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Author Interview: Rachael Richey

I’m really happy to welcome Rachael Richey to the Nut Press. Rachael is a member of an online writing group I belong to and her debut novel, Storm Rising, is out today! She’s very kindly agreed to give an author interview but first, here’s what Storm Rising is all about:

Frontman of the grunge rock band NightHawk, Gideon Hawk has had enough of the rock star life.  He is jaded, disillusioned, and haunted by the memory of an unresolved heartbreak.  On a whim, he leaves the band in New York and heads to England in search of answers.

After attending the funeral of her estranged mother, Abigail Thomson makes a shocking discovery in her parents’ attic.  The still-raw memories that surface, along with even more startling discoveries, force Abi to face a devastating truth that leads to a series of life-changing events. She and Gideon must race against time to reclaim the life stolen from them a decade before.

So Rachael, can you tell us any more about the story? From the blurb it sounds as if Abi and Gideon have history together.
Yes. Without giving too much away, Abi and Gideon met and fell in love as teenagers. This is revealed throughout the book in flashbacks.

Gideon is a grunge musician. Is this what you would have been, if you hadn’t become a writer?
Definitely not! I’m practically tone deaf. No, I’m more likely to have followed Abi’s career of artist, or something in the art world.

Did you have a playlist while writing Storm Rising? If so, what was on it?
Not an actual playlist but there are a couple of songs that I listened to a lot while I was writing it, and now feel they have a connection to the book. One is Your Decision by Alice in Chains and the other is First Snow on Brooklyn by Jethro Tull. Neither is really relevant to the story, but whenever I hear them I find myself thinking of Abi and Gideon.
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Book review: The Ship by Antonia Honeywell

Antonia Honeywell’s debut novel The Ship was the first book chosen for the Curtis Brown book group, a new online book group I’m a member of this year. The Ship proved to be an excellent choice because it offered so many topics for discussion, not least what we would have done when faced with the same choices. Here’s what the book’s blurb says:



Oxford Street burned for three weeks. The British Museum is occupied by ragtag survivors. The Regent’s Park camps have been bombed. The Nazareth Act has come into force. If you can’t produce your identity card, you don’t exist.

Lalla, sixteen, has grown up sheltered from the new reality by her visionary father, Michael Paul. But now the chaos has reached their doorstep. Michael has promised to save them. His escape route is a ship big enough to save five hundred people. But only the worthy will be chosen.

Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want?


When the novel opens, we’re in a future London which is both frightening and claustrophobic. I think I was actively taking big gulps of breath while reading the first couple of chapters. I know that I would have really struggled in Lalla’s situation. Where Lalla’s world once extended to the new banks of the Thames and Regent’s Park, it’s become confined to the flat she shares with her parents, which feels more panic room than home, despite or perhaps because of its bolted front door and the restrictions on their movements, and the British Museum, where Lalla’s mother, Anna, takes her most days.

The British Museum seems to serve as their one escape and they use it as Lalla’s classroom, home away from home and playground but I also believe that Anna has another reason for going there. As I got further into The Ship, I couldn’t help thinking back to the time that Lalla and Anna spent there as one of Anna preparing her daughter for what she feared was yet to come; doing what little she could with the scant resources left to prepare her daughter for a life beyond the four walls of their flat or the British Museum, and this could be another reason why Anna seems to delay their departure for as long as she does. (Although there’s a valid argument for saying she stops short of voicing her concerns to Lalla, which would have benefitted her most of all. But perhaps she was afraid of being ‘overheard’ by someone?) Read more

Author Interview: Helen Lederer #HelensLosingIt Blog Tour

Welcome to the final stop on Helen Lederer’s Losing It Blog Tour! You’ve read the review, Losing It was launched last Thursday and is currently out in the world in a bookshop near you, so now it’s time to talk to its author. I’m thrilled to welcome the lovely Helen Lederer to the Nut Press today.

I now know which Millie favours but what about you, Helen: Margarita or Mojito, followed by a bottle of wine, or no messing around and straight to a bottle of wine? Mojito can be festive and slow down the inevitable graduation to a bottle of plonk when one starts realising the cost of the individual cocktail and the item taken to get the pith of a fruit into a glass… give me the WINE!

Millie has an humiliating episode in a hotel lobby thanks to some shapewear. Should we squeeze ourselves into those things, or let it all hang out (while still being fully dressed, obviously!) and embrace the bodies we have? Well a certain ballast underneath a dress for evening wear can enable getting out of the house at times? But I say no to the girdle on top of waist clincher and corset… what if one was in a car accident – what would the paramedics make of it all? Read more

Book review: Losing It by Helen Lederer

Ten years ago this coming August, I went on a week’s Novel Writing course at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre. It was a pretty magical week: both in terms of what it did for my writing and because of the fantastic group of writers I met while there. One of those was Helen Lederer whose first full-length novel, Losing It, is published today by Pan Macmillan.

So, now that I’ve disclosed how we know each other, let’s talk about the book. Here’s what it’s about:

Millie was at one time quite well known for various TV and radio appearances. However, she now has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn’t want it.

When she’s asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, the weight will be gone, and maybe she’ll get more sex.

If only life was really that easy. It doesn’t take her long to realize it’s going to take more than a diet pill to solve her never-ending woes…

Losing It is the first book in what Helen hopes will become Mid Lit: novels for women who have outgrown chick lit and aren’t quite ready to settle for reading grey lit. (Helen thinks she also may have coined that term, by the way!) It’s a book full of witty and often biting observations about a woman, the world she inhabits and the people in it, that had me laughing out loud on the day I read it. And yes, I did gobble it up in one go while sitting on the sofa one Sunday. I know Helen won’t thank me for saying that because it took her much longer than that to write it. But once I started reading Losing It, I couldn’t stop until I had seen Millie through this difficult period in her life. (When you read Losing It, you’ll discover that she’s not the only one having difficult periods!) Read more

#WriteFoxy Writers’ Inspiration Day

Squizz with Miranda, Julie (& owl), Rowan and Kate
Squizz with Miranda, Julie (& owl), Rowan and Kate

This year, I decided that my New Year was going to start in February, and not a month earlier with the rest of the Western World. No, I’m not Chinese and no, I haven’t changed my belief system.

I just wanted to do the New Year, new start, new self, new words thing by stealth. No shouting about my resolutions at the beginning of January and not remembering what they were at the end of the month, like the innocent newbie-me of past years. This year, I’m doing things gradually, at my speed and not everyone else’s: easing myself into the year, decluttering a bit, getting myself organised, looking over old writing and gearing up with some new.

Which is why, when I saw a Writers’ Inspiration Day advertised and saw that it was being held only two hours away in Dudley on February 8th, I scrabbled the money together and booked it. It was, after all, taking place in my New Year and coming along at precisely the right time for me. And let’s face it, how often do courses do that? Plus, it was being organised by lovely author and twitter pal, Miranda Dickinson. Read more

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