Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Welcome to a special guest post from another member of my Xchyler Publishing stable, Joanne Kershaw! The Vanguard Legacy draws to a close with Fated, so if you haven’t already picked up Foretold and Reflected, what are you waiting for?

Fated title

The rest of the tour schedule is here, so you can follow the full event as follows:

And now, over to the Q&A! Take it away, Joanne…
  1. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?

First, that all the dreams my children have come true. I just want them to be happy and healthy (and that the teenage years aren’t too awful!). Second, that more and more people fall in love with this series! I love to interact with fans and am so eager to hear what they have to say about Fated! And third—this is tough—I guess that I just want to write new things, different things, and still be able to teach, because I love my ‘proper job’!

  1. Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

I guess, I would love a small hut at the end of my garden. All I really need is a wireless connection and my music, so I don’t need much beyond that! Windows—so I can see the children while I work!

  1. Where do you actually write?

Either on the sofa, wrapped in a quilt my mum made for my when I was sixteen, or at my desk in the playroom (which is actually our conservatory, so is either roasting or freezing with no real in between!). Our cat is usually curled up next to me and it’s always late – so dark.

  1. How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

Five to seven weeks is the usual timescale. It’s the only time I have in between school terms. This is the first draft, of course. Depending on the availability of my editing team, it can take another eight to ten weeks to edit, but that is far less intensive. (Well, now I don’t make all of the awful mistakes I made before my awesome editor, McKenna Gardner, got her hands on me!)

  1. What are your inspirations?

I read a lot of YA literature, which made me realise more and more that I wanted to write my own—that I could write my own! I write for my children as well. I wanted to show them that anything is achievable if you work hard enough. If I can inspire them to go after their dreams, then I have done something  right in terms of parenting!

  1. How did you come to write this particular book or series?

The series started many years ago, when an unexpectedly free summer holiday gave me time to just put fingers to keyboard and hammer something out. The series came about because my publisher, Xchyler, took a chance on me. They saw the diamond of my story in the rough of my first novel and were the best support I could have asked for. Honestly, Fated exists because of the incredible editing team at The X.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?

I knew what had to happen in this novel. The hardest part was knowing that the right ending, the ending that had to happen, was going to upset people. As part of the process, I wrote an alternative ending, but it was such a disappointment to read. I hope that my readers can see why it has to end the way it does, and the come and interact with me to discuss it. (Bet you’re all intrigued now, aren’t you?)

  1. What is your writing drive? The power that keeps you going when your writing gets difficult?

I think that because my time is so limited, that is my drive. I don’t have the time to get stuck or lose focus—I just have to get on with it! It does help that there’s been a long gap between books, so there has been time to write the story in my head before I sit down to type it. It makes the whole process much quicker.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

When I signed on with Xchyler Publishing, part of that was an agreement for the full series. When we were getting ready to release Foretold, we brainstormed titles in series. With all three of books already penciled out, the titles had to link them together. Honestly, I think my editor in chief came up with the titles!

  1. Name one entity that you feel supported your writing, outside of family members?

My friend, Karen Banks. She might as well be family, but isn’t! She supported the books from the very beginning, encouraged me to submit to publishers and agents, and has generally been my cheerleader! I don’t think that the series would exist without her. I wrote the second novel (in its original form) for her as a Christmas present. She spent the whole of her Christmas Day that year sat on her sofa with the book and an editing pen! Her husband didn’t complain once.

  1. What is your favorite late night snack while writing?

Sweets, biscuits, chocolate, crisps. Pretty much anything! I’m not a very healthy snacker.

  1. What was the most surprising part of writing this book?

I don’t think anything was surprising. The novel had been planned out for over three years, and I’d been writing it in my head for two of those years, so writing the novel was actually the easy part!



It’s been another long, hard scrap, but the world can now get its hands on the second installment of the Grenshall Manor Chronicles! Primal Storm is now on sale, in paperback and e-book formats as linked below.

Even if you haven’t read Oblivion Storm, you should be able to hop on to the new story. It’s a different journey, for sure, but expect some familiar faces and a bunch of new ones. If you want to know a little more about the background behind it, I wrote a guest post for my publisher’s blog page just a few days ago.

I’ll be back with a lengthier post some time when I’m fully recovered from all the last minute work, but for now, I’m just sitting around, excited to see how you all get on. Until then, take care, and stay tuned! This is going to be a busy year. 

See some reviews of Oblivion Storm for yourself!

Primal Storm on sale now!

Come find me on Goodreads if you haven’t already 🙂


I was all set to just come back from my talk up in Durham and maybe tell you how well that went. Very, by the way. I had a pretty strong turnout and despite some early technical issues hopefully sent folk away with a couple of things to ponder. And memories of some images I had fun looking up.

Then I got home, unable to escape the fact that my feeds were being jammed with one piece of news: ‘Matt Smith announces he is quitting Dr Who’. So then I had a plan to jump on the big piece of news within the sci-fi community. I even got about halfway through writing a post, but hit a point where I thought everyone had said all the useful stuff already. So I’m going to give you a link to this D.A. Lascelles post instead, as he’s pretty much got me covered. Though I’d now add Zawe Ashton to that shortlist having read around and got to the Guardian’s post. Also, one thing *I’d* like to see is the show managing to keep the identity of the next Doctor hush-hush until the episode actually airs, for a proper ‘OMG’ moment. Now I realise this is damn-near impossible in this day and age, but you know – it’s kinda nice to have something genuinely surprising happen on screen these days.

Anyway, enough of that. Another reason this isn’t a full-blown post on that, or the recent Game of Thrones episode for that matter, is that something important came up on my side again. I have another interview through – this time, from my old university and one of the places this whole crazy idea to start writing began. You may find the link to the post here.


I really like the background painting for this picture. Works very well, I think! We actually spoke for a pretty long time, so I’m really impressed Jason managed to compress so much of what we ended up discussing into this space. Anyway, I’ll be taking questions on almost all of the above by way of comment of course. Except on the GoT thing 🙂

Today, I have another guest post on my blog, as promised some days ago. The topic is wonderful when it comes to crossover between the theme I tend to have when I get guests here: locations, and also the fact that this particular location happens to be my base of operations at the moment.

Readers: I would like to proudly introduce Vicky Hartley, and the Sticky Sounds zine. There is also of course a Sticky Sounds blog, as regular readers may know.

I will be back soon with details of my upcoming activities, but for now, take it away, Vicky!


“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


I was not born a native of Manchester, my family are from Liverpool and I was born in Plymouth on the South West coast of Devon. I moved to Manchester about thirteen years ago, at the age of 21, following my then boyfriend to the city. He later left but I stayed.

It may not be the city of my birth but is now my hometown, a fact that will remain true in the future, wherever I may come to live.


I feel a connection with Manchester, with its history, its canals, its backstreets, its beautiful red bricks, even with its rain. My favourite location is not simply the city itself, but the side of it that lies secret and is hidden to most residents, the side of the city that can be found in its underground tunnels, in its abandoned buildings, in its old mills and waterways. I spend much of my time seeking out and photographing these places in the hope that I might communicate this passion with others.

The history of this beautiful city lies all around us, like the rings of a tree, all you have to do is look for it.


“Very soon these same deserted sidewalks would be thronged with people. The city would go about its business in ignorance: never knowing what it was built upon, or what it owed its life to.” – Clive Barker, Midnight Meat Train

At the heart of every city is a monster that feeds on blood, and of no city is this more true than Manchester. Once known as “Cottonopolis” and the Warehouse City, Manchester led the world in industrialisation.


“What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow.”

The Industrial Revolution brought great wealth to the city, but hand in hand with this came unparalleled poverty and squalor for a large part of the population. These people were nothing more than cattle for the greater good. A new underclass destined to live in a new kind of hell. The fires of this hell burned and smouldered in the red bricks as smoke billowed constantly from the dark satanic mills. The unbroken, monotonous rumbling of the looms filled the air and mingled with the heat of the steam. The city was a giant machine and its inhabitants reduced to units of labour, small expendable parts of the whole. Not so much a city as an assault on the senses. Overcrowding was chronic with whole families living in single rooms, and little or no sewage works for most of the nineteenth century. The only refuge that most of the poor would ever know from the hardships of their everyday life was found in alcohol. Their anger often expressed itself through violent crime, from domestic violence between husband and with to the youth gangs, or ‘scuttlers’ who ran amok on Manchester’s streets. When you look at these past extremes of the city it raises the question ‘what does it mean to have a life?’ These people remain in Manchester today, in its red bricks and the canals that run like veins through the city. As do all inhabitants who come afterwards, we are all Manchester, all serving the beast.


It’s called ‘urban exploring,’ when we go crawling or climbing into these old abandoned spaces, forgotten by people but not by nature. Old buildings that lie frozen at a point in time, and walking in these corridors it can feel as though the same thing has happened to you. Removed from the rest of the world and the reality of your life outside those damp and decaying walls, silence there becomes something that you can feel.


As we pass through rooms filled with remnants of the buildings former life it is as though we walk a path between the living and the dead. An abandoned building stands as an unintended mausoleum to a past world, until the present returns once more to sweep it all away.

“I find beauty in decay. I like to see nature conquering what man has left. I believe that old buildings have a soul, and when I photograph these places I try to capture a piece of that soul.”



Volume 5 of Sticky Sounds Zine is back from the printers and ready to post out. It includes an interview with R.A. Smith and a feature on urban legends, amongst other things. Should you like to request a copy then please get in touch: