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The Sugar and Spice is about young girls running a tea shop for the summer, while Cat With No Fiddle is a family adventure story. Other children's titles include St. Rochester , Dearest Neighbour , and Stepping Stones Charles, Anita. Novelist known for her focus on Jewish life in England, though she herself said that her main concern was "the region of everyday hurt.

Charles, Theresa. Chandos, Fay. One Man in His Time seems to be an adult historical novel. Dorothy, second married name Emms. Author of twelve novels, including two early works— Above and Below and After the Party —with first husband Richard Charques. She received particular acclaim for her portrayals of English rural life in the past, including in her trilogy— Time's Harvest , The Running Heart , and Between the Twilights —about a family in the s ruined by a murrain outbreak among their cattle.

The Dark Stranger , is a "story of witchcraft and conspiracy during the English Civil War," while The Nunnery is set in and deals with a young heiress placed in a convent. Chase, Beatrice. The last, at least, sounds a bit overwrought: "Silvia's life tragedy lies in the friends and surroundings to which she sees [her son] doomed through the poverty of her married life. Prolific author of more than fifty children's titles, most of them girls' school stories, in which genre she is one of the most important authors, according to Sims and Clare.

Titles include The Right St. She also published boys' school stories, such as Carew of the Fourth and Miggs Minor , under her pseudonym. Chaundler worked for some years on the editorial team of Little Folks. When school stories became less popular, Chaundler continued to publish other children's books, including for younger children, and themed collections of holiday stories, stories about saints, and other titles. Author of two girls' stories set at a domestic affairs college— Whittenbury College and Christal's Adventure She also published books for young children and several other girls' stories, including Rhondda's Holiday , Miss Netherby's Niece , and The Pansy Patch Chesterton, Denise.

Author of 13 novels, including Sleeping and Waking , which deals with women's lives in WWII, Future Imperfect an early sci-fi tale about a world run by women, The Bats of Hell , set in the countryside from the s until after WWII, and This Day , described as telling "of one day in the lives of some ordinary people living in London.

Possibly a pseudonym, but she remains a mystery for now. As Jane Alan, she appears to have written at least one children's book, Lulupet and Toffee After her husband's retirement and relocation back to England, Chitty published a single novel, The Black Buddha She had earlier published several short stories in periodicals.

Cholmondeley, Alice. Author of ten novels and several story collections. She began her career with a parody of the detective novel called The Danvers Jewels , about a seemingly cursed set of Indian jewels, and its sequel, Sir Charles Danvers Her greatest success came with Red Pottage , reprinted by Virago , her bestseller satirizing provincial thinking, hypocrisy, and the difficulties of a woman writer. Her story collection, The Lowest Rung and Other Stories , was unusual in its day in that its four stories all focus on strong, independent women.

Author of nearly three dozen works of fiction, most of it for girls and often with Guide themes. Christian also wrote at least two adult novels— A Stranger Passed , set in pre-revolution France and containing a mystical element, and The Sword and the Flame , published in the U. The bestselling novelist of all time, author of 66 mysteries, 6 additional novels under her pseudonym, two memoirs, several story collections, and more than a dozen plays.

Among her novels, 33 feature her quirky Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, while 12 feature the deceptively kindly village spinster Miss Marple and 4 feature Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, a happily-married couple with a tendency to find trouble—including in the only Christie novel written during World War II that actually features the war, N or M? Her full Autobiography appeared after her death. The six Mary Westmacott novels have sometimes been marketed as romances, but are really domestic dramas—sometimes interestingly making use of elements of her personal life, such as Unfinished Portrait , which hints at some of the tragedies and drama that may have led to her famous disappearance.

Her plays most notably include The Mousetrap , the longest-running play in history, and Witness for the Prosecution , which was made into a particularly brilliant film. Christie's self-deprecating humor is apparent in her creation of Ariadne Oliver, a ditsy bestselling mystery writer with a passion for apples, who shares some of Christie's quirks and assists Poirot in six of his cases. Oliver also appears solo in a single novel The Pale Horse See the official Christie website here. I've also written about her here.

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Author of six novels, including Smith , set in Cumberland and praised by Julian Symons, Harold in London , Morgan , Goodbye, Jimmy, Goodbye , apparently about an alcoholic, The Waiting Game , and Child's Play , described as a horror tale. A memoir, Apparitions: An Autobiographical Study in Parapsychology , describes her experiences as a "sensitive," someone who can make contact with the dead. An interview from the early s suggests she and her husband lived for some time in Rome and in India, and concludes with the statement, "She still writes but does not publish her work.

Author of more than 30 romantic novels—and many more published serially. She became an American citizen in Author of more than 70 novels, including romance, adventure, historical, and supernatural fiction. Pretty Sinister reviewed Dreadful Hollow here , describing it as a "Gothic supernatural novel with detective novel elements.

Victorian author of nearly 50 volumes of fiction, published steadly for nearly half a century. One final book, A Pair in Paradise , appeared just before her death. Clare, Helen. Author of more than 50 novels over the course of more than half a century, most informed by her Catholic faith. She lived in Rome for 26 years, spent most of WWII in Jamaica, and seems to have spent time in Tunisia as well, and each location is reflected in some of her fiction. The Pekinese Princess is a fairy tale set in a kingdom ruled by dogs, The White Elephant is about two children caught up in a jewel heist, and The Boy with the Erpingham Hood is set in the leadup to the battle of Agincourt.

Mollett, Marion Moffatt, and Emma Munro. A neighbor and friend of D. Her best-known works are Mrs. Lorimer's Family , a domestic comedy-drama reminiscent of Stevenson's work and perhaps based to some extent on Stevenson's family life in Moffat in Scotland and Clavering's relationships with them , and Near Neighbors , about an elderly spinster who finds a new interest in life after befriending the family next door. The former was Clavering's only book to have an American edition and was selected for the People's Book Club, while the latter was reprinted by Greyladies in recent years.

101 Best Websites for Writers six years in a row!

Her other novels published in book form are three very early and vanishingly rare titles, Georgina and the Stairs , The Leech of Life , and Wantonwalls , four from the s published under the pseudonym B. Glasgow's Family , and Spring Adventure Her 24 People's Friend novels appeared under her other two pseudonyms between and I put together all the information I had found about Clavering and her books here , with the kind assistance of a cousin of the family.

Posted by Furrowed Middlebrow at AM. Labels: British Women Writers List. Anonymous May 9, at AM. Furrowed Middlebrow August 27, at PM. Michelle Ann August 27, at AM. Michelle Ann August 28, at AM. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. Psych Experiments: From Pavlov's dogs to Rorschach's inkblots, put psychology's most fascinating studies to the test. Public Anatomy. Queer Theory, Gender Theory. Razor Sharp Sisterhood. Red Harvest. Reproductively Challenged: A Survival Guide. Romantic Cakes. Satyendranath Bose. Scratch Guardian Interviews. Seeking and Receiving The Holy Spirit.

Sex How to Do Everything. Shutter Man Byrne and Balzano Book 9. Sichuan Cookery. Snared Nightingale: An intoxicating historical tale of betrayal, greed and unexpected riches. Snuff: Discworld, Book Solace The Kingwood Series Book 4. Sometimes They Get Hungry. Strangclyf Secret. Sumo Kitchen. Sword and Spirit Series 2 Book Series. Talon Rise of the Pride, Book 1. Ten Days in a Mad-House.


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The Last Original Highlander. The Merchant of Venice. The Missing Roots. The Night is Large: Collected Essays: The Princess and the Suffragette. The Provencal Cookbook. The Psychic. The Scout. But the so-called secondary characters seemed to be having quite an interesting life away from the main narrative, so I decided to explore that for a while my main character's friend joined the ambulance corps at the outbreak of WW1.

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And when I finished that series, I wanted to write a traditional Edwardian ghost story set in one of my favourite places, Helston in Cornwall. When I was advised ghost stories didn't sell well, I changed it, but by then I was already immersed in the community I'd begun to create - Caernoweth became a real place. And that, I think, is where the answer to the second part comes in. Sagas usually have a rich cast of diverse characters, just as real families do. We can identify with the rebellious teen, the crotchety great aunt, the ambitious daughter Sagas capture each strand of a community's or family's life, and give us a reason why the great aunt is snappish and short-tempered, and let us follow that rebellious teen into adulthood and see what they become.

Finally, the popularity of TV programmes like Downton Abbey has definitely ignited a spark in people's curiosity, and Poldark has brought the genius of Winston Graham to a new generation, for which I'm eternally grateful! Which authors do you most admire and why? Oh, so many! On the classical side, I love George Eliot; her characters are so often generally unlikeable, but the way she writes them is sublime. I also love John Buchan's sense of adventure, and his humour. My favourite author of all time is Stephen King; I'm a huge fan of his, and there are so many reasons; his characters, dialogue, and the stories themselves, of course.

Humanity that transcends the horror. And Jilly Cooper; her bounce, her energy, the sheer joy that comes off the page makes her my go-to comfort read. What are the best and the worst things about being a writer? Best thing - when you're a writer who shares her work, to see someone you don't know, and will likely never meet, write that you've touched them in some way with your books.

There's no feeling like that. That's tougher. Self-doubt, I think. Social media plays such a big part in your life as a writer, which is great, but the flip side is seeing other people doing madly exciting things you want to be doing yourself! It makes you wonder what you're doing wrong nothing or what you should be doing more also usually nothing! I honestly believe too many people still think libraries are about bits of card in little wallets, and sitting in dusty silence trying not to cough out loud.

There is such an antiquated notion that libraries are all about books, when they're really about community and sharing. Making this more obvious might drive more people to use them, and that's the only thing that's going to breathe new life into them. I keep thinking that a really good TV sitcom, set in a modern library with all its activities and amenities, might actually make people realise "the times they are a-changin'! Are you still working full-time at Plymouth University? How do you find the time to write? I am, and I do still enjoy it. I work in the faculty office so our work times peak and trough Other than that, I write at weekends or odd bank holidays.

I'm in a good situation really; my children are grown, only one of them still lives with me, and he's 18 so I no longer feel every spare minute of sunshine or daylight should be taken up with playing games on the field! The housework suffers when I'm on a roll, but I'm happy! I have to begin in the morning if I want a good solid day of writing. If I leave it too long to start, my mind gets filled up with other things and I get too easily distracted.

On a Saturday morning I'll set up my workstation I don't have a proper desk, no room! If I settle into it I can write all day. If not, I'll use the time for research or editing. What's the best advice anyone has ever given you? Several years ago, when I was just starting to write seriously, I wrote to Dean Koontz about his new book. I was surprised when he wrote back, and at the bottom of his note he said: "Good luck with your own writing.

Do it for the love of doing it, and in my experience the success will follow. Although also in my experience, perhaps slowly! Following on from the news that Magna Large Print books is streamlining their title listing to 6 Family Saga titles a month, we're pleased to announce further changes to the publishing schedule at Ulverscroft. From April , the F. Thorpe Publishing department at Ulverscroft will be releasing 4 titles per month under the imprint name 'Ulverscroft Collections'.

These collections will be from much-loved authors that you'll just want to read again and again. Kicking the schedule off in April, we have 4 titles from James Herriot, with further releases from P. Wodehouse, Dorothy L. Sayers and H. Thorpe Publishing Manager, Sarah Quirke is enthusiastic about the new imprint, "It's a wonderful opportunity to re-visit your favourite books and settle down for a good read with a cup of tea. Over the last 18 months, the Ulverscroft Group has been reviewing the content of their large print imprints. We are committed to providing our customers with the assurance that when they sign up to our subscription plan service, they will be receiving the very best titles from the top authors within the genres offered.

This is already something the Group has been achieving over the years through the Linford Softcover imprint with a dedicated publication schedule of Mystery, Romance and Western titles every month. From April , we are reinforcing the imprint identity within the Group and are pleased to announce that our Magna Large Print imprint will become the home of Family Saga titles in large print.

The imprint will include 6 titles per month and the authors will range from those well-established, much-loved names such as Catherine Cookson, Annie Murray and Lynda Page as well as new and upcoming Family Saga authors such as Gracie Hart and Susanna Bavin. They've always had the best authors, and their ability to spot the brilliant new voices in the genre is second to none. By focusing the list on this in-demand genre, everyone will be sure that a Magna Family Saga is the best of the best.

For further information, please contact Kate Joyce customerservices ulverscroft. Emma Hornby lives in Bolton and has read sagas all her life. Before pursuing a career as a novelist, she worked in a Blackpool rock factory and as a care assistant to the elderly, amongst other jobs. The mother of three was inspired to write after researching her family history. Like the characters in her books, many generations of her family eked out life amidst the squalor and poverty of Lancashire's slums.

Manchester Moll is published by Magna Story Sound this month. Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a published writer? I've enjoyed writing from a young age. I worked as a freelance poet for a while and after having several short pieces accepted for the internet, print and stage, decided to give novel writing a bash.

I'd been researching my family tree for years and was fascinated by what I unearthed. Generation after generation lived, worked and clawed out a life in the poorest slums in Bolton and Manchester. I'd spend hours imagining what their lives must have been like, picturing these faceless characters, wondering about their struggles, their relationships, loves, fights, hopes.

My mind was soon swamped with imaginary scenarios and I began penning down snippets, immersing myself in the research of the time. Within months, I'd found a literary agent and signed a three-book deal with Transworld, Penguin Random House. I still have to pinch myself!

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Having a deep passion for the Victorian era, and having read historicals for as long as I can remember, writing sagas was the inevitable route I took when hit with the author bug. Have you tried writing any other genres? I have and though I do enjoy other genres, sagas are my first love.

Catherine Cookson would have to come top of my list. She too came from humble beginnings and is a perfect example of what you can achieve with toil and dedication. However, I admire any writer who can sit down with a handful of ideas and see a book through to completion. It's hard ruddy work. How often do you write? Do you set yourself a word target or do you just write when you feel inspired? It would be lovely to just write whenever the mood struck but when you have deadlines, and a family to look after, you must snatch whatever time you can whether you feel like writing or not.

I normally write when the children are at school and aim for a thousand words a day though I usually manage more. It's a doable amount; the wordcount soon rises nicely. This is something I always struggle to answer. I really don't know. I begin with a few characters and a setting or two and the rest comes to me as I go along. Though I know the ending before I begin, I don't plan how the story will get there - its development is just as much a surprise to me. You've done various different jobs, from working in a care home to working in a Blackpool rock factory.

How have these experiences helped to shape your writing? Snippets of conversation here and there, folks' personalities and mannerisms - the brain seems to soak up things without you realising and tucks them safely away for future inspiration. In particular, I certainly met some interesting characters in the care homes! What do you most enjoy and what do you find is the hardest thing about being a writer? Receiving messages from readers saying how much they enjoyed your stories is the best feeling and makes all those endless hours of labour so worthwhile.

Waiting for publication day and to see what the public will think of your latest offering is the hardest part for me. It's a crying shame to see growing numbers of libraries closing their doors. For over years, these invaluable institutions have served and enriched the lives of generations of people young and old. They're an absolute boon for those with little money to spare on books - a healthy reading habit can be an expensive one - as well as a safe and welcoming hub for so many. One issue is that the digital age has changed the face of reading forever.

If libraries cannot show their value through numbers utilising them, funding decreases. Looking at fresh ways to bring people back in is vital. Events and programs, group activities - make them community centres, where folk want to go. Libraries need people. Give time to your local library, value them. To survive, they must be used, regularly.

Can you tell us about your next book?

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The Orphans of Ardwick, out 8 th February, is a gritty northern saga and tells the story of three urchins struggling for survival on Manchester's slum streets. They can't believe their good fortune when they're taken into grand Bracken House, but soon discover that it is steeped in troubles and mystery, with residents above and below stairs battling their own dark secrets. And they soon begin to wonder whether they have made a mistake turning their backs on the mean cobbled roads they once called home Helen Carey was born in Oxford and lived in London for many years.

Before she began writing she had a range of jobs, including tour guide, army officer and management consultant. Lauded for her ability to engross and move in equal measure, her Lavender Road novels have been published as audiobooks by Soundings Audio. We had a chat about past jobs, her Romantic Novelists' Association nomination and the importance of her local library. You've had various job roles before becoming an author - which was most fascinating and which do you think influences your work the most today? The best job I ever had was while I was at university.

I had studied French and German at high school and in the vacations I worked as a tour guide taking choirs, orchestras, and marching bands from the US and Canada on concert tours round Europe. Not only did I get to meet some wonderful musicians and conductors, I also had to deal with the organisers of all sorts of venues in Europe, ranging from places like the Albert Hall in London, or Cologne Cathedral, to freezing village halls in the mountains of Austria. Once we were even involved with the Blessing of the Lake ceremony on Lake Como where I had to do a speech in Italian, which at that time I barely spoke!

It was a baptism of fire, but together with the Anthropology course I was studying at the time, it gave me a great interest in people of all different types and nationalities and how they coped under pressure, and that was useful when I came to write about the Second World War during which people lived in intensely difficult and dangerous circumstances for six years.

Has writing always been a long-term ambition of yours? As a child I wrote pony stories, and then when I discovered boys I progressed onto writing teenage romances! I loved writing, but university and work soon got in the way. Some years later when I was working as a management consultant, I found myself sitting in a long queue on the motorway on the way back to London from a meeting in Scotland and remembered that I had once wanted to be a writer.

I decided at once to have another go and wrote a light romance called the Art of Loving which subsequently was short-listed for the RNA New Writer's Award. What is the main inspiration for your WW2 Lavender Road series? We fell into conversation and she told me she had lived in the area right through the war. As we waited for the bus at the edge of Clapham Common she pointed out a dip in the grass where a V2 had landed in , then gestured across to the now grassed-over bomb shelters where, as a child, she had often sheltered during the Blitz.

Laura was a born and bred South Londoner and spoke of traumatic wartime events with a kind of rough and ready humour and breezy unconcern that transported me back to those extraordinary years. The bus came along just then, but from that short encounter was born the idea of writing a series of novels exploring the day-to-day ups and downs, highs and lows, of people living in one south London street during World War Two. How important is research for your novels? Do you think it is crucial to be historically accurate?

Detailed research is absolutely crucial for my novels. I like to weave my stories through real events, so I need to be absolutely sure that I get my facts right. I generally start with the real history, both international and local. That involves reading history books and diaries, visiting museums and local history libraries, and lots of online research too.

I am always on the lookout for snippets of interesting or unusual information as I like to include things that people might not already know. Once I have decided on my story then I research the various elements in more depth. If I can find someone who actually experienced the things I'm writing about then that's even better. Historical records are great, but nothing compares with someone telling you at first hand what it was like to be caught in an underground station when a bomb severed the water main, or to crawl through the cellars of a collapsed building searching for a trapped child, or to take a tiny riverboat over the English Channel to rescue stranded soldiers at Dunkirk, or to spend time in an Italian POW camp.

One of the odd things I found about the war is that people who lived through it often talk about it as though it was all quite ordinary. But it wasn't, it was quite extraordinary and it forced people to show extraordinary amounts of courage and resilience. That's what makes it such a fascinating and inspiring period to write and hopefully read about. What do you enjoy most about being a writer? There are lots of lovely things about being a writer, the freedom to work at home, the sense of creativity, the lovely messages from fans.

