In The Chair 51: Nell Peters

Merry Christmas, Nell Peters!

SantaToymakerChairHow would you describe your Christmas in only three words? 

Nell: Stressful. Expensive. Chaotic.

If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why?

Nell: The Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life was based on a short story, The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern. I would like to befriend Clarence Odbody, dob 1653, who was George Bailey’s guardian angel and learn more about him – when he’s not too busy showing George the error of his ways, of course. The year Clarence was born, the Taj Mahal was completed, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, and New Amsterdam (later New York City) was established. What was Clarence’s life like then as a clockmaker? Where did he live; what did he do apart from make clocks; did he have a family; how did he die? And why did it take him two hundred plus years to earn his wings?

If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be?

imagesNell: A Christmas Carol – can I be Scrooge? Because I like saying ‘bah humbug’.

Dead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve? 

Nell: I suppose all the takeaways would be closed? In that case, I’d grit my teeth and serve what the family have on Christmas Day – turkey, gammon, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and parsnips, Brussels, carrots, cinnamon swede, broccoli and all the usual sauces etc. I always buy at least one Christmas pudding, but generally we tend not to have that on the day, opting for something lighter – perhaps just mince pies with brandy butter and/or cream. To share this repast, I’d randomly invite P D James, Jean Jacques Rousseau (I wrote a thesis on him – complete nutter, so may provide the cabaret), Agatha Christie (I may have asked her last time), Karl Marx, Peter James, and any Accent author who will risk my cooking. Oh, and my friend Allison Pearson, as we are terminally bad at getting together.

If you had to write a Christmas themed story in your current genre, what would the title be?

Nell: Silent Fright.

What do you dislike the most about Christmas?

Nell: Where to start? I was in Tesco last Sunday (20th September) with a son, looking for BBQ coals – but the aisle where we expected to find that sort of thing was stacked high with chocolate Santas, those huge tins of sweeties that only seem to appear for Christmas, and other festive-type confectionaries. That’s a full three months before the great day! Though I don’t have a religious bone in my body, I really loathe the drawn-out commercialisation of what is essentially a spiritual celebration. As our four sons have grown up and found partners/had their own children we have evolved into a huge family. Typically from Christmas Eve onwards we have a house full of people for several days (knew we should have downsized when they all left!) Our anniversary is 23/12 (regularly forgotten!) and the youngest boy’s birthday 24/12, so it’s one whammy after another.
More than anything, I find Christmas to be a sad time. Despite my whinging, I do love having everyone around, but that happens at other times during the year as well – it’s mostly at Christmas, which is an emotive time anyway, that I really miss those who are no longer with us. And at Christmas, in a once-a-year attack of social conscience, I am also mindful of all the lonely people, the abused, the homeless and have-nots for whom the celebrations of others must inevitably reinforce awareness of their plight.

original_personalised-christmas-wine-boxFavourite festive word?

Nell: My favourite word for Christmas doesn’t change from the rest of the year: WINE (plenty of it, but not mulled.)

Nell Peters was in the Christmas chair.  Published by Accent Press.

Web: http://ow.ly/Tfitk

In The Chair 50: Jane Risdon

Welcome, Jane Risdon

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Jane:  Fast-paced, twisty, realistic.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nIf you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Jane: This is a hard one. Most of my characters are criminals and I am not gay, so having a relationship with the divine Ms B (Birdsong) is a no-go area. Having given it a lot of thought, I think I might well go for Ms Birdsong Investigates and her ex-lover and ex-MI6 partner, Michael Dante. He and she have had a long relationship which was rocky to begin when he was first seconded to MI5 for a series of operations, however, it quickly developed into a passionate and mutually respectful partnership, which ended violently when Ms B was ‘voluntarily’ retired from The Service when an operation they were involved in, went belly-up. She ended up in rural Ampney Parva with time on her hands. He was sent to Moscow.
Michael is confident, ruthless, and devious. He is drop dead gorgeous, but knows it, with a wicked glint in his eye. He loved to tease her, they rowed passionately and often, but he always knew if it came down to it, she’d have his back and he would (and almost has, many times) die for her. In-spite of his seeming arrogance, he is really down to earth and fun, but deadly serious about his work. I like him a lot and I guess if I had to tangle with one of my characters, it would be him; though DCI Luke Wareham would be an understudy.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

image1Jane: Difficult one. I’m not sure if I’d last five minutes in one of my crime/thrillers, unless I had the training and skills Lavinia Birdsong has. I’ve spent my life in music in a mainly male world, and I can get into a young male musician’s head so well having babysat so many of them, for decades, so I’d have to exist as a central character in one of my music related stories, such as Only One Woman – co-written with Christina Jones and scheduled for publication January 2016. I might like to be Scott, the lead guitarist in Narnia’s Children, as he manages to have two young women madly in love with him, whilst playing the field with all the ‘groupies,’ he can handle, and enjoying all the benefits at the expense of the two love-struck women closest to him. That might be fun – I’d get the slim hips and turquoise eyes! For once this is not a crime/thriller so I would get out alive unlike some of the women in my books, who don’t. A week on tour with Scott, possibly in Switzerland, hob-nobbing with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, or in other exotic places in the late 1960s, with all that he experienced back then, might be fun to try. What could be more exciting than the Swinging Sixties and all that conjures up!

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

powderham-castle-ph-rinuskool

Jane: Oh God! Where to start. I hope I can have a huge dinner party (I always love them the most), in a very old castle with enormous grounds. It would be a summer evening and the garden and banqueting rooms would flow into each other. The grounds would be lit by lighting designers, and fountains would gently tinkle as a background to the conversations. We’d have piped music by various guests playing not too loudly so people can’t hear. Some guests might even get up and perform when the Port and Cheese is served later on. It would be a buffet, so my guests could move around freely, chatting, eating, drinking and sitting in the gardens, or in the deep sofas and armchairs dotted around the rooms. Chill out zones would be set aside for the older guests or those wanting a breather. No smoking would be the rule.
I’d serve Crystal champagne and other fine wines. There’d be Oysters, with an ice sculpture centre-piece on the main table, with every shell fish imaginable, lobster and caviar. A selection of meats and sausages, cheeses from all over the world, a variety of vegetarian and vegan foods, as well as lots of salads; hot and cold, and huge variety of fresh bread and rolls. Wild boar would be roasting with jacket potatoes, outside on the terrace. Deserts would be plentiful including fresh fruit and sorbet; ice creams from Italy. Desert wines would be offered. Guests would be served by waiting staff, though they could help themselves from a bar with every alcoholic or other beverage they could wish for. My kind of entertaining.
BeatlesLet’s see, guests: I’d have to have Professor Brian Cox, Stephen Hawkin, Patrick Moore, Carl Sagan, Einstein – I love their intellect and knowledge and I can drive them mental with all my questions. Leonard Da Vinci too – what a brain and talent. I’d love Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen with former MI5 Chief, Dame Stella Rimmington, to be there, as well as Peter James, Peter Robinson, Michael Connolly, Jeffrey Deaver, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsythe. Oh and I can’t forget Doris Day, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone. Also Elvis Presley, Katherine Hepburn, Margaret Rutherford, Howard Keel and David Niven. There’d be Alan J Lerner, Rogers, Hart, and Hammerstein, Irvin Berlin and both Gershwins. The Bee Gees, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, and The Beatles, but John would have to keep a low profile. Aretha Franklin, Whitney, and Maria Carey too. I would love to chat with Prince Charles so he would be there too. Dress would be for cocktails.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Jane: Well I write mainly crime but I have also wandered into ghost stories and what I call, observational humour. Only One Woman is leaning towards romance and I never thought I’d write a romance. I am not a romantic person. I enjoy observing the world and writing humour, and I think I’d love to write more; so I shall say humour.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Jane: I love writing provided technology works. But really I just want to think my stories and they appear. I hate the physical writing by hand/typing. I dislike editing and although having my work edited is fraught with stress for me, I’d glad of an editor. I just wish I didn’t have to do any of it. I hate checking everything endlessly after I’ve written anything – I should be used to going over and over things because in the recording studio that is just what you do…forever and ever and….! I guess record companies and publishers etc. have all left their scars…and I was the manager, not the artist!

Favourite word? Jane: Discombobulated.

Jane Risdon was in the chair, contributing author to several short story compilations. Published by Accent Press.

10403564_722179331202241_6746167928955039087_n 

Web: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

In The Chair 48: Alaina Drake

Welcome, Alaina Drake.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Alaina: Driven by characters.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

11377274_846296885454623_8396144851526442251_nAlaina: I would like to have a friendship with Hannah, my heroine in Forbidden Touch. When I set out to write this book, I wanted to create a female character that women would like. In so much of contemporary romance, I find the heroines to be difficult to relate to. Either they have hard edges with not enough compassion or self-actualization, or they are waifs who are led around by their lust. All women can point to their favorite “book-boyfriends,” the guys of romance novels that grace the covers with their rock-hard abs and those delicious jeans that hang from those narrow hips. We’ve all read them; we’ve all loved them to a certain degree. But when I ask fellow women readers to name their favorite heroine, they stumble. Why is that? Are women more inherently critical of other women? Do we read romances only for the heroes or do we truly value the transformation of a strong yet vulnerable woman? Why is it that so many women have trouble relating to romance heroines? Is it a problem if we don’t? I wanted to explore those questions, and as I wrote Hannah in Forbidden Touch, I fell in love with her for her strength, her ability to laugh, her courage late in the book (something that really surprised me when it happened), and so much more. She was a heroine that I could see as a friend of mine, and that’s what spurred me to write a four book series that centers around Hannah and her friendship with three other women.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Alaina: In Forbidden Touch, there is a scene where Hannah and Beckett meet for the first time. I would really like to see the look in his eyes as Hannah comes onto him. I want to see her confidence as she approaches him, something that rarely happens in contemporary romances. I find the electricity of the first meeting to be the most difficult to write because I struggle with the words to communicate the attraction between them. I would love to be a “fly on the wall” in that room when they first meet if only to say “yep, that’s what I thought it looked like.”

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Alaina Drake - Head Shot (2)Alaina: I’m going to show my English Professor roots here. My master’s degree is in nineteenth-century literature, so I would probably invite Jane Austen for her wit and dialogue, Walt Whitman for his lyricism, Mark Twain for his humor, and Kate Chopin for her symbolism. Hmmm…I just noticed I invited two men and two women…I truly am a romance writer at heart! I would serve pizza from a local pizza place because I’m a terrible cook. But, I could pair an amazing wine with the pizza—let’s say a crisp Riesling to start us out!

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Alaina: I would love to write a play someday. I studied Shakespeare extensively, and although I would never claim to have a fraction of his genius, he made me fall in love with plays. I love the idea that I’d get to write the spoken word—that people would interact with my writing in a much different way than flipping through the pages of a book. I would love to see how the actors and actresses interpreted the writing, and I would love to get away with no more dialogue tags! Hooray!

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Alaina: This is my first novel, so the process of querying and finding the right match is still fresh in my mind. I am a sensitive person who needed to get a tougher skin for this business, and I had to develop it quickly. I was shocked by the lack of personal responses, the lack of responses at all sometimes, but I’m forever grateful that my editor at Accent Press saw the potential in a new author. The payoff so far has been worth all the heartache of querying.

Favourite word? Alaina: Apolmb—the world doesn’t have enough of it.

Alaina Drake was in the naughty chair, author of: Forbidden Touch; releasing September 25th 2015. 

11893789_961365713884951_7304515268893249694_o

Published by Accent Press.

Web: http://ow.ly/SjXtV

Authors: Fancy pulling out a chair? Send your answers to the same set of questions with a profile pic and one web link to jan@janruth.com

In The Chair 41: Marie Laval

Welcome, Marie Laval.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Marie: Romantic. Evocative. Suspenseful.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Marie: Tricky question! I love all my heroes. They all have a strong sense of duty and they are all haunted by some terrible event from their past, but I have a particular weakness for Hugo Saintclair, the hero of ANGEL HEART, because he was my very first…

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Marie: I would slip into THE LION’S EMBRACE, and I would simply have to be Harriet Montague, my heroine, to experience first-hand the beauty and magic of North African landscapes.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

MarieLaval (2)Marie: It would be a Franco-British affair, and all my guests would have to be recalled from the ‘Otherworld’. For the French side, I would invite comedian Raymond Devos, poet Jacques Prévert, and writers Colette and Isabelle Ebehardt. For the English side, I would ask Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde and Emily Brontë. I would serve one very large dish of chicken couscous so that I don’t have to get up all the time and miss out on the wonderful conversation.  For pudding we would have exotic fruit salad and French pâtisseries.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Marie: I love writing romances, both contemporary and historical, but if I had the talent for it I would be a poet or a song-writer. In a few words, they can conjure feelings and images that stay with you forever.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Marie: The realisation later on in my story that my plot isn’t working or that I have forgotten something very important. That stems from my inability to plan ahead and is entirely my fault. When I start a new story I resolve to plan and plot more, but then I get carried away and it never happens.

Favourite word?

Marie: I love North-African words my mother, who was born and brought up in Algeria, used all the time. My all-time favourite has to be ‘scoumoune’. Basically it means ‘bad luck’, something to be very much feared and that you can attract or catch like a disease!

Marie Laval was in the chair, author of: A Spell in Provence, The Lion’s Embrace & Angel Heart.

11781818_889610117788847_6830231261362944756_n

Web: http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

In The Chair 34: Sophie Croft

Welcome, Sophie Croft

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Sophie: Fantasy. Fairy tale. Absorbing.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Sophie: The kraken; communicating non verbally with a cephalopod would be a fantastic experience!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Sophie: Indigo’s Deep. I’d like to be the mysterious sea witch.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Sophie: Arthur C Clark, Maya Angelou, Heinrich Harrer, Isabel Allende, Oscar Wilde, Ursula Le Guin, Shakespeare, Anne Frank. Lots of vegetarian Indian dishes.

Sophie Croft
Sophie Croft

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Sophie: Historical. Bringing history alive through a good story is such a magical and worthwhile thing to do.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Sophie: What sitting at the keyboard does to my body.

Favourite word? Sophie: Believe

Sophie Croft was in the chair: Author of ‘Indigo’s Dragon, published by Accent Press.

Blog: https://croftdragon.wordpress.com/

Indigo's Dragon Book Cover

In The Chair 33: Edward Ruadh

Welcome, Edward Ruadh Butler.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Edward: Normans. Celts. Vikings.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Edward: I’m working on a new book called Lord of the Sea Castle at the moment. Set in summer 1170, one of the main characters is called Alice of Abergavenny. While based on a historical figure (and has no familial connection to me!) she really is entirely fictional. She knows what she wants and is determined to get it despite being born into a society that increasingly wants to take position and influence away from her. Also, this Welsh lass is good with an axe and a bit of a looker!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Edward: In Swordland my main character, Robert FitzStephen, builds a motte and bailey castle just north of Wexford (the site can still be visited at the Irish National Heritage Park). In the book he predicts that a castle can be finished in a week and I, history geek that I am, would love to see if it could actually be accomplished. So a week spent working all day in the twelfth century sunshine and drinking into the night would be marvellous.

Edward Ruadh Butler (15)

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Edward: I make a mean prawn curry, but I’m afraid my culinary expertise stops there. Drinks a-plenty to make up for that failing! I’m already picturing a medieval feasting hall so Gerald of Wales will have to be the first guest I invite. Daniel Defoe, Roald Dahl, Alexandre Dumas, Patrick O’Brian, and Robert Louis Stevenson would keep even Gerald in good humour, I would imagine. I’ll also throw in Wilde and his Café Royal chums as they would be a hoot. All the Accent Press writers would get invites too! And so would the members of the Historical Writers’ Association. Ply everyone with drinks, encourage them to eat too much and see what happens!

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Edward: Disregarding ability to do so, I’d love to have a bash at the crime genre. I was introduced to Henning Mankell’s books by Anthony J. Quinn (author of Disappeared) a few years ago and loved them. I think that the crime genre is a great backdrop for the study of society today as you are forced to take a hard look at those the detective is investigating, and to uncover their motivations, desires and fears to make the story plausible.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Edward: The alone time.

 Favourite word? Edward: Converse

Edward Ruadh Butler was in the chair: Author of  Swordland.

Published by Accent Press.

Web: https://www.facebook.com/ruadhbutler?fref=ts

FB ad image new JPEG

In The Chair 28: Kay Jaybee

Welcome, Kay Jaybee.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Kay: Dark, sexy, relatable.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Kay: It would have to be John the courier from Not Her Type – he is very much my type. I’ll say no more…

sized- 711x430

 If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Kay: I’d never last a whole week in one of my books! But if I dared to try, I’d be a voyeur on the sidelines of The Perfect Submissive Trilogy. I am not brave enough for anything else! Perhaps I’d be a waitress in the Fables Hotel, where the trilogy is set. I’d make sure Mrs Peters, the manageress, didn’t spot me watching her though!

 Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Kay: The Marquis de Sade! Think of all the material he could share. His outlook, although a little frightening, and certainly flawed, was revolutionary- and honest. Probably far too honest.
I’d feed him a good old British roast! Can you imagine the reaction?

 If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Kay: I already write contemporary fiction and children’s fiction (as Jenny Kane), but I would love to branch out into thrillers as well. The way people think has always fascinated me. There is endless material in considering why some people act on their baser desires, and some don’t. Much of my erotica teeters towards the psychological mystery genre. I am keen to expand the darker side of my work, and create a twisted thriller where people keep their clothes on!

11377274_846296885454623_8396144851526442251_n

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Kay: The assumption that erotica is an easy option.

Favourite word?

Kay: Unbuttoning

Kay Jaybee was in the naughty chair: Author of  The Perfect Submissive Trilogy, The VoyeurMaking Him Wait, A Sticky Situation, Digging DeepNot Her Type & The Collector.

Published by Accent Press.

Web: www.kayjaybee.me.uk 

10273365_718290818235691_795831358646048949_o