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My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I do all things books at Appleseed Bookshop. I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at thetattooedbook@yahoo.co.uk or follow me on twitter at twitter.com/thetattooedbook

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Adventure Time - The Original Cartoon Title Cards by Pendleton Ward

Adventure Time - The Original Cartoon Title Cards: Volume 1

For someone like me all you have to say is 'Adventure Time' and I'm like an excited six year old who has been left to the own devices in Mr Simms, include the word 'book' and that's just adding an energy drink..

So when I got my mitts on a copy of Adventure Time - The Original Cartoon Title Cards I was pretty excited to see what it covered that the other graphic novels hadn't. In short, this is a lush art book for the slightly more grown up (and only slightly) lovers of Finn, Jake and the land of Ooo.

Every episode of the Primetime Emmy Award winning show is introduced with a hand-painted title card, inspired from everything from b-movies to technicolour romance. These images are only seen for a moment but have caught the attention of millions of viewers so this book takes a deeper look at these beautiful pieces of art and the inspiration behind them.

Not only is this book beautiful and tactile it's also great fun with some excellent quotes from both the show itself and it's creators.

"And my adventurer instincts tell me to seduce that tentacle critter with my womanly charms and elephant prowess" - Tree Trunks

If you're an Adventure Time fan this book is guaranteed to keep you smiling for hours.

Buy Adventure Time - The Original Cartoon Title Cards by Pendleton Ward from Amazon here.

Buy Adventure Time - The Original Cartoon Title Cards by Pendleton Ward from Hive here.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce is back with her latest novel The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. We all laughed, cried and got a little bit over emotional (in a very good way) about her first novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and now she has retold the story from the perspective of Queenie Hennessy, the terminally ill woman that Harold set out to visit. There were a lot of unanswered questions within the pages of her first novel: What was the truth behind their relationship, what did she do that left her so weighed down by guilt and what was her relationship with Harold's son, David? All these questions and more are answered in Rachel Joyce's unique heart-warming style that will leave you as in love with Queenie as we still are with Harold.

Read my complete review of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce at We Love This Book here.

If you'd like a sneaky peak at The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy or you've never read any of Rachel Joyce's work (what are you doing with your life?!) then check out this exclusive extract below:

All you have to do is wait!

YOUR LETTER arrived this morning. We were in the dayroom for morning activities. Everyone was asleep.

Sister Lucy, who is the youngest nun volunteering in the hospice, asked if anyone would like to help with her new jigsaw. Nobody answered. ‘Scrabble?’ she said.

Nobody stirred.

‘How about Mousetrap?’ said Sister Lucy. ‘That’s a lovely game.’

I was in a chair by the window. Outside, the winter evergreens flapped and shivered. One lone seagull balanced in the sky.

‘Hangman?’ said Sister Lucy. ‘Anyone?’

A patient nodded, and Sister Lucy fetched paper. By the time she’d got sorted, pens and a glass of water and so on, he was dozing again.

Life is different for me at the hospice. The colours, the smells, the way a day passes. But I close my eyes and I pretend that the heat of the radiator is the sun on my hands and the smell of lunch is salt in the air. I hear the patients cough, and it is only the wind in my garden by the sea. I can imagine all sorts of things, Harold, if I put my mind to it.

Sister Catherine strode in with the morning delivery. ‘Post!’ she sang. Full volume. ‘Look what I have here!’

‘Oh, oh, oh,’ went everyone, sitting up.

Sister Catherine passed several brown envelopes, forwarded, to a Scotsman known as Mr Henderson. There was a card for the new young woman. (She arrived yesterday. I don’t know her name.) There is a big man they call the Pearly King, and he had another parcel though I have been here a week and I haven’t yet seen him open one. The blind lady, Barbara, received a note from her neighbour – Sister Catherine read it out – spring is coming, it said. The loud woman called Finty opened a letter informing her that if she scratched off the foil window, she would discover that she’d won an exciting prize.

