Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chris Nickson and The Constant Lovers

I want to start by thanking my guest, author Chris Nickson for taking the time to speak with me about writing, music and his latest novel, The Constant Lovers.

The Constant Lovers is the third novel of the popular Richard Nottingham series which is set in Leeds in the 1730s. The hardback edition will be released on January 26th in the UK and May 1st in the US.

Chris's last novel, Cold Cruel Winter received rave reviews and was named one of the best mysteries of 2011 by Library Journal.

1) Without giving too much away, please can you tell us a little bit about The Constant Lovers?

It's a tale of money and power, and what people will do for both - as well as the price others have to pay.

In terms of plot, it starts with a girl found murdered in the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, outside Leeds in 1732, and the efforts of Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City, first to find out who she is, and then who murdered her. There's a love note in her pocket, but when she's eventually identified, it's apparent the note isn't from her husband.

Then a young man commits suicide at the White Cloth Hall and the situation becomes more complex...That's as far as I can go without gifting people too much.

2) For those who may not yet be familiar with the Richard Nottingham series, could you sum up in five words what one can expect from reading your novels?

History, crime, family, involvement, Leeds.

3) You have a background in music journalism; do you believe that music can influence a writer? Are there any artists or bands that influence your writing?

I don't think any music's influenced my fiction. I've used folk songs here and there in the novels, and the idea of The Broken Token (the name of the first book in the series) came from traditional songs.

4) Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Keep writing. It's an art, but it's also a craft, and the more you work at it in all its forms, the better you'll become.

Journalism taught me a huge amount and made me a better writer. Well, I hope it did!

5) So many fictional detectives have ended up on the big screen. Do you think this might happen to Richard Nottingham?

I've no idea on that - it's pretty much out of my hands. Wonderful as it would be, there's a part of me that's dubious about it.

Richard Nottingham is very real to me, but he doesn't have a face in my mind. Anything on TV or movies would give him that, and I'd see that face in the future, and write to it, which wouldn't be a good thing.

6) Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Constant Lovers. Can we expect to see any Richard Nottingham books in future?

Well, The Constant Lovers is the third in the series, and the fourth, which is called Come the Fear, will be out in July. It's much darker, I think, and hopefully a better book - I want each one to be better than the last.

I wish Chris the very best of luck and you can read the first two chapters of The Constant Lovers here - http://www.severnhouse.com/article/Download+Chaps+1+_+2+of+The+Constant+Lovers/670.

For more information about Chris Nickson visit www.chrisnickson.co.uk. 

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Colourful World of Hollie Leffel

I have always appreciated different styles of art and when the work of Hollie Leffel came to my attention, I needed to take a closer look at this colourful and talented artist.

Hollie's use of colour in her paintings really made some special creations that can be enjoyed over and over again. She is definitely a name to look out for, both now and in the future.

A few examples

There are so many paintings I like but simply couldn't choose them all so these are a select few to give you an idea of the vast scale of Hollie's talent.

To find out more about Hollie and her work, visit her website: http://www.artbyhollie.info/

Helping others

Hollie loves to help others and through her website it is possible to make a PayPal donation. All proceeds go towards providing art supplies for children who live in poverty.

Make a donation to the Dream in Colour Charity for Children and help those who are less fortunate have a brighter future.

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2012: What will you accomplish?

Throughout 2011 and to this day, I have made wonderful friends on Twitter and want to say thanks to everyone for the messages of support.

It is hard to believe the new year celebrations are already over but I am ready for any challenges that may lay ahead in 2012.

I don't always come up with resolutions but this year decided there are certain things which I want to do. The first is to complete the draft of my debut novel, secondly is to read more and lastly learn to play the guitar.

What do you want or hope to accomplish in 2012?

It does look like the next 12 months are going to be very busy and not just personally, there are a number of key historical milestones being reached.

1) 7th February will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

2) On April 15th, it will be 100 years since the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage

3) It will be 400 years since the Pendle witch trials took place

I wish everyone the very best for 2012 and I hope it leads to dreams being fulfilled.

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