Interview for My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister (novel) @RossendaleRadio 19th January 2022

Samantha Henthorn and Lindsay McKinnon give an interview on Rossendale Radio about ‘My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister’.

It was a cold and frosty evening when Lindsay McKinnon and I ventured north to Rossendale for an interview at the fabulous radio station Rossendale Radio (104.7 FM ). Fortunately for us, we were chauffeured to the studio by a handsome and charming man – that’s why I married him, Mr Henthorn has a good sense of direction.

Lindsay McKinnon (voice-over actor) and Samantha Henthorn (author)

We were invited to talk about my psychological fiction ‘My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister’ with Marie Baistow who hosts a weekly show called ‘Mental Health Matters‘. The novel explores the emotional well being of the protagonist, Epiphany (Pippa for short), a forty-year-old woman who has held an unhelpful belief system for the past twenty years. She has suffered in silence with depression and has made little progress with her life. As the novel unfolds, readers learn how a strange visit by her half-sister’s half-sister, Sadie, changed her life.

Rossendale Radio presenter Marie Baistow works as an Occupational Therapist for the NHS and at the start of the pandemic began presenting the weekly show which offers a much needed voice for anyone in the Rossendale Valley who is thinking of improving their mental and emotional well being.

My novel My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister opens with Pippa’s memory of a school swim class when she was around seven years old. There she meets Sadie, her half-sister’s half-sister. Sadie is confident, care free, and immediately becomes Pippa’s hero.

This girl never seems bothered that she can’t swim. I think she is a year older than me and from a different school. Different, except we all get banded together. The different ones, the ones who can’t swim.

Lindsay treated us to a reading of this prologue, it will make you cry and laugh at the same time because it is the moment that epitomises Pippa’s belief system – she wants to be someone else.

Unfortunately, a playback of last night’s interview is not available currently. The audiobook of My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is due to be released this spring.

We spoke about the use of language in the novel. As a former RMN, I was able to confidently use phrases associated with mental illness in a favourable way for the protagonist. I feel that this discourse is useful to promote understanding and makes Pippa relatable.

We spoke about the novel’s ending – the twist (Pippa is an unreliable narrator so this plot thread is essential). I won’t give away the ending here, only to say that your half-sister’s half-sister could be you. Sadie is everything Pippa wants to be so is able to persuade Pippa that her mother and sister are witches.

Lindsay gave another reading of Pippa’s experience as an inpatient of an acute psychiatric unit, she trusted in one health professional (a psychologist called Dr Schofield) who helped her to come to terms with her heavy drinking and completed a recovery – sort of. The final chapter of My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is bitter sweet because although Pippa is well enough to live a happy and safe life with her boyfriend, Ben, she continues to lack insight into her magical thinking. OR DOES SHE? I intentionally created an open ended narrative – what she believes about her mother and sister could be true. They could be witches, and as this would feed into Pippa’s ruminations about being left out of the family circle it puts her at risk of possible relapse.

If you are interested in My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister click HERE

If you are interested in joining my mailing list to find out the moment the audiobook is released click HERE

If you are interested in Rossendale Radio click HERE

Lindsay McKinnon I believe is available for voice-over work (provided she is not narrating one of my books 🙂 ) Lindsay’s website is HERE

Happy reading everyone, and positive vibes for your emotional well being, Samantha

My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister #PublicationDay #IARTG

Happy Tuesday!

Today is publication day for my new novel, My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister.

Here’s what you need to know.

1 My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is available to buy from Amazon HERE (E-Book, paperback and hardcover).

2 The audiobook is in production with the multi-talented actor Lindsay McKinnon (seen below).

3 This is the best book I have ever written.

4. It is a first-person account from an unreliable narrator.

5. The title could refer to two people or the same person.

Photo credit https://www.facebook.com/jdmoses.uk Lindsay McKinnon and Samantha Henthorn

It started with a memory.

When I was a child (about four or five), I remember visiting two ‘aunties’ who lived in a marvellous house with a big bay window on a road that my dad had called ‘Millionaire’s Row’. These two women were extremely glamourous, with mauve and grey-toned clothes and knee-high boots. I don’t remember their names. ANYWAY, years later I asked my mum who these two women were; she had no idea. Maybe I dreamt them, or maybe they were Jacquetta and Heather – two of the main characters in My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister.

     ‘Epiphany! Epiphany!’ Mummy shouts from downstairs. I hear her key turn halfway, and she’s muttering to herself, inviting all kinds to unlock the door to my flat. 

     ‘Epiphany, what’s wrong with your front door?’ Mummy shouts.

     Yes. Epiphany is my name – Pippa for short, strictly Pippa for short. I don’t mind Pip but definitely not Epiphany. When Mummy was pregnant with my older sister, she intended to name her Hazel. Right up to the last minute, Hazel. Then a midwife told her that Hazel is a witch’s name, and this put her off. So, Mummy chose the name Heather. It suits her because my sister’s eyes shine hazel when she’s excited.

In the above words, you have met Epiphany (Pippa for short) and her mother, Jacquetta. I hope you have picked up that Jacquetta is a demonstrative busy body, letting herself in at her daughter’s front door. ‘Inviting all kinds to unlock the door’ and changing her mind about the name ‘Hazel’ because of something the midwife said.

Read Jacquetta, and think Geraldine McEwan in Mapp and Lucia circa 1985 – but include paranormal persecutions.

Au Reservoir, Lucia | Christopher Fowler

Has Jacquetta changed her mind about witchcraft? – I do love a conflicted character.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Pippa’s sister Heather is a confident and content green goddess. Think Courtney Love in the biographical drama Beat (insert an English accent).

BeatPoster.png

No doubt Heather would have been filled in about my holiday at home. And if John can stop watching the news for once, the cat will be out of the bag about Ben and me separating.

     Today was meant to be a good day, but now I can see Heather walking across my imagined moat.

     I miss Sadie.

     ‘Sweetie, are you alright?’ Heather has let herself in via the door (the same one that Mummy has trouble opening).

     ‘In here,’ I answer Heather without answering her.

     ‘I’d love a cup of tea if you’re making one.’

     I wasn’t, but I am in the kitchen, mainly to look out of the window onto the road below. I usually have to stay here a while until I have spotted a second magpie.

     ‘So, how are you?’ I ask Heather. I never quite know what to talk about with my sister.

     ‘No! How are you? I never did like that freeloader, and I’m glad he’s dumped you.’

     ‘Thanks?’ I answer Heather with a question.

     ‘I’m not glad for you, obviously. Breaking up is hard to do, Pippa. It happens to the best of us, even me.’ Heather helps herself to two mugs from my cupboard and gazes longingly at the kettle. It seems Mummy’s bitter coffee has not quenched her thirst.

I hope that the above exchange illustrates Pippa’s strained relationship with her sister Heather.

Pippa has not seen Sadie since school swim class. Sadie visits unexpectedly and turns Pippa’s life upside-down.

You must be tempted to meet Sadie. I spent a year waiting to write her story, and when I did, she took over my life as much as she did my protagonist, Pippa’s.

We learn very little about Sadie’s existence. She doesn’t seem to have a job, relationship or home. What she does have is Pippa’s attention and she takes her round the mulberry bush many times, on many mornings throughout the novel. Sadie takes no prisoners, yet she is fun and supportive.

Sadie is everything Pippa wants to be.

Pippa’s boyfriend telephones her at work, letting her know that her sister has called round. Pippa finds this strange because Heather is always visiting – why would Ben contact her at work to tell her something that happens regularly? When Pippa arrives home, Ben is on his way out and Pippa sees someone sitting in her front room that is not her sister.

‘Were you expecting the Pocahontas of Pendle?’ Sadie grins.

     ‘What! You can’t say that!’ she meant Heather, who lives in Pendle and does look a bit like she’s descended from America’s past.

     ‘Why not? Look.’ Sadie performs a centre parting in her lengthy black hair and two plaits appear (in record time). ‘Heather and I have our dad’s genes. You know as well as I do that Oswald’s great-great, however-many-grandads was one of the Salford Sioux, so if I was teased at school about it, then it’s fine for me to say it about Heather.’

I had to make Sadie the opposite of Pippa, this is why her father (not the same person as Pippa’s father) is descended from the Salford Sioux (I’ve added a handy link for you to check out). I worked in Salford for twenty years as a nurse. I learnt that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show visited Britain at the request of Queen Victoria and they arrived via The Manchester Ship Canal. This was in the winter of 1888 and some of the Salford Sioux stayed in the area (making their home on the banks of the River Irwell). Imagine yourself a Salford woman in Victorian times – descendants of this fabulous story live in the area today, and as my community boss once said to me ‘they say that if you think you’re descended from the Salford Sioux – you probably are.’ I think it was then that I decided I would weave this thread into something I wrote.

Pippa’s family tree.

Sadie is not all good…

I’m not telling you any more than that. You’ll have to read it.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, Samantha.

PS I also wrote The Curmudgeon Avenue Series;

On How I Wrote My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister

Inspiration attacked Samantha Henthorn from several different angles when she wrote her new novel, ‘My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister.

Inspiration attacked me from several different angles when I wrote my new novel, ‘My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister’.

A while ago, everywhere I looked there was a book title that included the word ‘sister’. The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Dead Sis by Jane Holland, and The Herb Sisters by Marina Johnson to name just four; sisters were everywhere in literature (I blame the Brontes).

Even though I knew that by the time I had written my ‘sister book’ publishing trends would have progressed, but I couldn’t get ‘sister’ out of my head.

Siblings never go out of fashion.

One of my favourite books (and my own sister’s teasing stick) was My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards (illustrated by Shirley Hughes).

(Image from Amazon)

‘Sisters’ are not the only trope that has been swirling around my writing for years. I’ve been obsessed with witches since I was little. If you’ve read my blog before you will have seen how I was named after the protagonist from 1960s sitcom Bewitched, you will have seen how I read books such as Witchdust by Mary Welfare and The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy and met and was baptised a witch at age 6 on a family day out to Pendle.

(Or was I?)

Photo by A Koolshooter on Pexels.com

Pippa, the protagonist of My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is not a witch, she is a forty-year-old woman trying to make sense of her life. When Sadie visits (her sister’s half-sister), Pippa starts to think that her mother and sister Heather are witches. All the evidence is there; Heather is a green goddess and Jacquetta (Pippa’s mother) is obsessed with the patron saint of keys. You would have to read on to find out the details – I want readers to either believe in Pippa’s breakdown or that her family are actually a nest of vipers.

If you’ve ever read or seen Fight Club or read Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih you’ll be well versed with books that leave you not knowing what to believe. Plus, we have all lived through some uncertain times recently, so I think mind-bending is on its way in literature.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

There is a debate going on (I’ve heard it in pubs, I’ve read it in reviews and I’ve tormented my own thoughts) about lockdown in literature. If you saw the Channel 4 drama Help earlier this year then you’ll know that this kind of pandemic narrative must be highlighted in any genre it can be. I am of the opinion that literature has a job; if stories are about people then people should be about stories. We are all wondering if the pandemic has taught us anything, and we should be reading books to help process the volume of information, emotions, bereavement, culture shocks and psychic storm-trooping we’ve all been through.

I’m not saying My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is the answer to any and all pandemic woes; what I am saying is it HAD to be set at the end of the lockdown… it just had to be. Pippa needed to have an epiphany.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

When writing My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister, I had to come up with an occupation for Pippa. I had also been reading and rereading Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys (for my creative writing degree). I really wanted to include an intertextual reference, and before I knew it, Rhys’s Mr Blank became Pippa’s Mr Bland; and Pippa became an accountant ‘doing sums’ (Sadie’s words).

Actually, my darling daughter is an accountant. We text each other every day and have our own little ‘text speak’ language. A while ago, I started asking her if she had ‘done any really hard sums’ at work… obviously I was teasing (that’s just our sense of humour) but it stuck. I asked my daughter, and she didn’t mind if that Pippa also ‘does sums’ at work (creative licence applied – I know that accountancy is a complicated occupation).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I used to be a psychiatric nurse until it was made impossible for me to continue working (my RMN career ended after I was diagnosed with MS). Reading and writing saved my mental health when faced with the vast culture shock of retiring at 39. That was almost eight years ago, and I’ve come a long way since. The older I get, the easier it becomes to face up to the serious side of life (especially when you write). It all fitted into place, and the protagonist of My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister started to shape into a character who could inspire hope (or at least seek help).

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Because Pippa loves reading, I had to make literature part of the narrative. I achieved this with plenty of intertextual references, starting with the nursery rhyme ‘Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush’ (said to be written by female inmates of HMP Wakefield in the 19th century), and fitting because Pippa is stuck going round in circles with her female relatives.

Pippa compares herself to two of Hardy’s protagonists, the forsaken Tess Durbeyfield and the confident heroine Bathsheba Everdene. In the story, this reflected Pippa’s journey.

During writing, I was concerned about overdoing the references to other texts, then I remembered reading and loving the modern classic ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’ by Jeanette Winterson. There is almost an intertextual reference on every page, and Jeanette Winterson is a genius.

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (Paperback)

By this stage of writing My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister, Pippa had taken over and told me what to write (see my other posts about my writing being powered by witchcraft).

If I really dig deep, this book started with a memory. When I was a child (about four or five), I remember going to visit two ‘aunties’ who lived in a marvellous house with a big bay window on a road that my dad had called ‘Millionaire’s Row’. These two women were extremely glamourous, with mauve and grey-toned clothes and knee-high boots. I don’t remember their names. ANYWAY, years later I asked my mum who these two women were; she had no idea. Maybe I dreamt them, or maybe they were Jacquetta and Heather – two of the main characters in My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister.

Pippa has a secret, will you believe what she has to say?

I do have an older sister, and no the book is DEFINATELY NOT about her. However, this is why I chose the hyphenated way of writing half-sister for the title – there are actually five ways to write the title My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister:

My half-sister’s half-sister My Half Sister’s Half Sister
My Half-sister’s Half-sister My half sister’s half sister
My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister

(thank you https://www.alisonproofreader.com/)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently had a conversation with my sister-in-law about enjoying books with a quirky and different plot (like mine) so I dedicated the book to her.

Deeper inspirations flow through My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister that I can’t reveal because that would be a spoiler!

Thank you for reading my blog today, My Half-Sister’s Half-Sister is available to pre-order from Amazon now (release date 30/11/21). See my Facebook Author page for #BlackFridayDeals. Audiobook in production.

Happy reading, Samantha 🙂

PS I also wrote these:

What’s in a (Character) Name? Sharon Booth @Sharon_Booth1 #Guestpost #Uplifting Women’s Fiction #IARTG

Sharon Booth tells Samantha Henthorn how she chooses her character names.

Way back when I started reaching out and networking as an independent author, I saw a post on a reputable social media group asking if any authors wanted to appear on a blog called ‘Five Photos’. Before responding, I thought wow, this author writes uplifting women’s fiction. That sounds right up my street!

This author was none other than super talented SHARON BOOTH I have read every single one of her books – the first one being Kearton Bay my husband came home from work and saw me reading in the garden. ‘Why are you crying?’ he said. ‘Because this book is so touching… and SO cute!’ 

Thank you so much Sharon for joining me!

Sharon Booth

What’s in a Character Name?

Names are very important to me. I can’t just pick a character’s name out of thin air; I have to search for just the right one. First of all, it has to suit the character, obviously, but it also has to mean something to me or to the story.

With the first series of books I wrote it was easy. I’d spent a few years researching my family tree and I wanted to pay tribute to those people I’d been learning about, and who’d come to mean so much to me. The surnames of most of the characters in Kearton Bay are the surnames of my ancestors: Hollingsworth, Bone, Boden and Kean (hyphenated as one name for the story), MacLean, Crook, Hope … even Kearton Bay itself was named after my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Kearton. Rhiannon, who has Wiccan beliefs, is named after a Celtic goddess. In mythology, her son was Pryderi, so I named her son in the book Derry. Rose’s name was a given. She’s crazy about the colour pink, so she and her daughters all had to have pink names. Her daughters are called Fuchsia and Cerise. Gabriel Bailey, on the other hand, got his first name because I needed an angel’s name for the story to work. His surname was inspired by my favourite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is a real hero to me, and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather name my own hero after.

With the Skimmerdale books, it was the place names that took some working out. I wanted to be as authentic as possible, and spent ages looking at old Norse words, as so many places in the Yorkshire Dales have old Norse names. Skimmerdale itself is explained in This Other Eden. “Skimmer” was an old Norse word meaning “to shine brightly, to sparkle”. I had the image in my mind of sunlight glinting on the river as a Viking chief looked down upon it, inspiring him to give the area that name. The farm’s name, Fleetsthorpe, is derived from Fleets, meaning “stream or beck”, and Thorpe, meaning “the outlying farmstead”.

Bramblewick was a tribute to the novels of Leo Walmsley, who called his fictional version of Robin Hood’s Bay by that name. I borrowed it for a brief mention in A Kiss from a Rose, little realising that I would be revisiting the village and naming an entire series of books after it!

Fresh Starts at Folly Farm (Bramblewick Book 3) Kindle Edition

With my Moorland Heroes series, Saving Mr Scrooge made every use of the Charles Dickens’ classic on which it was loosely based. Jacob Marley became Marley Jacobs, and instead of Ebenezer Scrooge (which wouldn’t have sat well with modern readers) I named the hero Christopher Carroll, as Chris Carroll was the closest I could get to the original title. He was nicknamed Kit to be a bit more up-to-date – and because I was going through a Game of Thrones period at the time!

With Resisting Mr Rochester, the surname of the hero was fixed in stone, but I had fun playing around with the other important names. His first name became Ethan, which means strong and safe. Cara Truelove was inspired by two things: Cara means dear one, beloved (aw!) and seemed appropriate. Most people assume Truelove was just to emphasise how romantic she was, but in fact, it’s taken from an old legend connected with the surname Eyre. It tells how a companion of William the Conqueror, named Truelove, saved the life of the king, and was renamed Eyre in gratitude for giving William the air that he breathed. There’s no real historical evidence for this but it’s a lovely legend, and as I was looking for a connection to Jane Eyre I thought it was perfect. You can read more about it here. Although the book is obviously a tribute to the Charlotte Bronte novel, it was also inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Cara does share some characteristics with Catherine Morland in that novel, so I named Ethan Rochester’s home Moreland Hall in tribute.

For my current series, The Witches of Castle Clair, I did a lot of research into names with magical or mythical connections. The river was an important part of the town and its mythology, and the word Hrafn is old Norse for raven, so very appropriate for my stories. I found lots of names connected with the sky in some way for my St Clair family: Sirius, Star, Celeste, Sky, Iliana (ray of light), Raiden (god of thunder and lightning), Zephyr (west wind) and Aurora all have celestial meanings.

 

It does take time to research names, but I always feel more comfortable when I know I’ve chosen appropriate ones that fit the characters. I like to have them all in place before I start writing the book. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through and realising I don’t like the name, or it doesn’t fit, and having to change it. It’s worth making the effort right at the beginning. After all, these people are going to be my best friends for several months. The least I can do is get their names right!

Sharon Booth

 

 

Author Bio

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She writes uplifting women’s fiction – “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, and now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their gentle, and thoroughly gorgeous, German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time is a proper job and she hasn’t taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with sugar (she loves it, it hates her), adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

Find out more about Sharon at linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter

 

Sharon’s latest novel, To Catch a Witch, is the third in the romcom series The Witches of Castle Clair. It will be published on April 28th and is available for pre-order here.

TO CATCH A WITCH_FRONT_RGB_150dpi

 

To Catch a Witch

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

Thank you so much Sharon! I cannot wait for To Catch A Witch to be published!

Join me next time, happy reading, Samantha xx

 

#BookReview The Witches of Helcombe by Harry Bradford #IARTG

Hello! I am still part of this fantastic BookFunnel Promotion so if you are a fan of literature written with a historical flair then please click the link in pink above to see if you fancy any of the titles. All the books are on special offer, I have read three of them now, recently finishing this one: The Witches of Helcombe by Harry Bradford

The Witches of Helcombe.: Book 1 of The Devon Witches Series (The Devon Witches Series.) by [Bradford, Harry]

The Blurb: It’s November 1609 in Devon, south-west England where in a remote village, an elderly witch cures a sick child and having no daughter of her own, passes her powers to the infant.
Years later, Cromwell’s parliamentary forces pursue a pregnant Queen of England across Devon, determined to stop her escape to safety in France and to hold her for ransom. Worse still, the unborn child’s life is in danger in the womb.
Can the Queen save her child? And, in danger of cleansing by fire, will the witch agree to help?
And how will the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emissary react to the presence of witchcraft in the village when he comes to take over as Reverend at the church?

Come with me to the 17th century where witchcraft is rife in the villages and the Devil lurks around familiars and in ancient graveyards.

Harry BradfordHarry Bradford:

Harry Bradford was born in Maidstone, Kent.

He spent just over 20 years as a policeman in that County, retiring and moving to Manotick, a small town near Ottawa, Canada, some twenty-six years later.
He and his wife, Linda, two dogs and an irascible cat, finally settled yet another twenty years later, on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, where they now live in a rambling bungalow, half way up Mount Maxwell.

A voracious but undisciplined reader, he was motivated to write this first novel, Nexus, as he simply couldn’t believe there were any more ways for people to kill or maim each other, (he hates murder/mysteries and gratuitous violence), or for the earth to suffer armageddon!

A failed retiree, he’s now working on the sequel to Nexus, (amongst a dozen other, unrelated, activities), which he hopes to have ready for publication soon.

 

My Review:

A powerful start to this novel, Isabel is saved by a witch who shares her powers and provides her with a mirror so that she can ask for help. The novel is written in a similar style to original fairy tales – soon I was mesmerised into the story. We then follow Isabel’s life, she marries – will her husband accept her powers? She has a child of her own – will this daughter (Mary) inherit witchcraft? Charles I is the current monarch, and his wife Henrietta needs help with her pregnancy. Isabel acts as a midwife here – but is judged as a witch – interesting because the Queen’s male physicians had been cast out. Due to that period in history – Henrietta must flee from Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads. Extra characters are introduced here, that normalise the use of witchcraft. An enjoyable take on the English Civil War – the witches were not the enemy here.

 

opened book
Photo by Joy Marino on Pexels.com

Join me next week when I review Intrusion by Rosalind Minett, also available on the BookFunnel Promotion (make sure you click the link because you won’t be able to find all 28 books together on special offer after the 19th of March 2020)

Intrusion (A Relative Invasion Book 1) by [Minett, Rosalind]

#BookReview #WizardRing by Clare Blanchard @CBcrime @BookFunnel A Touch of History #IARTG

WELL! Hello everyone, I have just finished reading yet another book that I could not put down Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1)

Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

 

I told you all the other day that my book 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) has been lucky enough to take part in a BookFunnel promotion called ‘A Touch of History’ this promotion includes some great looking books (I have read two of them now) and runs until the 19th of March 2020. The books are all on special offer and there is a great selection. If you like books written with historical flair, then this sales promo should be right up your street! Including an interesting mix of fiction styles and themes, all with a strong historical element. Click this link to see if you fancy reading any of the titles.

 

Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1) by [Blanchard, Clare]

BOOK BLURB:

I knew nothing about the alchemist John Dee until one winter’s night in Prague when I met the ghost of a barber.
My name is Sylvia. I was just a burnt-out teacher with a subversive sense of humour. Then my mother gave me a magic ring made in the Prague workshop of John Dee.
I’ve never been the same since.

Image result for John Dee

John Dee, alchemist to Queen Elizabeth I

MY REVIEW: 5/5

Brilliant! Part contemporary, part history. Sylvia is a world-weary teacher, she lives with her mother Svetlana (originally from Prague) and son Rusty. The three make for interesting characters and in-depth family dynamics. The internal politics of the school open up a great storyline – sorcery is all around Sylvia (most of it personality-driven!) Clare Blanchard has provided a clever observation of school on both sides of the desk, the stressful impact of working in any public sector environment, and the notion that the supernatural could save you from this stress. Sylvia’s mother has given her a ring, made in Prague by the alchemist John Dee – history books report he was in Queen Elizabeth I inner trusted circle and sent to Czechoslovakia by the Queen sometime in the 16th century as a spy. This is where the intrigue lies for the history lover, Tudor Royal courts were reportedly ruled by jealous paranoia – completely believable that a sorcerer would manufacture an energy-giving ring capable of influencing those around. Will Sylvia manage this power? A well-observed, interesting and lighthearted glimpse of history influencing today.

 

Clare Blanchard

Clare Blanchard is a British author who lives in the wine-growing country of Czechia near Lower Austria in Central Europe. She writes crime mysteries and urban fantasy novels with a strong historical flavour.
Her debut novel was the crime mystery The Tainted Vintage, published by Fahrenheit Press in July 2018. Set in a small town in Czechia, the novel opens a series featuring the somewhat ill-matched but oddly effective detective duo, Dvorska and Dambersky. It is to be followed soon by the second book in the series, The Russian Dolls, which deals with the world of international art theft, as well as a classic murder mystery.
A fan of Nordic noir, Clare Blanchard likes to treat the locations and historical eras in her books as if they were actual characters in the book. This goes not only for her crime fiction, but also for her new Wizards series, which takes the reader into the realm of historical urban fantasy on the murky borders between magic and science. Wizard Ring is the first of a planned series dealing with the dark arts in modern life that are hidden in plain sight.

silver colored pendant with green gemstone
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

 

I am going to see how many books I can read during the promotion, next on the list for me is The Witches of Helcolmbe by Harry Bradford.

 

The Witches of Helcombe.: Book 1 of The Devon Witches Series (The Devon Witches Series.) by [Bradford, Harry]

Thank you for reading, and please join me next time I post about this historical fiction book promotion

Happy reading, Samantha x

What’s in a (Character) Name? Ahava Trivedi @Ahava_Tee #GuestPost #IARTG #Preorder

Ahava Trivedi tells Samantha Henthorn how she chose the name for her latest character.

Hello and thank you for joining me in my now bi-monthly writerly post. Now, earlier this year I met Ahava Trivedi on a BookFunnel comedy promotion. Since then we have become great friends, there is no end to her writing talent – and she has now even switched genres! Please welcome the newly appointed YA Fantasy Novelist Ahava Trivedi talking about her new character’s name (which after seeing today I am totally thinking of changing my own name to!):

 

Katrina Snow Quartz

Katrina Snow Quartz is a Crystal Witch. While she was growing up, she was shuffled from foster homes in Europe, all the way to those in Canada where her adoptive parents, Lorna and Babette Quartz adopted her from. Lorna and Babette weren’t just any other couple. They were powerful High Priestesses of their coven. They were Crystal Witches that possessed a rare and potent form of magic and they adopted Katrina because they felt the same magical line in her. The only two things that were known at the time about Katrina’s heritage, was her first name and birthday. Neither of the witches had the heart to change Katrina’s first name as it was one of the only symbols of her largely unknown heritage.

The name ‘Snow’ came about because Lorna thought she was funny and chose it given that Katrina was a white witch coming to live with them down south in Louisiana from the Great White North. She thought it was genius while Katrina has always found it lame.

Katrina belongs to the coven named ‘Circle of Quartz’ and that’s where she gets her surname. Each witch carries the surname that the coven is defined by. Once initiated, every witch in the coven carries the name of the coven as her surname in the supernatural world and would only ever change it if she started a coven of her own.

Magic Within: A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Novel (Bloodline Academy Book 1) by [Trivedi, Ahava]

Releasing January 2020 PRE-ORDER HERE (Samantha Henthorn has)

Ahava Trivedi

Ahava Trivedi grew up in the south of England and almost on a whim one day, decided to up and move to Toronto, Canada with her sister. She is mostly a fiction author who, similar to her hasty move across the pond, likes to explore different genres that interest her by diving headlong into them first and figuring out her story as she goes along.

Ahava is currently writing some humorous reads that have taken shape as The Hopeless Husband Series. The first book in the series, ‘The Anniversary’, is out now and the next ones will be available very soon!

If you’d like to get an email whenever Ahava releases a new title or decides to give books away for free (she does this from time to time!), sign up for exclusive updates at http://www.ahavatrivedi.com

If you’d like to contact Ahava, she’d love to hear from you! Here are some ways to get in touch:

The Twitter-verse: @Ahava_Tee

The Facebook Page: Ahava Trivedi Author

Telepathy: Hey, why not? Give it a try – you can do it if you believe you can!

 

Thank you so much, Ahava! I have really been looking forward to hearing what this new name was! And it was well worth the wait. I would recommend signing up to Ahava’s page and reading her books!

Happy reading! Samantha xx

PS join me next month when we hear from a poet from the very same town as me!