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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Melanie Golding, author of Little Darlings


Please welcome Melanie Golding to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Little Darlings is published on April 30, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books.



Interview with Melanie Golding, author of Little Darlings




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece that you remember writing?

Melanie:  When I was about six I wrote a story at school, a kind of ‘what I did on my holidays’ that included some extremely fictional aspects. My teachers were concerned at what they saw were lies, but I stuck to my story, which included a magic house and a short superman flight from the top of a hill. I thought that because no one could prove none of that stuff happened, then it had. I certainly felt like it had, and that seemed enough.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Melanie:  Hybrid



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Melanie:  First drafts are a slog. I like the redrafting phase



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Melanie:  All of my reading. Like many writers I read widely and constantly.



TQDescribe Little Darlings using only 5 words.

Melanie:  I shall quote others here:

Deep; Dark; Utterly addictive; Haunting



TQTell us something about Little Darlings that is not found in the book description.

Melanie:  Patrick is based on a real person, whose name I shall never reveal. He is so arrogant that there is no way he would ever guess what I've done, so I'm safe.



TQWhat inspired you to write Little Darlings?

Melanie:  I was reading my folk tale collections, when I developed a theory about one of the stories. I saw that it would have functioned as an explanation for postpartum psychosis in pre-medical times. I also saw that it could be taken at face value, and I was really interested in exploring the possibilities of that



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Little Darlings?

Melanie:  I did a few research trips to the Peak District - I used to live in Sheffield but it was fun to revisit those places. I gave birth, twice. Also I read many folktales and novels based on folklore



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Little Darlings.

Melanie:  The cover depicts the roots of a tree that have grown under water. Bodies of water are important in the novel, especially what lies beneath the surface.



TQIn Little Darlings who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Melanie:  Lauren and Patrick were easy to write, because they were extremely real to me. I had to get to know Jo and Amy, but by the end of the process they were writing themselves.



TQDoes Little Darlings touch on any social issues?

Melanie:  Only the fact that the post-birth experience still seems to be taboo. Nobody wants to talk about how frightening having a baby can be. The book kind of confronts that head on.



TQWhich question about Little Darlings do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Melanie:

          Q: Is the story partly an allegory for the current unaddressed epidemic of postnatal depression among new mothers?
          A: Yes



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Little Darlings.

Melanie:

“It felt dangerous, that feeling, something she couldn't control, that got bigger even as she tried to banish it, to tell herself that these were the feelings that hurt you eventually, that destroyed lives, that needed to be ignored. She'd followed her heart once, when she was too young to know how completely a heart could be shattered.”

“Was this the love, this fear of them dying?”



TQWhat's next?

Melanie:  The next book also has a folktale at its heart, and a cast of brave women and men who are faced with difficulties to overcome. It also features DS Joanna Harper.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Little Darlings
Crooked Lane Books, April 30, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Melanie Golding, author of Little Darlings
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.





About Melanie

Interview with Melanie Golding, author of Little Darlings
Photo by Michele Calverley
Melanie Golding is a graduate of the MA in creative writing program at Bath Spa University, with distinction. She has been employed in many occupations including farm hand, factory worker, childminder and music teacher. Throughout all this, because and in spite of it, there was always the writing. In recent years she has won and been shortlisted in several local and national short story competitions. Little Darlings is her first novel, and has been optioned for screen by Free Range Films, the team behind the adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.





Website  ~  Twitter @mk_golding  ~  Facebook


Interview with Kate Mascarenhas, author of The Psychology of Time Travel


Please welcome Kate Mascarenhas to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Psychology of Time Travel was published on February 12, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books.



Interview with Kate Mascarenhas, author of The Psychology of Time Travel




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece that you remember writing?

Kate:  I remember stapling together my own books about ponies when I was a little girl.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Kate:  Pantser, at least for the first draft. Usually when I start I have a few characters in mind, and a predicament that they’re in, but I work out everything else as I go.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kate:  Sending it out into the world. I enjoy all stages of researching and drafting and editing. But once it’s published, it belongs to everybody else.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Kate:  In general, my favourite writers—Shirley Jackson; Muriel Spark; Josephine Hart. For this book specifically, I’d add Doctor Who, the books of Diana Wynne Jones, and the movie Peggy Sue Got married.



TQDescribe The Psychology of Time Travel using only 5 words.

Kate:  Queer, time-travelling murder mystery.



TQ:   What inspired you to write The Psychology of Time Travel? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Kate:  I’d been reading about the involvement of psychologists in recruiting astronauts, and wondered what qualities they’d be looking for if time travel had been invented in the sixties instead of the space race. My academic background is in psychology, and science fiction is a great genre for exploring psychological questions.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Psychology of Time Travel?

Kate:  Mainly desk-based research; I read lots of physics papers to develop my world-building rules, particularly the work of a physicist called Igor Novikov. I also spent time reading old psychiatric manuals to understand how mental health categories have changed over time.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Psychology of Time Travel.

Kate:  One of the time travellers in the story modifies an embroidery sampler to include both her birth, and death dates. The designer Helen Crawford-White used that concept to create a cover based on embroidery art.



TQIn The Psychology of Time Travel who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kate:  Grace was the easiest—she grew up near my own home town so I had a very intuitive sense of her background. She’s quite eccentric, and that can be fun to write. Margaret, who assumes leadership of the time travellers, was probably the character who went through most rewrites. It took a while to pin down her motivation.



TQDoes The Psychology of Time Travel touch on any social issues?

Kate:  Yes – the stigmatisation of people with psychiatric diagnoses is an important issue in the novel.



TQWhich question about The Psychology of Time Travel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Kate:  Timelines are fixed in the novel—it’s impossible to change the past or the future. I’d quite like someone to ask me if the characters have free will. The answer is, they might do—but they don’t feel like they do. I really wanted to explore the impact that has on the characters’ outlook.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Psychology of Time Travel.

Kate:  Time travellers have their own slang, collected in a small phrase book. “Many of the words describe living a life out of sequence. To live an incident you’ve already read about is called completion. Returning to an incident you’ve already experienced is called echoing. Feeling angry with someone for things they won’t do wrong for years is called zeitigzorn.”



TQWhat's next?

Kate:  I’m currently working with my UK editor on my next novel, The Thief on the Winged Horse, which is about the theft of a doll with magical properties. It’s set in Oxford, England in the present day.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Psychology of Time Travel
Crooked Lane Books, February 12, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Kate Mascarenhas, author of The Psychology of Time Travel
In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Traversing the decades and told from alternating perspectives, The Psychology of Time Travel introduces a fabulous new voice in fiction and a new must-read for fans of speculative fiction and women’s fiction alike.





About Kate

Interview with Kate Mascarenhas, author of The Psychology of Time Travel
Photo by Matt Murtagh
Kate Mascarenhas is a half-Irish, half-Seychellois midlander. Since 2017, Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Before that she worked as a copywriter, a dollhouse maker, and a bookbinder. She lives with her husband in a small terraced house which she is slowly filling with Sindy dolls.










Website  ~  Twitter @KatemMascarenhas


Review: In the Valley of the Devil by Hank Early


In the Valley of the Devil
Author:  Hank Early
Series:  An Earl Marcus Mystery 2
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books, July 10, 2018
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  US$26.99 (print);  US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781683315926 (print); 9781683315933 (eBook)

Review: In the Valley of the Devil by Hank Early
Earl Marcus found new hope after confronting the unspeakable evil unleashed by his father’s fundamentalist Church of the Holy Flame. Now plying his trade as a private investigator in the North Georgia mountains, he’s drawn once again into a dark abyss of depravity, and murder.

Tasked with what seems like a routine job, Earl stumbles into a mysterious cornfield where an old mountain legend appears to have awakened. Just as he begins to hear rumors of a place in the woods behind a dark cornfield where a killer collects human skulls, his partner Mary Hawkins vanishes.

As the litany of terror grows, the poisoned spirits of Earl’s past return to claim their final victims. And on an old train trestle over a swift-running river at the edge of a cornfield Earl will confront his worst fears. Time is running out for Mary—and unless Earl can wrest her from the control of a secretive cabal comprised of some of the area’s most elite—and wealthiest—citizens, she could be lost to him forever in In the Valley of the Devil, the second harrowing installment of the Earl Marcus mysteries by Hank Early.



Doreen's Review

Early’s first book, Heaven’s Crooked Finger, focused on Earl Marcus’s relationship with his father, the preacher of a fundamentalist church that used snakes as part of its rituals. Having been bitten in the face during a ritual, Earl had fled the church and his father and vowed never to return. But that novel found him investigating and then bringing down the crooked institution.

In the second novel, In the Valley of the Devil, Earl has found some peace. He has returned to the hills of his childhood, is plying his investigative skills successfully, and has a girlfriend, Mary, a sheriff’s deputy he met in the first book. In doing a favor for his frenemy, Ronnie, he finds a cornfield where criminal activities may be taking place, and Mary disappears into the corn.

Whereas Early's first book focused on religion and the damage it can sometimes cause, he focuses on racism here, both blatant and subtle. It appears that Mary was taken, not just because she was investigating with Earl, but more importantly, because she is black.

Early’s books always have some touch of the supernatural, whether there is a rational explanation or not. Here, there is a monster called Old Nathaniel, a former Confederate soldier who attacks blacks and takes their skulls as trophies. Earl must discover whether Mary has been taken by this demon or by a group of rich citizens acting out their racist fantasies. This little piece of mysticism adds to the tension and mystery of the story.

Early also could be a poet. His descriptions are lyrical, especially when he is describing the moon, the cornfields, and the overall beauty of rural Georgia. He quickly is becoming one of my favorite mystery writers because of the intriguing mysteries and the poetic language he uses. I cannot wait to see what he writes next.





Also by Hank Early

Heaven's Crooked Finger
An Earl Marcus Mystery 1
Crooked Lane Books, June 12, 2018
Trade Paperback, 330 pages
Hardcover and eBook, November 7, 2017

Review: In the Valley of the Devil by Hank Early
2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner!

Eerie, intense, and masterfully-crafted, Hank Early’s gripping series debut Heaven’s Crooked Finger transports readers to a secretive community in the Georgia mountains.

Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the fundamentalist rule of his father RJ’s church―a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive.

As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life. Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground in Heaven’s Crooked Finger, Hank Early’s thrilling series debut.

Cover Revealed - Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early


The cover for Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early was revealed yesterday. Heaven's Crooked Finger will be published in November by Crooked Lane Books. I love this cover!


Hank Early (John Mantooth 2013)

Heaven's Crooked Finger
An Earl Marcus Mystery 1
Crooked Lane Books, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Cover Revealed - Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early
Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the evangelical rule of his father RJ’s church―a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive.

As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life. Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground in Heaven’s Crooked Finger, Hank Early’s thrilling series debut.





About Hank

Cover Revealed - Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early
Photo by Pamela Houston
Hank Early spent much of his youth in the mountains of North Georgia, but he never held a snake or got struck by lightning. These days, he lives in central Alabama with his wife and two kids. He writes crime, watches too much basketball, and rarely sleeps. Heaven's Crooked Finger is his first novel. He's represented by Alec Shane of Writers House.

In a previous life, he published some books as John Mantooth. Check them out here.





Website  ~  Twitter @hankjearly  ~  Facebook

Goodreads



Interview with Melanie Golding, author of Little DarlingsInterview with Kate Mascarenhas, author of The Psychology of Time TravelReview: In the Valley of the Devil by Hank EarlyCover Revealed - Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early

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