Posted in books, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Michael Gallagher

Michael is another one of those amazing writers I’ve met thanks to Twitter. He is a powerhouse of historical knowledge and even runs a regular quiz online. Here’s more about him.

Sue: Tell us about your writing journey. How did it start?

Michael: Twenty-odd years ago I hurt my back very badly, and for some months it seemed unlikely I’d be able to return to teaching. What could I possibly do instead, I wondered? And the ridiculous notion of writing a novel was the only thing that came to mind. My first attempts were awful, but I could recognize what I was doing wrong and took delight in improving my style.

Four years later I had a novel, which an acquaintance at HarperCollins kindly sent to be read by their children’s department (she thought it was a children’s book; I’m not quite sure why). A few months later (it always takes much longer than you expect) I got my first ever rejection letter:

“It is at the very least extremely good, and quite possibly exceptional. I’m not totally au fait with the genre, but this book certainly stacks up well against John Harwood’s The Ghostwriter and Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, both of which I have read and enjoyed.

“But … I really don’t think this is a children’s book—it’s highly sophisticated and complicated, and deals with very adult themes of betrayal, murder, familial conflict and loss. More Wilkie Collins than The Diamond of Drury Lane, in other words. It’s definitely not a HarperCollins children’s book.”

For a rejection letter, that’s pretty awesome! They suggested I find myself a literary agent, which took me another four years to achieve, a junior agent at David Higham Associates in London, who died tragically soon after taking me on. Since no one else at the firm was prepared to represent me, and I was exhausted by the whole process, I threw in the towel. For two years I did nothing…until a friend with a Kindle suggested I try self-publishing. I had two novels by this point, and spent the next three years editing and polishing them both. I released them in 2013, and Seventh Rainbow Publishing was born.

Sue: Tell us about your latest book and what inspired its creation.

Michael: Since 2013 I’ve been writing a series of whodunnits based on a character from Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone. He’s a fourteen-year old boy called Gooseberry (real name Octavius Guy), who fancies himself a detective. In the first one (The Case of the Thieving Maharajah) he foils a kidnapping plot against Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of Lahore.

The fourth and latest instalment was inspired by a certain reference to a Reverend Allatson Burgh, one-time resident of Hampstead, whose name I came across whilst researching the previous book in the series. All it said of him was that he was so hated by his parishioners that they petitioned Queen Victoria to remove him from his post. She refused. What had Burgh done that was wrong? And why—if he was so very hateful—had he been appointed in the first place?

It turns out that his parishioners had no say in his appointment. At the time, the right to appoint could be bought and sold, and could end up in the hands of people who lived hundreds of miles from the parish.

I began to imagine a community that had built its own church, only to find themselves lumbered with a clergyman they never wanted nor asked for. Enter young Gooseberry to dig up dirt on the man but, before he can, the rector is found murdered with his face battered to a pulp. 

Sue: What is your writing process like? And do you follow any writing rituals?

Michael: It varies from book to book. The first in the Gooseberry series was written on the fly, for instance, with one chapter per week which I’d immediately publish on my blog at Goodreads. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry!

Generally, though, it begins with a germ of an idea, and then comes a ton of research to find appropriate settings and background material for the novel. Gooseberry has large number of friends who are already fleshed out, but each new case brings with it new characters—some minor, some fairly major—all of whom need names and quirks, their own patterns of speech, professions, and back-stories.

I need to know, preferably before I start writing, who kills whom and why…and why it’s not apparent to all and sundry. It’s not as easy as it sounds. My readers are often seasoned armchair detectives who can spot the guilty party a mile away. I find it helps to compile a list of questions and puzzles which the reader is invited to solve. Some will be easy to guess at; the others less so. I try to find at least one question (even if it’s a very small thing) that no one will get…despite leaving obvious clues.

When I do start writing, I write in the morning, every morning, aiming for a daily total of 500 words. Sometimes I manage it. Sometimes I don’t.

Sue: What’s the best part of being a writer? And what are the challenges?

Michael: The best part used to be getting reviews. I still love getting reviews, but I’ve discovered that getting to know my readers is even better. I love how social media allows that to happen. I have even met up with one chap in real life: George, who runs #1PMChat. It turns out they’re a really interesting and very generous bunch.

As for the challenges, there’s that moment when you’re editing and you despair of ever getting the text to flow convincing enough so you no longer feel as if you are reading; you’re there with the narrator who is simply whispering in your ear. My novels are noted for this but, trust me, it doesn’t come easy.

Sue: Time for a quick fire round.

Your current read…

Michael: A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson; he’s turned Agatha Christie into his protagonist

Sue: Your favourite fictional hero…

Michael: Cormoran Strike

Sue: Your favourite fictional heroine…

Michael: Robin Ellacott

Sue: Coffee or tea?

Michael: Tea

Sue: Ebook, paperback or audio book?

Michael: Paperback!

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Michael: I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter! You’ll find me there @seventh7rainbow.

Sue: Haha! Sounds just like me.

So what can your readers expect from you next?

Michael: Octavius Guy and the Case of the Recalcitrant Corpse!

Sue: Good luck!

All of Michael’s novels are FREE at the moment! Get them here:

Posted in books, Fiction

Book Spotlight for “Along Came a Spyder” by Apeksha Rao


Are your Spidey senses tingling?

At 17, Samira Joshi has only one dream in life. She wants to be a spy.
And why not? 
Spying runs in the Joshi genes.
Her great-grandmother was famous for sticking her nose in everyone’s business. Her
grandmother had a flourishing side-business of tracking down errant husbands and missing servants. Her parents are elite intelligence agents for RAW.
Yet, they want their only daughter to become a doctor.
When she sees a college friend being trapped by a pimp, Samira does some spying of her own, and discovers the existence of a secret sisterhood of teen spies — The Spyders. And, she wants in!
The question is, do they want her?

To find out, read this fast-paced, gripping YA novel by brand new author, Apeksha Rao.

About the Author

Apeksha Rao fell in love with words very early in life. While other kids of her age were still learning to spell, she was already reading her older brother’s books and comics. She wrote her first story at the age of seven and submitted it to Tinkle, a popular children’s magazine.
Writing took a backseat, as she established a thriving medical practice. But Apeksha rekindled her love affair with words, while on maternity leave. She would tap away at her keyboard while rocking her twin babies to sleep, as sleep deprivation stimulated her dormant creativity. She wrote numerous short stories, that she published on her blog.

In addition to Along Came A Spyder, she has written The Itsy Bitsy Spyder, a prequel novella to the Spyders series. She is now a full-time writer.

Buy the book here:

Posted in books, Fiction, writers

Book Spotlight for “Nest of Ashes” by G. Lawrence


October 1537

At a time of most supreme triumph, the moment of her greatest glory, security and power, a Queen of England lies dying.

Through dreams of fever and fantasy, Jane Seymour, third and most beloved wife of King Henry VIII remembers her childhood, the path forged to the Tudor Court; a path forged in flame and ashes. Through the fug of memory, Jane sees herself, a quiet, overlooked girl, who to others seemed pale of face and character, who discovered a terrible secret that one day would rain destruction upon her family.

Nest of Ashes is Book One in The Phoenix Trilogy: Story of Jane Seymour, by G. Lawrence.

About the Author

G. Lawrence is an indie author of Historical Fiction and Fantasy, concentrating on the stories of women in the Tudor and Medieval periods of British history. Through detailed descriptive writing, using first person perspective, G. Lawrence draws the reader into the world of the past, offering a glimpse into the lives of women of history 

Get your copy of Nest of Ashes here:

Posted in books

Book Spotlight for “With Their Love” by Vash Karuppa


Mahika Raj and Aruven Sriram had one thing in common: the marriage between her best friend, Samiksha and his brother, Theviyan. They haven’t spent much time together in the past, but their lives take a turn and become irrevocably entwined when tragedy strikes. An accident killing Samiksha and Theviyan leaves their four-year old daughter, Pravani, orphaned. Mahika and Aruven are forced to accept joint guardianship and live together for six months, knowing it’s the only way to ensure Pravani’s emotional well-being and help her cope with the sudden death of her parents.

Mahika and Aruven work hard to navigate through their newfound roles and form an unexpected bond. They are unconditionally supported by their family and circle of friends, not realising how, even in death, Theviyan and Samiksha ensured that these bonds are strengthened and treasured. 

Although Mahika once vowed to keep her distance from Aruven, the sight of him with his orphaned niece melts her resolve. She can’t help but imagine a future together with Aruven and Pravani, especially as his steadfast beliefs on not wanting to marry, and have a family slowly start to disintegrate. Just as this future feels within reach, her hopes and dreams are shattered by unforeseen circumstances.

Will Aruven and Mahika be able to overcome the challenges they face and build a new future as a real family together? 


“Papi, why don’t you kiss Citti when you come home and go to work?” Pravani’s question stunned Mahika, causing the glass bowl she was rinsing to drop while Aruven looked dumbstruck.

“Ummm, what? Kiss Citti?”

“Yes. Papa always kissed mummy.”

“Ummm, mummies and papas do that peanut.” Aruven seemed to have gotten over his initial shock and now looked amused.

“But papa said we need to kiss one another whenever we say hello or goodbye to someone. Fwom now on you need to kiss Citti.

“There’s no need for that sweetie.” Mahika stuttered, trying to avoid Aruven’s tickled gaze. 

“It’s important Citti. Papa said kissing each other shows you love them. Kiss her Papi.”

A boyish grin split across Aruven’s face making him look mischievously innocent as he strolled toward Mahi, while their little observer watched in anticipation.

“Uvee, there’s no need to… she’s a child—”

“We did say we need to do everything possible to please her Mahi.” The engaging, impish grin he wore alerted her to his unusual flirtatious mood.

“But-but,” she stuttered again moving backward until her body was trapped between him and the kitchen counter.

Placing both hands on the counter, on either side of her, his face a breath away from hers, he looked directly into her wide eyes with an even wider grin. Turning his head slightly he sought advice from his little partner in crime. “Do I need kiss your Citti on her cheek or forehead peanut?’

“On her lips Papi. That’s how papa used to kiss mummy.”

Turning back, he couldn’t help but bark out a laugh at his victims’ bewildered expression.

About the Author

Vash is a South African author of Indian origin who has been a bookaholic from about the age of five. Her addiction for books grows exponentially on a daily basis, so after spending years concentrating on her role as a corporate executive and a short stint as an entrepreneur, she decided to unleash her number one desire i.e. a passion for writing with The Keshavam Connections Series. Whilst books of most genres interest her, it was romance that captured her soul. Her writing portrays the lives and drama of ordinary people who readers can easily relate to. The crux of her stories celebrate the power of true love coupled with the timeless bonds that exist between family and friends while capturing the true essence of diverse cultures.

Get your copy of With Their Love here:

Posted in books, writers, Writing

Author Devika Fernando Talks About her Latest Romance Novella and More

Recently, I read the sweetest second chance romance by Devika Fernando. Paper Hearts and Promises is another addition to her long list of published works and Devika is here to talk about the book and her writing.


Happy running her little crafts shop and making a lifelong dream come true, the last thing Taara needs is to be reminded of heartbreak. But when Luke, the handsome architect from Australia—and the first man she ever loved—is thrown back into her life, the past and the present collide. She should absolutely not listen to her feelings and jeopardize her stable future, no matter how tempting a second chance seems.

When Luke returns to India after seven years, the last thing he expects is to meet Taara again. He’s here on business, not to lose his heart to the one woman who’s haunted his dreams for entirely too long. Why then does he feel like fighting for what seemed irrevocably lost? Why can’t he resist temptation?

Author Speak

Most of my books feature an interracial or multicultural couple, or at least an international setting, like Paper Hearts and Promises. I often get asked why. Three reasons make me love this sub-genre of contemporary romance:

  • It reflects real life. As an innkeeper, I welcome couples with different ethnicities all the time. Just goes to show that real love doesn’t care about geographical borders. And I’m the result of an interracial marriage myself (my mother is from Sri Lanka, my father from Germany).
  • The cultural differences are a treasure trove of potential conflict – and conflict of various kinds is what makes a plot thrive.
  • I love armchair travel, and the best way to do it is by writing protagonists from all sorts of countries from around the globe.
  • Speaking of the third point, I’ve always wanted to write an Australian hero. So Luke is from Down Under whereas Taara is from India. This novella is only the second time that I set a story in India, and I’m glad I have fabulous friends to pester with questions regarding certain details. Writing PHAP mad me wish I could travel there for real…


  • I’ve always wanted to write an Aussie hero. There’s just something so adorable about their accent, their outgoing behaviour, their fascinating country. In fact, I almost ended up studying in Australia – but that’s a different story. I decided that for this novella, I would write a hero from Down Under who fell in love with India and with an Indian woman, and that’s how Luke Turner came alive. I loosely used two gorgeous Australian actors as inspiration: David Berry (who some of you might know as Lord John Grey from Outlander), and Adam Demos.
  • I wanted to write a heroine who’s a lot like my amazing Desi friends. Someone confident but with ‘clipped wings’ that come with their surroundings and upbringing. Someone who dares to shine, to rebel, to love themselves. Someone who can be both fierce and kind, determined and insecure, sassy and sweet. I hope Taara Chauhan is all that because she’s certainly found a special place in my heart. As the daughter of a famous judge, she’s got a reputation to uphold – but also a love to fight for.
  • Part of the story takes place in Chennai. As Luke is an architect, Taara (somewhat reluctantly at first) gives him a tour of the city that highlights some of its architectural highlights. I had fun researching those online, marveling at buildings such as the ancient Kapaleeshwar Temple, the impressive Madras High Court, and the Town Hall.

An excerpt from the book

Of all the places, all the people in this city, it had to be her.

Too absorbed in the conversation with what seemed to be a prospective client fussing and demanding like only the entitled ones of this world did it so ruthlessly, Taara hadn’t noticed his presence yet. It gave him time to assemble his features into what he hoped didn’t betray his emotional turmoil—and time to feast his eyes on her like a starving man.

Time had been kind to her, and it had worked its magic as assuredly as his imagination had whenever he’d pictured how she might look now. Still on the shortish side and with the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen, Taara was as beguiling as his somewhat rose-tinted recollections.

She wore her hair shorter now, falling past her shoulders in a high ponytail instead of loose, glossy black tresses reaching the small of her back. A hint of red and brown highlights peeked through the strands he knew were as soft as silk yet surprisingly strong. Dressed in a bohemian-style tunic and beige leggings, she seemed curvier than he remembered her; the girl on the cusp of womanhood who had turned heads all over campus had grown into the alluring woman Luke had known her to be.

Next to the elder woman with her sequin-adorned salwar kameez and layer upon layer of aptly applied make up, she looked like a breath of fresh air. Two tiny golden ear studs glinted in her lobes, and colorful beaded bracelets tinkled and clinked softly against each other on her slender wrists when she gesticulated to argue her point.

Luke couldn’t take his eyes off her. The instant spark of recognition morphed into a flame of desire to touch her that ridiculed the seven years lying between today and the last time she’d been in his arms.

As if she had felt his gaze, Taara abruptly raised her head and glanced at him. Time stood still as their eyes met and held, and he could’ve sworn she would faint because she swayed alarmingly. So she had recognized him too, immediately and without even a word spoken. A small feeling of victory, perhaps vindication, stoked the flames burning inside him when her hand fluttered towards her mouth on a gasp.

She righted herself the next moment, tearing her gaze away and muttering something in affirmation when her customer pressed a business card into her hand. A hand that shook, he saw with grim satisfaction.

More words were exchanged before the woman left the shop, doing a comical double take when she spied him close to the entrance. Then they were alone, and the air inside the shop grew too tense to breathe.

Taara remained where she was, her hands now gripping the counter but her eyes drinking him up as greedily as his had raked her from head to toe. Lingering. Almost caressing rather than just assessing. He watched her throat muscles twitch on a convulsive swallow and at last crossed the few feet to where she stood.


She inclined her head the tiniest bit, her soulful eyes wide and with a dozen emotions swirling in their depths. Her face betrayed none of them, only mild shock.


The laden silence stretched until they both spoke at the same time.

“Is this your shop?”

“What are you doing here?”

About the author

Having always loved to read and write, Devika Fernando made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published novelist. The author with German and Sri Lankan roots has released more than 15 novels in the genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional stories with authentic characters. Many of her books feature multicultural couples in international settings.

Get your copy of Paper Hearts and Promises here:

Posted in books, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Anna Campbell

Today, I bring you my interview with the fabulous Anna Campbell. Read on for lots of inspiration and tips.

Sue: You’re a full-time writer with so many published books. How did that happen? Tell us about your journey.

Anna: Hi Sudesna! Thanks so much for having me as your guest today. Great question! I sometimes wonder myself how I got to this point where I have nearly 40 books published. It’s a very nice feeling! I spent most of my life wanting to be a writer, but I didn’t get picked up by a publisher until I was in my 40s when Avon bought Claiming the Courtesan at auction in 2006. I’ve been a full-time writer ever since. In 2015, I decided to branch off on my own and do most of my publishing independently. I wanted a little more flexibility than I could manage with a big publisher, although I’ll always be grateful for the time I spent first with Avon and then with Grand Central. Since then, my releases have been coming thick and fast. This year, I’m planning on having five books out, as I finish up the bestselling Lairds Most Likely series. In 2021, I’m really looking forward to starting a new series set in the glamour and excitement of Regency London.

Sue: Do you follow any writing rituals?

Anna: I’m not sure they count as rituals but I always do my first drafts longhand. I find I get a cleaner version that way. And I mainline hot tea when I’m working. Buy shares in Liptons!

Sue: What’s the best part about being a writer? And what’s the most challenging part?

Anna: I love the idea that the stories in my mind have gone all over the world. The ghosts in my brain have found a new life with readers everywhere. The most challenging part is juggling all the separate hats I wear as an indie author – writer, marketer, CEO, CFO, entrepreneur, researcher, chief bottle washer!

Sue: Tell us about your latest release.

Anna: My latest release is The Highlander’s Forbidden Mistress. It’s book 7 in my Lairds Most Likely series, but like all my books, it can be read as a standalone. Widow Selina Martin and rakish Brock Drummond, Earl of Bruard, have a mere week to be wicked before Selina is duty-bound to marry the oafish Cecil Canley-Smythe. This is the steamiest entry in the series yet and I’m delighted that readers seem to be really taking to this story in a big way. You can read the blurb and an excerpt on my website here:

Sue: Time for a quick fire round.

Your current read…

Anna: The Last Lighthouse Keeper by John Cook and John Bauer.

Sue: Your favourite authors…

Anna: Elly Griffiths, Nicola Cornick, Elizabeth Peters, Charlotte Bronte, Tolstoy, Annie West

Sue: Your favourite fictional heroine…

Anna: Natasha Rostova from War and Peace

Sue: Your favourite fictional hero….

Anna: Francis Crawford from the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Anna: Tea.

Sue: E-book or paperback or audiobook?

Anna: Paperback.

Sue: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Anna: I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. There are definitely times when it’s difficult to write, but I think letting it become a major issue in your mind is asking for trouble. Sometimes I just need more time to let a scene stew before I put it down on paper. Sometimes I’m just tired. Sometimes something is happening in my private life that has interfered with the voices in my head. All of those things can disrupt progress but don’t destroy it. I find when I’m having trouble settling down that baby steps help. You know, I tell myself that I can write a page and then I’m allowed to stop. Usually it ends up being more than a page. If you think about having to write a whole book in one gulp, it’s terrifying and anybody would get the heebie-jeebies and stop. Because of course people don’t write a whole book in one gulp. Books are made up of words, then sentences, then paragraphs, then pages, then chapters. If you think in smaller chunks, it definitely frightens away the demons.

