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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.

The Single Best Thing by Elaine Spires #AuthorPost

I am delighted to welcome Elaine Spires to the blog today with some great advice for writers. Her novel, The Single Best Thing is released today, on 14th February. The sixth in her Singles series, you can read my reviews of others in the series here:  Single All the Way  |  Singles, Set and Match

First, here is a little about The Single Best Thing:  

Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?

Provoking smiles and tears this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion

Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Elaine! Now it's over to you!

A piece of advice new writers are often given is “Write about what you know.” 

This advice is sound and has given us some of the most amazing books and series of novels from people who are specialists or who have had a career in world they write about in their texts. 

The fabulous Tess Gerritsen whose books I devour is a prime example.  Although her first eight novels were romantic thrillers, she went on to use the expertise she gained through her degree in anthropology and then in medicine to write medical thrillers, including the fabulous pairing of homicide detective Jane Rizzoli with pathologist Dr Maura Isles.  Another firm favourite of mine is Kathy Reichs whose background as a forensic anthropologist is put to great use in her ‘Bones’ series, featuring Temperance Brennan her fictional forensic anthropologist. 

John Grisham practised Law for some ten years before publishing his first novel A Time To Kill.  Since then his forty novels, all with a setting in the legal world, have sold more than three hundred million copies worldwide.  Isn’t that amazing? 

So, as we can see, writing about what you know can sometimes prove to be extremely lucrative. 

On a far smaller scale when I started out I wrote about what I knew.  My first novel, What’s Eating Me, based on a stage play I’d performed on the London and Edinburgh Fringes, was about a compulsive/emotional eater.  While I hadn’t experienced being on a TV weight-loss programme, as a fat girl with an eating disorder I had experienced everything else that Eileen went through: other people’s prejudices, assumptions and insults and the difficulties that being a plus size can bring to everyday actions such as buying clothes. 

The Banjo Book One (Book Two will be out in the autumn) is based on a banjo (a pedestrianised cul-de-sac) in Dagenham during the 50s and 60s.  I grew up in Dagenham; I had an amazing childhood and I loved the place.  It was a working-class town with decent people who looked out for each other.  There were loads of parks and green spaces and we always felt safe playing out in the street.  So what if the majority worked at Fords?  Why should being a blue-collar worker of any kind be looked down upon?  I have always felt very proud of where I come from and protective of its reputation, so delving into fabulous childhood memories gave me the base for this book.

My thirteen years as a tour manager with a UK singles’ tour operator gave me the initial idea and a ready-made pool of resources for my Singles’ Series - of which The Single Best Thing is the sixth and final book - and for another novel Sweet Lady.  However, the six books contain many stories other than the tour manager Eve’s.  Each book tells the back story of most of the group, they are the stories within the story and this is where the writer’s greatest tool comes into play: imagination.

A writer needs an imagination.

There are thousands of writers who don’t write about what they know and yet their words keep us spellbound.  I think we can probably take it as read (no pun intended) that J K Rowling has never ridden a broomstick or walked through the wall at Kings Cross Station to Platform 9 3/4 for the Hogwarts Express.  Did Agatha Christie actually murder anyone?  I sincerely hope not.  And apparently the holder of the title of the English Language’s Greatest Playwright William Shakespeare never left these shores in spite of setting only two of his plays in England.

So, if you’re thinking about writing - a book, a play, a film script - let your imagination soar!  Think about all the amazing experiences you’ve only ever dreamed about and then get working on bringing them to your readers.

And a good Google here and there will help you enormously! 

What great advice, Elaine! Thank you so much for coming along today.

About the Author

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.
You can follow Elaine here: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Instagram

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Amazon US 
Thanks to Elaine Spires and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources  for a copy of the book and a place on the event.  


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