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EXTRACT | ACE OF SHADES BLOG TOUR

Today I am super excited to be a part of the Ace of Shades Blog Tour by Amanda Foody. As it's the last day of the tour, I'm sharing an extract from the book. This book is so fast-paced - I'm currently half way through and I am so excited to find out what happens next to Enne. Read this exciting extract from the beginning of the book....

DEAR JUSTYCE... | DEAR MARTIN BLOG TOUR

Dear Martin
Rating: 5/5
Buy/Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Simon and Schuster (Released 3rd May 2018)

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League--but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up--way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired.

When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I was greeted with. I'd heard so many amazing things and so much hype was surrounding this book; which naturally made me reluctant to read it. I'm always terrified by hyped up books because I'm always left feeling a little deflated. This was not the case with this one.

It's incredibly daunting to write a review of a book that is this important. You want to say all the right things and give it all the justice it deserves. I was so thrilled to be asked to be part of the blog tour - and I wanted to do something different. So what I thought I'd do is not write Martin Luther King Jr. a letter, but write Justyce one.

BONUS CHAPTER | THE GIRL IN THE BROKEN MIRROR BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

Hi Zoe! Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog. Today is a very exciting day – The Girl in the Broken Mirror is being published and hitting the shelves as we speak!

So I wanted to offer something very special to your readers. It’s a chapter that’s set a few years earlier, when everything in Jay’s life was going really well, until one evening when her dad doesn’t come home. The chapter sets the scene for the book because you find out exactly how much Jay’s life changes in those years in between.


So here it is:

The Girl in the Broken Mirror - The Extra Chapter

Sue Haasler Q & A: Half A World Away Blog Tour

Today I have Sue Haasler on my blog and I'm so excited to talk to her about her new book, Half A World Away...

1. Your book Half A World Away has just been released! Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Half A World Away is set in East Berlin in 1987 - two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. East Germany was a country where it was best to fit in and be unremarkable. The main character, Alex, is doing just that, working in his father’s bakery and playing the saxophone in his spare time. Then he sets himself apart by falling in love with a girl from an “enemy state” (Britain), and attracting the attention of a man called Detlef - who is a complicated, troubled character with some very dangerous connections. Alex, who is essentially a very optimistic, open person, quickly learns that the country he lives in isn’t as benign as he always thought.

2. This book features music heavily. What is it about music that captivates you so much?

I love the way music can operate as a time capsule. You hear a particular song and it can take you back to a specific time or place in your life. The song ‘Half A World Away’ by REM  reminds me of visiting my boyfriend (now my husband) in Berlin at the start of our relationship. I often steal song titles to be titles of my books. Music can make you cry or it can cheer you up when nothing else can. It has such a direct connection to the emotions.

3. Now that Half A World Away has been released. Is there anything else in the works? Would love a little teaser...

I’m writing a book called Another Girl (a Beatles title this time!), set in the fashion world of 1960s London - Carnaby Street and that whole exciting, swinging sixties era. Cathy comes to London to escape a boring life a northern town and gets a job working for up and coming designer Diane and her business partner, Joe. It’s a life of pop stars and parties, but running through it is the mystery of a girl who vanished without trace ten years earlier. 

4. Is there any particular music you listen to that inspires you to write? Or is it different music for every book? 

It’s different music for every book. I can’t listen to music when I’m physically writing, though, as I find it too distracting, especially if it has lyrics. When I’m not actually at the laptop I often find hearing a piece of music will spark off an idea, or a mood, which I can then use. I’m listening to a lot of early 1960s music at the moment for Another Girl.  

5. I know you're also a non-fiction writer. How do the two differ in terms of planning and writing?

I’m not really a planner when it comes to fiction. I start off with the initial idea, and it grows from there. I like Stephen King’s analogy that writing a book is like digging up a dinosaur - you find a little bone, and another, and you’re not quite sure how they relate to each other or what the final shape will be, but you keep digging and finding more, and eventually you know what you’ve got. And then (in my case) you can go back and knock it into better shape. With non-fiction, I recently wrote a book about the TV series Holby City and that had to be planned carefully in terms of who I needed to interview and how to structure the book to get across all the aspects I wanted to talk about. 

6. Are there any books you'd recommend for anyone that loved Half A World Away?

There are lots of books about East Germany, but I found a lot of them focused just on the Stasi and not so much on the everyday. The book I enjoyed reading the most was Zoo Station by Ian Walker, which is out of print now. It really captured the different atmospheres of both sides of the divided city in the 1980s, with all their quirks and peculiarities.

7. Which authors inspire you to write?

As mentioned above, Stephen King is my writing hero. I love the way he gets into the heads of his characters, so you feel you know them. I was probably inspired to write by the authors I loved as a child. The first book I remember reading is Jane Eyre (I’m sure there were others before that, but it’s the one I remember) and I loved HG Wells. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction, probably because my mum was a sci-fi fanatic and she used to get books from the mobile library for me while I was at school. She had excellent taste.

8. What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a lot of background stuff about London in the 1960s for Another Girl. I’ve been buying books that were published at the time, such as London and the Single Girl by Betty James (1967) which hilariously tells you where to go in London to meet and ensnare your preferred type of man. 

BONUS: What instrument can you not play, that you'd love to be able to?

I can actually play the flute, but would love to be able to play it better (and my neighbours would love that too). I started learning about 10 years ago, on a whim - I just suddenly thought that I needed a flute in my life. Handily, my flute teacher (who is now a good friend) also plays the saxophone very well, so she could answer my saxophone-related questions. She let me have a go on one of her saxes and it’s so difficult! I could hardly get a sound out of it. 


Check out the other stops on the Half A World Away blog tour here: