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Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley #Review

  I an delighted to be part of the celebrations for Phillipa Ashley's Summer novel, Second Chance Summer which was published by Penguin on June 6th. From the moment Lily Harper arrives at a remote retreat on the breath-taking Scilly Isles, she is itching to get back to civilisation - and her thriving business. Slowing Down simply isn't in her vocabulary, and so she quickly clashes with the gorgeous but dour Sam who runs the retreat. Just as Lily is about to give up and leave, disaster strikes, and she is involved in an incident that changes her perspective on everything. Lily is no longer sure she wants to return to the life she thought she loved. But will she have the courage to give the retreat, and Sam, a second chance? Praise for the Author ‘Full of genuine warmth and quirky characters’   Woman’s Own ‘Filled with warm and likeable characters. Great fun!’ Jill Mansell ‘Utterly glorious … one of the freshest voices to emerge in women's fiction today’   Cl

Meet the Author- Kate Murdoch

It's fantastic to introduce to you today, Kate Murdoch, whose debut historical fantasy novel, Stone Circle,is due out this month. 

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Kate.

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?
I exhibited as a painter for fourteen years and although I loved it, and still paint, I found it quite isolating. Artists are less community oriented than writers. As a painter, you’re also never sure what people make of your work, other than from people who buy it and galleries. I sometimes stood behind those who were viewing my work, hoping to hear what they thought. With writing the feedback is more accessible. Seven years ago, quite unexpectedly, I dreamt of a character and was compelled to write about him. Eight months later, I had a supernatural thriller. There was some interest from a publisher, and I was asked to do a redraft, but in the end it didn’t go ahead.  I was disappointed, but knew I needed to persevere. I then wrote ‘Stone Circle’ and joined a review website, ‘Authonomy’, run by Harper Collins. I posted some chapters of ‘Stone Circle,’ and it rose to a high position in the rankings. It was featured as ‘One to Watch’ by the editors and received a ‘People’s Choice’ award. Around that time my short fiction began to be published by online journals and magazines. On the strength of these publications and ‘Stone Circle’s performance on Authonomy, I landed an agent. A year later, I was offered a contract with Fireship Press, based in the US.
What is your favorite childhood book?
The Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton. Hands down.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I often have an idea of my larger themes and the main points in the narrative, but it’s challenging sometimes to break this down and make a coherent story. As in, the smaller plot points that get you to the larger ones. Characterization is also so important, but difficult because you want to create characters that are multilayered and three dimensional, and this often takes place as I write them and they interact with other characters. They come alive.
Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do to break its spell?  
Yes, I often experience writer’s block. I fall back on my research to try and spark some momentum, take a break or watch movies from the time period. I find reading other novels also helps because the prose inspires me.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?  
I read both fiction based in the same time period and/or location, read non-fiction books, watch movies set in the period and do a lot of internet research. I spend at least a few months before I start and it continues as long as I’m writing the book.
Where were you when you heard your first book was going to be published? How did you celebrate? 
I was with my family and we were celebrating my son’s ninth birthday. I spent the day traipsing over rope ladders high in the trees and on fast-moving zip-lines - tree surfing, which was his activity of choice. We had a quick champagne and toast before continuing to his birthday dinner. So I had to take second place.
Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.
‘Stone Circle’ is the story of Antonius who wins a competition to be apprenticed to the town seer in 16th century Italy, along with the son of a nobleman. There is intense rivalry between the two men, both for the attention of the seer and the affection of his daughter as they learn about magic rituals and alchemy. It’s a coming of age story, exploring themes of class and spiritual growth.

Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. She has also completed another novel The Orange Grove about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France.

Book LinksAmazon   |  Amazon Australia    |  Book Depository
   |  Booktopia   |  Kobo   |Barnes and Noble  |  iBooks

About the Author

Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally and was a finalist in a number of prize shows before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.

Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

You can follow Kate here: Author page  |  Blog  |  Facebook
   |  Twitter   |  Instagram   |  Pinterest


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