Monthly Archives: October 2020

Witch by Finbar Hawkins – Blog Tour – Publishing Journey Guest Post

I’m delighted to host a guest post from debut author Finbar Hawkins about his publishing journey for Witch. This is a powerful tale of revenge, grief and sisterhood and is perfect for Halloween week. Later in the week I’ll share my full review but for now I’ll hand over to Finbar.

My Publishing Journey

I’ve always written, but even with seeing ‘Witch’ out on the shelves, I still have difficulty describing myself as a writer. It’s not so much self-doubt, I think it more springs from each new thing you write feels like starting again, finding out how to write again. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the feeling, and to be honest I feel it’s a good spur, a jab of the heels to keep me coming back to the blank page.

My route to publishing started with the Arvon Foundation. I had never experienced a writing workshop before, working on exercises to approach character, setting and emotion. The writing samples I brought with me were little short film ideas, so I wasn’t even writing prose at that time. But it was through a number of exercises in class, under our tutor Lucy Christopher’s guidance, that the beginnings of a story emerged, and I kept going through that amazing week and into the months beyond. Lucy is a lecturer at Bath Spa (now the Course Director!) and she had encouraged me (along with a number of my Arvon compadres) to apply. Through early morning starts before children were awake and work, the story that I started had now grown into approximately 30k. But I craved feedback, more of what I had experienced at Arvon – critical feedback from other writers.

I was delighted to get a place on Bath Spa, because over those two years part-time I started to write properly around critical workshops. And the thing is about workshops is that you have to raise your game – you’re delivering to a little audience, and you’re going to be hearing other people’s work, giving your own thoughts on it.  I also learnt that giving a critique is just as important for writing, because you’re looking at the craft all the time, your training that writing muscle.

I decided to park the ms I had been working on since Arvon because in that first term, Witch came bowling along and demanded to be told. The workshop was integral again, because I had a very good set of notes from a group of other writers – who wanted to know what happened next. I was immensely interested also in the challenge of writing from a young woman’s perspective.

The core of the MA is about working on and delivering your ms, and from there we all then work on putting together an Anthology to showcase our work for a launch event in London. Agents and editors are invited along to this terrifying and exhilarating evening. There I met Catherine Pellegrino of Marjacq Scripts who had read and liked my anthology extract. 

I knew Catherine was the agent for me, because she pushed me to make the ms as good as it possibly could be. So we set to work, and over several drafts pushed and pulled Witch into submission shape. I would stress that there is no real time frame for this, and you shouldn’t feel rushed. Let the ms ‘bake’ in between drafts, write other bits and pieces and then go through it taking notes. It will all be much the better for it.

Finally we both felt that Witch was ready to fly. And at the end of an excruciating week waiting to hear back from editors, it was Fiona Kennedy at Zephyr who from the outset pretty much demanded my book should be published by her.  There were other others in the frame, but because of Fiona’s incredible passion for Witch, I knew I had found the right home. 

My publishing journey has all been about some fundamental things – you need to take that first jump and put your writing in front of a critical audience (it’s hard, but you’ll get used to it); you need to trust your instincts when meeting agents and editors; you need to take your time; and you need to remember to enjoy it!

WITCH by Finbar Hawkins is out now in hardback (£12.99, Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus)

Follow Finbar Hawkins @finbar_hawkins and find out more finbarhawkins.com

#WITCH

I’m not going to lie I’ve been eyeing up both the Arvon Foundation courses and the Bath Spa MA for years and like Evey’s jealously of sister Dill I must try and keep my green eyed monster in check. Maybe one day!

Huge Congratulations to Finbar on a wonderful debut. Come back on Wednesday for my full review and do check out the rest of the posts on the tour running this week.

The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski – Audiobook Blog Tour Review

Author: Anthony Dobranski

Narrator: Laura Petersen

Length: 18 hours 26 minutes

Publisher: Anthony Dobranski

Released: Aug. 19, 2020

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Read the rest of this entry

Because of You by Dawn French – Blog Tour Feature ‘Because of Me’ and Giveaway


About the Book

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.

The old millennium turns into the new.

In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.

Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.

Anna leaves with empty arms.

Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.

The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.

Perhaps beyond . . .

About the Author


Dawn French has been making people laugh for 30 years. As a writer, comedian and actor, she has appeared in some of this country’s most long-running and celebrated shows, including French and Saunders, The Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, and more recently, Roger and Val Have Just Got In. Her first three novels, A Tiny Bit Marvellous, Oh Dear Silvia and According to YES, are all Sunday Times bestsellers.

“Because of Me”


I was excited to delve into this because … Dawn French! and so I started the audiobook delighted that it was being read by the author. But, I had to stop listening. And that is ‘Because of Me’, I hadn’t actually read the Synopsis 🤦‍♀️.

Some of you may remember me sharing my personal fertility journey on here a while back. Well sadly that didn’t work out positively for me (after two failed IUI and one failed IVF) and the topic of this book and its early chapters I found very triggering (IVF, infant loss) because I’m not in the best headspace mentally at the moment.

And that’s okay. Sometimes you pick up a book and it’s simply not the right time to read it. I’m so sorry that I’m not in a place to review the book right now but I can certainly tell you that it is likely to ‘hit you in the feels’. Do check out the other tour stops on the blog (picture below) to see what everyone else thought.

It was actually baby loss awareness week last week and I just want to highlight a couple of friend’s charities.


From Leia with Love


Oscar’s Wish Foundation

Giveaway


The lovely folks at Penguin as well as being very understanding are sponsoring giveaway of an audiobook copy of the book via audiobooks.com.


To be in with a chance of winning an audiobook copy of Because of You by Dawn French finish the sentence Because of You, I… and share the blog tour poster using #BecauseofYouAudio, and tag in me @kirstyes and @penguinbooksuk. I will randomly pick the #giveaway winner on Wednesday 21st 2020.

Blog Tour Poster


Thank you to penguin for the audiobook link for the purposes of a review (which I will do in the future when in a better headspace), and for sponsoring the giveaway.


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