Sue: What is your advice to aspiring authors, especially to those who are indie publishing?

Anna: Regular and frequent publication is the secret to an indie career, I think. If you’re having trouble keeping up the progress, hold your manuscripts back and then release them close together so you build up some momentum with an audience. If people like your book, they want to click and buy another one, God bless them. If you’re at that stage where you’re just starting out, my advice is to plug you way through and finish a manuscript. There’s things you’ll learn from writing a whole book that nothing else can teach you. It’s always so tempting to give up a current project when a new idea presents itself but don’t fall for that trick.

Sue: Very insightful! Thank you for joining us today and good luck!

Get your copy of Anna’s latest book here:

Posted in books

Book Spotlight for “Beyond the Truth” by Sapna Bhog


They say facing trials makes you strong and dealing with trauma makes you a fighter. But how much misfortune can one person endure? How much more heartbreak should I face until I can’t anymore?

When Damien remembered our son, I thought my battle was over. Little did I realize that my war had only just begun.

In this clash of wills, only one of us can emerge victorious. And it will be me!

I’m a mother.

I’m a wife.

I’m a survivor.

I am just another regular girl from India.

My name is Aaliya Singh Talbot and I am also the eighth Duchess of Kittridge!

And I will fight against all odds to keep my family safe.

That is a promise!

Beyond the Truth is Book 2 in the Forgotten Trilogy – the journey of an Indian girl trying to win back the love of her British husband who has forgotten her.  You have to read Book 1 before reading this.

About the Author

Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary novels. As
a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading.

Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favorite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping – not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers. So do give her a shout if you’ve read any of her books.

Get your copy of Beyond the Truth here:

Posted in books

Book Spotlight for “Physiology of Love” by Summerita Rhayne


Dr. Hardik Kashyap is looking forward to a new job and to deepen his friendship with lovely Dr. Aashita when he joins as HOD in Physiology at Central Medical Institute. Unfortunately, his expectations smash to bits. His start at his new post is far from amiable, and as for Dr. Aashita, she sends a shower of angry sparks his way at every meeting.
He is willing to keep things at the friendship level, but it seems nothing works with her.
As a physiologist, he’s well versed in the regulations of the body functions and the working of the mind, but he just can’t seem to get a handle on the physiology of love.


‘Please, Aashita, let’s discuss this calmly –’
She cast him a smoldering glance and he corrected hastily, ‘Dr. Aashita – ma’am. Why don’t you sit down?’
‘I can listen just as well standing.’ She stood upright and folded her arms. ‘So why exactly did you change the schedule?’
Hardik looked at her, still not believing she’d gone into this attacking mode. He spread his hands in a pacifying gesture. ‘I thought we could work together, you know, seeing how well we got along when you came for the exam at my college. We enjoyed the same food choices together and went sight-seeing and trekking…’ He waited for a reaction and tagged on, ‘I still have the pinecones you painted one evening. Wasn’t that fun?’ When she stiffened and didn’t make any reply, he tried again, spreading his hands in a placating way, ‘As the Head, it’s my job to assign the classes –’
‘So you came prepared to walk all over everyone.’ She unfolded an arm to make a walking gesture with two fingers on his desk top that at any other moment would have been comical. But confronted with her snapping gaze, laughter was the last thing on his mind. ‘Very well, if that’s your way, I should learn to put up with it.’
‘No! Aashita, listen –’ Hardik tried to find the words, but she was gone. He half rose then sat down again. A frown creased his forehead. It hadn’t been his fault that she didn’t get the schedule and the words were completely uncalled for. How could he understand what had made her do this? A slow anger at her unjustified rage began to simmer within him.

About the Author

Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Most of her books are set in India but have a global feel to the story.
At heart, she’s a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms and whodunnits.

