Book Review Update – 8th October 2021

Hello everyone!

You might have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the reviewing front recently. I’ve been struggling massively to find the time to fit reading in during the last few months. I’ve worked a lot, I have a 20,000 word Masters dissertation to write and to be quite honest, my head just isn’t in the game right now.

I’ve decided that I won’t be taking on anymore books to review until the new year, once my dissertation is out of the way. I want to make sure I’m putting 110% into that, and I want it to be the greatest piece of work I’ve ever written.

I’m still going to be on my social media platforms (namely Instagram and Twitter), but my blog is likely to be quite quiet. I have a number of blog ideas listed down on the notes section of my phone with posts I want to put out before 2021 is over and in order to keep that a realistic aim for me, unfortunately taking on reviews will have to be put on pause.

This is only for the next few months and I hope that come 2022, I will be back and raring to go (mainly because I don’t think I’m going to have a full time job and I’ll have a lot of free time whilst I panic and apply for jobs).

All the best, Leah x

Journey to Paradise – Paula Greenlees

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 430

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆/5

Synopsis: Singapore, 1949. When Miranda steps onto the pier with her husband Gerry she hopes that their move will bring the fresh start she needs and a chance to heal the scars from her past.

Gerry’s role at the British foreign office affords them a beautiful house and invites the best parties in town. But their life feels worlds apart from England and true friends are hard to find.

When doctor Nick Wythenshaw encourages Miranda to work within the local community, she finds new purpose that opens her eyes to a new way of life.

But as riots erupt across the region and danger draws close to home, Miranda must make an impossible choice. Will she sacrifice everything she holds dear to find happiness?

My Thoughts: I would firstly like to thank NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think we all know by now that I love historical fiction, and so when a debut historical fiction novel pops up, I’m not going to say no. I’d seen this book all over Instagram as there were some blog tours, but I didn’t get the opportunity to join in and I was so disappointed as the reviews were glowing. When I saw it still available on NetGalley I jumped at the opportunity, and I’m so glad I did.

Miranda and Gerry Lewis move to Singapore from England in the late 1940’s for a fresh start. For Miranda, escaping from England means that she’s escaping from the harsh reality of losing her baby, Henry, though she remains full of grief and mentally isn’t doing well. The writing in this book is beautiful – so descriptive and sets the scene well. This creates such a page-turner of a novel. I knew from early on that this was going to be a fantastic read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish!

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

This Much Huxley Knows – Gail Aldwin

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Pages: 217

Published: July 2021

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5

Synopsis: I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

My Thoughts: I would firstly like to thank Gail Aldwin for a copy of This Much Huxley Knows in exchange for this honest review.

WHAT A FABULOUS BOOK!!! A book for adults, told from the perspective of a seven year old? Such a unique and interesting concept. Huxley is a funny little kid, not knowing what is appropriate and inappropriate for him to say was by far the highlight of it for me (a 7 year old talking about libido and other things he’d overheard, and explaining to his dad about his mum rubbing Paula’s back after swimming were fantastic moments that had me chuckling away). I think what I enjoyed the most about this is that a child of his age obviously has no filter when they’re talking, and Huxley is exactly like that!! He will repeat anything he’s heard because he’s so inquisitive and loves to find out new words and meanings of words. I like how it’s a contemporary story, mentioning the dreaded Brexit and Huxley trying to interpret the news in the world in his mind.

We get to find out so much about Huxley and his family, as well as the middle-class environment they live in. Gail builds the world in so much detail and no stone is left unturned in both the character and world building within the book. As I was reading it, my mind was picturing elements of my childhood – things that I haven’t thought about in years, and that in itself was such a lovely added bonus to the book.

Most importantly, this book has lots of hidden meanings. As its front cover suggests, it’s a story of innocence, misunderstandings and acceptance. There’s nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone in need of an easy read that will make you laugh from start to finish.

Once again, a huge thank you to Gail Aldwin for allowing me to read this treasure of a book!

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

Thorn – Stefan Plesoianu

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 220

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆/5

POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNINGS: Alcohol consumption, drugs, sex, depression, loss / grief.

Synopsis: Jaded ahead of his time, Seven looks to fulfill his ambitions of becoming a successful writer. Not exactly full of hope and often lackluster, he tries to make something of his life despite interferences from his funny but troublesome friends, an aging, vulnerable family waiting for his weekly visits and most pressingly, girls.

Finding himself in the privileged position of owning an apartment, Seven reluctantly faces the typical contemporary problems of people his age. First and foremost, he has to support himself as to unburden his family, a process which sees him switch between menial jobs, affecting his self-esteem. This adds to his bad habits and anxiety generated by living in an unstable social environment marked by drugs, promiscuity and dodgy people. Next to that, fixing his deficient love life is another big ask, as he tries and fails to make casual relationships work out.

Out of nowhere, Cynthia enters the fray, massively improving Seven’s life and giving him hope. Not long after, their relationship takes a turn for the worse and continues to cause both of them suffering, leading to fights and breakups. Upon deciding to give it one more try, Cynthia finds she has to move back home with her mourning family, leaving Seven to pick up the pieces of the painfully shattered hope. However, all is not lost as he is invited to a meeting to discuss his book with a literary agent.

My Thoughts: I would firstly like to say a massive thank you to Stefan Plesoianu for reaching out to me asking me to read this book in exchange for a review.

Seven is 23 years old and struggling his way through the start of adulthood. There are girlfriends, bad dates, break ups mixed in with drinking and drugs. Not to say that’s how every young adult’s life is, but I feel like many could be able to relate to at least one aspect of what Sev goes through throughout the book.

Thorn is a unique book, with short chapters that are like short diary experts of Sev’s life. Despite having an unusual writing style, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as much as I did. The chapters are short and snappy and then the following chapter will move on to something different in Sev’s navigation through life. It’s an easy read, and a good book to be able to put down and then come back to and getting straight back into it.

Seven would love to become a successful writer and have his writing fund his life, however with him only just starting out, that’s impossible. You follow him having crappy jobs that will be able to fund his literary ambitions. Speaking of writing, I really enjoyed the way Stefan Plesoianu wrote this book. I liked how the reader is dropped straight into Sev’s life and it feels like all of the pieces of his complex puzzle are put together throughout the book.

I thought this was a great little book. It isn’t the shortest, but also isn’t the longest book ever written and I think its length was perfectly pitched (whether that was intentional or not). It gives just enough insight into Sev and his life, without having to give a huge dramatic backstory. At the end of the day, Sev is just your average 23 year old trying his best to make a good life for himself.

A big thanks to Stefan Plesoianu for getting me out of my 2 month long reading slump!

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

One Night Only – Catherine Walsh

Genre: Contemporary | Romance

Pages: 314

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆/5

Synopsis: Who could have predicted this? Being at the same wedding. In Ireland. There’s a reason one-night stands are one-night stands. You’re not supposed to see each other again, especially not when you’re the maid of honor, and he’s the groom’s brother…

Sarah Anderson has never been more excited about anything in her life. She’s going to her best friend’s wedding. And not just any wedding. An Irish wedding. Goodbye New York, hello rolling green hills and men with beautiful accents and twinkling eyes.

But Sarah should have known that not all guests are fairy-tale princess…

There’s the chinless Uncle Trevor, whose idea of small talk is to claim climate change is a conspiracy.

Then there’s Great Aunt Eileen, who doesn’t talk at all (she’s too busy replacing the hotel cutlery with her own set).

Worst of all, there’s Declan Murphy. Best man. Brother of the groom. And the man Sarah last saw naked.

Is there anything more mortifying than bumping into a one-night stand halfway across the world? Especially as Declan seems determined to embarrass Sarah at every turn. At least when the wedding’s over she’ll never have to see him again.

But, back in New York, Sarah finds the more she tries to forget Declan, the more she can’t shake the thought of that infuriatingly charming smile and the way he wears a tux…

Was he really just for one night only, or might Declan Murphy be The One?

My Thoughts: Firstly, I’d like to thank Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. One Night Only was released on 30th July 2021, so is available right now!

I listened to this book as an audiobook, which at the moment is my preferred format for contemporary novels and it was one that I really enjoyed. I feel with a contemporary audiobook, I’m able to get really immersed into the universe of the characters, and they’re not overly complicated books so I can easily follow along whilst doing something else at the same time (usually working).

I loved the story of Sarah and Declan, the writing and writing style were great and, for me, the characters made the book as brilliant as it was. The progression and development of the characters was fantastic, and they were all so loveable. Before anyone makes a comment on this, I know it’s a work of fiction, but there were parts where I found the plot to be somewhat unbelievable. Sarah and Declan kept bumping into each other like it was a huge coincidence, but I think in reality that is somewhat unrealistic. This slight illogic to the book is what knocked it down to 4 stars. However, despite this I was still entertained from the first page to the last.

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

Aestus: Book 2: The Colony – S.Z. Attwell

Genre: Sci Fi | Climate Fiction | Dystopian

Pages: 560

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5

Synopsis: “An underground city. A deadly project. And an Intelligence agent who can help Jossey take down the City…if she can trust him again.

Jossey grew up believing the Onlar, creatures of the aboveground, were monsters. But when they kidnapped her, she found out terrible secrets about her city and her family. Her choice to help the Onlar against the City almost cost her her life. And the Intelligence agent she’d thought was her friend was the one tasked with carrying out her execution.

But he didn’t quite succeed.

Now Jossey, barely alive, has been sent to the Onlar by a mysterious figure from the City. And time is of the essence – her solar network project could mean disaster not only for the Onlar, but for thousands of citizens as well. She can’t do much from the Onlar camp, but Gavin, Jossey’s Patrol leader and longtime friend, isn’t convinced she’s dead. And Patrol has started to learn the truth.

As tentative alliances form, Jossey begins to think this might be easier than she’d thought. But a terrible miscalculation has been made, one that may cost her and her friends both the City and their lives. Can she see it before it’s too late?”

My Thoughts: Book 2 is a direct continuation from book 1 – it’s the exact same storyline that just needed splitting into two books due to the fact it would’ve been 1266 pages long if it was just one book. I feel as though a lot of the big events happened in the first book, and so the second book had less dramatic moments, though there were still a few! Although I rated both books 5 stars, when comparing my CAWPILE ratings between book 1 and 2, book 1 did come out on top but only by a small margin. I did think it was interesting how in the second book I preferred the characters (though they’re the same people – lots of development!!). Gavin and Caspar are two characters I’ve really loved throughout both books. I love the style of S.Z. Attwell‘s writing, I definitely think she reads how she speaks, and I really like that.

I’m not going to talk about the plot of the book at all because if you haven’t read the first book then essentially it’ll just spoil everything. However, what I will say is that this is a book series you NEED to read. Although the books are chunky, for me it didn’t feel that way because I found myself so immersed in the storyline. It was a world I could so clearly imagine in my brain and the plot kept me turning the pages over and over until I’d finished the whole book. I actually managed to read around 450 pages of it in one sitting for reference. I’m not sure if a third book is on the cards, but if it isn’t then I feel like the story was wrapped up quite nicely.

The overall theme of the books, is so important. Aestus is an adult dystopian science-fiction series set centuries after climate change has ravaged much of Earth. The world is too hot to live on and so the people are forced underground where it is cooler. We’ve had some very hot days recently which are out of the ordinary and I couldn’t help but have Aestus in the back of my mind the entire time.

Aestus: Book 2: The Colony is available to buy on Amazon.

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

Author Interview – Simon Van der Velde

Backstories by Simon Van der Velde was the first compilation of short stories I’ve ever read and I absolutely loved it! There was an element of guessing to each story – trying to work out who the famous (or infamous) protagonist was and I found it a genius book! It kept me entertained and altered the reading experience for me, from just reading a book to it becoming a game in its own right. You can read my review for Backstories by clicking here.

For those who don’t know what Backstories is, here’s the synopsis:

Backstories – ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’ – is a collection of stories each told from the point of view of one of my personal heroes, (or villains) back when they were just another Jew or black, or queer – back when they were nobody. Bullied, assaulted or psychologically abused, their road to redemption was never easy, and for some there would be no redemption, only a descent into evil.

These are the stories of people you know. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, the driving themes are inclusion and social justice – but the real key to these stories is that I withhold the protagonists’ identities. This means that your job is to find them – leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

I should also add that this is a book that operates on two levels. Yes, there’s the game of identifying the mystery activist or actor, singer or murderer, but there is then the more serious business of trying to understand them. This in turn leads to the challenge of overlaying what you now know about these famous people onto what you thought you knew – not to mention the inherent challenge to your moral compass.

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Here’s my interview with Simon:

At what point did you decide to be an author / publish books?

I’ve always found the real world a bit dull and stressful, which meant I spent a lot of time living in my head.  It took me till my early 20’s though, to get my act together enough to put anything on paper – a story about a boy wizard having a tough time at school, until it turned out he had the true power.  The twist is, this was back in about ’92, before Harry Potter was even written – though it did owe a little to Diana Wynne Jones’ Charmed Life.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Usually, I have trouble writing when I try to rush, or when I get distracted by social media and marketing.  The key for me is to remember why I’m doing this – for the peace and purity of thought – and then get back to basics.  Who is my character?  What do they want?  What’s in their way?  And what’s happening, step by step, blow by blow, – see it and write it down.

Was there anything you edited out of a book that you later wished you kept in?

Yes, but I can’t tell you, because it will be in Backstories 2.

How do you find the inspiration for new novels and storylines?

The Backstories collection is, of course, a series of backstories about my heroes, (and villains) before they were famous.  This makes the inspiration easy, I just read and research one of my heroes until I see the way into their story – the key moment that made it all happen.

If you could give one tip to someone wanting to get into writing, what would it be?

Do it for its own sake, for the joy of creating (simulated) life, and the meditative place it can take you to.

What made you choose to write a series of short stories?

It came about accidentally.

A few years ago my wife and I went to see a performer from way back when.  The truth is, I was a bit worried.  Would he still be any good?  In fact, he was brilliant.  Great voice, great music and above all, great honesty, especially about his struggles as a kid.

The next day I put aside my novel and wrote a piece about that kid.  Not about the super-star, but about the kid, starting out with the whole world against him.  That was why I withheld his name.  I didn’t want to write some sycophantic, ‘what a genius, it was always meant to be’ tribute.  I wanted to set aside preconceptions and give you the lost little kid who could easily have gone down in flames.  I wanted to highlight the emotional truth of this person, and leave the reader with a fresh perspective.

The guessing game was a bi-product.  Blind luck.  I can’t even say that I realised what I had.  But my wife, (and number one critic), loved it.  She saw the potential in both the game and the meaning.  The result is a book that operates on two distinct levels with pretty broad appeal.

Like a lot of things though, this game element is double-edged.  Yes, Backstories is a fun, easy read.  Everyone likes a challenge, but it frustrates me when people race through the book at 100mph, desperate to ‘find the mystery characters’ and come away thinking that’s all there is to it. 

Sure, read Backstories for the game.  But when that’s done, please, slow down.  Remember how it felt to be a kid.  Open your heart to the pain and the joy and the fury simmering between the lines.

Are there any of your short stories that you’d like to adapt into a full novel?

No.  A lot of these people’s stories have been told already.  What I like about Backstories is that these are snapshots from surprising or revealing perspectives.  I wouldn’t want to lose that.

Is there anyone you’d like to write a short story about but think it would be too controversial? 

Oh yes.  Trump is one I always toy with, so much material there, what really makes him tick?  I haven’t written it, though.  Yet.

Is there another genre of writing you’d like to explore in the future?

My writing is generally literary but accessible, and that’s what works for me – digging down into the emotional truth of my characters.  There’ll be novels, but to be honest I struggle to suspend disbelief when reading fantasy, and crime tends to be formulaic – so I think I’ll be sticking with the character-led stuff, at least for the foreseeable future.

Can you share any spoilers about your next book?

Spoilers!  They’re called that for a reason.  Half the fun of Backstories is identifying the characters, (the other half is understanding them).  So why spoil half the fun?  

What I can say is that there’ll be the same startling mix in Backstories 2 as there is in Backstories – so you can never quite trust the character you’re with, because whilst they could be a musical or political hero, they just might turn out to be a murderer.

Purchase Links:

Amazon (UK) Paperback edition – click here

Amazon (UK) Kindle edition- click here

Audiobook via Audible – click here

Simon’s Social Media:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SimonVdVwriter

Website – https://www.simonvandervelde.com/

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

Lying With Lions – Annabel Fielding

AD – PR Product – NetGalley book

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 233

My Rating: ☆☆☆/5

TRIGGER WARNINGS: death of a child, murder, arson, rape, sexual assault, misogyny.

Synopsis: Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.

They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…

My thoughts: As anyone who’s been reading my blogs for a while will know, historical fiction is my favourite genre to read, so I jumped at the chance to read this historical fiction novel via NetGalley. I found the beginning of the book quite confusing – it felt like we were thrown into the story with very little context, and it is for that reason that the I gave the book a 3 star rating. Once I’d figured out what was happening, I started to become deeply invested in the storyline. Despite the lack of context at the beginning of the book, I thought the writing was fantastic throughout.

The relationship between Helen and Agnes was great, and I think that LGBT+ representation in historical fiction is so important – just because at the time it was frowned upon doesn’t mean it didn’t exist! The storyline is intriguing and immersive, and when I was starting out reading the book, I wouldn’t have been able to guess its plot if I was just going off the synopsis.

There are a number content throughout the book that could be seen as problematic for some readers (see trigger warnings at the top of the page). Being mindful of these, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a historical fiction with plenty of drama and Edwardian lesbians.

Thanks again to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

*BLOG TOUR* From My Balcony to Yours – Nino Gugunishvili

AD – PR Product – A free copy of this book was given to me in exchange for a place on the blog tour.

Genre: Non Fiction | Memoir

Pages: 80

My Rating: ☆☆☆/5

Synopsis: “From My Balcony to Yours,” author Nino Gugunishvili shares her personal account during the first several months of the COVID -19 global pandemic in the form of short stories and observations.

My Thoughts: I want to just start by saying that this time last year I vowed to never watch or read anything pandemic related because I didn’t want to relive it, but 12 months later here I am, reading a book about lockdown. From My Balcony To Yours is only a very short book – 80 pages long – but documents Nino’s experience in lockdown from the day it was announced until September 2020.

In a way, it was quite nice to reminisce on the past 16 months, in a very strange way – there are elements of the first lockdown that I do truly miss now that life is getting back to normal (like not having to speak to people to be honest). Nino’s lockdown experience was fairly different to mine, but I enjoyed having an insight into someone else’s life and experiences – mainly because I’m really nosy.

What I enjoyed about this book is how there were parts of it that I’d completely forgot we ever had to endure, and so there were elements of this book that I feel like we experienced as a nation – Zoom quizzes. At times I laughed out loud and I managed to read the book in about half an hour.

The reason I gave this book 3 stars is because I felt that sometimes the writing wasn’t the easiest to follow. I found that on some occasions I couldn’t really grasp at what was being said very well. I know that it was supposed to read like a diary (because that’s essentially what it is!), but it did sometimes feel like a very much unedited diary and it didn’t flow very well from one page / diary entry to the next.

That being said, I think it’s a really fantastic concept to have written a diary throughout the (hopefully) once in a lifetime scenario that we found ourselves in. As I was reading I did wish I’d done the same and documented my experiences – although mine was mainly just ‘get degree coursework finished’ until the end of June, so perhaps not overly entertaining.

From My Balcony to Yours is available to buy on Amazon on Kindle or in paperback: Click here

FOLLOW ME!

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!

Author Interview – S.Z. Attwell

This week’s author interview is with the wonderful S.Z. Attwell who wrote the Aestus books. I recently reviewed Aestus: Book 1: The City which was a 5 star read. If you’re yet to read my review, you can do so by clicking here. If you haven’t read these books then you need to as soon as possible! Aestus: Book 2: The Colony is on my TBR for July/August and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.

Since writing my review, countries around the world are starting to experience sweltering temperatures like never before. Hopefully Aestus stays a work of fiction and doesn’t one day become a reality.

Before I get too depressing on a Sunday, here’s my interview with S.Z. Attwell:

At what point did you decide to be an author / publish books?

I’ve wanted to write since I was really small. When I was a little kid, I would go to the library and get entire stacks of books and bring them home and read through them in a few days. I had notebooks and would write stories – I had a little short story published as a child, plus a poem, and got runner-up in a TV writing competition as a teenager, but that was it until recently. But I’ve always wanted to write, almost since I can remember, I think. Publishing – I never had anything I thought about publishing until recently. I loved my stories, but to show them to the world? Talk about intimidating.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes I write a scene from another character’s point of view. Sometimes I take a break. Often I think about what needs to happen, and just mechanically start putting down information, but that’s just to hopefully get the ideas going. 

Was there anything you edited out of a book that you later wished you kept in?

Not so far!

How do you find the inspiration for new novels and storylines?

Aestus was, quite literally, my reaction to a late bus while waiting in a miserably hot bus tunnel on a summer evening with an incoming thunderstorm, and wondering what humanity would do if climate change got worse (God forbid). Where would we go? If we couldn’t go north (or south, in the Southern Hemisphere)…could we go underground? What if my bus were to go down into the earth after work? Then I started thinking about what that might look like, what issues people might face, etc.

Often my stories are built on an image – my shadow as I walk down the edge of Boston Common on a winter night, which became a scene in my pirates YA WIP (work in progress) – or a concept (a moon colony, for example, although I’m not currently working on that. Just a thought.).

If you could give one tip to someone wanting to get into writing, what would it be?

Read. A lot. And practice. But mostly read.

Is science fiction a genre you’ve always had an interest in?

I think so. Not consciously, maybe, but I really like books that make me think/wonder. I bought some old “astrolithography” pieces recently – etchings of the view from an asteroid, or from the surface of a planet, as imagined by artists many decades ago. I miss that sense of wonder, that sense I used to get from staring up at the stars as a child. That’s one reason I asked my cover designer for Aestus to give me an older-sci-fi-style cover. 

I get that from a lot of sci-fi and speculative fiction. It’s also a fun genre because there are so many things you can do with it. 

If Aestus was made into an audiobook, who would you want to read it?

Ooh. I don’t know. I have to think about that one! 

Who is your favourite character in the Aestus books?

Ahhhh I can’t say! I love Jossey but my true favorite is someone else.

I can say I love Thompson. He’s silly and sweet and I love him. 

Is there an Aestus: Book 3 in the making?

I am mulling things over right now. 

Is there another genre of writing you’d like to explore in the future?

I really love historical fiction. It involves a lot of research but I love history too so I don’t mind. I’d also like to maybe write kids’ mysteries.

S.Z Attwell’s Social Media:

Website: https://szattwell.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/szattwellauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/szattwellauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/szattwellauthor

Where to Buy Aestus:

Amazon (USA) book 2 also available – click here

Barnes and Nobel (USA) – click here

Amazon (UK) book 2 also available – click here

Waterstones (UK) – click here

My Socials:

Thank you for checking out my blog. If you would like to support the content I create, then you can donate to me on Ko-Fi! I do all of this for free and in my spare time, which can be extremely time consuming. Click the button below to go to my Ko-Fi page!