Country Cat Blues Blog Tour and Book Review

With thanks to Red Dog Press and Alison O’Leary

Synopsis

Cartoon-tree-with-cat-sitting-on-branch-and-another-underneath
Country Cat Blues by Alison O’Leary

Country Cat Blues is the second book of a series about Aubrey, a former street cat who has taken to solving crime. You can read about Aubrey’s first adventure in Street Cat Blues.

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

For the second book, Aubrey moves away from the town and into a sleepy rural village called Fallowfield, where he meets a whole new cast of characters, both human and cat. The story neatly runs both cat crime and human crime side by side and the cats are very useful in helping to solve both because they can slip through cat flaps and slide into houses unnoticed in a way that we humans cannot.

 

Book Review

I really enjoyed this book. Although it seems a little unusual to have a cat narrating the story, you soon get used to his voice and he can see things that humans might miss. I found it well-written, with some nice comic touches and some great characters, both cat and human. I have not read the first book but found the family easy to get to know with some true-to-life connections between teens and parents. I was less clever than Aubrey as I did not know who the murderer was until near the end of the book, but there were red herrings along the way (much to the delight of the cats).

If you like crime novels and cats and never knew that you could read a book about both, then you will enjoy this book and getting to know Aubrey and his family.

Country Cat Blues is available from 23rd February at Amazon and on Kindle.

 

An Interview with the Author

woman-sitting-in-high-backed-chair-author
Alison O’ Leary

I asked author, Alison O’Leary some questions about how she came to write Country Cat Blues and the prequel. She was kind enough to answer them:

 

 

 

  1. How long did it take you to write your first book?

I think it was about two years. It was written in longhand and, to be honest, it wasn’t very good. I only submitted it to one or two agents before stuffing it to the back of the cupboard. For me, the real achievement was in actually finishing it. I felt that I’d accomplished something and that I’d taken the first steps on my journey as a writer.

  1. How many unread but written books do you have in a drawer somewhere at home?

I have three, including the first one, but I’m considering revising one of them. It did attract some attention from agents but didn’t ultimately make it through to publication. I looked at it again the other day and, while it needs some work, I still like the basic idea. It’s a stand-alone psychological thriller which revolves around four women and one secret. Its working title is A Choice Of Enemies. As Oscar Wilde said: ‘A man cannot be too careful in his choice of enemies’ …

 

tabby-cat-with-white-nose
The real Aubrey -Country Cat Blues
  1. Aubrey is a very knowing cat. Who was the inspiration for him?

The real Aubrey was a rescue cat, just like his namesake. He was named Aubrey because my partner was reading John Aubrey’s Brief Lives at the time. As Aubrey once said to me, it could have been worse – he could have been called Brief!

Aubrey was a large male tabby and he had been at the rescue centre far longer than any of the other cats. I’m not sure why, perhaps it was because he wasn’t cute like the kittens. We took to him immediately and it was a choice that we never regretted. He was the most loving, affectionate animal although it would be true to say that he never missed a food opportunity. When he used to stroll about the garden he often had a very purposeful look. The idea for the book came when my partner turned to me and said, ‘that cat always looks as though he’s got a bit of admin to sort out’. Or, maybe, a crime to solve …

What is your process when beginning to write a book?

Once I have an idea, I usually start by making notes, often on scrappy bits of paper, just odd bits and pieces as they occur to me. Then I make a rough plan, just an outline sketch of who does what and when. Once I start writing, I refer back to the notes and keep adding more. What I usually find though is that the book takes a direction of its own so that what started as a minor character develops into something much more significant. Sometimes things just come out of nowhere. For example, in Country Cat Blues there is a ghost called Maudie. I have no idea where she appeared from. She just sort of turned up and started joining in!

 

  1. Which crime author is your must-read immediately-the-book-comes-out favourite and why?

That’s quite difficult to answer – there are so many good crime writers out there! At one time I would have said Ruth Rendell and in fact I do go back and re-read some of hers from time to time. Now it’s quite eclectic. Elizabeth Haynes is very good, as is Erin Kelly. I used to teach law and criminology so I do read quite a lot of true crime as well. The most recent was The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury by Sean O’Connor which concerned a notorious murder trial in the 1930’s.

 

  1. Which crime book do you wish you had written and why?

Probably The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. It was first published in 1926 and was a real ground-breaker at the time.

Thank to you to Alison for such great answers. I always enjoy talking to authors and learning more about their process when they write a book and also their inspiration.

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Meet Keith Havers – The Creative Writer Interview

Keith Havers is a short story writer who has had stories published in Take a Break’s Fiction Feast, That’s Life (Australia), The Weekly News, People’s Friend and The Lincolnshire Echo. He also has a short story published in the charity anthology, ‘100 Stories for Queensland’. He is a member of the Trowell Writers’ Trust and Nottingham Writers’ Club. He has had several first, second and third places in their short story competitions over the last few years. In 2008 he was runner up in the National Association of Writers’ Groups annual competition for short stories. In May 2009, he was awarded second place in Writing Magazine short story competition and the entry is available on their website.

You can find Keith on Twitter@KeithHavers

And he blogs at www.grammargrub.blogspot.uk

 

Name:  Keith Havers

Writer Alias (if you are willing to let us know):

I use my real name Keith Havers in all my published work so far. No alias.

How long have you been a writer?

I joined Trowell Writers’ Club in 2006 so I suppose that should be considered my starting point.

Rough idea of where you live.

I live just outside Nottingham.

