Friday, February 16, 2018

Anne-Marie Ormsby and the Purgatory Hotel

click on picture for link to Amazon

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I'm more than a little partial to paranormal books-

Anne-Marie Ormsby's "Purgatory Hotel" fits the bill perfectly and I can honestly say it's one of the best books I read in 2017.

Here's my review:

 I do like a little bit of paranormal to a story. Well I got it in shed-loads in Anne-Marie Ormsby's novel, Purgatory Hotel. When Dakota is murdered, her next stop on the fabric of the universe is Purgatory Hotel and I loved this part. I was reminded of a Tim Burton film with Dakota's fellow guests hanging about, clawing, swearing, being generally miserably and spooky, and sometimes evil, although her next door neighbour, Betty, is a lovely character. But then the story took on real curves as Dakota tries to discover the reason for her death, which entails a few trips back to Life. Ms Ormsby is a talented author, able to create characters that pop straight out of the pages and her imagination knows no limits. And the setting? Well, that's second to none. Well worth reading, not only for the Purgatory Hotel set, but also to discover the reason Dakota's there in the first place. And who murdered her?

Of course I had to meet the lady who wrote this fabulous book - and here she is: Anne-Marie Ormsby!

       S: I couldn’t put this book down! And you’ve got rave reviews. Is this your first book, or do you have others? (Or will there be others?)

A-M: Thank you so much, very kind of you to say you enjoyed it! This is my first book that I’ve had published. I do have several other ones sitting in metaphorical dust currently and another one that I have begun to write as hopefully my next novel.

    S: Oh, I'm looking forward to the next one. Tell me, why did you write about this subject ?

A-M: I’ve always been a bit fascinated by death and the afterlife and as I was raised Catholic there’s always a lot of ideas about what the afterlife would look like. I wanted to explore the possibilities of what could be alternative to the cloud adorned Heaven and the firey pit of Hell. I also wanted to examine what people will do in certain situations and when in toxic relationships. I think I enjoyed creating the world of Purgatory more than anything else.

S: It’s a really unique story-line. Where did you find the inspiration?

A-M: Inspiration comes to me from all sorts of things – movies, books music. Nick Cave was a big influence on me when I wrote this but a lot of the imagery of the hotel came from my personal love/fear relationship with hotels. I find the concept of being in a building with hundreds of rooms quite disturbing. You never know what’s going on down the hall…..

S: You never know indeed (creeps to check her own hall). It’s not a scary story – in fact, I think there might be some truth in it. If we could meet Dakota, your main character, what do you think she might tell us?

A-M: I think she would say she was a very lonely girl and that she missed her mum and dad. And that if she could go back, she might do some things differently….

S: Yes. I can believe she was lonely - I felt sorry for her. Do you have another book coming up? Will it be similar to Purgatory Hotel (she says, hopefully)?

A-M: The next book will again be paranormal fiction (hooray) but set in London rather than a fictional place. I have lived and worked in London for the last 10 years, I feel its time I wrote about it. The book will be an amalgam of a couple of different stories I've had floating around for years that never really had a home.There may well be links to Purgatory Hotel involved as well….

S: I'm really looking forward to that and not only as I'm from London, but also as there're links to Purgatory Hotel!  What advice would you give yourself before you had any books published?

A-M: Don’t give up. Someone somewhere will be as weird as you and they will get it.

You're not weird, Anne-Marie - you're talented.Thank you so much for joining me today, Anne-Marie. 
If you'd like to see more of this author go to:

author Links

Friday, February 09, 2018

After a hit with the first, here comes Isabella's second book...

Today I'm so pleased to invite up-and-coming author Isabella May.

Welcome Isabella and congratulations on your new book, The Cocktail Bar. Come and have a coffee with me – café solo? I’ll have a bica (we’re friends in the Iberian Peninsula, Isabella’s in Spain and I’m in Portugal).

Thank you, Sue! I’m really excited to be on your blog today. A cafe solo or a bica sounds just perfect. I’ve brought some churros con chocolate too!

Churros!!! And with chocolate. My very favourite thing :-) 

So, let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Does writing energise or exhaust you?

I think it does a bit of both really. For me, the energy has to come first… and then the writing flows. If I’m writing something fun and uplifting, that vibe will keep going and self-perpetuate. If it’s something dark and gloomy on the other hand, well, then Law of Attraction will provide me with a whole lot more of that for the rest of the day. But sometimes these things just have to be put on paper as part of our story. And then it’s quite cathartic to have processed those thoughts once and for all. You feel lighter after a while and can pick up that positive vibe once again.

So true. I love writing when it's flowing...but when there's something bothering me it just won't come. If you could go back to the beginning of your author’s career, what advice would you give yourself?

It’s a marathon not a sprint. That’s likely to be my daily reminder for quite a while!

What’s your favourite novel and why?

I have so many. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of the all-time greats I have read though. That man certainly knows how to use a spiritual weave without getting too preachy. It’s an enchanting tale and it’s set near where I live in Andalucia. So it sometimes feels as if it’s been written just for me...
Which author would you most like to be like, or do you want to be totally unique?
I think as storytellers we all have unique gifts so I try not to compare myself to anybody else… if I can. Not easy though when there are some very talented and successful authors out there to benchmark ourselves against!

That's a wonderful book. Paulo Coelho is a dream writer. What’s the best way to market your books?

By engaging mainly in the marketing activities that inspire me. Whenever I feel obliged to do ‘this’ or ‘that’, and then force myself into action, nine times out of ten, the results just aren’t there because my heart isn’t in it. When I feel inspired on the other hand, whenever an activity ‘lights me up’ - be that posting pictures on Instagram, or joining in with bookish chat on an online Facebook group, then I notice my ‘marketing’ pays off. If it feels more like play, that’s my best indicator for success somewhere along the line. It won’t always be directly… but that’s the fun of it! You just never know when that ‘wow… I can’t believe this has happened’ moment will come from.

Oh! What a Pavlova has been an outstanding success. It’s a lovely cover that is just right for the story. Here’s my review:

Isabella May has managed to write a story that flows with ease, is funny in so many scenes and has such well-drawn characters that the reader can imagine them immediately. Yet under the banter and "Sophie-Kinsella" style prose, there's a very disturbing undertone: an abusive marriage. Kate, the main character lives, on one hand, a charmed life: travelling to all parts of the world for her company and having fun with her colleagues and the odd flirt or two. On the other hand, when she arrives home there's her psycho husband waiting for her. Why didn't she just run? Believe me, it's not as easy as that and Isabella has explored this diabolical part of our society with skill and understanding.

You are SO kind, Sue. Thank you. 

I guess as a debut author, yes, it’s a story that’s definitely got people talking and thinking, and it’s received some pretty good reviews - as well as a couple of not so good ones. But I knew when I wrote it that there would be Marmite divide, and I welcome the element of debate. It even knocked Jeremy Clarkson off the top spot in the Hot New Releases sub-category for Food and Travel Writing on Amazon UK (hey, we have to raise a glass to these little victories!)

Isabella's new book The Cocktail Bar is published on 13th February (although you can already buy the paperback). Here's a blurb:

Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.

Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.

But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of the Three Chosen Ones. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.

Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one…

Buy here:

I'm really looking forward to this new book.

Thank you, Isabella, for dropping by. I’m really looking forward to reading The Cocktail Bar. I think you have a launch party on Facebook for it, don’t you?

I do and everybody is more than welcome. There will be fun, laughter and lots of great prizes to be won, so please join me on Friday 16th February between 9am and 12pm GMT. Here’s the link for that:

Isabella can be found here: