and the whole of the street used to open their windows on a Sunday morning to hear him play. I tried but my left hand doesn’t ever seem to work with my right! Took me ages to learn the keyboard skill.

What is the  philosophy that underpins your world?

Be kind. And generous. And encouraging. It’s a hard world out there, but we can make life a little easier for each other by caring and showing consideration.

How would you like to be remembered Geraldine?

By God, she tried! She gave it her all. I don’t want to get to my death-bed and have regrets for all the  things I didn’t do.

Bless you! Come on now tell me about your novels as I’m sure this interview has won you many a reader.

If you like crime novels with a few laughs, you might enjoy mine. DI Joe Rafferty comes from a family who think – if he must be a copper – he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. And when you add the educated, middle-class, more moral than the Pope, DS Dafyd Llewellyn… Consequently, my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn police procedurals give poor Rafferty plenty of angst and the rest of us plenty of laughs as he wends his way through the mires his family create, at the same time as trying to solve murders.

And the links to read more about Geradine Evans and her work are here:-

Blog and Website:

Barnes & Noble:


Apple’s iBookstore:


Thanks Geraldine you’ve been terrific and I can’t wait to share that drink with you!

C x



Jan 15, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ today with new blog Feature Poet Janet Read! ‘Reads Ramblings’!


Carol Bridgestock

 I am excited and pleased to be doing an interview today with Janet Read who is heading our new feature ‘Reads Ramblings!’. Janet is a Yorkshire lass born and bred… Come with me an learn more about our talented new poet!

Hi Janet!

Tell me and our readers abit about yourself.

I consider myself lucky, loved and cared for. I’ve always worked hard to earn a crust and now work within the Emergency Lighting and Fire sector, helping to promote safety measures around the world.  I must confess to never really being a career minded sort of girl, although I’ve turned my hand to a lot of different jobs in my life time. I do enjoy the social get together that working offers and the fact that it pays the bills!

 Okay, so you’ve won the lottery and don’t have to work anymore…

 If I won the lottery I’d be away with the fairies! I guess I’d have to do some serious thinking whilst soaking up the sun somewhere.  I would consider a villa here and there, maybe a vineyard or two, but I could never forget my family and all the help they have given me, they are all so very special… and of course my friends, everybody need them so it would be nice to give something back to mine.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? On occasions I like to put my feet up with a glass of wine or two!(Red of course) A nice meal and good company – perfect.

I once wrote a poem for a competition to create the slogan for the label on a bottle of well known ‘Bats Blood Merlot’ it did get acknowledged but it wasn’t successful enough for me to win the free case of wine, shame! Here it is!


      BATS BLOOD MERLOT, drink at your peril

 Dark and mysterious, red like the devil

              A masquerade of seduction, passion and charm

           Experience it’s flavour a legend in your palm.


I love my holidays, but who doesn’t and my weekends are precious. I adore walking and after being stuck in an office all week I like being outside in the open air. My favourite place is Allanbank House in Grassmere, one of the National Trust Sites, everyone should go there at least once it’s so tranquil and serene, it’s no surprise that Wordsworth was inspired there. The National Trust bought it and are now in the process of restoring it after it has been empty for years. The rooms are still quite sparse but visitors are invited to write their renovation ideas and good wishes and post them around the walls of the house. The National Trust want as much involvement as possible as to what they think should be done to the house and its wonderful grounds, you must all go and see!

Who are your mentors? 

My brother Bob and his wife are my mentors for my writing antics. They have both done so very well with their books, the competitions they organise to inspire others, especially children and their book signings… I’m so envious. They never stop working though, I’m sure that they work harder now than before they retired!

You mentioned your acclaim from the ‘Bats Blood Merlot’ competition, do you enter a lot of competitions?

I love entering writing competitions, whether it’s for poetry which are my favourite or short stories. I always have my scribbling pad and pen with me at lunch time whilst tucking into my sandwich. I write about anything really, whether it’s about people, the weather, situations I’ve found myself in, or even the town hall clock which you’ll read in my first feature @ Reads Ramblings which I am so excited about.

 Linda my friend is also an inspiration to me, both with her sewing techniques and her ebay selling. She’s is a very talented lace maker. She once made me a lace bookmark, it’s beautiful. We share all sorts of idea’s, sewing, dressmaking, writing and we also have days out together, she also likes red wine which is a bonus!

It’s been lovely chatting to you Janet. I’m sure ‘Reads Ramblings’ are going to be very popular. The first feature will be live on Thursday and every Thursday till we run out of your poems so keep ‘em coming!

C x





Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Life Coach Maggie Currie!

Carol Bridgestock

Life Coach Maggie Currie

Today my ‘Close Up’ is with Maggie Currie who is a Life Coach. I am very exctied about this interview as Maggie will be starting her very own feature with us, right here, next week.  The feature will be called ‘Life Happens…’ and Maggie will be giving us tips, on how to cope!

Before we go live I thought it would be nice for you to get to know Maggie and see what a lovely lady she is.

Welcome Maggie!

Maggie, how on earth do you manage to juggle working, writing, being a wife and a mother?

Having been a medical secretary for 20 years or so, I learned early on how to prioritise and I carried this into my home life.  I also learned to delegate too.  So now I have a lovely lady who comes once a week to do my housework (which I hate doing), the shopping is delivered which saves me several hours each week and leaves me the time I need to work and look after my husband.  All my children have left home and have children of their own, so they don’t need my constant attention.

 What inspired you to write a book then?

 When I hit rock bottom about thirty years ago, I had very limited help or access to help.  I remember I had the flu, all the children had chicken pox and we were all sitting huddled in the living room of my tiny flat and I had just one 50p coin left for the meter.  I had no job, I perceived I had no prospects, I thought I have to change something because if I don’t I am not going to survive, and if I don’t survive my three small children won’t survive either.  I had to change the way I thought about myself.  So I changed one thought, I do have prospects and I can get a job.  My parents brought me more coins for the meter and when I was better I went out and got myself a job in a school kitchen cooking the dinners.  It kick started me back to a proper career and I wrote the book because I didn’t want anyone else to be in that position, and if it helps just one person I shall be so pleased.

 Do you have a regular pattern or routine the you stick to?

 I work for myself providing a virtual secretarial service globally.  There are some parts to the work that are regular, but mostly it is irregular.  Sometimes I can be working at 11 o’clock at night, and other days I am finished by lunchtime.  Additionally I am a life coach also working globally and often I am coaching clients at 7am my time which could be 6pm their time, or I could be coaching at 5pm my time which is 9am their time.  I love the flexibility of working from home and not having a boss.  So no there is no particular pattern or routine.

 Who would you like to share a cup of coffee and a natter with?

 I would love to sit down and have a natter with Oprah Winfrey.  She is such an inspirational woman who gives so much time to others and has come from a very poor background but has never forgotten her roots.  I have seen a couple of her chat shows but they don’t interest me, Oprah herself interests me. I would love to find out more about the real person behind the public persona.

 How do you relax?

 I like to relax at home with a glass of wine and good dvd.  It could be a film or a series, I have just finished watching ‘Smash’ a series about writing and finding the right actors to play the parts in a musical about Marilyn Monroe.  I tend to watch the films and series I like on my own when my husband is out working on Friday and Saturday nights, he runs a mobile disco so is usually out most weeks.  And of course I read quite a lot too.

 Bob is always telling me that my handbag has everything in it bar the kitchen sink, so I’m curious what do you have in your handbag right now?

 I have a notebook and several pens, purse,  Kindle, diary, mobile phone, car keys, house keys, business cards and that’s about it.

 What’s your favourite smell?

