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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

Meet the Author: Stephen Clark

I an happy to be welcoming author, Stephen Clark to Books, Life and Everything today. Stephen's latest crime thriller, Hands Up was published  on September 28th 2019 by WiDo Publishing.

Welcome, Stephen! Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I’m a former award-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times and I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and now live in North Jersey with my wife and two kids. I began writing my debut novel, Citizen Kill, in 2013, after the Obama Administration declared a year earlier that it was constitutional for the government to kill U.S. citizens overseas without any judicial review if they were deemed a terrorist threat. The declaration came after a U.S. drone attack killed an American-born Muslim cleric in the Arabian Peninsula. Citizen Kill, a political thriller published in 2017, explores the dangers of Islamophobia through a government conspiracy to end the War on Terror following an Inauguration Day bombing that kills the new president’s young son.

Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.

Hands Up follows three people who are on a collision course after a deadly police shooting spins their lives into chaos. Officer Ryan Quinn, on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male, embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to choose between conscience or silence. Jade Wakefield, an emotionally damaged college student who lives in one of the city’s worst neighborhoods, wants to find the truth and get revenge after learning that there’s more to her brother’s death than the official police account. Kelly Randolph, a reformed criminal who returns to his hometown to mourn the death of his son ten years after abandoning his family, must try to keep his criminal past from derailing the family’s pursuit of justice.    

How difficult was writing your second book- did having one published change how you went about it?

In some ways, writing Hands Up was more difficult than writing Citizen Kill. While Citizen Kill presented several unique challenges, including the portrayal of the nation’s first female president grappling with the death of her child, they didn’t quite rise to the level of examining race relations in America through the eyes of three very different characters. But unlike Citizen Kill, in which I relied on much improvisation to complete, I knew how Hands Up would end from the get-go. That made the overall writing process less nerve-wracking.    

Were there any scenes which you had to edit out of your book which you still hanker after?

No. But my initial editor, who did an excellent job of editing my debut novel, abandoned Hands Up early on over creative differences. While I was willing to accept some of her edits, we ultimately split over her suggested revisions to the speech and portrayal of certain black characters. This editor wanted everyone to speak the King’s English, regardless of their background. But I saw that as a bridge to a world I didn’t recognize. While that may work for science fiction and fantasy, I believed this story should be as authentic as possible, no matter how controversial the subject matter.     

Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned?

My next book will focus on the search for a missing girl in the Deep South and feature a deaf female protagonist.

 Thanks so much for telling us all about your writing and plans for the future. 

About the Author

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and two kids.

You can follow Stephen here:  Twitter  |  Website  |  Facebook 

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Amazon US |  Goodreads

Book Spotlight 

 Hands Up follows three protagonists from different worlds who are on a collision course after a deadly police shooting spins their lives into chaos. 

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he fatally shoots an unarmed black teen. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases, and choose between conscience or silence.

Jake Wakefield, an emotionally damaged college student who lives in one of the city's worst neighborhoods, knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. But when she learns there's more to the story than the official police account, she grows determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened and get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to his hometown broke and broken after abandoning his family 10 years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he's thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family's pursuit of justice.  
I will be reviewing Hands Up on March 2nd. See you then!


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