Interview With Emily Williams, Author of Rafferty Lincoln Loves…

Last month I picked Emily Williams‘ wonderful young adult book, Rafferty Lincoln Loves… as my Indie Book of The Month. Emily kindly agreed to an interview, so here she is answering questions about the inspiration behind the book, how it was researched and what to expect next from her!

1. Can you tell us where the idea for Rafferty Lincoln Loves…came from?

The idea for the novel came from wanting to write a novel about horses but one that appealed to an older audience. The main plotline involved the missing racehorse Profits Red Ridge, however, the character of Rafferty took over. I let the story lead me along as I was writing but had the overarching plotline drawn out beforehand. The character subplots led in all sorts of exciting directions!

The themes developed as I was writing. I knew high-school-years were always going to be difficult to write about and Rafferty Lincoln Loves… delves into some sensitive topics. I wanted to capture high school from the perspective of one student, Rafferty, but then him discovering what it would be like to experience high school from other circles.

2- Did you enjoy reading books about horses when you were a teenager?

I loved them! Although, I found it difficult to find many aimed at the older teen and so I read books for younger children. I wanted to fill that gap in the market by writing my own horsey novel aimed at older teens.

3-Did you have to do much research for this book and if so how did you do it?

There were parts of the novel that needed research and other parts that I used my own knowledge.

I had some input from a police officer friend and from a friend working in social services. I used quite a lot of my own horsey knowledge but had limited knowledge of racing, so these parts were researched. School life in the novel was based on my own experiences coupled with more modern day experiences with the invention of social media etc and how that affects children. I asked teenagers for their opinions on these aspects!

4- What do you hope young readers get from this book?

I hope they get a more modern day feel to the traditional horsey novel; more current and relevant to their lives. I hope the ending of the novel leaves them empowered about issues at school and how to resolve them and not let them fester.

5- Can you tell us what you are working on next?

I started a psychological thriller last year. It follows a high school girl revising for her exams and watching the house opposite whilst she studies, as new neighbours move in. It’s more an adult book than young adult despite the age of the characters. There are more mature and dark themes running through the novel. I am still trying to add my lighter element of humour too to break it up.

I am really enjoying writing the novel, but put it aside for a couple of months whilst I concentrated on the publication of Rafferty Lincoln Loves… I hope it’ll be released next year, along with another I have developing in the pipeline!

6- Were there any particular challenges in writing a YA book?

I hadn’t written a Young Adult novel before and was worried I’d find it very challenging. However, once the character of Rafferty was established, he took over and the book pretty much wrote itself. There were some tricky themes covered and I worried about covering these sensitively but with the frank openness of a teenager. I hope I managed that! I loved writing a novel involving horses and was very excited about the whole novel from start to finish.

7- What has been your approach to marketing Rafferty Lincoln Loves…?

Marketing is always tricky. I planned the marketing for the novel well in advance and gave out advance review copies early to get reader opinions. The novel has appeared in a couple of magazines and local papers. I hope to spread the message about the novel far and wide to support the charity.

All proceeds from the novel are being donated to, The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The charities ambassador, Frankie Dettori MBE, has supported the book by writing the foreword and the charity themselves have been supportive in sharing the novel

8- What is your favourite YA book and why?

There are several that I love but my favourite is, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. It captures adolescence in a lighthearted manner but with gritty underlying themes.

9- Did you always know the ending for the book or did it change as you wrote it?

I had the ending in mind, however, one of the characters really came alive as I was writing so he had a larger part in the ending than I planned. It came together even better than I hoped it would and more emotional.

10-How did you write this book? What was the process like?

I start with a plot and then find suitable characters. The plot is always easier than finding unique characters that fit the story. The characters do lead the plot totally astray from what I originally planned but I’m okay with that. I sometimes gently bring them back to the main plot but let them have their own time. Often other themes I hadn’t anticipated arrive and make the novel better, deeper and more interesting. Themes of high school bullying and rumour spreading surfaces in Rafferty Lincoln Loves… which I hadn’t originally planned for.

I love the writing process and once I’m fully into a story, I whizz along really enjoying the writing. The early stages I find difficult like I am with the novel I am currently writing, but with Rafferty Lincoln Loves… I was submerged in the storyline very quickly.

Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, Emily! Good luck with Rafferty Lincoln Loves… and I’m very much looking forward to your next novel!

April Indie Book Of The Month; Rafferty Lincoln Loves…by Emily Williams

It’s Indie Book of The Month time again! And for April, I picked this glorious YA read by the very talented Emily Williams – Rafferty Lincoln Loves is an emotional and gripping contemporary young adult read. Both I and my 15-year-old daughter really loved this book. Having also read and enjoyed (and been slightly emotionally traumatised by!) Letters To Eloise , I couldn’t wait to read another book by this author. Rafferty Lincoln Loves was everything I look for in a YA read, which is why I picked it to highlight as my April Indie Book Of The Month.

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My Amazon review is below;

The following review is from my 15-year-old daughter. I have also read this wonderful book and will add my thoughts after hers. “I loved this book and it actually made me cry at the end. I liked how lots of normal teenage stuff went on among the unlikely friends in this book, such as trying to fit in, trying to get a girlfriend, bullying, drama at home etc, and that this was interwoven with the main storyline of the missing race horse. I was really rooting for all the characters and really want to read more YA books by this author!”
I read this book after my daughter and she described it as a must-read and one of her favourite books this year. I also enjoyed how the normal trials and tribulations of teenage life were entwined with the main drama of the missing race horse. Rafferty is a normal teenage boy who is slightly obsessed with the ultra popular Liberty Ashburn. When he comes across a missing racehorse, he sees this as a chance to get into horse-loving Liberty’s good books. Along with her younger brother Will, and Dexter, the scruffy outcast who is bullied at school, the unlikely friends secure a hiding place for Minty the horse and spend one long summer caring for him, falling in love with him and trying to hide their secret. I really liked all the characters, none of whom were perfect, but all of whom were memorable. And as my daughter mentioned, a truly emotional ending, so be warned! This is the second book I have read by Emily Williams and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

The Tree Of Rebels Won An Award!

I just thought I would share the good news with you guys, that The Tree Of Rebels has won a Chill With A Book Readers’ Award! (check out the awards here)

I’ve entered a few awards here and there over the years, but this is the first time I have won anything, so I am obviously thrilled to bits!

The Tree Of Rebels came out in August 2017. It took me two years to write and regular readers of this blog will know that I had a real love/hate relationship with it at times. It has been really well received since its release. It was voted 12th in Amy Shannon’s Top 20 Indie Books of 2017 and it also made it into the My Top Ten Books of 2017 by book blogger Jules at LittleMissNoSleep Daydreams Of Books blog.

I was extremely surprised and overwhelmed by all of these. I’ve blogged many times about how up and down the life of an indie author is. It’s recognition like this that keeps you going. Support from other authors such as the wonderful Amy Shannon who does so much to highlight indie books, and devoted book bloggers such as Jules who take a chance on indies like me, really does mean so much. It’s impossible to do this alone, so you really do need these people around you! To start 2018 with a Chill With A Book Award is really thrilling. It has given me a much-needed boost of confidence.

And now, back to the writing!

 

 

 

Character Interview- Tsingsei Gold

Morning folks! With Christmas just around the corner, many of you lovely bookish types might be thinking about buying books for your loved ones. With this in mind, myself and my friend indie author Kate Rigby are holding a little Christmasssy event today over on Facebook. The Christmas Pop-Up Book Shop will be full of links to paperbacks by fantastic authors. Authors, feel free to add your links throughout the day, and readers, please come in and browse the shelves. We will be leaving the event up for a few days so that you can pop in and out and not have to worry about missing anything. We will also be posting some other things of interest, such as giveaways, competitions, and character interviews. Here is one such thing. Indie author Shalaena Medford is the author of the thrilling fantasy novel The Worst Dyrkon  and the adventure-packed steampunk series Those Who Wander

Character Interview – Song (Tsingsei Gould)

1. Do you have any negative character traits and if so, what would you say they are?

Well, that’s hardly a proper thing to ask, now isn’t it? Though, Leslie says I’m prideful. Oh, and Altain said I eat like a derby horse, is that a bad thing? Dash is getting tired of the ‘rude behavior’ Toothy has taught me, but I don’t see the problem with it. Oh, that’s right, I can be very impatient. But I mean, besides those teensy things I don’t think that—oh, and I can be a little reckless, can’t I?—but I really don’t have negative character traits.

2. What are your most positive personality traits?

I’m very loyal, I’d say. Determined. A fast learner. I’m good at making friends—though I’m better at making enemies.

3. Tell us what your current most pressing ambition or dream is?

I’ve got to find Captain Darian. When I do, I’m going to kill him. If Altain is dead, I’ll torture Darian first. If he’s alive…well I might torture him anyway just for what he’s done. But I might give him a piece of cake as thanks for getting me into this life and forcing me to be adopted into this family. But of course, then I’d just go back to the torture. And then I’ll kill him. Either way he’s a dead man.

4. What are you most afraid of?

I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to be Tsingsei anymore. I don’t want to be a Gould. I’m a pirate, not an aristocrat. It’s who I am.

5. Do you have a best friend? If so, why this person?

I don’t really think I do. Altain is gone, and before we could really get close. Leslie is my partner and teacher, so I don’t think he counts. Dashaelan is the father I never had. Thumbs, well, he only likes me because I’ll eat anything he puts in front of me (but that’s just because it’s always delicious). Hmm. I think I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

6. Have you ever been in love?

Never. Maybe one day, I don’t know. Right person, I suppose? All that rubbish. But it’s not going to happen on a pirate ship, now, is it?

7. Have you ever committed a crime?

Which one haven’t I committed at this point? Let’s see, piracy, theft, torture, murder, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, destruction of property, treason, grand theft zeppelin. I’m sure there are others, but you’d have to ask a constable.

8. Do you have any secrets?

Everyone’s got secrets. Out in the world my secret is my true identity, but back home my secret was my love of women. But I don’t keep much from my crew, they’re my true family.

9. Do you have any regrets?

I wish I’d been stronger…

10. How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as… Not as Tsingsei Gould. When I go down, I’ll be going out in glorious combat—or hanged, if I’m being realistic. Either way, I don’t want to be written in the history books as just some senator’s daughter. I want to be remembered as a great pirate—with a high bounty, of course.

Thanks so much to Shalaena (and Song!) for this fantastic interview! If you want to find out more about Shalaena’s books, her Amazon link is below;

Shalaena’s Books