*Blog Tour* – 37 Hours – J.F Kirwan

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I feel honoured to be part of the second blog tour for J.F Kirwan, this time featuring 37 Hours, number two of the  Nadia Laksheva spy thriller. Of course, I enjoyed the first novel, but I loved this one even more!

*I missed my stop on the 11th September, but I managed to get in there before its too late!* 

Plot 

The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one. Imprisoned by MI6 for two long years in solitary, Nadia suddenly finds herself free again. But there is a price to pay for her release. Another dangerous and near impossible mission– retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her old nemesis, the deadliest of terrorists.

But he is always one step ahead, and soon Nadia finds herself at the front line of preventing London from disappearing into a cloud of ash. Only this time, she is ready to pull the trigger at any cost. And with the clock counting down from 37 hours, time is running out…

Just like its prologue, 37 Hours does not fail to bring a story packed with action, suspense and lovable characters. The opening chapter (prologue) is explosive, and I knew I was going to be hooked for the rest of the novel within the first few lines…

“Vladimir was cuffed and hooded, but his guards had made a fatal mistake. His hands were behind him, but not attached to the inner structure of the military van, a standard Russian UAZ 452 – he’d know those rickety creaks and the pungent blend of oil and diesel anywhere. The vehicle trundled towards some unknown destination where he would be interrogated, beaten some more, then shot in the back of the head.

I felt like I was watching a movie and was utterly thrilled with the twists Kirwin throws at us along the way… (I wish I could tell you, but I can’t.) The familiarity with Nadia’s character only meant that I was thoroughly invested into her character and became perhaps overly concerned with her safety! Nadia’s reactions to the difficult past she has had to endure is completely believable and well portrayed through her relationships.

What I think I love the most about the author, is how his love of diving shines through every time I read. The descriptions of the world under the sea are wonderful and makes me want to explore the oceans…

About the Author 

In his day job, J. F. Kirwan travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! So when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. It was the only way he could carry on diving! But as the story and characters grew, he realised it was not one book, but three… 

 

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INTERVIEW with Helen Sedgwick // The Growing Season

Something special always happen when a scientist turn’s their hand to writing. A mixture of both scientific fact and a wondrous imagination can create a world that is often terrifyingly believable. Following her debut novel The Comet Seekers, Helen Sedgwick’s release, The Growing Season is sure to be a success! I was lucky enough to review this two months early and I was so intrigued by the ideas behind it, that I just had to find out more! Thus, here is my interview with Helen herself! 

 

Tell me a little about your science background.

I studied science at University; an undergraduate degree followed by a PhD in soft condensed matter physics. I spent three years at Edinburgh University developing a lab-on- a-chip device for the study and isolation of single cancer cells. The work involved maintaining human cells in an artificial environment – how to keep them alive and healthy, how they grow, how they respond to external conditions. This research in particular was helpful when I was writing The Growing Season.

So, what made you turn to writing?

During my time working at Glasgow University I took an evening class in creative writing, which I absolutely loved. The tutor suggested that I might consider applying for the MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow. I was fortunate enough to be offered a place and to change my postdoc in the engineering department to part time. So I had this wonderful year where I was simultaneously a member of staff and a student, a research scientist and a creative writer. It was a great way to work out which career I really wanted. By the end of that year, I knew I was a writer.

How did you land your publishing deal?
Well, it took a long time! I graduated from the MLitt in 2008. I then spent several years writing a novel, occasionally getting a short story published, while also doing some editing, running a literary magazine, teaching creative writing (and a bit of violin and piano), and working part time in a café.

I got an agent then parted ways with that agent without a publishing deal. In 2012 I won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, which was a real turning point for me – the award comes with amazing support and encouragement. I realised during that year what novel I wanted to write next, and three years later I had finished The Comet Seekers. After several rounds of feedback from friends and colleagues, I sent the manuscript to an agent, Cathryn Summerhayes. From that point on things happened very quickly. Cathryn read the book and offered to represent me within about a week, and soon after that we got our first offer. To my utter surprise and delight the book went to auction, and we accepted the offer from Harvill Secker. And of course I’m still with Cathryn and Harvill Secker for my second novel, The Growing Season.

Are You a Procrastinator?
It depends on what it is I’m supposed to be doing. When I’m in the middle of writing a novel, I don’t usually procrastinate at all – once I’m engrossed in the story and the voice is working and I love the characters, I can’t wait to sit down at the computer every morning and write. I often write my first drafts quite quickly once I’ve started them, and then spend a long time (usually years) editing them.

That whole process really is a joy, and I still can’t quite believe I’m lucky enough to spend my time writing and editing novels. But when I’m trying to start something new it’s a very different story. I usually spend years thinking about a novel before I’m ready to write a word, and getting started often means writing and rewriting the opening scene countless times. I have a similar difficulty when writing short stories. I can procrastinate for ages when I’m still trying to find my way in, to work out what the story is really trying to say. And, of course, if there is admin to do I can procrastinate with the best (or worst) of them!

Did You Have Any Fears Following Your First Publication?

Oh yes, I was terrified! Even though I had been working in publishing myself for several years, I was shocked by how totally exposed and vulnerable I felt. Having spent nearly ten years trying to achieve something, trying to improve and develop and create something worthwhile and valuable – and that someone else loves enough to publish – it’s inevitable that you feel very strongly about it. I remember giving a reading from The Comet Seekers shortly after publication, and I almost cried in the middle! That sounds ridiculous and melodramatic, but there really is so much emotion involved both in the writing of a novel and in that necessity to hand it over to the world.

Aside From Your Scientific Mind, Where did your ideas for The Growing Season First Bloom from?

I was talking with a couple of friends about the fact that its shocking that some women still don’t have equality at work- its inexcusable. What is it going to take to change it? We mentioned joint parental leave and free universal childcare and I started to think that for all men to truly see themselves as having equal responsibility for childcare then perhaps they needed to start experiencing the entire process… from pregnancy on wards.

I imagined the pouch – an artificial womb that could be carried and cared for equally by women and men. And the more I talked about it that evening, the more it seemed to me like an ideal solution.

That is, until I looked up and saw my friend looking completely horrified! Because there are also huge risks and dangers associated with that kind of technology, and almost everyone I’ve spoken to since has different feelings about it. It’s a really emotive idea and the range of points of view people have about it, women and feminists in particular, became as interesting to me as the idea of the technology itself. I wanted to explore those points of view, to write about all the different reactions people have towards the pouch, and all the ways it could change our lives.

Click here to view Helen’s article about Artificial Wombs in The Guardian. 

In 2017: Male contraceptive  – Yes or No?
I think it’s good to give people choice. But of course, it all depends on the individuals involved and the nature of their relationship. So yes, give people the choice and at the same time remind everyone to take responsibility for their own actions. I would like to see a society where both men and women take equal responsibility for contraception, as well as for everything else in life.

Would you have a baby pouch?
Two years ago I would have said absolutely yes, but now I honestly don’t know. While I was writing the book I did a lot of research and spoke to a lot of people The differing opinions opened my eyes to experiences that I  didn’t know much about, but I do know that I want the world to have the baby pouch – I think it offers so much to so many. Amazing medical benefits would come about from the research and the existence of the
pouch itself, and for people with fertility problems, older women, gay couples, trans people, and people with a whole range of health issues, the pouch could be life changing. And I do believe that the new choices it would offer women and the new experiences it would offer men could bring about a fundamental change in our society.

Do You have a Daily Writing Routine?

Yes, but it’s not very reliable.

Typically I start as soon as I wake up and write through to lunchtime or beyond. When I’m working on a first draft, I just write – I switch off the editorial side of my brain completely. The result is a very messy first draft, of course! But it’s usually also a first draft with a lot of momentum and energy.

If I’ve had a productive morning, I tend to do something else for the afternoon. That could mean going for a walk or doing some gardening, but I also work as a freelance editor so if I have a job on I’ll do that in the afternoons.

It varies throughout the novel writing process though. Occasionally – particularly when the end of my novel is in sight – I can write for the whole day and late into the night. But when I’m at the start, or if an idea just isn’t working, then any routine disappears completely. Sometimes I just need to do something else for a few weeks and take some time away from it. When the writing won’t flow, I don’t force it. For me, there’s nothing more debilitating than sitting in front of a blank computer screen and feeling stuck. I find it’s much better to go for a long walk and allow my subconscious to untangle itself in the fresh air.

What Book Have You Taken With You From Childhood to Adulthood?

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Why Weeps The Brogan? by Hugh Scott had a huge impact on me when I was a child – it completely blew my mind! It still sits on my bookshelf now and I’ve used it when teaching creative writing classes.

 

 

 

What Can We Look Forward to in Terms of Upcoming Work?
Well, I’ve just finished the first draft of something rather unexpected that I’m not ready to talk about yet! It is a new novel, but a very different sort of book from both The Comet Seekers and The Growing Season. I’m also working on a collaborative short story and photography collection. And I now have an idea that I’m happy with for my next literary science novel – though I haven’t yet written a word.

What do you do to relax?
I feel incredibly lucky to live in the Scottish Highlands and much of what I do to relax involves being outside. I love walking and going to the beach, day trips to the north coast, and wandering around the woodland just behind my house. We have amazing skies here, both during the day and at night, and being outside watching the clouds and the aurora puts life in perspective for me. I also love playing and listening to music, and of course there’s nothing quite like reading a really good book.

 

The Growing Season is now available to order or download through Amazon, Foyles ,  Hive , Waterstones, and WH Smith   

Publisher: Harvill Secker

Date: 07/09/17

You can view my review for the The Growing Season here 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets – Eva Rice

Throw back Thursday is a tag that originated from Book Talk – its a way to remind ourselves of our old favourites and this week I am excited to talk about Throw back Thursday is a tag that originated from Book Talk – its a way to remind ourselves of our old favourites and this week I am excited to talk about The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice!

I absolutely adore this book. Set in the 1950s, this novel acts like a coming-of-age story about 18-year-old Penelope, a hopeless-romantic whose fantasies about American singer, Johnny Ray, keep her sane during the bleak penniless days of post-war England. Despite the fragility of her situation; her forlorn mother and the loss of her father, Penelope remains positive, hoping one day to meet the man of dreams. It is thus, by pure chance, that one day, whilst waiting for the bus, she bumps into the glamorous Charlotte Ferris. It is through this lucky encounter that Penelope is whisked into a word of hope, romance and riches like she has never seen before.

This novel is not chick-lit, despite its outward appearance. No. This novel deals with the guilt that proceeds the end of rationing; it deals with class wars and the anxieties of growing up and meeting expectations. It is also beautifully written and gives a fantastical element to the rock n’ roll fifties, in the sense that you want nothing, but to be transported into the pages.

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Strange Practice – Vivian Shaw

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Date: July 2017

Publisher: Orbit

I pre-ordered this book because I was so enticed by its blurb. By the time it got round to me, they had sold out on Amazon, so I had to wait even longer to get my hands on it – how is that fair? Anyway, this book was awesome. Here is what I found so intriguing:

From Goodreads: Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life. 

How straaaange, right? (sorry) But seriously, aside from the apparent ‘grooming’ aspect as suggested by the blurb, the concept of this novel is so fun and imaginative that you can’t really not love it!

Greta is a regular woman, young, single but with a an odd skill for tending to the un-dead. We encounter a mixture of characters in this novel, all of whom are all lovable in their own way and Greta in particular was utterly believable and I felt I shared her fascination in the morbidness of her work. Its structure was straightforward, I enjoyed the smooth transitions from one scene to another, the chapters building to the ultimate conflict at the end to get to the bottom of the Monks with the blue eyes.

This novel addresses issues surrounding cult culture and how damaging one person’s manipulation and power can have on his following. This is just the first in the series, but I am thoroughly looking forward to the proceeding novels. I want to explore the world of the undead even more, and learn more about what ailments vampires, ghouls and demons suffer in the ordinary world!

 

*Book Spotlight*: Love, Death and Other Lies – Jerome Sparks

Genre: Supernatural / Thriller

Publisher: Tell-Tale Publishing

Love death and other lies by jerome sparks

Today I am thrilled to be providing a book spotlight for Jerome Sparks’ new novel Love, Death and Other Lies hosted by Sage Blog Tours. This novel sounds very promising – who doesn’t love a character with a promise of a grisly-fate and an un-dead husband! Horror fans – take notice!

Plot 

During an ill-fated girls’ night out, still reeling from the loss of her husband, Liv Bestte meets a mysterious, old woman who promises to return her husband to her – for a price. It isn’t until the reanimated corpse of her late husband has begun terrorizing the hills and hollows around Julian, West Virginia, tearing flesh from bone, that Liv learns the price is her soul.

Now Liv is racing against time to find a way to satisfy this debt without sacrificing herself. And she soon learns that the only way she might escape her grisly fate is by offering up her daughter, Tegan, in her place.

But is it already too late for Liv? Is Liv’s fate sealed by family history? When Liv is about to make an ill-fated decision, it is Liv’s younger sister, Abby, who stands in her way, despite the fact that Abby was the first victim of the resurrected thing that was once Conner Bestte.

 

About the Author

 

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Jerome Sparks is a native of West Virginia.  He majored in the highly unprofitable and nonspecific field of Creative Productions while attending the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia.  Hoping to become a college professor, Sparks went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Humanities, with a concentration in literary theory from the West Virginia Graduate College located in Institute, West Virginia.  But, after an unsuccessful attempt to teach English at the college level (for which he offers his most sincere apologies to his former students), Sparks took the easy out and pursued a J.D. from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Sparks called New Orleans home for several years, haunting the bars and bistros of the French Quarter, before finally following a girl back to West Virginia where he is currently practicing law.  (Yes, he married the girl.)  Sparks and his family now live happily in the West Virginia hills.

Jerrome’s Blog: http://jeromesparksauthorblog.blogspot.com/

BUY BUY BUY: http://amzn.to/2trDJT7

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#Throwback Thursday: I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

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Throw back Thursday is a tag that originated from Book Talk – its a way to remind ourselves of our old favourites and this week I am excited to talk about Dodie Smith’s wonderful novel, I capture the Castle 

For those of you who remember the 2003 film starring Bill Nighy, do you remember how utterly enchanting it was? The romanticised image of the English countryside and its ruined old castle? Well, its original novel is even more gorgeous.

I often band The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice and I Capture the Castle into the same sort of category. They’re both set after the war and share the same captivating prose that makes England seem like somewhere out of a fairytale. However, this is somewhat darker than the The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets; it emphasises the financial pressure’s dumped on families following the war and depicts some darker, seedier characters that you are just begging to be cast away somewhere.

This novel is told through a  diary-keeper called Cassandra, who is ever critical of her family; her gorgeous older sister, her introverted father, her annoying little brother and her naked step-mother. As ever, with most teenage girls of this period, she dreams of marrying a rich, older gentleman and wants nothing more than to be swept off her feet.

As luck might have it, two American’s stumble in on her whilst she is having a bath, and thus entails a love triangle that involves parties, record players and sibling rivalry. Again, this is not chic-lit, I promise. Perhaps it would be in a modern setting, but Dodie Smith’s luscious descriptions of the English countryside and the depiction of the aftermath of war makes this a truly worth while read. I’ve read it about three times, and I am certain I will pick it up again when I need to escape from the bustle of city-life. *sigh*

 

#Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for Weird Worlds!

This is my first time using this tag which was started by The Broke and The Bookish. There is no particular theme this week, so I thought I’d talk about some weird and twisted books that I just love!

Okay, so first, lets define what I mean by ‘weird’. I don’t mean witches, wands and sorting hats; nor do I mean novels that are set on top of a floating turtle in outer-space (I mean that would be cool right?). No. I mean the sort of weird that when we read them, we can draw a sigh of relief that we are not in the book. – perhaps a rare way of thinking for book-lovers, but I feel up to the challenge…

 

geek-love-coverGeek Love – Katherine Dunn

A family-run carnival who follow no ethics codes and whom basically prey on the ‘normal’ people – us. This is one of my favourite books of all time, but my god, thank god the Binewski family do not exist in real life!

 

 

 

 

metamorphMetamorphosis – Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka, one of my favourite authors but with a twisted imagination. Waking up to find you’ve turned into a human sized cockroach? No thanks!

 

Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood TheHandmaidsTale(1stEd).jpg

Most of us are familiar with this by now – if anything else, those red capes are not a good look!

 

1984Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell 

Reading this was a little like living my worse nightmare. Like a horrible dream that I couldn’t put down!

 

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A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess 

This novel is not just a little bit mad, but completely terrifying. If you haven’t read this, then I wouldn’t… unless you have a very strong stomach!

 

i.tI.T – Stephen King 

Oh I.T. One of the best horror stories ever (in my opinion) – but there is perhaps nothing worse than a clown that feeds off your most deepest fears.

 

 

 

Theboyinthestripedpyjamas.jpgThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne 

 

This is a bit of a cheat I suppose – as this is not so much fiction but horrifyingly real. I don’t need to say anymore.

 

lord of the fliesLord of the Flies – William Golding 

This is such a great book, and makes me wonder what would really happen if a group of kids were left on an island to fend for themselves… I shudder at the thought. This also brings me on to…

 

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The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins 

A perhaps less brutal version of Battle Royale, but awful nonetheless! (The concept I mean… not the book)

 

TheWitchesThe Witches – Roald Dahl 

 

I think there are a lot of Roald Dahl Books that are guaranteed to scare kids and The Witches was definitely up there for me. I am so happy that they do not exist! (…I hope)

#Booktag: It’s Monday, what are you reading!?

Yay, I love this tag! Started by Book Date, I feel like its a great way for not just all you followers, but also to keep myself up-to-date with what I should be reading and what I have been reading.

 

So, lets see the list…

What I read last week: 

 Suzy Spitfire Kills Everybody – Joe Canzano

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A super-fast action, space adventure! Sex, space and… guns! You can see my review here!

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

 

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This was a really, really good book. Full of questions about life, death and religion told in a humorous yet thought-provoking way. A five snail rating!

What am I currently reading? 

Strange Practice – Vivian Shaw 

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I’ve been excited to get my hands on this book for a while – now I’m finally there! I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far – the characters are awesome and the story reminds me of something from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Can’t wait to give my review!

What’s next? 

I.Q – Joe Ide

 

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This was a Goodreads giveaway – I have no idea what to expect to be honest! Here is the Goodreads synopsis… finger crossed its a good one!

East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can’t or won’t touch.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he’s forced to take on clients that can pay.

This time, it’s a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes

Book SPOTLIGHT & Excerpt: Interpretation – Dylan Callens

Date: 1st August 2017 

Publisher: Cosmic Teapot Publishing 

Today I am pleased to spotlight and share with your a new novel by Dylan Callens. I have to say I am rather intrigued by the blurb – ideal for any dystopian fans who enjoy the perspective of the outsider.

The Plot

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster. 

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above. 

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

Excerpt

Carl closed his eyes and tried to laugh at himself.  Barely a squeak left his mouth.  What was he thinking, trying to enter this godforsaken wasteland by himself with no supplies?  Still on his back, he dreamed about opening a bottle of Ocean Surge.  Wet bubbles danced against his tongue, bathing his taste buds with refreshing fruit-infusion – small bursts of happiness made his lips sing an ode to joy.

But forget that fantasy; sulfur-ridden tap water would be just as good.  Carl knew the taste would not equate, but its effect would invigorate.  Carl smiled, his eyes wide open, staring into the dimming sky, into the nothingness that surrounded him.  Gulp after glorious gulp of imaginary liquid until he couldn’t keep up, showering his face with it until a puddle formed around him.  That puddle turned into an ocean and Carl sank to the bottom, his faint breath weakening further.  The light grew dimmer.  He tried to reach up, to reach out of the depths of his hallucination, but his arms felt too heavy, as if the pressure at this depth couldn’t be overcome.

A shadow hovered over him.  Carl tried to speak to it, but words didn’t make sense.  The shadow spoke back with a meaningless, muffled slur.  Water entered Carl’s mouth, nearly choking him.  Nonetheless, the delicious wet felt so good, like ocean refreshment in every bottle.  That was the slogan, right?  Carl laughed or cried, he couldn’t tell.  For all he knew, he was dead.  The shadow grew, saying something that he couldn’t work his mind around.  Darker. Darker.  Clock, what the hell was that clock song?  Darker. The shadow drew nearer.  Or maybe it was the darkness.  It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride…Ah yes, there it is.But it stopped short – never to go again – When the old man died.  That’s the one.  Darkness.

Author Bio

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

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www.cosmicteapot.net

You can purchase on Amazon, Kobo, ibooks, B&N – Get reading!

Is heaven just a vessel in out-of space?: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

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Date: January 2017

Publisher: Accent Press: https://www.accentpress.co.uk/the-things-we-learn-when-were-dead

Isn’t the human imagination such a wonderful thing! Art and literature being the ultimate platform in which we can project the bizarre and brilliant ideas that float through our thoughts. When I first picked up Charlie’s Laidlaw’s novel, The Things We Learn When We Are Dead, I of course had no idea what to expect as I’d only read the blurb – the plot of which was so strange that quite frankly, it could go one of two ways.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home

Strange, but I was utterly captivated by the very first page. This book is so well-written, it could be about a man watching paint dry and I still would have loved it. As it happens, the plot was equally as well-crafted as the words and I was introduced to new ideas about death and the afterlife – one’s I had never considered before. This novel questions religion and what ‘heaven’ really is.

It seems like an odd question, but is heaven simply a vessel in space captained by a hippy-type God? I mean, there are millions, perhaps zillions of theories that have circulated through time that I suppose this idea isn’t that crazy. I mean, someone once told me they believe our souls are transported to other living creatures when we die – even plants. So what’s so wrong about a spaceship – especially a spaceship that picks up creatures from other planets.

This novel really is full of unique ideas that got me thinking – and I am in no way religious. Lorna is such a great character, someone I felt I really related to (though I am no way near clever enough to be a lawyer.) Its told in flashbacks – fleeting stories from Lorna’s past that are told as she slowly remembers her life on earth and we are challenged with the idea that perhaps it is our memories that really shape us. I also loved Irene, a ‘woman’ from another planet who is both rebellious and moody, yet makes every effort to make Lorna comfortable in her new place in Heaven.

What really kept me reading, was when we find out that Lorna had supposedly committed suicide and that God had chosen her especially to be aboard the space ship (you see, not everyone goes to heaven). She denies she committed suicide, its just not something she would do! But when her past life unfolds within her memories, it seems she is not quite who she remembered.

This is  not a novel for a light afternoon read – this is for someone wanting a book they can really get their teeth into!

 

Find out more about Charlie and his other novels here: https://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com/