Do you sell stories/articles to local or global publications?

I sell short stories to magazines which are also published in other countries.

  1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?

I can’t remember the first piece of writing I did but I remember that, as a kid, I was always putting something down on paper. I’ve always been interested in science and technology (I have a degree in electronic engineering) so some of the stuff I wrote was non-fiction but I also had a go at stories and scripts.

  1. What made you realise that you wanted to write for a living?

I don’t actually write ‘for a living’ I have a couple of other jobs as well. I just wanted something else to supplement my income when I realised that my engineering career was coming to an end.

  1. Where was your first story published?

My first published story was in the charity collection 100 Stories For Queensland in 2011. Shortly after that I made my first sale to Take A Break Fiction Feast.

  1. Is there a story that you wish that you had written?

I’m sure we’d all like to have written something hugely successful like Harry Potter or Fifty Shades. You have to keep the dream alive.

  1. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring writers?

Persistence is the key. You have to keep sending your stuff out. Even if it keeps coming back. Re-write it or write something new and send it back out there.

  1. What is your current project?

I don’t have a project as such. I just keep churning out the short stuff, send it off and hope for the best.

 

Thank you, Keith for agreeing to take part in The Creative Writer Interview. I would like to wish you all the best with your short stories.

 

If you are a blogger, freelance copywriter, author or any other kind of writer and would like to take part in the The Creative Writer Interview then email me: sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com

 

 

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The Creative Writer Interviews Kathleen McGurl, UK Author

 

Second novel by Kathleen McGurl
Second novel by Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present., and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running or sea-swimming, both of which she does rather slowly. She is definitely quicker at writing.

You can find out more at her website, http://kathleenmcgurl.com/, or follow her on Twitter @KathMcGurl .

Name: Kathleen McGurl

Writer Alias (If you are willing to share)  I don’t have one

Rough Idea of where you live: Bournemouth, UK.

1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?
As a child I was always writing stories, often for my own amusement. I
remember starting a novel when I was about 11, which was to be about a
highwayman’s daughter who became a highway-girl herself. I don’t think it
got very far. As an adult I started writing a novel when on maternity leave,
20 years ago, but then my son was born and took up all my time. But I knew I
was always going to be a writer some day. Eventually, when the kids were
both at school, I started writing properly and have not stopped since.

2. Has there ever been an unusual way that a story has occurred to you?
Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere but probably the most unusual was
one which occurred to me while I was swimming in the local pool. What if, I
thought, there was a ghost at the bottom of the pool in the deep end? By the
time I’d completed 40 lengths I had the full story planned in my head. I
sold that one to a woman’s magazine and also included it in my book Ghost
Stories and How to Write Them.

3. What is the best story title that you have never used? Is there a worst?
I am terrible at titles so I can’t say I’ve ever thought of a good one and
not used it. My books tend to have to put up with temporary titles until
they’re almost finished. The Emerald Comb was called The Next Novel for a
long time while I was writing it!

4. Which story would you love to have written?
Anything by Kate Morton. I love her books, especially The Secret Keeper.

5. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring authors?
Keep writing. If you want to be a writer, make sure you prioritise writing
over everything else.

6. What is your current project?
Having just finished my second novel for Carina UK – The Pearl Locket – I
have three more novel ideas to flesh out. At the moment I am not sure which
one I will start writing next, but it’ll definitely be another dual timeline
book as I love writing them!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sarah!

Kathleen McGurl, Author
Kathleen McGurl, Author
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Author Interview – Meet Carys Jones

Carys Jones UK Author
Carys Jones UK Author

This week Carys Jones, author has agreed to answer my Author Interview questions. Carys has written three books about attorney Aiden Connelly in her Avalon series and Prime Deception. She is also about to branch out into Young Adult fiction with her first book, Dare to Dream due out soon. You can find synopses of Carys’ books at her website and they are available at Amazon.   Name: Carys Jones Rough Idea of where you live: I live in Shropshire, England, UK

  1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?

When I was about five or six I used to make little magazines about a stick character called Pod. He’d walk his dog, go to the shops, nothing too exciting but it was my first attempt at storytelling and I used to bind the pages together with staples and charge my poor Dad ten pence for each edition!

  1. Has there ever been an unusual way that a story has occurred to you?

A couple of my stories have occurred to me following a dream. I keep a notebook in my bedside drawer so that if I wake up from a particularly vivid dream I can hurriedly scribble down the details for future use.

  1. What is the best story title that you have never used? Is there a worst?

Some of my story titles have changed once the books were published which probably means that they weren’t the best titles originally; Not All Stars Sparkle became First to Fall and Maggie Trafford Dreams of Armageddon became Dare to Dream

  1. Which story would you love to have written?

It has to be Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. It is one of my all-time favourite books and is just so powerfully written. The great stories are always the ones which are most evocative, those which stay with you long after you’ve read the final sentence.

  1. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring authors?

Write. Write as much as you can as often as you can. There is no better way to learn about yourself as a writer than to write.

  1. What is your current project?

I’m currently writing the 4th book in my Avalon series, Fourth to Run, and editing my YA novel Dare to Dream prior to its release later in the year.

 

First to Fall by Carys Jones
First to Fall by Carys Jones

 

Second to Cry by Carys Jones
Second to Cry by Carys Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Carys at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiny_dancer85

Thank you, Carys, for taking part in The Creative Writer author interview.

Subscribe to the newsletter for up-to-date information on this blog.   If you would like to take part as an author/freelance interviewee then email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.co.uk

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