30 Oct 2014

Broom Stick to Cape Town

Hello my chickadees

Well I got the old nimbus 9 broomstick out of the cupboard and dusted it down ready for my flight to Cape Town. The pointy hat was perched on my head at a jaunty angle. I had my Nora Batty green striped wooly tights on, my buckled shoes were shiny and I was off with black cloak flapping in the wind. I got as far as the first star to Venus then I turned straight round and came back. I'd forgotten Pyewacket. He was not amused and growled at me as only cats can. After giving me an ear bashing he jumped on the broomstick and we started again. I'm sure he said "for goodness sake get a move on" or words to that effect. He has a flowery tongue when he's in a mood. So with his ears slicked back and my hat held on with my knicker elastic we were off. I prefer to travel by night it's quieter.

Stowed on the back in a holdall I had a change of clothes and cat food. Not everyone likes to be interviewed by a witch, It can be off putting I suppose. Pyewacket is bad enough when he gets a strop on. Anyways I was off to interview Elaina Davidson and at least it would be warm there. i love the heat. As I passed Hesperus the Evening Star I went into cruise control which gave me the opportunity to think about Elaina and the questions I'd prepared.

  • What makes her tick for instance? I knew that like me she loved time travel stories, and was a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. Her writing was inspired by her travels and dreams.
  • She was born and bred in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and school her children at home. Then they decided to live for some time in Ireland and then subsequently in New Zealand. At the end of the day her roots pulled her and the family back to South Africa. Elaina once mentioned that the vibrancy of Africa had a lot to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something was always going on whether it was something to shock or something to uplift. I was looking forward to seeing the diversity of nature itself which she assured me would fire my imagination.
  • I knew that her novels had started being written around 2002 which started out as children's stories and poetry and then expanded into larger works.
  • Then there was that lightbulb moment she spoke of. 

I slowed the broom down for a bit while I collected my thoughts. The more info I got straight in my head now, meant less work to do when I got there. Yes the lightbulb moment. What was that all about? Oh yes, something about The Infinity Mantle is the first LORE volume and is about Rayne being gathered to become something greater than he initially suspects. His journey had started as an unwilling sorcerer forced into action by the manipulations of an ancient enemy. 

I'd asked how Rayne's journey had come to light and it apparently happened when Elaina paged through a book on Alchemy, a dictionary of terms.She had wished that she could remember the author, to thank her for the proverbial light bulb moment. However she did recall the fourteen steps to alchemical perfection listed that started LORE’s creative process. To further add impetus to creativity, Elaina had a dream before the said light bulb moment and she was convinced, upon waking, she possessed those volumes penned while upon a dream mission ... she simply had to find them ... or write them.

Yikes...!! I was so intent on my thoughts that I almost head butted  a star. Anyway Elaina claims that is how her literary journey began and with her lovely family to support her it continued. I just needed to meet up with her in person, and confirm all these notes and with a bit of luck, learn how to share her vision.

 It was starting to get light now  as I glided down towards the scorched earth ready to land. Pyewacket started to get twitchy as he always does when we land. I'm ok going upwards but when I come down, I usually end up in an undignified heap. This time was no different. The hat was hanging round my neck by the knicker elastic, while the cloak was wrapped around my waist. I was in a right muddle. I yanked the cloak and hat off and changed toot suite into something more suitable. At least my bearings were correct and I was in the right place to meet Elaina.There she was marching towards me and as I looked around I could see what she meant by the diversity of nature and why she loved Africa so.

We got to know one another over a cold drink and then Elaina began to talk about her books. Boy was she animated. She almost bubbled with enthusiasm, so I left her to talk randomly.
"Ah my books yes, well there is my friend Thomas Henson which is a self published story, and I intend to write three more about him. Also I intend to put a new cover on the first one which I should have soon. Then there's The Infinity Mantle, The Kinfire Tree, The Drowned Throne, The Dragon Circle - the four Lore of Arcana books all published by Wild Wolf Publishing. Epic fantasy of course. The Lore of Arcana (Companion) is self published which are the extras for the aforementioned books.
Now we have the Thorstruck publications. There's The Tinsal Deck which was the first, then Lattice which is a collection of 14 stories. The Kallanon Scales is book one of Lore of Reaume. Then next will be The Nemisin Star, The Sleepers Sword and the Dreamer Stones which make up the fore Lore of Reaume books.

For once I stood there with my mouth open. So many books Elaina that's amazing. Then I took a picture of her for the write up whilst she was grinning wildly. I loved it - a gorgeous picture.

"So Elaina Can we have a look at some book covers and links please?"
"Yes of course Tee. Here ya go, links first."


FB Author Page


Book Pages:

Having gathered all the information I needed, I reluctantly left Elaina while I changed back to my flying clothes. Waving goodbye I loaded Pyewacket on the front of the Nimbus and took off homeward bound via the milky way. Not a good idea to fly too close to the sun at this time of the day.

Laters Potaters.

6 Oct 2014

The Shed Man and The Redhead

Hello my little chickadees

Patrick the Shed Man and Paula the Redhead invited me down to their gaff to do a bit of an interview with them.
I was a bit trepidatious about meeting the redhead as I had heard so much about her from Patrick. However this intrepid author/interviewer was not going to let red hair get in the way. I have lots of experience with the guy I work with. So with the local 'fuzz' on speed dial on my phone just in case, I began my journey to meet them.

Welcomed with open arms and a big smile from Paula put me on my guard for a start, but a nice cup of tea was waiting for me and I do love my cuppas. I enquired after Patrick but was told he was out in the garden somewhere. A cold chill went  down my back when I saw the expression on Paula's face. She casually twirled her hair in a butter wouldn't melt gesture but the eyes told me something quite different. Anyway having finished my tea I made my way down the garden to find Patrick whilst Paula busied herself inside.

Hidden from sight at the back of the garden was the infamous shed and of course curiosity got the better of me so I made my way over. OMG! there was Patrick pressed up against the window begging for release. He had his books wedged up against the window. The relief when he saw me was palpable and he began grinning manically.

I checked all around for the redhead but she was nowhere to be seen thank goodness, so I unlocked the shed ensuring that I took the key with me (who knows) Patrick was overjoyed to see me. Apparently he had cracked one of his terrible jokes and been locked in the shed until he saw the error of his ways.

"Tee thank goodness. Someone to talk to at last. I'm so glad we set up this interview today I could have been here indefinitely."

Settling down on an old chair (actually he had made it quite cosy in there if truth be told) I got him to tell me about his background and what started him writing.

Apparently he is a retired miner and antiques dealer - I love antiques but refrained from making the obvious remarks.  :-) He's never had any formal training in writing, however one morning he woke up and started to write 'Shakespeare's Cuthbert. It was entered on the Harper Collins Autonomy site and eventually got a gold star. Due to a lot of encouragement from there, the Cuthbert series emerged.

Like Patrick I still have friends from Authonomy years later.

Comedy is his genre and I can vouch for that having read and heard some of his jokes. Having seen the mess the serious people have made with their lives he is of the opinion that we all need an escape route and he will continuously taunt us with comedy until we give in and smile or at least giggle.

Then I asked Patrick where his characters came from (I've read some of the series and trust me they are hilarious). He explained they were basically an amalgam of all the people he had met and worked with over the years; also that a title should always suggest the content of the book, so that a potential reader can see the cover, read the title and pretty much know what to expect. The covers have been specifically designed to show that there are golden laughs within. You just need to open the book to enjoy them.

After we discussed the beautiful garden and then the redhead for a while, I asked Patrick if he had any favourite parts in the Cuthbert series. Yes he had! It was the references to ancestors.

Apparently.... Cuthbert has a best friend named Percy who is a red haired self- proclaimed gardener, anyone who isn’t a gardener is declared ‘Non compost mentis’ by him. According to Percy, his ancestors have influenced many of the major events in history. For instance, he has revealed that Noah was a racist bigot who would only take two of his family because they had red hair. :-)

Whilst the family squabbled over who should go, the Ark sailed. Promptly grabbing a passing albatross, the family reached the high ground in Norway and began the Viking race. This is why the albatross is considered unlucky by the rest of civilisation. The Vikings were thoroughly misunderstood. Their boats were only made that shape so that they could transport cucumbers from Norway and the hoards of cash and treasure were the result of selling vegetables to the monks in the North of England.

Patrick considers his comedy to be thoroughly old fashioned in that anyone can read it without being offended. His books have been compared to Tom Sharpe and Terry Pratchett which is great and even Wodehouse has been mentioned. Oddly enough he has never read Wodehouse but remembers a very early Jeeves and Wooster on black and white TV. 
I love Jeeves and  Bertie Wooster and Aunt Agatha and all. Talking of TV evidently they haven't had a TV set for over fifteen years which is a huge advantage because they use the time for writing and there is no danger of inadvertently copying something from a programme only half heard. (True enough.)
I think the lack of food and drink was getting to Patrick because he started to go into his own little world... 
I am a great reader and have always been, I found Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall fascinating, it was like entering Thomas Cromwell’s home and sitting by the hearth observing him and his family. Wilbur Smith was always a great storyteller. I will read fact or fiction depending on my mood at the time. 
I started to doze in the comfortable chair as he reminisced about his reading preferences, then I was suddenly bolt upright wide awake. Paula had pushed open the door of the shed and had been outside listening. Patrick changed track.....

The greatest influence on my life is my beautiful wife Paula, (Aka the redhead) even though she has been in a wheelchair for most of our married life she has edited my books, won gardening competitions, cooked, cleaned, raised funds for The British Heart Foundation and provided the stable base that I need. She is fiercely independent (Latin for a terrible patient) and drives her mobility scooter like Basil Brush on speed. She has just been warned by town centre security to slow down but the real police think she’s great.

You know what? I could suddenly see the real love between these two as they gazed at one another lovingly. I suddenly felt like the proverbial gooseberry. I began to get the feeling that the locking in the shed was purely propaganda for my benefit. 
I asked Patrick about links to the books whilst still keeping one eye on the redhead just in case there was any sudden movement but all was good.
"The three links below are for e-books and three more books have been submitted." said Patrick and Paula almost in unison.
Shakespeare’s Cuthbert                       http://mybook.to/Cuthbert1
Cuthbert How Mean is my Valley       http://mybook.to/Cuthbert2
Cuthbert Tee for Two in the Valley     http://mybook.to/Cuthbert3
I finished up the interview with Patrick, as Paula backed up her motorised scooter. With Patrick beside her and me trailing behind we walked up towards the house for a well earned cuppa.
Maybe Paula wasn't the tyrant Patrick makes out she is after all :-)

Laters Potaters