Get your copy of Physiology of Love here:

Posted in books, writers, Writing

Meet the Author: Jessica Turnbull

Jessica is a part of the Twitter writing community. I’ve been interacting with her for a while and am amazed at her consistency and discipline when it comes to her writing. She is inspiring and has a third book coming out soon. Here’s more about her.

Sue: Two books out and more in the making — tell us how you became an author.

Jessica:  I’ve been writing most of my life so it only seemed like a natural step to become an author. In school when everyone would talk about what their dream job would be I always replied with author. Up until I was seventeen I only wrote for fun, mostly Warrior Cats fan fiction. Then one day I just started writing Blood and Water and decided I would actually give being an author a go!

Sue: You write consistently and participate in Camp NaNoWriMo as well I’ve noticed. What kind of writing rituals work for you?

Jessica: I worked my way up to what I write now. My first goal was 500 words a day, then it went up to 1K, and now is at 2K. I write best when I’m already in a ‘work’ head space, so I write during my commute to work and home and on my lunch break. I find it hard to concentrate at home with all the distractions, but the lull of riding the bus gets my writing juices flowing. It’s also something to do on my journey.

Sue: What’s the best part of being a writer? And what are the biggest challenges?

Jessica: The best part of being a writer for me is having physical copies of my books on my shelf. The top shelf of my bookshelf is dedicated solely to my books, and I’m having lots of fun filling it! The biggest challenge for me is working through my anxiety. Marketing is extremely hard due to the fact that I worry about every single thing I post. My anxiety also makes me think that I’m not good enough and that I should give up. The little voice in my head niggles that everyone hates my work no matter what I do. On my worst days these feelings can be especially hard to fight.

Sue: Tell us about your latest book and what inspired it.

Jessica: Venom and Earth is mainly inspired by the How to Train Your Dragon film franchise. In the films I loved the dragons but I always wanted more of them. After watching my cat, Rocky, play and run around I thought that tamed dragons might act like overgrown kittens. In Venom and Earth the dragons are playful, loyal but can be quite lazy when they want to be. I also liked the idea of a bond between dragon and human, and thought that raising them from birth would create more of a connection between the characters. Also, baby dragons are so fun to write about!

Sue: Time for the quick fire round.

Your current read…

Jessica: Awakened by Grace by Alicia Rades

Sue: Your favourite fictional hero…

Jessica: Thakur from The Named series

Sue: Your favourite fictional heroine…

Jessica: Glory from Wings of Fire series

Sue: Tea or coffee?

Jessica: Neither, I only drink water.

Sue: Ebook or paperback or audiobook?

Jessica: Definitely paperback!

Sue: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Jessica: When I’m not writing my favourite things to do are read, play with my cat and watch Netflix. Not necessarily in that order as Mishka wants attention constantly! I’m currently watching Money Heist on Netflix and love it so far.

Sue: Any advice for aspiring authors — especially those in your genre?

Jessica: Don’t give in to your dark thoughts. I know it’s hard but they don’t last forever. You are good enough. Your book is needed. Your book will be loved by others. Don’t stop writing just because someone doesn’t like your work.

Sue: Thanks for joining us!

You can buy Jessica’s latest book here:

Posted in books, writers

Exclusive Cover Reveal of “Finding Love” by Devika Fernando


She should never have promised her sister to be at the wedding – not when it meant returning to the small town she left behind and confronting her first love

Ten years ago, Isabella left Misty Springs to overcome the hurt and start a new life. Now she’s back, and absolutely not ready to confront her past or make the most of this second chance. Being involved in her sister Abigail’s wedding brings back unwelcome memories – and it puts her right in the path of the man she’s been struggling to forget. Logan Cooper was her first love, before she broke his heart. It looks as if this time, it will be her heart that’s at stake…

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This sweet small-town romance novella is Book 2 of the Misty Springs series. Each of the books can be read as a stand-alone with a happy ending, although there are some recurring characters.

The Cover

Get the first book in the series here: