Saturday, 11 March 2017

THE POSSESSIONS BLOG TOUR | Q&A with Sara Flannery Murphy

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Hope you're all well and that you're all having wonderful weekends so far - whether you're relaxing at home with a book or out and about!

Today I am delighted to be part of The Possessions blog tour! I got sent the book for review just before Christmas - along with some other goodies!

The review will be coming along soon (as soon as essay deadline season is over) in the meantime, here is the blurb for you...

In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances.

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients. 

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls. 

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets. 

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

Doesn't it sound amazing! Here is a Q&A with the author Sarah Flannery Murphy herself, to talk all things ghosts, secrets, and her hectic writing schedule...

What inspired you to write The Possessions?

The idea began with the Elysian Society, a vision of a service that would allow people to temporarily reconnect with lost loved ones. I was fascinated by the workers and by the psychology of the clients who’d come there. After this concept, I narrowed in on one specific character, a young woman who’d become entangled with a client and struggled with her own identity in the process. So the inspiration really started on a larger scale and then moved down to the character level. 

Tell us a bit more about the protagonist, Edie. Do you see yourself in her, in any way?

Edie is a distant descendant of Gothic protagonists like Lucy Snowe or the unnamed governess in The Turn of the Screw. She’s detached and can come across as chilly. Edie’s earnest, even if she hides this from others; she has a capacity for darkness, even if she hides this from herself. 

I don’t see myself reflected too strongly in her – she’s a deeply haunted person. My life is pretty much free of dark secrets, which is either a relief or a disappointment, depending on your perspective. But I drew on my general experiences as an introverted person when I was writing The Possessions. Edie is quiet, an observer, and she has a tendency to overthink small interactions. Though these traits are exaggerated in her, I’ve experienced them myself. 

What made you want to write a story about ghosts?

I’ve always loved ghost stories. If someone has a ghost story to tell, I’m hooked. Even now, I can waste a whole afternoon reading online discussions where people share frightening stories or unexplained encounters. Ghosts offer such rich possibilities. They’re ties to the past, offering a way for two layers of time to collide and interact in uncanny ways. I like that ghost stories can play with such a range of emotions: fear, of course, but also hopefulness, regret, yearning, a desire for vengeance.   

What was your writing process like for The Possessions?

I’ve never been an especially well-organized person and I was writing the first draft of the novel while caring for a newborn (who grew up alongside the manuscript). I didn’t have a set routine; I wrote when I had the chance. Sometimes that meant I was running to the laptop every spare second, constantly composing in my head. Other times I’d need to take a break for a few weeks and let certain ideas or plot points percolate in the background. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Learning how to write through self-doubt is crucial. No matter what your end goal is, every stage of the creative process, and definitely every stage of the publication process, includes some disappointments and challenges. Writing during the high of confidence is amazing. But writing even when you second-guess every word is what will sustain you over the long run. 

Thank you for appearing on my blog, Sara :)

Buy The Possessions here:

Check out Sara Flannery Murphy here:

Until next time :)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'Under The Love Umbrella' by Davina Bell (5*S) | BLOG TOUR

Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am super excited not only to be back for my children's book feature, but also to be on blog tour! I have been so busy recently with uni work and deadlines, so apologies for my absence!

But anyway, today I am going to be reviewing the gorgeous kid's picture book, Under The Love Umbrella by Davina Bell and illustrated by Allison Colpoys, for the blog tour! So make sure this week you keep up to date with all of the posts, they're all set to be good uns' :)

I was kindly sent Under The Love Umbrella by Scribe Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Intrigued? Read the blurb here...

Whatever you fear, come close my dear

You’re tucked in safe for always here

And I will never not be near

Because of our love umbrella

From this award-winning creative duo comes a book about the wonder of ever-present love. A stunning celebration of the joy and comfort that is always with us, wherever we roam in the big, wild world.

Who’s under your Love Umbrella?

As you can probably tell by the images, this is a gorgeously illustrated children's picture book that you would be happy to have on your coffee table. It is a beautifully curated collection of images that perfectly represent the everyday occurrences, happy moments and worries of all children. The colours are wonderful and I love the splashes of neon - not something you see everyday in children's books! The book itself is sturdy and would be perfect for little fingers so they can help turn the pages. Did I also mention how AMAZING the front and end pages are?! Neon leopard print. So cool.

Besides from the wonderful illustrations, however, the book itself is so lovely and positive and emits a really important message for you to share with your little ones. It's about love and family and everything in between - messages such as the importance of sharing, of being brave, of taking care of people. What I think is great about this book is that it features such a diverse range of characters - race, sexuality, gender. I think it's the first children's book I've seen that shows two mums tucking their child into bed - which is such a positive step in the right direction to teach the next generation about the importance of diversity. 

Overall, I love this book and it's one that the whole family can read together and enjoy. Everything from the illustrations to the rhyming story to the important messages throughout - this is the perfect book for children. 

Make sure you stay tuned for the rest of the posts on the blog tour!

Buy Under The Love Umbrella here:

Check out Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys here:

Until next time :)