‘And, Queenie, something for you.’ Sister Catherine crossed the room, holding out an envelope. ‘Don’t look so frightened.’

I knew your writing. One glance and my pulse was flapping. Great, I thought. I don’t hear from the man in twenty years, and then he sends a letter and gives me a heart attack.

I stared at the postmark. Kingsbridge. Straight away I could picture the muddy blue of the estuary, the little boats moored to the quay. I heard the slapping of water against the plastic buoys and the clack of rigging against the masts. I didn’t dare open the envelope. I just kept looking and looking and remembering.

Sister Lucy rushed to my aid. She tucked her childlike finger under the flap and wiggled it along the fold to tear the envelope open. ‘Shall I read it out for you, Queenie?’ I tried to say no, but the no came out as a funny noise she mistook for a yes. She unfolded the page, and her face seeped with pink. Then she began to read. ‘It’s from someone called Harold Fry.’

She went as slowly as she could, but there were a few words only. ‘I am very sorry. Best wishes. Oh, but there’s a PS too,’ said Sister Lucy. ‘He says, Wait for me.’ She gave an optimistic shrug. ‘Well, that’s nice. Wait for him? I suppose he’s going to make a visit.’

Sister Lucy folded the letter carefully and tucked it back inside the envelope. Then she placed my post in my lap, as if that were the end of it. A warm tear slipped down the side of my nose. I hadn’t heard your name spoken for twenty years. I had held the words only inside my head.

‘Aw,’ said Sister Lucy. ‘Don’t be upset, Queenie. It’s all right.’ She pulled a tissue from the family-size box on the coffee table and carefully wiped the corner of my closed-up eye, my stretched mouth, even the thing that is on the side of my face. She held my hand, and all I could think of was my hand in yours, long ago, in a stationery cupboard.

‘Maybe Harold Fry will come tomorrow,’ said Sister Lucy.

At the coffee table, Finty still scratched away at the foil window on her letter. ‘Come on, you little bugger,’ she grunted.

‘Did you say “Harold Fry”?’ Sister Catherine jumped to her feet and clapped her hands as if she was trapping an insect. It was the loudest thing that had happened all morning, and everyone murmured ‘Oh, oh, oh’ again. ‘How could I have forgotten? He rang yesterday. Yes. He rang from a phone box.’ She spoke in small broken sentences, the way you do when you’re trying to make sense of something that essentially doesn’t. ‘The line was bad and he kept laughing. I couldn’t understand a word. Now I think about it, he was saying the same thing. About waiting. He said to tell you he was walking.’ She slipped a yellow Post-it note from her pocket and quickly unfolded it.

‘Walking?’ said Sister Lucy, suggesting this was not something she’d tried before.

‘I assumed he wanted directions from the bus station. I told him to turn left and keep going.’

A few of the volunteers laughed, and I nodded as if they were right, they were right to laugh, because it was too much, you see, to show the consternation inside me. My body felt both weak and hot.

Sister Catherine studied her yellow note. ‘He said to tell you that as long as he walks, you must wait. He also said he’s setting off from Kingsbridge.’ She turned to the other nuns and volunteers. ‘Kingsbridge? Does anyone know where that is?’

Sister Lucy said maybe she did but she was pretty sure she didn’t. Someone told us he’d had an old aunt who lived there once. And one of the volunteers said, ‘Oh, I know Kingsbridge. It’s in South Devon.’ ‘South Devon?’ Sister Catherine paled. ‘Do you think he meant he’s walking to Northumberland from all the way down there?’ She was not laughing any more, and neither was anyone else. They were only looking at me and looking at your letter and seeming rather anxious and lost. Sister Catherine folded her Post-it note and disappeared it into

the side pocket of her robe.

‘Bull’s-eye!’ shouted Finty. ‘I’ve won a luxury cruise! It’s a fourteen-night adventure, all expenses paid, on the Princess Emerald!’

‘You have not read the small print,’ grumbled Mr Henderson. And then, louder: ‘The woman has not read the small print.

I closed my eyes. A little later I felt the sisters hook their arms beneath me and lift my body into the wheelchair. It was like the way my father carried me when I was a girl and I had fallen asleep in front of the range. ‘Stille, stille,’ my mother would say. I held tight on to your envelope, along with my notebook. I saw the dancing of crimson light beyond my eyelids as we passed from the dayroom to the corridor and then past the windows. I kept my eyes shut all the way, even as I was lowered on to the bed, even as the curtains were drawn with a whoosh against the pole, even as I heard the click of the door, afraid that if I opened my eyes the wash of tears would never stop.
Harold Fry is coming, I thought. I have waited twenty years, and now he is coming.

 An unlikely plan

‘QUEENIE? QUEENIE HENNESSY?’ When I woke, a new volunteer was standing against my window. For a moment he seemed made of light.

‘You were crying,’ he said. ‘In your sleep.’ Only now that I looked properly, I found he was not a man after all. He was a tall and big-boned she, dressed in a nun’s habit, a wimple and a knitted navy-blue cardigan. I shot up my hand to hide. But the stranger didn’t stare and neither did she drop her gaze, as people usually do, to my fingers or my feet or any bit of me that was not my face. She just smiled.

‘Are you upset about this man called Harold Fry?’ she said.

I remembered your news. That you were walking to see me. But this time I couldn’t see the hope in it, I could see only the miles. After all, I’m at one end of England and you’re at the other. The wind has a soft-ness in the south, but up here it’s so wild it can chuck you off your feet. There’s a reason for this distance, Harold. I had to get as far from you as I could bear.

The nun shifted from the window, taking with her a small potted cactus plant from the sill. She said she’d heard about your very exciting message. She knew that you were walking from Kingsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed and that all I had to do was wait. She stooped to rescue the cactus from the floor. ‘I don’t know Mr Fry personally, of course, but it appears you called into the void and an echo came back. What a good man.’ She smiled at the cactus as if she had just blessed it. ‘By the way, I am Sister Mary Inconnue.’ She pronounced it An-con-noo, like in the French. ‘Pleased to meet you.’
  The nun drew up the chair and sat beside my bed. Her hands lay in her lap, large and red. A washing-up set of hands. Her eyes were a sharp, clear green.

‘But look at me,’ I tried to say. It was no good. Instead, I reached for my notebook and HB pencil. I wrote her a message: How can I do this? How can I wait for him? I tossed the pencil aside.

I’d thought I would never see you again. Even though I’ve spent twenty years in exile, even though I’ve lived with a piece of my life missing, I thought you had forgotten me. When I sent you my first letter, it was to put my affairs in order. It was to draw a veil for myself over the past. I didn’t expect you to post a reply. I certainly didn’t expect you to walk with it. There is so much to confess, to atone for, so much to mend, and I can’t do it. Why do you think I left Kingsbridge and never came back? If you knew the truth, I’m afraid you’d hate me. And you must know the truth, you see. There cannot be a meeting between us without it.

I remembered the first time I spotted you in the yard of the brewery. Then I pictured your son in my red wool mittens and I saw Maureen too, her eyes blazing, beside a basket of washing in your garden at 13 Fossebridge Road. Don’t walk, I thought. The nun with a funny name was right: you’re a good man. I had the chance to speak twenty years ago and I failed. Over and over, I failed. I am words without a mouth. Don’t come now.

I wrote, It’s too late.

Sister Mary Inconnue read the message in my notebook and said nothing. For a long time she remained with her hands in her lap, so still that I began to wonder if she’d dropped asleep. Then she rolled up her sleeves like a nun who means business. Her arms were smooth and weather-tanned. ‘Too late? It’s never too late. It seems to me you have something else to say to Harold Fry. Isn’t that why you’re upset?’

Well, that did it. I was crying again.

She said, ‘I have a plan. We’re going to write him a second letter. Don’t forget, you opened this can of worms when you sent your first one. So now you need to finish. Only this time, don’t give him the sort of message he might expect from a gift card. Tell him the truth, the whole truth. Tell him how it really was.’

I looked to the window. Black gossamer scraps of cloud chased across a weak sky. The sun was a thimble of light, and the dark branches of the tree trembled. I pictured you at one end of England, walking down a country lane. I pictured myself at the other, sitting in a bed in a small room. I thought of the miles between us: the railway tracks, the bus routes, the roads, the rivers. I pictured the steeples and towers, the slate roofs and tin roofs, the stations, the cities, the towns, the villages, the fields. And so many people. People sitting on platforms and passing in cars and staring from buses and trudging down roads. Since I left Kingsbridge, I’ve remained single. I made my home in a derelict timber beach house, and I tended my heart in a garden by the sea. My life has been small, it has been nothing to speak of. But the past is still inside me, Harold. I have never let it go.

‘You don’t have to write this letter on your own,’ said Sister Mary Inconnue. ‘I will help. There’s an old portable typewriter in the office.’ I remembered how long it had taken me to spell out my first letter in order for Sister Lucy to copy it on her laptop. And I suppose you noticed the mess I made of both my signature and your address on the envelope. What with all the shenanigans getting that letter in the post, a carrier pigeon might have been quicker.

But Sister Mary Inconnue was still talking. ‘Every day we’ll do it. You can make notes and I’ll type them. I don’t suppose you know shorthand?’

I nodded.

‘Well, there you are. We will write, you and I, until Harold Fry gets here. I’ll do it in the first person, as if I am you. I’ll transcribe every-thing. I won’t miss out one word. Your letter will be waiting for Harold Fry when he arrives.’

And you promise he will read it before he sees me?

‘I give you my word.’

Already there was something appealing about her idea. Already I was composing the opening sentences. I think I closed my eyes, because when I opened them, Sister Mary Inconnue had moved again and this time she was seated beside the slight bump of my feet. She had put on a pair of blue plastic-framed reading glasses that gave her a goggle-eyed look, and she held up a battered leather carrying bag the size of a brief-case. Its key was tied to the handle with a loop of string.

She laughed. ‘You fell asleep. So I nipped to the office and took the liberty of borrowing the typewriter.’ She opened my notebook to a fresh page. She replaced it on my lap alongside the pencil.

‘You see how it is?’ said Sister Mary Inconnue, unlocking the leather bag and removing the typewriter. It was a cream Triumph Tippa. I had the same model once. ‘Harold Fry is walking. But in another way, even though you’re here, even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a journey too. It’s the same and not the same. You see?’
I nodded. And if I’m not here at least my letter will be.

Sister Mary Inconnue settled herself and rested the typewriter on her knees. ‘Now then,’ she said, flexing her red fingers. ‘Where’s the tab set key?’

We worked for the rest of the morning and then after lunch and into the dusk. Once I’d started, I couldn’t stop. I pointed to my writing.
Does it make sense to you?

‘Perfect sense,’ she said.

I tore out sheets as I finished, numbering each one, and Sister Mary Inconnue picked them up and typed. I kept telling myself I’d go as far as the next page, and then the next page came and I filled that too. I wrote everything you have read so far, while Sister Mary Inconnue clacked and slapped at her keys. And this is what we are still doing. I am writing and she is typing.

‘Good,’ she says. ‘This is good.’

Tonight the duty nurse performed our evening rituals. She cleaned my mouth with mouthwash and a tiny sponge on a stick. She applied jelly where my lips have cracked, and she changed the dress-ings. Dr Shah, the palliative care consultant, asked if I had more pain, but I told him no, it was only the same. There was no need for me to be in discomfort, he

said. If anything troubled me, a change could be made to my medication. Once the nurse had applied my new pain patch, Sister Lucy massaged my hands. Her smooth, plump fingers travelled my stiff ones, easing the joints and stroking. She fetched her sparkly polish and painted my nails.

In my sleep I saw your son. ‘Yes, David,’ I said. ‘Yes.’ I took a blanket and tucked it round him in case he was cold.


Thanks to the lovely Naomi at Transworld I also have one signed copy of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (not actually in my hands, it's a good thing they didn't send it to me because I totally would have kept it). So how do you enter to win? Just leave a comment on this blog below or retweet one of the tweets mentioning the competition on Twitter. The competition is open to UK residents only and closes at midnight on Sunday 19th of October.

Buy The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce from Amazon here.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

As Jeevan attempts to resuscitate the actor he was moments ago watching play the lead in King Lear, the pandemic is already spreading. He fails to bring the well know actor, Arthur Leander back to life and by the time he leaves the venue his girlfriend is long gone. As he begins his wintery walk home he receives the call from his doctor friend, warning him to get out of town, that an incredibly contagious and fast acting flu is spreading fast.

When the Georgian Flu broke out it killed ninety nine percent of the people it infected and twenty years later the world is a different place. A girl that played one of the King's daughters in that same production is now part of the Travelling Symphony. A band of actors, actresses and musicians that have been together for years. They stay on the move, usually welcomed for a couple of days here and there in the tiny congregations of people that have slowly formed. Some are full of thieves, killers or religious cults but some are just like them, simply trying to get by and make some sort of life for themselves in the wreckage of a devastated world.

Opening with scenes from King Lear, Station 11 instantly introduces the character of Arthur and although he may not be considered the main character in himself, he is the man that connects all the survivors you meet and therefore weaves the tale together. From these first you pages you are guided from a beautiful wintry wonderland into the breakdown of life as we know it. As Jeevan finds out about the seriousness of the outbreak before most people you are not privy to the sudden madness you are often exposed to in many dystopian novels but a quietly understated and isolated panic that is just as unnerving. Especially when he's filling his trolley with food repeatedly,wondering who to warn and who to stay away from. This novel never breaks into the 'panic tropes' of the genre, it concentrates on the first couple of days of the outbreak and then the survivors twenty years later. Station 11 is an intelligent and haunting look at relationships, memories and what drives us all. It's dark and disturbing, just as a story such as this would have to be but in more tender ways than you might expect, for example by describing a devastating gunshot rather than a description of the death itself.

Overall Station 11 is an incredible novel that has you dying for more when you finish the last page. Clever twists, turns and connections left  me grinning in appreciation and I can easily see the the television or movie rights being nabbed up for it very soon (if they haven't already). Station 11 is a must read for 2014 and I just hope there's more coming from Emily St. John Mandel soon.

Buy Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel from Amazon here.

Buy Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel from Hive here.

Monday, 18 August 2014

God is Dead #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa and Di Amorim

The world is being ravaged by eruptions, floods, sandstorms and freezing temperatures, around the globe hundreds of thousands of people are dying but no one is sure why. Two weeks after these devastating natural events start, on May 17th 2015 AD Zeus visits Earth and unimpressed with the progression of man (or woman) he decides to return for good.

Two months on and the world is in an even greater mess as it is not only Zeus who has decided to return and take over Earth but so have a number of other gods including Thor, Odin, Horus, Anubis and many more. At first they agree to territories but soon these boundaries are broken and war breaks out among the gods.

Meanwhile, a group of scientists gather together, hidden underground to discuss how science can battle the gods and save Earth from domination. As the historical gods battle each other the scientists decide it's time to create their own god, one they can control.

God is Dead Volume 1 brings together issues 1-6 of this ongoing series and it really is one hell of a start. Gods, monsters, demons and scientists are thrown together in this great twist on mythical fantasy, making gripping, non-stop action. What you also cannot fail to miss is just how beautifully drawn it is, packed with detail and a real joy to the eyeballs. The end of this volume leaves the story wide open and there are obviously a world of different directions that God is Dead could follow but wherever it's going I'm looking forward to following it.

Buy God is Dead #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa and Di Amorim from Amazon here.

Buy God is Dead #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa and Di Amorim from Hive here.

Buy God is Dead #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa and Di Amorim from Forbidden Planet here.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl

When Mia Dennette goes missing it's not her boyfriend or her family that raises the alarm but her colleagues. Gabe's the detective on the case and he can't help but find the Dennett's family relationships strange. Mia's sister doesn't seem too concerned and her Father insists she's just run off with a man or out causing trouble. It's only Eve, her mother, who seems truly shaken, agreeing that Mia was a troubled teenager but that she's grown out of awkward stage and loved her job too much to up and leave without warning.

It's just another job for Colin, all until he sees her that evening through the window of her apartment. He'd done a number of different crimes to raise money for his mother's medical bills and medicine but this was the first time he's agreed to kidnap anyone. When the day comes he approaches her at the bar, they drink and talk and he convinces her to come back to his. He turns down her advances at his home and things soon turn nasty and she knows it' not going to end well. But as she's thrown into his truck and Colin drives to the handover point he can't help but wonder what will happen to her. He knows the people he's handing her over to are anything but kind. Then he thinks of the thirty years in prison he could face and as the turning he needs to take comes up, he decides to carry one driving. He knows where they can hide for awhile, he needs to think things through.

The Good Girl is a gripping psychological thriller written in two different periods of time and from a number of different people's perspectives including Colin, Gabe, Eve and at one point Mia herself. Although it couldn't really be described as fast paced, there is something about Kubica's tender style of writing that keeps you completely engrossed, desperate to read just one more of the brief chapters.Just when you think the story has unfurled and the story is told, she manages to also squeeze in one last twist to make the finish superbly satisfying.

Buy The Good Girl by Mary Kubica from Amazon here.

Buy The Good Girl by Mary Kubica from Hive here.

Buy The Good Girl by Mary Kubica from Book Depository here.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Hild by Nicola Griffith Q&A

Hild, Hardback book 

Author Nicola Griffith begins her Light of the World Trilogy with Hild, a novel set in seventeenth century Britain that follows a young girl as she tred through the dangerous world of Edwin, King of Northumbria. As her abilities to predict the future grow she becomes both a valuable asset and a powerful weapon.
Thanks to Emily at Little Brown, I was able to put a few questions to Nicola and ask her more about the world of Hild:

When did you first hear of the true life character of Hild and did you instantly want to write about her?

I was in my early twenties, living what mostly felt like a good life, but could occasionally be very hard, in Hull. And one day I felt overstretched--like butter scraped too thin over bread, as Tolkien might say--and just had to get away. I hiked north, up the Yorkshire coast, and came to Whitby and the great gothic ruins of the abbey on top of the cliff. Stepping over the threshold of that ruin changed my life. Turned me inside out like a sock. It's difficult to describe it. I'd always been interested in history, always played What If, always loved the ruined places of the past. But that time, that place... It wrenched my world off its axis. History became real.

Looking back now I realise it wasn't long after that that I started to write. I was writing about the future then--science fiction--but it's all connected*. Anyway, that's where I first became aware of Hild--or St Hilda, the woman who founded the abbey and in 664 CE hosted and facilitated the famous Synod in which Roman Christianity, not the Celtic flavour from Ionia, won the day. It changed the course of history.

But who was Hild? All I could find was a brief mention in the Venerable Bede's History of the English Church and People. She trained five bishops. She was present, responsible in some ways, for the creation of the very first written Old English poem. She was a counsellor to princes and kings and is revered even now, fourteen hundred years later, as a patron saint of culture and learning.

But there were no biographies, no hagiographies, no scholarly anthologies. Nothing. I had no idea how a woman in what used to be called the Dark Ages, a woman born in an illiterate culture where kings were petty warlords and might was right, ended up midwiving English literature and changing the world. The more I learnt over the years about how impossible that was, the more I wanted to know how she did it. I wrote this book to find out. 

Being the first in a trilogy have you already got in mind how the series will come to and end?

I know the last line of the last book. I've known it since I got about a third of the way through the first. But just because I know the end point doesn't mean I know exactly how I'll get there.

I'm hoping there will only be three!

Having said that, there are some points in her life we do know from history--and I'll use one of them to end the second novel.

Do you have any strict writing regimes that help you hit your targets?

No. There are weeks at a time when I don't write fiction: I research, I write to academics, I write essays, I think. But when I'm really rocking and rolling on a novel I work hard, I'm focused. I know what scene or scenes I want to write that day and I write them; which means some days are longer, some days more difficult, than others.

But I love to write, absolutely love it. When it's going well, there's nothing else like it in the world.

Hild has received some incredible reviews from historians, fantasy authors, crime authors and many others, have you received anything that's astounded you more than others?

What's gratified me most is hearing from readers how real it all felt. How reaching the end they felt stunned, sometimes bereft. A writer I've never met (but now want to), Robin Sloan, put it best when he said that after finishing he went around in a daze with a Hild hangover, seeing the world through her eyes, thinking in her terms. Just before I began Hild I wrote a manifesto, a statement of intent or perhaps dagger in the table: "I want to write a whole novel that invades you. I want to control what you think and feel, to put you right there, right then... I want to give you a life you've never had and change the one you live... to run my software on your hardware."

The book is nearly 600 pages long, yet some readers have already read it three times because they love being with Hild in her world. That, to me, is as good as any prize. That is the prize.

Have you been able to do any other writing while penning the Hild series or is it easier to concentrate on one story line?

I do other stuff. Hild's too heady undiluted. So I've written a couple of short stories, some essays, and of course done much miscellany like this Q&A :)

Female leads in historical novels are quite unusual unless they are queens or princesses, do you think it's important to highlight women's roles in this period of time?

Most of the women--and men--we've heard about mattered in their day. Royals have always been seen as more important than hoi polloi. As writers, our interest is generally snagged by what we read, and historians have always chronicled those regarded as important, even if it was just because they paid the chronicler's keep.

We know that in some eras royal women had more agency than commoners, more freedom of movement and more power. It's more interesting, frankly, to write about people who do rather than those who are done to.

Also, if someone like Hild was possible in the past, she's possible now. If you change what we see as possible, we change what might be possible in the future. We change the world.

If you could describe Hild in five words, what would they be?

Extraordinary. Stubborn. Alive. Imperfect. Human.

* At the most fundamental level, I write to explore the world, to find out. Sometimes to change the world. It doesn't matter to me if it's the future (Ammonite, Slow River), the present (The Blue Place, Stay, Always) or the past (Hild).

Buy Hild by Nicola Griffith from Amazon here.

Buy Hild by Nicola Griffith from Hive here.

Buy Hild by Nicola Griffith from The Book Depository here.

Friday, 25 July 2014

I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin

I Was the Cat

When Alison receives an unexpected offer of work she's warned not be afraid of her employer's looks. That gets the alarm bells ringing but her breaking news blog just isn't paying the bills so she goes along to the first meeting, against her best friends advice. Alison knows she's being commissioned to writing a memoir so she expects long, in-depth discussions with her latest client. What she doesn't expect is for him to be a talking cat.

Burma is on the 9th of his lives and has decided it's time for the world to know about his existence. He's been there at the forefront of wars, revolutions and world changing historical events over and over. He's been the driving force behind some of the greatest men and women in history but why? Because all he's ever wanted is to take over the world.

I knew nothing about this surreal tale of a power hungry feline but the premise sounded bonkers enough to intrigue me. Hoping for something good but not expecting much, I couldn't have ended up enjoying it more. Burma's hiding some massive secrets from Alison and even thought he's technically a 'baddie' you can't help but find his attempts at world domination endearing....and that's how cats will take over the world! I won't give away any more of his exploits but if you fancy something truly unique then I Was the Cat is it.

To buy I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin from Amazon click here

To buy I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin from Forbidden Planet click here