Interview with Jane Tara

IMG_8535Tell us about your publishing journey…

It’s been a long and interesting journey for me. I started as a playwright, and won a few awards, which got my plays published. Then I had some children’s picture books published. (To date I’ve had about two dozen published.) I wrote my first novel, Forecast while I was living in New York, and it was published by Dorchester. Over the years I’ve written for TV, magazines and newspapers. In 2009 I started my own boutique publishing company called Itchee Feet, which produces children’s travel books.

When Dorchester went bust, I got the rights to Forecast back and contacted Momentum. They republished Forecast, and have since published Trouble Brewing, The Happy Endings Book Club, and now Hamlet’s Ghost.

Momentum is a good fit for me. It really is about gaining momentum as a writer.

 What do you love about being an author?

I love the solitude. Or at least, I love it when I get it. In my house it’s rare.

I love those moments when I’m writing and I’m totally in the world I’m writing about. There are other times when I feel like I’m smacking my head against a wall, so it’s wonderful when it flows.

Another thing I love about being an author is hearing from readers. I love hearing that I’ve made someone smile.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Sei Shonagon who wrote The Pillow Book… and we’d eat Japanese food. I can’t imagine that she’d want to eat anything else. And she certainly wouldn’t approve of me being vegetarian, so sashimi and yakimono it is.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads? Title_Hamlets_Ghost_Jane_Tara

Forecast actually had a director attached at one stage, and I wrote the screenplay. I was really hoping for Isla Fisher and Shirley Maclaine to play Rowie and Gwendolyn. Unfortunately the project didn’t pan out.

I think Hamlet’s Ghost would be a fun romcom… Not sure who I’d cast however in my mind Kip looks suspiciously like David Gandy. Can he act?

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Oh sexy leads, definitely.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d go back to the royal court in Heian Japan (794-1185). The world’s first novel, Tale of Genji was written during this time. There were many Heian women writers whose memoirs and diaries survive today. I’d love to hang out with Sei Shonagon, who was the lady-in-waiting to the Empress, and wrote a diary that was passed around the court for entertainment purposes. Her wit and strength and sharp observations astound me.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Learn how to meditate. I wish I’d understood the power of mindfulness from a young age. I now teach my sons. It’s a very powerful life tool.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A fairy. I’ve been waiting my whole life for my mother to tell me I’m part Fey. Maybe next year, on my birthday…

Where do you write best? 

Perched up on my bed.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I read non-fiction while I’m writing. I’ve just finished The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, the women who started the Arrowsmith School for kids with dyslexia and learning issues. Incredible story and inspiring work.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Travel memoirs. I’m a traveller. I get restless living in one spot. I’ve lived in six countries, visited dozens more… I love being on the road. And I love reading travel memoirs. I plan to write one, one day.

Where can fans find you online?

janetara.com

https://www.facebook.com/Roadmancebooks?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/janetara

http://www.pinterest.com/roadmance/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1080134.Jane_Tara

http://momentumbooks.com.au/authors/jane-tara/

http://www.amazon.com/Jane-Tara/e/B0039AK7SI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KID48C0

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hamlets-ghost-shakespeare/id881730385?mt=11

Interview with Pauline Gruber

Pauline - Color (3 of 6)Tell us about your publishing journey…

While this is the second novel I’ve written, it is the first one I’ve published. I self-published. I was drawn to indie publishing because I wanted to retain creative control, have the ability to write in various genres and have full transparency on the publishing side. Quality is very important, too, so I did have my novel professionally edited. The indie process was difficult. It’s one thing to write a book and then to work with an editor to make it as perfect as possible, but then there’s the publishing side. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of working with an amazing digital artist and layout/font artist (two separate people) for the cover, then I worked with a formatter for the paperback version of the book and all the e-book versions. It’s an incredible learning process. Difficult is an understatement, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

What do you love about being an author?

I’ve had a love of writing since I was young. In seventh grade I entered a writing contest and wrote a story about three competitive cat siblings. I won an award for it. My seventh grade English teacher encouraged me to continue, claiming I showed promise. I dabbled with stories through the years, but didn’t pursue it seriously until four years ago.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

You just tackled two of my favorite things, dining with interesting people and food. My apologies, but it’s impossible to limit this to one character.

-Louis Point du Lac from Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice. My love of vampires began with this one book. If you haven’t read it, you should. What would I eat? Provided we’re in New Orleans, I would eat vegetarian red beans and rice.

-Sabine from The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett. This is one of my all-time favorite books (and authors). Not only is Sabine original and interesting, but as you learn about her recently deceased husband Parsifal (yes, another great name), a magician, you learn how this unique man rose above a heartbreaking adolescence to become successful personally and professionally. What would I eat? Either Indian food or sushi.

-Michael Brock from The Street Lawyer by John Grisham. I don’t read much Grisham, but this book struck a chord in me. Don’t we all think about what it would be like to turn out backs on our lives and instead live altruistically? I think about it a lot.

What would I eat? I would make sandwiches and we would eat in a park. I would bring extra bread to feed the birds.

-Carlisle Cullen from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. We already know Bella’s story and much of Edwards. Carlisle is old…really old. I imagine he’s got the most interesting life. Carlisle and Esme have an amazing, state-of-the-art kitchen so Carlisle and I would cook a meal together and he would talk while I devoured whatever amazing dish we made. (Esme is really nice, so I’d like her to be there, too.)

-Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I want to hear about the games—and Peeta’s journey—in his own words.

What would we eat? I would make a pot of vegan roasted corn soup and have Peeta bring a loaf of homemade, crusty bread.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?The Girl and the Raven Cover

I have no idea who would play Lucy, Marcus or Dylan. However, I can tell you this: Robin Wright would be perfect as Donna Walker, Lucy’s mother; Frances McDormand should play Lucy’s grandmother, Vera; and Adrian Brody (with some make-up to age him) would make an AWESOME Jude. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out who would play Persephone and Henry, but I’m coming up blank. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

I prefer to see them as sexy leads, definitely! Alternatively, I like them as remorseful, wallowing types, like Louis in Interview With A Vampire.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Ooooh – great question! The 1920’s definitely. I recently watched Midnight in Paris. How great would it be to meet Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. Some of our greatest influences came from the 1920’s.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Not to take life so seriously all the time. Also, to appreciate the important people in my life. We tend to take them for granted, but then we’re filled with a world of regret when they’re gone.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

Two years ago I would’ve said vampire. Hands down. Now, I’ll go with witch. They can do so many different things while blending well within society. Plus they’re not struck with the constant urge to kill people.

Where do you write best?

I have an office and I wrote there for a while. Now I work at my dining room table, where I have room to spread out my notes and all of my beverages. When I travel for writing conferences, I love the peace and quiet of my hotel room and I get a lot of writing done.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The book packs a wallop. The lead character starts and ends the story as a middle-aged man, but a bulk of the story takes place when he’s a boy in Sussex, England. There are witches and evil things and grown-ups who disappoint. [SPOILER ALERT] The witches help save the boy from the evil beings, but it’s rough for a while. Gaiman has a gift with making a story seem simple when it’s not. He also knows how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat. This book is extra special to me because it’s autographed by the author. I had the incredible pleasure of attending the Ann Arbor, Michigan stop of his final book signing tour.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

As an indie author, I’m not limited to writing in one genre for young adults. After The Girl and The Raven series (paranormal romance), I have a science fiction duology planned, then a contemporary YA stand-alone. If I didn’t write fiction for young adults, I would write paranormal romance for adults. I love vampires. Witches, gargoyles and demons, too.

Where can fans find you online?

The best place to find me is on my website: www.paulinegruber.com From there, they can access all of my social media sites.

Interview with Kerry Schafer

smilemeTell us about your publishing journey.

It’s been a very long and winding road. How much time do we have? My very first published work was a poem I wrote in grade school that found its way into some sort of church paper or something. My memory of the details is a little foggy, although I can still recall a few lines from the poem. Which was dreadful, by the way. Since then I’ve submitted poetry, short stories, picture books, and essays to a variety of places. Some of the essays were published and there was a near miss with the picture books. Finally, after years of this sort of thing, I put a couple of chapters up on the Book Country author site and an editor saw it and just like that I landed my first ever publishing contract! Sort of like a fairy tale only with a lot of hard work leading up to the magic.

What do you love about being an author?

Making stuff up and creating new worlds. Also – the opportunities to hang out with writers and talk about books and writing are amazing.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

My current favorite literary character is Dante from Carol Berg’s Collegia Magica trilogy, but I don’t think I’d like to have dinner with him. Bilbo Baggins, maybe, because the food would be excellent and maybe some dwarves and a wizard would show up.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads? Wakeworldfinal

Jason Momoa would make an excellent Zee, I think. And Emma Watson could pull off Vivian.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Honestly, I think Stoker did it best with the original Dracula – who was both a blood hungry monster and a charming, debonair seducer.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Can I go back in time in an imaginary world? Because I really want to see Middle Earth, especially Lothlórien, before it fades.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

“Your job on this planet is to be the best and most fulfilled version of you that you can be. Embrace that, and don’t waste time wishing you were other.” Of course, if anybody had told me that when I was young I wouldn’t have understood what was meant.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A dragon. I’d be at the top of the food chain, have the gift of flight, and be able to set things on fire with my breath.

Where do you write best?

Usually at the kitchen table in my house, when everybody is gone and I’m home alone. But sometimes I need a change of pace and the words will really flow in the coffee shop.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Burn Me Deadly, by Alex Bledsoe. Great fun – I think Bledsoe is brilliant in the way he mixes elements of fantasy and crime in his Eddie LaCrosse novels. I recently discovered the series and am reading through from the beginning.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Some of my favorite authors – Martha Grimes, Jonathan Kellerman, Lee Child, to name a few – are mystery or thriller writers. I’d like to see if I could pull it off.

Where can fans find you online?

Twitter: @kerryschafer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kerryschaferbooks
Website: www.kerryschafer.com

Book Spotlight: Bitter Fruits Sarah Daltry

1213 Bitter Fruits_1400Synopsis:

Attending a vampire-themed masquerade party seems like a strange way to spend a night, but Nora is sick of frat parties and bars. Meeting Alec was just a bonus. Despite their immediate attraction, however, Alec is wary of involving himself with Nora, and when she pushes it, she discovers that Alec has secrets that could destroy them both. Is she willing to risk everything for a man she hardly knows? How far into darkness will he take her?

When Nora attempts to follow, however, things grow more complicated. Someone is hunting her – someone tied to a secret that goes back to the beginning of man. Soon, Nora finds herself drawn to two men, each with his own agenda. Can she save them both when one is destined to die? 

About The Author:

Sarah Daltry writes erotica and romance that ranges from sweet to steamy. She moves around a lot and has trouble committing to things. Bitter Fruits is her first full length novel. Her other two novels have already been released. Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley are simultaneous perspectives in the New Adult contemporary romance series, Flowering. Sarah also has three novellas (including Star of Bethlehem, part of the Flowering series) and several short stories available. She is currently working on Immortal Star and Daughter of Heaven in this series, and Orange Blossom, another novel in Flowering . When Sarah isn’t writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://sarahdaltry.com

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

http://www.facebook.com/BitterFruits

http://www.facebook.com/FloweringbySarahDaltry

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahDaltry

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sarahdaltry/boards/

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/sarahdaltry

Buy Bitter Fruits

Interview with Aileen Erin

AileenTell us about your publishing journey…

It’s no secret that the past few years the publishing industry has faced some massive changes. I’ve been watching it go down for years as I worked on my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my manuscript. Should I send it out? If I did, the chance of it getting picked up since it was an urban fantasy (a genre that I was a big fangirl of for twenty years) with werewovles and vampires, and a young adult novel to boot, were pretty damned slim. If I did manage to score a deal, it would most likely be a small one, and I’d have to do all the marketing myself. But self-publishing seemed like a lot of work.

Then, Christina Bauer came along and brought up the idea of starting Ink Monster, LLC—an independent publisher that focused on the Geek Girl market—of which both of us are members. ;) We talked about it, and for the past year, have been building our business model. We’re super excited about both the launch of our company and our books. I’m glad Becoming Alpha is getting out there to readers, and hope fans of the genre will love it.

What do you love about being an author?

I absolutely love revising. I know this sounds totally crazy, but my undergrad degree is in Radio-TV-Film. I moved to Los Angeles to be a film editor, but after working in that industry for a few years, realized it wasn’t a fantastic fit. But I still love editing. I love seeing what’s there, and moving it around, changing it, and making it shine. I don’t mind reworking plots or throwing out scenes. If there is a better way to get from plot point b to plot point g, I want to find it.

What part do you dislike about being an author?

Writing that first draft. Sometimes it comes easily, but more often than not, it’s a bit of a slog. Once I have a draft, I switch into revising mode and have a blast. But that first draft…painful.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Write what you love. It’s something that one of my professors said. Usually people say, “write what you know,” but that’s not always best. You have to have a heaping load of love for what you’re writing. It’s passion for the topic that will get you through that first draft. That second draft. The seventh draft. The good news is that if you don’t know something, then you can research it. We live in the age of information. So, no point in sticking with something you know. That can get tedious pretty quickly. But writing what you love, now that’s fantastic advice.

If you could have dinner with a literary character – who would it be and what would you eat?

Kahlan Amnell from Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. She’s such a strong female character. She kicks some major ass, and usually in a dress. Impressive!

As for what we’d eat, I have no idea. I’m not a picky eater at all. So, I’d be happy spending the time with her and eating whatever it is she wanted to eat.

Becoming Alpha Front Cover

Zombies are everywhere! What do you do first?

Grab my shotgun. I’ve been preparing for this because I kind of think it might happen.

And then realize I’m not in LA, and my shotgun is half a world away. (I’m living in London for the next 9 months.) I don’t even have a car here, so I can’t head to the country…

:::pauses to think:::

Grab my backpack and pack it with what food I can and anything that could be used as a weapon, and then steal a car. Hey, everything is in chaos. Who’s going to bother arresting me? Right? Getting out of the city as fast as possible is the key to surviving.

What was the last book you read and what were your thoughts on it?

Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams. Loooooved it. Read it in one sitting. My only complaint was that there was a cliffhanger ending. Why?! I guess I’m just going to have to wait to see what happens next. Luckily, pre-orders are already up for book 2. So, I don’t have to worry about checking on it or mark my calendar. I love it when authors do that!

What’s the one question you’d dread on an interview?

I’m not sure it’s a question per se, but I dread sounding boring. I’m a shy, quiet, nerd, and proud of it. But I’m not entirely certain that I make for a good interview subject. ;)

You have a time machine, which era do you go back to and why?

Oh, man…this is a toughie. I love a bunch of different eras. I’m assuming I’d be just visiting, and so I’ll say I’d love to go back to the 1920’s. But that might be because I’m watching too much Downton Abbey. However, I wouldn’t want to stay there. I happen to like my modern rights as women, and modern medicine, a little too much.

If you were to cast your book, who would play the leads?

This is a hard question, too! Maybe it’s because I’m too close to the film industry, but a lot goes into casting a movie. Maybe for Tessa: Victoria Justice. She’s a young and upcoming Hispanic actress. Maybe for Dastien: Sam Claftin. He’s got that tough, rugged look, but when he smiles…whoa.

You free a Genie from a lamp, after wishing away all those zombies from the previous question, you have 2 wishes left, what are they?

I think I’d probably wish for peace, and then for an assload of money. Not for me, but so that I could donate to all the millions of charities and people in need. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy a whole lot of starving children food, give shelter them, keep them safe and healthy, and educate them. I feel like all of that would take more than one wish, but money could let me accomplish a lot of that all with one.

What’s your favourite TV show, and why?

It’s a tie right now between Homeland and Downton Abbey. The writing is fantastic on both shows. They really know how to build tension and drama so well. It’s totally different tension, but the way that they structure it is similar. As soon as one episode ends, I want the next one. They’re both well acted and the production level is really high on both. They’re phenomenal shows.

Where can fans find you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aelatcham
Twitter: @aileen_erin
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/aileen_erin
Blog: http://inkmonster.net/blog/category/aileen

Interview with Christina Bauer

cbTell us about your publishing journey…

I took Angelbound to traditional publishers and agents and was told ‘nice, but paranormal romance is dead.’ And I was like, WTF? That’s not how we romance readers work. We choose a genre (personally, I would read anything with fairies) and pretty much stick with it for the rest of our freaking lives. There are romance sub-genres that focus only on firefighters, hospital workers, navy seals, you get the idea.

So no, I didn’t think paranormal romance was dead, not by a long shot. In fact, I saw a huge untapped opportunity for fantasy/romance stories with heroines who kick ass. Girls make up half of all gamers, more than half of Comic-Con attendees, and one-third of all tech workers. They aren’t getting a lot of entertainment with heroines who look and act like them. So I knew I was moving forward no matter what, the question was how best to do it.

At that point, I was super-fortunate to get introduced to Aileen Latcham, who felt the exact same way I did. One thing led to another, and we opened up Ink Monster LLC. Cue happy music. Huzzah!

What do you love about being an author?

I adore world-building. Lately, I’ve used Pinterest to create boards for different characters and realms, which is crazy-ass fun. I also love being in the ‘writing zone’, where the words flow and I feel like I’m taking dictation from someone else. That’s a natural high.

What part do you dislike about being an author?

Me. I throw out four perfectly good chapters for every one I keep. Top reasons: the world-building is off and/or the scene doesn’t feel like it spontaneously came out of the characters. Long story short, I write a buttload of words to hit my already-high word counts. So sometimes, my business self would like to take my writer-self out back and kick my own ass.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?Angelbound Front Cover

“Great personalities are forged on the anvil of adversity.” –Abigail Adams.

If you could have dinner with a literary character – who would it be and what would you eat?

Aragorn. Him.

Zombies are everywhere! What do you do first?

I question the underlying assumption that it would suck to be a zombie. You’re immortal, you don’t have to work, and you can hang with your buds all day. Sure, you eat brains, but I’m not sure that bothers you too much in your zombie state. So, in the zombie apocalypse, my first step would be to get bitten and find a cool group of zombies to shamble around with.

What was the last book you read and what were your thoughts on it?

Just checked my Kindle and it was a romance by Cara McKenna called After Hours. Normally, I don’t buy books with chesty guys on the cover (or at least admit to doing so in public) but this one was awesome.

What’s the one question you’d dread on an interview?

I have this irrational fear that an interviewer will find some lame paper I wrote from the fourth grade and be like: “Why didn’t you try harder in Sister Virginia’s class? Look at this grammar!” What can I say? I spent too many years in Catholic school. That shizz stays with you.

You have a time machine, which era do you go back to and why?

My top two choices for time travel: ancient Egypt during the reign of the female pharaoh Maat-ka-re; and my hometown of Buffalo, NY in its heyday (aka some time around 1900). The Erie Canal was in full swing and Buffalo had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the US.

If you were to cast your book, who would play the leads?

If I were fortunate enough to have Angelbound on stage or screen, I’d love the cast to be talented unknowns. It’s hard to have big names play main characters in fantasy, the star can easily overwhelm the source material. That said, there are folks out there who know a lot more about this stuff than I do! I’m a big believer in attracting top talent, giving them a goal, and getting the fuck out of their way.

You free a Genie from a lamp, after wishing away all those zombies from the previous question, you have 2 wishes left, what are they?

World peace and whirled peas. Because it’d be fun to confuse the crap out of the Genie.

What’s your favourite TV show, and why?

Right now, I’d have to say the BBC’s Sherlock. I was going to say Dr. Who, but I’m feeling very conflicted about the new Doctor. Another old white guy? Really?

Where can fans find you online?

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

Twitter: @CB_Bauer

Blog: http://inkmonster.net/cbauer

Book Spotlight: Darke London by Coleen Kwan

DarkeLondon72lg

Synopsis:

The only way to save her life is to resurrect the dead…

Julian Darke was only a newborn when he was abandoned on the doorstep of a gentleman doctor. Though raised with love, he is driven to discover his true origins.

Convinced Sir Thaddeus Ormond knows something, Julian shadows him one night—and is shocked to see a young woman thrown from Ormond’s carriage and accosted by a thug. Julian manages to save her life, but not her face and hands from horrific injuries.

Nellie Barchester doesn’t recognize the scarred, disfigured stranger in the mirror. Though the gifted doctor and engineer has done his best to repair the damage, scars ravage her body, and chill her soul with the realization that her own husband may have plotted her death.

Julian’s tenderness is a balm to her soul, and Nellie is drawn to the edge of passion by a man not repelled by her deformities. But as their pursuit of the truth draws them into London’s underbelly, they cross the path of a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to fulfill his schemes.

Warning: Can a brilliant but troubled doctor find happiness with a woman scarred both inside and out? A hint of the supernatural plus a night of passion spice up this Uncanny Chronicle.ColeenKwanHeadshot2

 About the Author:

Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.

Website: www.coleenkwan.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ColeenKwan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/coleenkwan.authorpage

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5210210.Coleen_Kwan

Darke London by Coleen Kwan

Excerpt 4

Copyright © 2013 by Coleen Kwan

The man she was tailing paused outside a mean little gin shop. Nellie stopped behind a tottering pile of crates filled with rotting cabbages. Now she was nearer she could make out the man’s fair curls peeping below the brim of his fashionable top hat. He dithered on the threshold of the shop, then plunged in and emerged a minute later, shuddering and wiping his mouth after his quick dram. His Savile Row suit and polished boots attracted a few sidelong glances and mutters, but he appeared not to notice as he hurried down a side street.

Nellie skulked after him. This secondary road was darker, quieter, the cacophony of the night market gradually subsiding to a low hubbub. Fog wreathed the dwellings and dulled her ears. The heels of her boots clicked on the cobblestones. From an alleyway, a cat yowled. Up ahead, the man dipped past a hazy pool of gaslight from a lone streetlamp.

Footsteps sounded behind her. She glanced over her shoulder. Nothing but wraiths of mist. It must have been those rats rooting through a rubbish heap she’d heard. She pushed on. A moment later the footsteps behind her resumed. This time she spun round, the hairs on her nape standing on end as she scanned the length of road she’d just crossed. Through the gathering fog, she could make out nothing. Then, from one of the nearby houses, an enormously fat crone meandered out, bunched up her skirts and squatted in the gutter to relieve herself.

Nellie expelled a deep breath and turned around just in time to see the object of her pursuit enter the last house of a row of terraces. Well, she’d suspected this was his destination as soon as she’d realised he was heading for Aldgate. This would be the third visit she’d witnessed; who knew how many times he’d come before? She edged her way to the shadow of a high, blank wall opposite the house and settled down to wait. A few minutes ticked by. On the upper floor of the house, the light shining from the windows faded and remained dim for a further five minutes. Slowly the windows brightened, and moments later the young man clattered out of the house.

As he approached her, Nellie’s heart beat faster. He was so close! She had just to step out of the shadows and call out his name. Pip. It was so easy, so tempting. Pip, I’m still alive. I’m not dead.

I’ll be reviewing Darke London in the next couple of months, so watch this space…

Darke London Banner 450 x 169