Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Secure the Shadow by Marion Grace Woolley - Book Tour + Giveaway

Secure the Shadow

In 1824, a young man buttons up his redcoat and goes to war. Amidst the blood and devastation, he discovers a magical power which can save memory from the ravages of time.
1867 and a woman, living above a watch shop, meets two men who will change her life forever. As she ventures further into a world of séance and mysticism, she must decide whether to trust her own eyes.
In the present day, a rebellious artist finds herself photographing stillbirths for a living. At Little Angels, it’s not about what you can take from a picture, but what you can give.
The story of three lives, spanning the history of photography and our relationship with mortality.
Secure the shadow, ere the substance fades.

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Author Q&A
1. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
Probably shopping at Dillons with my dad. That was a huge book chain that existed before Waterstones took over the world. Just the smell of new books, looking at all the covers and exploring different sections. Before that, it would be the local library, where I’d have to make life-or-death decisions about which children’s books to take out. I think you were only allowed five at a time, so it was a truly heart-wrenching decision each week - which to keep hold of and which to let go.

2. What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
Controversial, perhaps, but Cloud Atlas. I thought that was a masterpiece. As a writer, I feel disloyal saying that I actually preferred some of the relationships in the film, and it was cinematic as all hell. At the same time, the book was so incredibly clever in the way David Mitchell played with language. Especially in the quirks he included in the evolution of future English.
Often, when a book gets turned into a movie, you feel like you lost one of them. Very occasionally, the movie is better than the book, and you start to forget the book was ever written. More often, the movie is worse than the book, and you wish it had never been made. But, with Cloud Atlas, you sort of feel like you gained two completely distinct, yet equally good, pieces of art.
Something similar happened with The Body and Stand by Me.
The world is better for having both.

3. Have you ever met anyone famous?
Several famous authors. I used to go to the Cheltenham Literature Festival most years with my family, and we’d go up to get books signed afterwards, so there’s a long list of writers I’ve passed a couple of words with. Perhaps the most memorable for me was getting the opportunity to tell Ian McEwan how much his short story, Butterflies, meant to me. It was really the first time I realised the power a narrator has to misdirect their reader. He smiled and told me, ‘That’s the darkest story I ever wrote.’ No wonder I enjoyed it.
I also appeared at Northampton’s first LGBTQ book festival in 2012, so met Alan Moore who was headlining. He had glittery purple boots and gave a reading from The Mirror of Love, which left the whole room silent. It was a lovely event.
Growing up, science-fiction writer Ian Watson was a family friend, but I didn’t really appreciate that at the time as I was many years off attempting to write a novel myself, so didn’t make the most of that.
I also attended the BRIT School of Performing Arts, which launched the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua, but I was a few years older and left before they arrived, and I can’t sing to save my life. So, more of a famous alumni than a personal connection.
Oh, and I did my undergrad at the same uni as Jamie Cullum. He directed me to the campus bar the first night I was there and played piano at our Christmas ball before he was famous.
So, in passing, a few people.

4. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?Nine months. About the same length of time it takes to give birth, which is sort of fitting, but then I can faff about with it for up to a year after that.
5. What book do you wish you had written?I’ve recently been blown away by The Binding by Bridget Collins. Just utterly beautiful from beginning to end.
6. Tell us 10 fun facts about yourself!
Goodness, ten is a lot.
Okay, keeping them brief, and possibly not all fun:
1. I come from a village that’s famed for witchcraft.
2. I have no fingerprints on my left hand.
3. I was once stopped by a ‘fake devil’ in Sierra Leone, who dusted the windscreen of the car with a rainbow feather duster before letting us go.
4. I’ve survived three bouts of malaria and now consider myself an expert on sweating, vomiting, shivering and pooping.
5. I’m attempting to build the first piano made in Africa in thirty years, with my friend Désiré.
6. I once escaped a man with an automatic rifle in DRC when the priest I was travelling with told him I was a nun.
7. I did a TEDx talk at the University of Luxembourg in 2018.
8. I drove across the Nullarbor in Australia with a friend in my youth.
9. I helped to research and develop the first dictionary of Rwandan Sign Language (Amarenga yo mu Rwanda), published in 2009.
10. I’ve always loved standing stones and cromlechs. I once travelled six hours to visit Karahunj in Armenia, and the driver only had one tape of Louis Armstrong. Now I can’t listen to Louis Armstrong without getting a headache. I’ve also visited the Plain of Jars in Laos, New Grange and Knowth in Ireland, and Kilmartin in Scotland.
7. How do you select the names of your characters?I like names that mean something, so I will scour baby name lists and find something that fits. For example, in Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, one character was called Sheyda, meaning lovesick, and she was. I like little things like that. However, for minor characters, and on an off day, I’m not beyond scouring the spam folder of my in-box for inspiration. Some of those fake account names can be quite creative.
9. What is your most unusual writing quirk?
Possibly how I dispose of hard-copy drafts. I always write on a computer, because my handwriting is illegible. Then I’ll get the full manuscript printed as a hard copy at the local print shop. That way I can take it to a café or sit by the lake and work my way through it with a red pen.

After I’ve finished transferring hard-copy edits to the computer, I’m left with a huge pile of edited paper. I usually print one-sided, and loath the idea of wasting paper. So, for the rest of the year, I use the blank side to print my accounting receipts. I like the idea that, if I ever get audited, the tax inspector might have something interesting to read between calculations. 

Author Bio –
Marion Grace Woolley is known for dark historical fiction including Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran and The Children of Lir. She balances writing with her work in international development and her hobby as a piano tuner. Marion currently lives in Rwanda.

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Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of Secure The Shadow (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome – so long as Amazon delivers to your country.  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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