Well I see I haven't done a blog since January this year when I interviewed the actor/film director Louis Herthum. He's a lovely fella and we both enjoyed the chat.
So how have you all been? Oh wait I'll just put my ear defenders on... Doh de dah de dum... Ok that's done, so who wants to start? While you're chatting away among yourself I'm going to interview Ann Thomas a debut author on the block.
Here's her photo but I'll let her tell you all about herself....
Who is Ann Thomas?
Good question. I often ask myself the same thing. I am a retired Reception teacher. To me it was the most fantastic job and suited me down to the ground. Now though, I spend my time writing, working in my local museum, or going on holiday. I’ve recently come back from Italy where I visited Pompeii, Herculaneum and a few other historical sights. Amazing. When I’m not doing any of these, I enjoy being mum and cooking for my son and his girlfriend when they come to visit.
Where do you live in the world?
I was born in London, near to Hampstead Heath, never dreaming I’d ever leave. Then when I got married we bought a house in Kent close enough to the coast to go whenever the urge takes me, which is usually at least once a week.
Hobbies – apart from writing
I love to walk. Having said that, I do not walk for miles and miles with a rucksack on my back and staff in my hand. I am not a rambler and don’t belong to any clubs. I simply walk or stroll for the love of it. Books are my next passion. I am not a TV addict, so most evenings you can find me curled up with a good book. I am also keen on gardening, but only when the weather suits me, definitely I am a fair weather gardener.
I don’t have any pets. We used to have a gorgeous black and white labrador/collie called Duke, named, by my son, after the Duke of Wellington because he had four white paws that looked like wellies.
He lived to the age of thirteen and it broke my heart when he left us.
What do you do to chill out Ann?
I think I’m pretty well chilled to start with. I quite enjoy a G&T or glass of vino, but apart from that…
Do you work at all voluntary or otherwise?
I am a voluntary steward in the museum and get to meet some incredibly interesting people. Most folk have a tale to tell and can relate to some of the artifacts we have on display. Apart from the museum, I am one of a group of volunteers who read the local newspaper for the blind. We meet every month and record the news which is then sent out to about a hundred or so homes in this part of Kent. http://ashfordmuseum.org.uk/index.html
Tell me about your book and what led up to it?
When did you first started writing.
Work in progress?
My book Janus came to life a few years ago. I was staying in a lovely old cottage in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, thick stone walls and a great beech tree growing in the garden. From my window I would often see the military helicopters fly over and I remembered a conversation I’d had with a girl I worked with. Her boyfriend was a soldier and had been to Afghanistan twice. When he returned the second time he was suffering from PTSD. Suddenly the setting, the military and the story of a survivor all clicked into place and Janus was born.
Although Janus is my first e-book, I have been writing and telling stories for as far back as I can remember, I won a prize in the London Essay Competition when I was ten. It was a story about a lion but I can honestly say I don’t remember anything else about it.
At the moment I am working on a sequel to Janus and am also in the middle of researching for a mid Victorian story.
About five years ago I wrote and recorded twenty-four audio short stories for children. Each one is based around a different letter of the alphabet and lasts between five and seven minutes. The reason they are just in audio form is to help children develop listening and imaginative skills, skills that many children lack these days.
If you could have any animal from time immemorial as a pet for long freezing days and nights, what would you choose and why?
I gave this question a great deal of thought. Initially I came up with the idea of having a woolly mammoth. Think about it. No having to get out of bed to reach things or get snacks, Mammy the mammoth would simply stretch out her trunk and bring me whatever, without me having to move an inch. As well as acting as my furry duvet, she could also transport me to the shops etc. while I stayed snug and warm. But then I thought of all the difficulties involved in re-enforcing my home. My house was not made for a heavy duty pet and none of the insurance companies would cover me. In the end I opted for a panda. They always look like they’re having fun and ready for a cuddle. So Pam the Panda it is.
Do you prefer heat OR cold?
I hate being cold. I don’t function well when my fingers are frozen and my nose is about to drop off. Having said that, if I followed my dream to live on a gorgeous, hot Caribbean island, surrounded by sparkling warm seas and swishing palm trees, I would desperately miss autumn mornings with jewel spangled webs glittering in the sun, or crunching around on frosty days. And what about snowmen? I’m sorry, I just can’t choose.
Fantasy holiday… Where would you choose to go if someone else was picking up the tab?
I have never been to Oceania, so if someone was kind enough to treat me, all expenses paid, here is where I’d like to go : First class flight to Sydney with a night at the opera and sight seeing, followed by whistle stop stays in the other big cities. Next board my host’s super ocean going yacht and cruise to the Pacific to visit Fiji, Tonga, Samoa Islands and all the others in between. Sail back to New Zealand to visit both islands followed by a flight(first class of course) to Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands. There donning a grass skirt and with a beautiful lei around my neck, I would learn to move my hips and hula with the best of them. Sadly it would then be time to depart and return home by top of the range Lear jet.
Favourite meal (hot and cold)?
A tricky question for me to answer. I like most things, but after a great deal of thought I have come up with: Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, white onion sauce, mint sauce, gravy and a selection of any vegetables except swede, turnip or kale. For dessert it would have to be my mum’s apple pie and custard. For cold I have selected a tuna nicoise, my favourite of all salads.
Favourite drink (hot and cold)?
Real hot chocolate-no marshmallows, no cream, just thick, delicious chocolate like the Swiss serve. My cold drink would have to be G&T with ice and lemon.
How hard do you find book promotion?
Any tips or hints you’ve found that were successful for you in promotion?
Find a friend who knows what they are doing and is willing to help.
Favourite genres to read and write?
I have eclectic reading tastes. I’m not keen on too much ‘chic lit’ there has to be action to keep me interested. I enjoy reading so many authors including Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Stephen Leather, Jeffrey Archer, Dean Koontz. For history I love Robert Harris and for my girlie moments I like Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, Victoria Hislop and Agatha Christie. I have recently come across TKGeering, she’s rather good too.
Links to books
Purchase Janus here
The Enchanted Empire
I'm about three quarters through Janus and enjoying it immensely.