Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Interview with Miss Moonshine

I have a very special guest on the blog today.  She features in a number of short stories, she is universally admired and, some say she has special powers.  Please welcome, Miss Moonshine from 'Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings'.

MissM  Thank you for inviting me, dear. I have Napoleon with me, he's not too well today and I don't like to leave him by himself when he's poorly.  I hope you don't mind.
AW    Not at all and I hope he's feeling better very soon. We'll talk quietly, as he's snoozing.  So, you feature in a new book, an anthology.  Tell me, what was it really like working with nine very different writers?
MissM  Not that difficult at all.  Naturally, they all had their own ideas of me as a character.  They each had a very individual setting for their stories, so there were one or two moments when I felt that not quite everything gelled.  So, I peered over their shoulders and planted the slightest whisper of a suggestion in their minds.  By the time they came to collate all their work and look at it as a whole, there was nothing further for me to do.  It was a pleasure and an education to work with them all.

AW  I notice on the back cover of the book, there is a small silhouette of you and Napoleon.  I must say, you are looking very elegant in your Edwardian dress and hat.  It's very different from the Doc Martens described in the book, though.
MissM  I am, as the people who need me perceive me. Sometimes they barely perceive me at all.  Take Clare Sampson, for instance. When she first visited, she was so lost in sorrow that she had stopped noticing the world around her.  It was a pleasure to help her open her eyes again – and now she always comments on what I’m wearing!  And I do love Edwardian styles.  The wide-brimmed hats are my particular favourite.  You could fit a whole menagerie onto one of those hats. Of course, the skirts aren’t practical at all – hopeless for running in, for example.  But sometimes it’s nice to be impractical.

AW  Your amazing Emporium, Miss Moonshine, how do you know that the objects you select or are given for sale, are the ones that you really need?
MissM  It's just wisdom and insight. As soon as Beatrice Diamond came into my shop, I knew she was looking for something more in her life.  I gave Beatrice something she might find useful, but of course, in the end, it was Beatrice herself who took hold of her first chance at freedom and flew away with it. When Hettie Brown walked back into my store a decade after her last stay in Haven Bridge, I knew she would need a helping hand.  Finding her the perfect vintage outfit for her day with a handsome local and a gentle hint or three about rethinking her direction in life was all just part of the service, of course!  But, Lola Brown, needed direction, and her colourful jewellery told me she would appreciate the Angel Stone. I don’t normally give away my stock, but I sensed she was in a confused state that day, poor girl. However, the stone soon began to work its magic.

AW   Interesting!  About your magical powers –
MissM  I'm sorry to interrupt, my dear.  But magical powers? I would never say that.  When you have dealt with people for as long as I have, witnessed how they behave and, seen at first hand what people are capable of, you learn a wisdom that cannot be granted or given.  You develop an insight that gives you the confidence to watch and wait and to provide whatever is required at precisely the right moment.  I have spent many, many years learning and perfecting my craft.  When Diana Riston first came to me, what she needed most was shelter, somewhere to live and to grieve for the loved ones she had lost.  I could help her with that until she was ready to move on. The pianist Grégoire Beaufort was very different.  Tired after his flight from Paris and the drive from Leeds airport in the pouring rain across bleak, empty moors, he almost completely forgot why he came to see me.  But, I was still able to help him.

AW  Hmmm.  OK, last question, what do you think your 8-year-old self would make of you today?
MissM  I'm not sure I can remember what I was like as an 8-year-old.  It was such a long time ago.  I think I hope she would be pleased that I had used my craft to the best of my abilities.  I do remember as a child always wanting to help wherever and whenever I could.  I think she would be pleased about the book, too, although perhaps a little shy of the consequences.  I think an interview of this nature may have been a little daunting for her.

And you can meet Miss Moonshine, all the characters mentioned here and many more in  Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings  available in e and print format.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Please welcome, friend and author, Ronald Kihali...

...to my blog today.  Hello Ronald, thanks for being here, all the way from Kenya!  Wow! So tell me, what is your current release?
RK   Whispers of Death is my first and current release.

AW   OK, and what first got you into writing and why?
RK   I may not explain what first got me into writing, because it just happened.  I was little, so little, when I began writing.  As early as 4, I could write anything anywhere, including the walls of our house.  It got so annoying to my parents sometimes, but they grew into it.  With time, I learnt about writers like Maya Angelou, J.K Rowling, William Shakespeare and the like.  I began reading their books and plays and poems and my interest blossomed.  I began blogging on WordPress in my high school days, and I felt, why not compile these thoughts into a book?  I felt, if I could inspire my followers with just daily articles, then I could inspire the entire world easily with an anthology.

AW  You write poetry and you seem to have a liking for Shakespeare.  How did all of that happen?
RK  Shakespeare has been my all-time favorite poet, closely followed by Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.  Unlike today’s poetry which is mostly lacking in deep imagery, these poets knew how to create that.  I could read their poetry and feel like I’m actually the character in the poetry.  In my high school days, most people didn’t really do well in poetry exams, so they could come for my help in interpretation, and through this, I learnt to read more and write more.  Poetry has also helped me out of depression.  I lost a good friend some time back, a friend I really cherished, and I felt like I had made a big mistake in letting them go.  I couldn’t live with battling my own mind and guilt, so I wrote this book to inspire myself, and gladly, it’s inspiring others too.

AW  And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other types of prose?
RK  Well, before I began writing poetry, I used to write short stories too.  I just decided to focus on poetry for I felt it’s more emotional than a story.  In my next book though, I’m planning to include short prose.

AW  Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing.  Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
RK  Yes I do!  A coffin sounds serene!  Ha-ha it’s a joke but I’ve always wanted to write in a coffin and I even wrote a poem about it titled “Dear Coffin” in my debut book.  Anyway, I write anywhere, as long as an idea pops up.  When I’m in class, or in my bed, or eating breakfast or even talking with my friends, as long as an idea comes up, I write.  This is why I walk with my notebook everywhere!

AW  Finally, what would your eight-year old self think of, and say about, you today?
RK  I’m proud of you.  You have struggled, and you keep struggling to make it, and one day, your efforts will pay.  Just don’t write in a coffin, please.

about the book... It gets hard sometimes, doesn't it?  It gets so difficult only tears comfort your weeping soul.  This collection of simple, emotional poetry gives me, and all of us, hope.  That amidst the pain, the loss and suffering, there is always something to cling on.  Something to lean on.  Something to wait upon.  Because one thing is for sure, if love can come to an end, so can pain.

about the author... Everyone deserves to be happy is Ronald Kihali's mantra.  Born in Kenya, Africa, Ronald Kihali is one of the modern authors taking poetry to the next level.  With a lot of transplant from Rupi Kaur's style of writing and a little bit of Shakespearean poetry, he majors in poetry anthologies all about self-help and success.  Ronald began his writing journey from a tender age when he felt the world needs positiivity, and with the help of his huge Instagram following has taken the writing industry by storm.  Ronald is also a perpetual lover of pets, and admits that his pet dog, Maxwell, gives him inspiration to write every time Writers' Block hits him.

You can follow Ronald on Instagram Twitter , Facebook or on his Blog
You can get Ronald's book in  e-format or as a paperback  

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

I'm reviewing Love and Summer...

... by William Trevor

I used to read William Trevor a lot as a teenager – he provided a bit of light relief between Lawrence, Hardy, James, Austen, Hawthorne and others. As an adult, I kind of forgot about him, so, I was a bit surprised to see this book on the shelves in my local Waterstones.
Having read it, I did remember what it was that I always liked about Trevor when I read his books regularly: it's the way he puts you at the heart of the story from the very first instance.

‘On a June evening some years after the middle of the last centruy Mrs Eileen Connulty passed through the town of Rathmoye….to the church of the Most Holy Redeemer.  Her night was spent there.’ 

So you know instantly the time, the place and that Mrs Connulty was a woman of some repute even though she is obviously dead.  This gentle tale floats on to the next day and the funeral for which most of the town turn out, including Ellie Dillahan, a much younger second wife of a local farmer.  
On that same morning, Florian Kilderry cycles into town with his camera and takes photographs of the funeral and he is noticed by Ellie.  He is also noticed by other townspeople who do not approve of him taking photos of the funeral – for them it is simply not the done thing!  Florian and Ellie meet again a few days later and strike up a seemingly innocent conversation and the story goes on from there.
Interlaced with the increasing interest that Florian and Ellie have in each other are the stories of the other people of the town.  Orpen Wren, a once archivist and librarian who has a form of dementia but whom all the town know and tolerate.  Farmer Dillahan and what happened to his first marriage is another carefully woven thread of intrigue.  Mrs Connulty and her two adult children also have a history to be uncovered.  As these stories are gradually revealed you learn that not all is sweetness and light in this rural community.  Secrets are revealed, assumptions are made and acted upon, confessions are made and confronted.  And when Florian eventually tells Ellie that he is leaving, she finds she has a choice to make.
This is a very gentle story with an unexpected ending that takes you on a surprising journey.  If you want a nice easy to read story for the holidays, then this is the book for you.  But be prepared, you might cry!  I did.

William Trevor (May 24th, 1928 - November 20th, 2016), was regarded as one of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world