 I love the smell of freshly baked bread and as I make it several times a week I get to enjoy that quite often.  I also love the smell of basil, it always smells so fresh and clean.  New babies smell gorgeous too.  I don’t do very well with perfumes as I am allergic to them so everything I have is unperfumed.

 What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

 The best advice I have been given is to just be yourself.  And that is the best advice I give anyone.  You can’t be anyone else, so just be yourself and be the very best you that you can be. 

 What’s your favourite book as a child/adult?

 My favourite book as a child was Winnie the Pooh and as an adult it has been Gormanghast.  Winnie the Pooh because there is so much positivity in it and Gormanghast because it was written by a man in the trenches on little scraps of paper and it is what kept him sane.  The descriptions are stunning and the story so imaginative. 

 What are you working on now?

 I am working on writing an online coaching programme to help women going through divorce to be delivered by modules.  So far I have written the first two modules and there are ten to go.  Each module is around 6,000 words and will be delivered as webinars.  It involves creating Powerpoint slides for each module and a workbook for each module.  Questions to be answered on the portal etc.  It is a great project and I am enjoying it immensely.

 If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

 I would donate some of the money to my favourite charity The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, some I would use to move house as I currently live in an upstairs flat and would like to live in a bungalow. If it were millions I am not sure what I would with it to be honest. Maybe buy an island of my very own – who knows?

 Who do you admire in the literary world? Who do you consider your mentor? 

 I admire anyone who can write a book or novel that holds the attention and makes me want to keep reading.  There are too many books out there that I can’t get past the first couple of pages and that is a shame because they may get better as they go on, but I don’t want to read any more.  As for mentors I have several some of whom are writers, some are life coaches and some are friends.  They are located in Australia, USA and UK and I communicate with them weekly, sometimes daily via Facebook.  And of course my husband is my greatest mentor as he supports and encourages me in everything I do.

I think our readers might be interested to read some of the many testimonials for the work that you do Maggie.

Due to confidentiality they have been anonymised of course but here are a few:- 

“The ride has been awesome…the support you gave me while I was driving at the wheel of my life and you were sitting in the passenger seat guiding, encouraging, and supporting me was fantastic and I so appreciate that.” SR, USA


I have made some significant changes to what I do and how I behave.  Change is always difficult but you just have to have confidence, back yourself and go for it don’t you!!  Your book was the first step I took to set me on the way for this latest, and final, journey.  I have picked up a few other things on the way and there is no turning back now!!’ TB, IoW


‘Maggie helped me to recognise that I was stagnating and I chose not to do that any longer. I have changed my life dramatically in just one year and now I am really enjoying my life and my new relationship.’ LR, Gloucester.


“Things are really good. There is very much a difference in my homelife now, very rarely do I even think about work, which is great. Even my daughter has noticed a difference. I don’t seem to get stressed like I used to. I really can’t thank you enough for your help!” VP, IOW.


“It was quite apparent my immediate need for her guidance and advice regarding publishing my book have been adequately and superbly catered for by Maggie.” RS, Portsmouth. 


“Maggie helped me to make one big decision that led to another, and another, and another – and that’s how my life changed for the better!”— JL. Milton Keynes.


“Thanks for the notes and your time yesterday. The idea of getting help was a major breakthrough for me and I am laughing at myself and in total disbelief that I had to be led by you to that very obvious solution!!! I guess you must get that all the time though. Getting help will open up the possibilities of what I can achieve enormously and I actually woke up this morning raring to go instead of dreading the day’s work.”. KG, Surrey


“Maggie, your well placed questions and non-judgemental help in our coaching session really helped me to think more clearly about my situation. ” GL, Paris, France


 And below are Maggie with Vectis Radio’s Ian Mac at a book signing in Waterstones, Isle of Wight and images of her published books!

Thanks Maggie! And we’ll see you soon with your first article ‘Bouncing Back!’

C x

 Maggie Currie with Ian Mac from Vectis Radio at Waterstones in Newport, Isle of Wight.


Links to Amazon –