Monday 30 October 2017

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to Alison Brodie

I'm absolutely thrilled to be handing over to author Alison Brodie today. I've been chatting to Alison on email on and off over the last few weeks and she is so funny. . .  and that's funny ha ha, not funny peculiar!

Alison has had several books published including Face To Face, which became Good Housekeeping's Pick of the Paperbacks and she's now gone Indie. Her upcoming novel, Zenka, is released on November 6th and is available for pre-order now.

I had a rather interesting, if somewhat surreal, chat with Alison and Zenka a few days ago so I think it's only right that I should tell you about the novel first. That way you can get a bit of a feel for Zenka before you meet her.


Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

                                                          *    *    *    *

                Transcript of interview with Alison Brodie and her character, Zenka.

Neats:  I am here today with Alison Brodie and Zenka Valentina Vargas.  First off, Alison, can I say that I love your cashmere jumper.  What colour is it?

Alison:  Buttercup

Zenka:  Sick

Alison:  Pardon?

Zenka:  It is sick colour. 

Alison:  (snort)  At least I don’t wear orange wigs and-

Neats:  OK, ladies, let’s push on.  Alison you mentioned that Zenka was initially a minor character.

Alison:  That’s right.  But from the beginning I felt she was harassing me for a bigger part-

Zenka:  Listen, Neats.  Ven you have Ferrari, you do not keep it in garage.

Neats:  (laughing)  That’s true.  Tell me, Zenka, are you happy with Alison's book?

Zenka:  Yes and No…

Neats:  Sorry, Zenka, you can’t smoke in here.

Zenka:  (sighs).  You English.  Don’t do this.  Don’t do that.  So … vat am I saying?  Yes!  I am happy that the vorld sees me as beautiful voman.  But I don’t understand Jack at the end.  Like he is not happy vith me.  Vat did I do wrong?  Also, I tell Alison to do sequel but she says no.

Neats:  Why don’t you want to do a sequel, Alison?

Alison:  I have other stories to write, other characters waiting to come alive.

Zenka:  But I am most important character!  I am star.

Alison:  You're a headache

Zenka:  Vat?

Alison:  This book was finished a year ago.  I was happy with it.  Happy with the title, Flesh and Blood.  Then you started pecking inside my head, saying, “Me!  Me!  More!  More!”

Zenka:  That is right.  And because of my pecking, book is better.  Listen, I like Trevor but he is boring.  And Nicholas vas boring until I made him into vicious thug.  But I still think book can be improved.  Ver is the erotica?  Huh?  Vomen vant sex.  They want hot, sweaty, pulsing-

Neats:  Tell me, Zenka, how do you imagine the sequel?

Zenka:  I will be secret agent.  With fur coat and sunglasses and French perfume.  No children.  I do not want to be a mother.  I want a hot Russian colonel to whisper in my ear.  I do not want babies screaming, “Mammy!   Mammy!”

Neats:  And do you have an idea for the ending?

Zenka:  I vill save the life of the President of America.  My lover, the Russian colonel, vill be shot dead but I cannot cry because I have to fly to ... fly to ... Mozambique to ... to ...

Alison:  Don't look at me, Tolstoy.

Zenka:  ... to save the vorld from an atomic bomb.

Neats:  That sounds exciting.  What do you think Alison?  What idea do you have for your next book?

Alison:  It will be a book of short stories about kitchen appliances-

Zenka:  Boring.

Alison:  Oh, for God’s sake!  I've had it up to here-

Neats:  Shall we leave it there, ladies.  It was lovely speaking to you both.  Zenka, I would rather you didn’t hit Alison with that cushion.  Alison!  That’s fragile!  Ladies!  PLEASE!

                                         *    *    *    *

Wow, that Zenka is one feisty woman! We had to leave it there as it was starting to turn into a bit of a bun fight and the neighbours were threatening to call the police! That said, I can't wait to meet her properly when I read the book as it's already getting great reviews!

So what about the lady behind the words? 

Photo courtesy of Alison Brodie

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side.  She is a writer and animal rights activist.

Her books have been published in hardback and paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (UK), Heyne (Germany) and Unieboek (Holland).

Alison is now a self-publisher.  Here are some editorial reviews for her recent books: 

BRAKE FAILURE:  “Masterpiece of humor” –Midwest Book Review

THE DOUBLE:   “Proof of her genius in writing fiction”  -San Francisco Book Review.

ZENKA:  “Riveting” –Midwest Book Review.  ZENKA will be releasing 6 Nov, 2017. 

You can find out more about Alison and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Alison and Zenka for stopping by, it was an experiencce that I won't forget in a hurry! 😉

Sunday 29 October 2017

#Blog Tour - Absolution - P. A. Davies

Today I'm delighted to be on the blog tour for Absolution by P. A. Davies. This is a new author to me and as soon as I read the blurb I knew it was something that I really wanted to read.

Absolution begins with a hard-hitting and quite graphic prologue in which sixteen-year-old Jada witnesses the savage slaughtering of his members of his village, Nyanyar Ngun, in South Sudan by the Militia. From his hiding place in a field of maize he sees his parents killed, boys chosen to become recruits and his sister, Kiden, taken away by these evil men under the instructions of General Ode Tombura. Jada knows that he is no match for these men so he can only watch on in horror as he sees his sister disappear to an unknown fate and he knows that he has to find her - no matter what the cost.

Skip forward a year and we meet Alfred Harris in London, who is being attacked by a  young man. On first impression, Harris appears to be a fragile old man, but upon closer inspection this is a man with a past, who has secrets, who has caused unimaginable suffering to others but who also carries his own sorrows. As a young man he lived in Germany and was known as Ernst, a man with close connections to Hitler, who knows first hand the devastating effects of war and human suffering.

Initially, it's not clear how these men are connected and of course, it would be wrong of me to tell you, so all I'll say is that they are both looking for forgiveness.

Absolution is an absorbing and powerful read full of characters who all have their own hidden agenda's and this makes for interesting reading as you try and work out where the story will take you next. P.A. Davies has done a wonderful job of making the characters well-rounded so that it was easy to get behind them and hope that they found what they were searching for, or got what was surely coming to them as was the case with some! It's also an extremely thought-provoking book that brings home the true horrors and shows that as a human race we are capable of appalling acts against each other and there's no sign of these atrocities coming to an end so what does that say about us, how many more innocent people have to suffer before someone takes a stand, is it even possible to stop these people and will it ever come to an end? These are just some of the many questions that I was left with after I closed this book.

With kind thanks to P.A. Davies for the review copy in exchange for an honest review and to Caroline Vincent for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.

                                                 About the author

Photo courtesy of P.A. Davies

P.A. Davies was born in Manchester, UK, a city he has lived in and around all his life. He loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he has dabbled with writing various pieces - from poems to short fictional stories - but this was always just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel ‘Letterbox’ was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It came as no surprise that the writing bug subsequently became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book - George: A Gentleman of the Road - was published in May 2013 and is a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel - The Good in Mister Philips - is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth - Nobody Heard Me Cry (Dec. 2015) - is again a fact-based tale about Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel.

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works range from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story, making P.A. Davies an imaginative and versatile storyteller. 

You can find out more about P.A. Davies and connect with him using the links below:

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour with these brilliant blogs: