Author Interview: Rook Hastings + WIN a signed copy of Nearly Departed!

Today I’m pleased to welcome Rook Hastings, author of the fabulously spooky Nearly Departed!

Hi Rook, firstly could you introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Rook Hastings, also known as Rowan Coleman. I’m a writer of fiction for women and teens and have written and published a total of sixteen books to date.

Can you tell us more about your new book, Nearly Departed and the inspiration behind it?
About six years ago I started writing a paranormal ghost hunting books for adults – something spooky but gritty and realistic too – its a subject I love, but try as I might I couldn’t get it right. The more I thought about it, the more I pictured the characters as teens, and everything fell into place. My children’s publisher loved the idea, but I was too busy writing Ruby Parker books to be able to get to it until last year. Its about a group of five fifteen year olds who have always suspected that Woodsville isn’t like other towns – and they are about to find out why.

Woodsville is a very spooky, but believable town! Was there anywhere in particular that you had in mind when writing?
I used to live in Hackney in London, surrounded by tall brooding tower blocks, but I didn’t want to set the book in London. I remembered as a child having a reoccurring dream that I was being chased through an estate, like the one in Woodsville by something I couldn’t see, but I knew was very bad – I think Woodsville is the town in my dreams. Big, dark, cold, hard, hiding secrets in every corner.

Your characters also struck me as very real, do you base them on real people?
No, not really. I’m glad you think they seem real, they do take on a life of their own in my head and I work hard to make them believable. For me characterisation is one of the most important parts of writing.

Can you tell us about your research into the paranormal for Nearly Departed?
I did a lot of reading, mainly I was interested in well documented cases that happened recently and in modern setting – ie not your typical haunted house! And also I did speak to a paranormal research group to find out about the equipment and techniques they use. And I have been haunted myself, which was about the best research I could do!

Nearly Departed is the first in a series, with the next installment out in September. Can you tell us anymore about that and what more we can expect from your Weirdsville series?
I can’t tell you too much, because it might give away what happens in Nearly Departed – there are a number of questions raised in this book, some will be answered, some new ones will come up – and there will plenty of ghostly adventure too building to an exciting climax – we will lose some characters and meet some new ones – no-one is safe!.

Before Nearly Departed you had written several other books for teen girls and women as Rowan Coleman. Your latest book seems a lot different from your previous novels, what made you branch out into something so different?
As I mentioned its just a subject I love – I’m so interested in ‘ghosts’ the paranormal, possible scientific explanations as well as spiritual ones. I would have published under Rowan Coleman but I wanted this to be a book that a boy could pick up, and as I’m known for writing for women and girls I thought my own name might put them off!

It’s a very creepy (in a fab way!) book, do you ever creep yourself out writing?
Yes, very much so. I’m constantly scarring myself, its the downside of having an over active imagination!

What’s next for Rook or Rowan?
Well I’m just putting the final touches to IMMORTAL REMAINS the next weirdsville book and my new book for adults THE HAPPY HOME FOR BROKEN HEARTS will be out in August 2010

Thanks Rook for taking the time to answer these questions! I for one will be looking forward to Immortal Remains!

Your Chance To Win!

Rook has very kindly sent me a signed copy of Nearly Departed to giveaway to one lucky winner, who will be chosen by

To enter please fill out the form below.

Open Internationally.

Entries close at Midnight 21st March

You can read my review here


Author Interview: Louise Douglas plus WIN a signed copy of Missing You!!

I’ve become a big fan of Louise Douglas after loving both her debut novel, The Love Of My Life, and second novel, Missing you (released earlier this month). So when Louise agreed to be my first author interview, I was more than a little bit excited! So without any further ado, let me introduce her!

Louise Douglas is a writer, based in the West Country just outside Bristol.

The paperback version of her first novel, The Love of My Life, was published by Pan Macmillan in January 2009. A love story with a dark twist, it was long-listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and the Waverton Good Read award and has been widely translated.

Her second fiction book, Missing You, has just been published. (taken from Louise’s website

Missing You has been shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award in the 2010 Romantic Novelists’ Association Pure Passion Award. The winner will be chosen by public vote and announced on the 16th March. If you’ve read Missing You and would like to vote, you can do so here

And now on with the interview!

Can you tell us more about your book, Missing You, and where the inspiration came from to write it?

I wanted to write a love story from the point of view of a man who had been badly hurt because mostly, in books, it is the man who lets the woman down, not the other way round. Also, at weekends I’d see young fathers playing with their children in the park but they don’t appear much in literature either, so I’d had Sean and Amy in my mind for probably a couple of years. Fen’s story actually came to me while I was cooking bacon sandwiches at a stall at Glastonbury Festival 2008! I spent most of the festival in my own dream-world thinking about her and after that it wasn’t too difficult to merge the two stories together.

One thing that really stands out to me in both of your books is how believable and real your characters are. Do you base them on people you know or yourself? Who is your favourite character?

Thank you! I don’t consciously base the characters on people I know, but I do try to make them behave like real people. Sometimes that doesn’t work in the context of the story, and then I know the story is wrong. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I am very fond of Sean, and also Amy.

I loved the character of Sean in Missing You. If the book was ever to hit the TV or big screen, which actor would you like to see portraying him?

That’s a brilliant question! I think it would have to be James McAvoy if he was available…

I read on your website that as well as being a mum to three sons, you also still have your day job. How do you find time to write? What’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t work full time anymore, only three days a week. Even so, I usually write in the evenings, often late into the night when I can be on my own. I really enjoy the day job as it means I get out of the house and talk to different people because writing can be a bit lonely. I’m so lucky to be able to do both really. Every day features at least one dog walk, quite a lot of cooking, time with friends if possible, some work, some reading, some writing and being with the family. My guilty secret is watching Come Dine With Me, sad to say I am completely addicted.

How did you get published and what’s the best thing about being a writer with a published book? Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

When the first book, the Love of my Life was finished, I sent off three chapters and a synopsis to agents, picking the most likely ‘matches’ for me from The Writers and Artists Yearbook. I was very, very lucky that my wonderful agent Marianne Gunn O’Connor got back to me and asked to see the whole book and soon after agreed to represent me. She secured the publishing deal with Pan Macmillan. I know it’s a cliche, but it was something I’d wanted all my life, and the single happiest moment of my entire career. The best thing is meeting some wonderful people, and learning all the time, from reviews like yours and from taking advice and help from people much more talented and clever than I am.

I’d advise aspiring writers to make their first book as good as they possibly can before sending it off to agents, and to make sure they follow the submission guidelines to the letter. It’s a very competitive world out there and you need to give yourself the best possible chance. And there are some great alternative routes to publication, Pan Macmillan has a new writers’ scheme and the Romantic Novelists’ Association also helps new writers.

Which authors and books do you enjoy reading?

It’s difficult to answer that because I read everything and anything although I’m not keen on horror or anything that features a lot of violence. My favourite book ever is To Kill a Mockingbird. Last year I particularly enjoyed Jenny Downham’s wonderful Before I Die, Milly Johnson’s A Spring Affair and The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I recently reread Wuthering Heights, My Cousin Rachel, The Midwich Cuckoos and three Donna Leon and they’re all as good as I remembered.

Finally, can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I’ve just finished the final draft of my third book and it’s with Marianne so I’m waiting to hear whether she thinks it’s any good or not. It’s very nerve-wracking as I don’t know if she’ll come back with the thumbs-up or if it’ll be back to the drawing board for me. I’m sorry but daren’t tell you what it’s about yet in case I have to start again from scratch.

Thank you Louise for agreeing to be interviewed and the very best of luck in the Pure Passion Awards!!

Now Your Chance To Win!!!
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Missing You by Louise Douglas? I have not one, but TWO signed copies to giveaway, kindly given to me by Louise herself.

Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret, Fen lives a compromised life, isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone. She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her.

Sean, on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle, and their six-year-old daughter, Amy. That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out.

Circumstance throws Fen and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again. But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?

You can read my review of Missing You here

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment at the end of this post before midnight (Uk) Thursday 25th February. You don’t need to be a follower and this giveaway is open internationally.

The two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 26th February both here and on my twitter page (and by email if you leave one) You will have 48 hrs to contact me with postal details and after that the prize will be offered to someone else.

Want extra entries?

+1 follow my blog
+1 follow me on twitter
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That’s a possible 5 entries! Good luck!