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Outreach by Shelly Berry - Book Tour + Giveaway

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When Emily was offered a new job in London, she was sure that her life was about to change – new friends, a career in the big city and the boyfriend she always wanted.

Her new life turns out to be more complicated than she expected. Her flat mates don’t understand her. Her colleagues mock everything about her. Even her father doesn’t support her. The only person who offers her any encouragement is David.

He’s married. He’s her manager. To Emily it’s clear that they have something special. As their relationship develops, everyone seems to want to sabotage their chances.

But some things are meant to be...

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Author Q&A
1.                   What is the first book that made you cry?
I honestly can’t remember!  The first film that made me cry was an animation called The Last Unicorn.  At some point the unicorn loses its powers and becomes a regular horse and I was inconsolable.  ET was a close second.
2. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
It took me about 60 weeks, or 14 months, to write the first draft of Outreach.  I set myself a target of 1,500 words a week, which I had to fit around other commitments including a full time job.  I’d often get up early to get 30 minutes of writing in before going to work.  By the time I had edited it too it took a lot longer!
3. How do you select the names of your characters?
I think about the character’s background and age to come up with a few ideas about what might suit them.  I have a picture of them all in my head which I mentally draw up before I start writing.  I’m careful not to use names of people I know well for obvious reasons, although since writing Outreach I have started working with an Emily….
4. What creature do you consider your "spirit animal" to be?
I have a tattoo of a dove on my back, not just because it symbolises peace, but also because birds represent freedom to me.  I’ve been toying of having a tattoo of a fish as I love swimming and think they symbolise strength - whatever waters they are in, they keep going.
5. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
Bridget Jones’ Diary is up there – we share the same birthday and when I was younger I identified with her less than sophisticated approach to dating!  The English Patient is another favourite – it is so beautifully shot, with an amazing soundtrack, and the characters are so subtly portrayed.  I love the original Dr Zhivago for similar reasons.  When I need a good laugh, Bridesmaids cracks me up – the humour is outrageous, but it’s also honest about life as a thirtyish woman trying to find her way in the world.  Last but not least I’d have to go with Notes on a Scandal – beautifully dark and twisted.  It provided some useful inspiration for Outreach.
6. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
I’d walk around and spend time really appreciating and absorbing the Earth’s beauty.  Then I’d create something that would out last me so that if the planet was discovered by life from another planet after I died – or perhaps a new species yet to evolve  – they’d know a bit about our planet, and why people no longer live here.  Finally I’d try to create a sanctuary for all non-human surviving life in a bid to help our ecosystem rebuild itself.  And I’d eat all the chocolate – waste not, want not!
7. What fictional character would you want to be friends with in real life?
Other than Bridget Jones, Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale.  I love her strength and passion.  I read the book years ago and of course recently watched the TV series.  I can’t wait to get stuck into The Testaments.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Go for it.  Make time for your writing.  And, whilst courses and guides are great, have faith in yourself and your style.  Finally – keep going!  If I can do it, so can you.  Just believe in yourself.
9. What book do you wish you had written?
The Bible.  Imagine the royalties.
10. Tell us 10 fun facts about yourself! :)
I have a photo of me sat on the knee of the world’s strongest man when I was ten.
I don’t function without coffee.
Two of my front teeth are fused together.
I’m a bit old school.  I like CD’s, notebooks, DVDs and paper diaries.  None of this digital nonsense.
I love Diet Coke, but am very particular about how I drink it.  It has to be in a proper can, not a plastic bottle, and not one of those silly small cans.
I can play the clarinet and saxophone – or at least I could when I last got them out from their home under my bed.
I’m very clumsy.
I’m not shy when it comes to travelling on my own.  If I want to go somewhere, I’ll go, even if no-one else does.
I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 30.
I have a small handbag addiction.  It’s under control these days, but they’re just so easy to buy – you don’t have to try them on or anything!

Author Bio – Shelly Berry lives in Waltham Forest, London. Having gained a BA Joint Honours Degree in Visual Art and Sociology at Keele University and a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, she has since worked in the public sector with vulnerable adults and children – including those affected by mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse, disability, criminal behaviour, homelessness and domestic and sexual abuse. During this time, Shelly developed and nurtured her love of writing. As well as writing fiction, she has previously written for a number of blogs and now writes for the Waltham Forest Echo.

Social Media Links – twitter @ShellyBerryUK
Author Photo credit Bianca Kirby.

Giveaway to Win – 5 x PB copies of Outreach (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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