But one of the most satisfying things, for me, is when a particular scene comes out in the writing exactly as I had planned it. I also love watching my husband reading my first draft. It is a great feeling to see him becoming completely absorbed, and even better if he laughs and cries in the right places! Can you talk us through a typical writing day for you? My typical day depends on where I am in the writing process. If I am planning or researching a novel, I lead a relatively normal life of working during the day and socialising or relaxing in the evenings and weekends.

Sometimes there are nice little research trips, recently I spent a few highly enjoyable days with my French cousin researching wartime Grenoble, or talks to give, lunch with my editor, or even the occasional fancy award ceremony to attend. But as soon as I knuckle down to the actual writing then I work full time, generally well into the evening and often including weekends.

Once I'm involved in a story I find it hard to switch out of it to do anything else. Even when I'm having supper with friends or watching a film, my plot lines are always lurking in the back of my mind. I am very lucky to have a patient husband and dog who don't mind being ignored for days on end! Victory Girls will be published in April , and after that, after six years of war, and writing over a million words in this series! I am intending to take a nice, long holiday! After living in various locations, you've settled down in Wales.

Does the farm life suit you? I'm not quite sure I have settled down! We came to Pembrokeshire ten years ago to look after my mother who was suffering with Alzheimer's. I love the life here, the people are lovely, and our house is in a beautiful position overlooking the Irish Sea. From my desk I can sometimes see dolphins playing in the bay. It has been the perfect place to write as it is quiet and much less hectic than London. But I also love city life and now that my mother has sadly passed away, I can imagine us spending more time in London again, or perhaps even abroad.

I have a yearning to spend a couple of years in Italy, but that unfortunately might not be quite so easy now we have Brexit looming up on us!

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We'll be distributing your audiobooks around the globe - how does this make you feel? It's wonderful! I know already that people all over the word are already enjoying my books. But now people will be able to listen to them too which is great. There is something about the Second World War which seems to be striking a chord with people at the moment. Perhaps it's because we are living in a somewhat troubled period now and can take some comfort from how people coped during the war years. That amazing wartime generation lived through the kind of terrible and tumultuous times that thankfully most of us have never had to experience, and hopefully never will.

Their well-documented courage, stoicism and dogged humour can perhaps give us hope that when things get very dark, people do have the capacity to rise to the occasion and are able to show tolerance and compassion, even against all the odds. Have you listened to your audiobooks? Not all the way through yet. I am saving that treat for a year or two's time when I have hopefully forgotten some of the details! But I have listened enough to know that Annie Aldington does a marvellous job in portraying all the various characters.

Of all the Lavender Road books, London Calling is perhaps closest to my heart because it was inspired by a visit to a military cemetery in Siracusa in Sicily where my uncle is buried. Uncle Basil was twenty nine when he died during the invasion of Sicily in Amazingly he had survived the disastrous Allied glider landings, but died later defending a bridge. His grave was in the front row of the cemetery.

Neat white tombstones stretched in all directions behind him. My husband and I laid flowers, cried for twenty minutes, then drove back to where we were staying. And that night I decided I wanted to write a novel which in some small way would touch on the story of those valiant young men who died to rescue Europe from fascism. It is always a great honour to be picked out by industry professionals, and it was lovely that in an odd way it was my uncle Basil who spurred me to write it. Your titles are made available to libraries in audiobook format.

How important is the library service to you and do you have any fond memories you could share with us? The library service is very important to me, as indeed it should be to everyone. I can hardly think of anything more crucial to civilisation than allowing people access to books. And yes, I do have very fond memories. As a child in junior school I was taken to the local library every week and was allowed to choose two books.

Nobody seemed to mind what they were. I chose all sorts of things and it instilled in me a love of reading that I have never lost. I am also very grateful for the local history libraries in London which have given me access to an amazing array of old records from Air Raid Officers' reports to wartime newspapers. All were absolutely invaluable in helping me recreate the atmosphere of the times. I don't think I could have written my Lavender Road books without them. Website: helencareybooks. Facebook: Helen Carey Books. In the world of audiobooks, there aren't many better or more prolific than Gordon Griffin.

Bringing a real warmth and enduring quality to more than stories, Gordon's tireless work has even been noted by the monarchy, as earlier in the year he was award an MBE for his services to audiobooks. We had a chat about favourite authors, the Queen and his thanks to Penzance Library. How did you get started narrating audiobooks? I'd done a lot of radio including reading stories. I'd also done a stint on Playschool and as a Guest Storyteller on Rainbow. How do you prepare for narrating audiobooks and has that changed since you first started?

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Preparation is the most crucial thing about recording an audiobook. There's no such thing as too much of it. Preparation involves reading and re-reading the book, marking up the script, checking pronunciations etc so that when you come into the studio you know the book really well. What are the challenges when narrating an audiobook? I really enjoy the recording process. I love telling stories. If you have done your preparations well, then there should be few challenges in the studio. You are putting into practice all the preparation you've done. Throughout your career you've narrated books from a variety of different genres.

Do you have a favourite genre to narrate? One of the pleasures of my situation is that someone else is choosing what I record so that I get a wide variety of books; fiction, biographies, classics, historical books. I would hate to be tied down to one particular genre. Does it help if you're a fan of the author? It helps but it's not vital.

I have to be as good as I can be whether I like the book or not. Is there a particular author you enjoy reading? I enjoy books where the dialogue is realistic. It makes my job so much easier if people talk like real people. Is there anything you'd wish authors would do to make narrating easier? I don't think authors should worry about narrators. Just write their books. Although when a writer describes a character as having 'a gravelly, gruff voice' I dread it! And sometimes through no fault of the writer really there can be situations which can be challenging.

I remember a scene in one book where a young woman from Belfast was having a blazing row with a middle-aged Italian in the back of taxi. That scene demanded a lot of concentration! Is there a book you'd wish you could narrate? Because I am recording a lot of books I get very little time to read any other books. Some years ago though I did enjoy reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which I found very funny but also very moving. I'd have liked to record that. Is there a book narration you're particularly proud of?

I am huge fan of Dickens. A narrator's dream. You don't have to think, 'what voice do I use' as it's so obvious from the writing. I won an award for that recording and it made me realise that maybe recording audiobooks was something I could do. I am also proud of recording and co-producing a biography of Lord Collingwood because it was written by my brother, Andrew. You've now narrated well over audiobooks and been awarded an MBE for doing. Do you think one day you'll narrate your autobiography?

It's funny you should say that. A couple of years ago I was approached about writing a book based on the talks that I give throughout the country. It's the story of how a young Geordie lad growing up in the s became the guy who recorded nearly audiobooks! In other words my autobiography! I have just finished the first draft. What was it like receiving your MBE and did the Queen say whether she enjoyed audiobooks? It's still all rather unreal. It was an amazing experience.

The Queen has lovely eyes that she focuses of you. And she really listens. I explained how many audiobooks I had recorded which seemed to surprise her and we both agreed how much benefit visually impaired people get from them. Away from the microphone, what do you enjoy doing? I relax by playing the piano and singing- as long as no one is listening! I love to travel. And luckily I love reading!! As Ulverscroft we distribute your audiobooks to libraries around the world. Have you got any fond memories or thoughts about libraries that you'd like to share with us?

I love libraries. I remember so clearly longing to be old enough to join my local library. I was so proud when I eventually did. I even remember the first book I took out - Alice through the Looking Glass. Some years ago I produced an audiobook version of that classic for an audiobook studio in Hamburg.

I was preparing a book once that had some Cornish in it and I don't mean the accent but the language, which I had thought was a dead language. This was before the internet. I had a brainwave. I found the telephone number of the Penzance Public Library and a very nice lady answered. I tentatively asked if anyone there spoke Cornish. She said, "I do. Well, at least I am learning to". She was able to translate the sentences and give me the pronunciations. Thank you Penzance!! Julia Chapman is the pen name for Julia Stagg. She is the author of the Dales Detective novels and lives in a small village in the Yorkshire Dales.

Tempted by a love of cycling and a passion for mountains, she moved to the Pyrenees in France in to run a small guest house. Her Fogas series of books was published by Ulverscroft in large print. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you become a published author? I was given a diary when I was five and that started it all. But like so many people, finding the time to write as an adult was difficult. It took a move to France for me to complete my first novel; it took a second novel before I landed an agent and a publisher. I think ideas come from everything - from people, from the landscape, even from dreams.


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  • But of course, not all of them are worth following up! You have travelled widely, and lived in France for six years where you wrote the Fogas series. How important is it to live in the location where your books are set? For me it has been important to have a real feel for the places I write about - possibly because the landscape and the weather are characters in their own right in my books. I don't think you get the same sense of place from a map! Plus, it makes life more interesting if you up-sticks and move every so often in the name of research Why did you decide to return to Yorkshire?

    Coming to the Yorkshire Dales wasn't a return - it was an arrival. I'd never lived here before but had always been attracted to the area. There's something about the limestone hills that captivates me. So when life offered me the chance to move here, I didn't think twice. You're a keen runner and cyclist, does exercise help the creative process?

    In my case, running and cycling are a vital part of the creative process. There's something about being alone on the fells that releases my mind and I often find that if I set out on a run with a plot problem, I've usually solved it by the time I get home all hot and tired. Cycling is the same - unless I'm out with the cycling club in which case I'm too busy chatting to be plotting murder!

    What do you find are the best and the worst things about writing? Oooh - the best thing? The whole creative process. Starting with a hazy idea and concluding with a book in a bookshop with my name on the cover. I love it. And the worst? I'm finding long hours at a desk difficult to get used to, never having had such a sedentary occupation before. Is that a good enough excuse for more cycling?! I was raised on library books and during a life lived around the world, the first thing I've always done in a new country or a new city is join the local library.

    So I'm confused and disappointed by the extent to which our library service has been cut back and the speed with which smaller branches have been closed. It's short-sighted in the extreme. Before we lose the service completely, we need to reinvest in libraries and the staff that run them because what they offer is so much more than a mere selection of books. For many communities they have the potential to be a vital hub of learning and social interaction. Get the damn thing written first!

    Actually, no one ever said that to me but I think it's the best advice for any aspiring author. It's all too easy to dream about finding an agent and getting published but if the words aren't on the page, those dreams will never be realised. I tend to work office hours but when a novel is coming to a close then I'll work longer days, often seven days a week as the words come tumbling out. What are you working on right now? I've broken away from editing book three of the Dales Detective series Date with Mystery , which will be published next March in order to answer these questions - so thanks for a very welcome break!

    And for publishing my novels. Date With Death is now available in large print. In just three years Ruth Ware has become one of the biggest names in thriller writers. With her first three novels optioned for TV and film adaptations it's clear that hers is a name we'll continue to hear for some time.

    To celebrate the news that her third novel ' The Lying Game' is to be adapted for TV we spoke to the Sussex born author about Agatha Christie, adaptations and audiobooks. Though I didn't think it would really happen. I always loved writing and telling stories, but actually making a living from it seemed like a remote possibility. You first started writing for young adults before moving to thrillers. Why the change in audience and genre? Basically it was simply that I had an idea that was clearly not for a YA audience.

    A friend suggested an idea about a murder on a hen night, and I knew immediately that I really wanted to write this book. But clearly there was no way it would work for a teenage readership - not many 15 year olds attend hen parties! You've often been compared to Agatha Christie. Is she a particular literary idol of yours?