Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Featured Author: Amelia Ford

About the book:

“His terminology struck me as odd and then I realised he was talking about Toby. I snatched my hand from his and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up like the hackles on a dog. The unease I felt when I first saw him returned…” 

The day after the first anniversary of her sister’s death, twenty six year old Sophie McAllister is paid an unexpected visit from a handsome stranger who delivers some disturbing news about her eight year old nephew and ward. Just when Sophie thought her life was getting back on track, she is forced to put her trust in a man with an extraordinary secret. She begins a perilous journey that not only threatens everything she holds dear, but also challenges her innermost fears. Does Sophie have the courage to defy her enemies, face her fears and open her heart to a man who promises a future that is out of this world? 

A captivating love story about one woman’s struggle to protect, let go and love.

Interview with Amelia Ford

Amelia, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I'm a sucker for a romance but it has to have a good storyline, strong characters, and have that page-turning quality. About three years ago I was struggling to find something that fit this bill, so I decided to have a go at writing the kind of book I like to read.  I was teaching at the time, and although I had written academic stuff, it was my first foray into fiction. Little did I know that I was about to embark on the most exciting, addictive and satisfying journey, the likes of which cannot be found in any kind of travel brochure! I soon learnt that by exploring my imagination anything was possible. It was a huge turning-point in my life, Tagan's Child was born, and I was hooked!

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
There are two books in the series, and currently I have no plans to write a third. I hadn't planned to write the sequel to Tagan's Child just yet, but the response from readers was so overwhelming that I knew I had to continue Ahran and Sophie's story. 

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I am a full-time mum.

Hardest job in the world! What’s your favorite line from a book?
"Harry – yer a wizard." The most defining words in modern literature. 

How do you get to know your characters?
The more I write about them, the more they grow. It's not really something I have any control over.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
My characters are drawn from lots of people. A little bit here from someone, a little bit there from someone else. Family, friends, a chance meeting. No one is safe ;)

I hear you. A writer is constantly watching. What song would you pick to go with your book?
A reader recommended "Sledgehammer" by Fifth Harmony. I love this, and it describes Sophie's feelings so well.

Who are your favorite authors?

C.S Lewis, Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Mario Puzo, and Alexander Dumas.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
The Three Musketeers by Dumas. I'm reading it on my Kindle.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Poor writing.

Do you have a routine for writing?
It's hard to have a routine with a family, I just write whenever I can.

Where’s home for you?
I live in rural Kent, just outside Canterbury in the UK.

What do you love about where you live?
It's green, it's peaceful and it's teaming with wildlife.

What makes you scared?

What makes you excited?
Anticipating spending time with my friends.

How did you meet your husband? Was it love at first sight?
We met at school when we were 18. And yes, it was pretty much love at first sight.

Why did you decide to self-publish?
I didn't want to be tied to any deadlines, and I wanted control of my book. Am I a control freak? Probably.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"The magic is in you, there ain't no crystal ball." – Dolly Parton.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Play with my kids and their ponies.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on the sequel to Tagan's Child called Tagan's Legacy, which will be released in the Fall. And then I shall finish another story I've started.

Excerpt from Tagan's Child

“Goodnight lovely boy.” I stroked the side of my eight-year-old nephew’s pale face, noticing the purplish smudges under his eyes caused by a day of crying. I tucked his duvet in around his shoulders. “Your mummy would be so proud of you. I’m so proud of you, it’s been a difficult day and you’ve coped with it so well.”

“I miss her, Auntie Sophie.” His voice wobbled and I watched a tear roll down each cheek.  My heart went out to him.  There had been times today when my grief had threatened to engulf me, and yet in spite of his tears and his own grief he had tried to be my pillar of strength. 

“Come here.” I gathered him in my arms and he began to sob quietly into my shoulder.

It was the first anniversary of Katie’s death. A year ago today her life had been snuffed out on a lane just outside our village when her car had skidded on a patch of ice causing her to lose control and nose-dive into a ditch. She suffered fatal head injuries.  It was the tragic end of a young woman’s life, the end of a doting mother and the end of my very special sister.

“I know you miss her, my darling, I miss her too.” My throat constricted. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath willing my tears to stay put. The pain my sister’s death had caused could only be matched by the pain I felt for my nephew’s loss. No child should ever have to suffer the death of their mother.

Toby took a shuddering breath. “Do you think she can see us?” He wiped his eyes.

“I’m sure she can.” I gave him a reassuring squeeze. I sat back and put my hands on his shoulders. “Your mummy is with you every second of every day, watching over you, watching you grow into a clever, funny, and wonderful young man.”

He gave me a weak smile. 

“She loves you and is counting on you to hold your head up high and be brave.”

He sat up a little straighter and wiped his nose on the sleeve of his pyjamas. “I mustn’t let her down must I?”

His look of fragile determination swelled my heart. “You could never let her down.”

He was a handsome little boy, tall and muscular for an eight year old with a natural talent for sport and a distinct phobia of hairdressers.

I brushed a curl away from his right eye. I felt a desperate urge to reassure him and let him know he wasn’t alone. “I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you. I may not be your mummy but I will always look after you and keep you safe as if I were.”

Toby nodded and his bottom lip trembled.

I wasn’t sure I could hold it together for much longer. I got to my feet. “It’s getting late and you’ve got school tomorrow.”

I said this maybe a little too brusquely as I struggled to hold back the tears. I needed to go downstairs and bury myself in the sofa so Toby couldn’t hear my sobs. But not before I had made a significant dent in the bottle of rosé chilling in the fridge.

I stood up and switched the lamp off beside his bed. 

“I love you, Auntie Sophie.” 

“I love you too,” I said, swallowing back the lump in my throat. I bent down and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Sleep tight and see you in the morning.”

I made my way down to the kitchen taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly in the hope that it would ease the pain lodged in my chest. It had been a tough day and I felt sad and wrung out.  I knew that Toby would be asleep in a matter of minutes. I, on the other hand, would struggle to find any respite in sleep until the early hours of tomorrow morning.  Insomnia had become my new best friend since Katie’s death.  Why was it that, as an adult, I had lost that ability to switch off? I envied that about children.

I let Toby’s dog, a Weimaraner called Mungo, out for a last wee before retrieving the bottle of wine from the fridge. All I wanted to do now was curl up on the sofa and cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. I made my way into the lounge and poured myself a glass of wine. I downed it and stared into the fire roaring in the log burner.  My tears began to fall. I put my glass on the coffee table and buried my face in the cushions. I sobbed for my sister and the future she would never have, for Toby who would never feel his mother’s comforting arms around him again, and for myself, who felt the loss of Katie so keenly that it had been a constant weight tugging at my heart over the last twelve months. 

Eventually, my tears subsided and my grief was reduced to dry, chest heaving sobs.  Despite feeling exhausted, I knew if I went to bed now I would only lie there, staring at the ceiling in the dark. I scoured the sitting room for my Kindle. The days I could cope with, I could keep busy and push the shadows of grief to the background, but it was the nights I struggled with most when the house was quiet and dark. Darkness only seemed to emphasise my sadness and fear.

About the author

Tagan's Child is Amelia Ford's first novel. She lives in Kent, UK with her husband, three children and a variety of furry and feathered friends.

Connect with Amelia:
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