Category Archives: research

Publication day interview with author M W Arnold @mick859 @WildRosePress

Hi Mick,

Welcome to my blog. We’ve known each other a long time and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to talk about your writing and your brand new book, A Wing and a Prayer. Congratulations on its publication today!

Hi Sue. Firstly, may I say a big thank you for hosting me on your blog, this is quite an honour and a pleasure.

Tell us a little about your background.

Well, I went straight into the Royal Air Force from school and stayed, quite happily traversing the world, for the next 16 years. I really have to thank the Queen for paying for my excursions, if we ever meet. I had a wonderful time! I then left as I’d been married for the last 5 years and the Lady Wife and I had lived in 4 different married quarters so it was time to settle down. I’m still not certain I’m used to being a civvie yet!

What made you write about the Air Transport Auxiliary rather than the Royal Air Force? You served with the RAF for many years, didn’t you?

It was pure chance. I know you’ve probably heard that from a few authors, that they stumbled into a project – well, I really did. I’d been pretty ill and hadn’t been able to pick up any of my unfinished projects. Then it was suggested that I try something new, something which didn’t bring back bad memories. I happened to be watching a television program about the ATA, ‘Spitfire Women’, and the next thing I know, I’m fishing around on the internet. By the end of the day, I had a rough outline of a story and a number of characters fleshed out. My interest in that time period came in handy and before I knew what was really happening, I was tapping away. 

How did you feel when you were offered a contract by Wild Rose Press? Had you published other books already?

My flabber was well and truly gasted! You could have knocked me down with a feather. I had a romantic drama published back in December 2017 and shortly after, that’s when my ill health kicked in. When the contract offer came through, I suppose that was when I first started to think that, perhaps, just maybe, I am an author.

I know the next book’s already underway. Tell us a little about that. Does it follow on?

Book 2 is finished and now with my editor, actually, and is set about 6 months later, around May 1943. This one is more personal, in that the characters find themselves in more peril than the first. There’s a meeting with a big US movie star where things don’t go as planned and which the mystery – a little more minor than in ‘A Wing and a Prayer’ – is centred around. One of the girls gets married and then has to deal with the broken relationship that’s her little sister. I guess that’s what this one is all about, the various relationships between the girls and their various friends and siblings. We see the best of people in the worst of situations I like to think, here.

Do you have a plan to write more books after that to make a series?

When the contract offer came in, I swiftly got to know my editor and pitched some ideas to her. This one is now officially subtitled, ‘Broken Wings – book 1’, so I guess it looks like it. With book 2 with my editor, I’m about a quarter to a third of the way through the first draft of book 3; and this is the Christmas one! I’m having a lot of fun researching and writing this one, especially in making sure my American character gets the full-on mid-war yuletide. I don’t think she knows what she’s let herself in for!

Thanks for coming over to chat and celebrating your achievement.

Many, thanks again for having me, Sue. I’ve had a wonderful time.

The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club!

Four ladies of the Air Transport Auxiliary bond over solving the mystery of who was responsible for the death of one’s sister. Battling both internal forces and those of the country’s mutual enemies, the women find that both love and dangers are cousins cut from the same ilk.

This is a sweeping story of love, death and betrayal set against the backdrop of war when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong.

Image of M W Arnold
M W Arnold

A Wing and a Prayer – Extract

“Mind the duck!”

Mary’s warning was a smidgeon too late. Betty turned her head toward the shout just when she needed to do the exact opposite and keep her eyes on the path. 

“Aargh!” cried Betty as she was sent sprawling to the ground. 

A loud, angry, “Quack! Quack!” was followed by a flurry of wings and feathers as the slightly stunned duck half flew and half staggered to the sanctuary provided by the river. 

“I did tell her to watch out for the duck,” Mary muttered in her own defense as they rushed to help Betty to her feet. 

Penny and Doris took an arm each as Mary reached to retrieve Betty’s handbag. It had landed precariously close to the edge of the river, and the dastardly duck was snuffling at it before Mary seized it and handed it back to Betty. 

“Mary!” cried Betty. “Grab that envelope!” 

Swiveling, Mary saw a large brown envelope and stooped for it before it could fall into the water. “Got it!” she yelled, waving it in the air. Unfortunately, the envelope being upside down, the contents spilled onto the ground around her, luckily missing going into the river. She bent down to pick them up and was surprised to discover they were all newspaper cuttings.  

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on Amazon UK

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Buy A Wing and a Prayer on Amazon Aus

Buy A Wing and a Prayer on iBooks

Author Bio 

Mick Arnold is a hopeless romantic who spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elisabeth II in the RAF before putting down roots. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels. 

https://www.facebook.com/MWArnoldAuthor

Twitter – mick859

Instagram – mick859

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#AvonBookFest Free virtual event @osborne_bella @PhillipaAshley @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

FINAL PHILLIPA SUE BELLA AVONBOOKFEST

 

The virtual Avon Book Fest continues with authorly chat between Phillipa Ashley and Bella Osborne, an event for which I’ll be acting as chair, on the screen of your device.

Join us on Friday 1st May, 5.30-6.30 p.m. BST for a conversation about books and writing. Register for this free event here and get ready to type in your questions! We’ll answer as many as we can. Registration ends at 5pm Wednesday 29th April 2020.

The full Avon Book Fest programme can be found here and you can register for any event that takes your fancy.

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Let it Snow – ebook publication day @AvonBooksUK @BLFAgency

Let it Snow 2

 

Let it Snow is available as an ebook from today!

(Paperback and audio will follow on 14th November 2019)

Publication day’s always exciting. It’s the culmination of a lot of work and I love the idea of readers waking up to find one of my books has been delivered to their e-reader. When I sold my first short story to The People’s Friend in 1996 I had no idea such magic would one day become routine.

As the story in Let it Snow ranges from the frosty cottages of Middledip village to the snow-bedecked mountains of Switzerland I’m taking this opportunity to share a few of the pix I took on my fab research trip  to Switzerland with my author friend Rosemary J Kind. (You can find out more about Rosemary and her books here.)

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Let it Snow is about Lily Cortez who comes from a non-conventional family with two mums and a sister Zinnia with whom she has no blood tie. Once she discovers she’s not the product of a one-night stand as she’d always thought but that her mum had an affair with a married man she feels compelled to find her biological family. Her search for her half-brothers takes her not just geographical distances but vast emotional ones too. Lily finds herself working for Isaac O’Brien, who’s what I think of as a reluctant hero. He wants to get out of the hospitality business and the village but finds his exit hampered by Lily, his ex Hayley and Doggo, his crazy Dalmatian. The book was a joy to write and I hope you enjoy it.

A lot of people have been involved in bringing Let it Snow to you. My thanks to the teams at Avon Books UK,  Blake Friedmann Literary, TV & Film Agency cover artist Carrie May and all the wonderful people on Team Sue Moorcroft.

Buy Let it Snow on Amazon UK

Buy Let it Snow on Kobo

Buy Let it Snow on Apple Books

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I love #Norfolk

 

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite pix from my research trip in north Norfolk last year, as the book I was conducting research for was A Summer to Remember – and, wow, it’s now almost time for the book to come out!

Top left is the gateway of All Saints Church, Thornham. I stayed at a nearby pub, The Orange Tree, and enjoyed wandering around the village. Nelson’s Bar, in A Summer to Remember, is situated between Thornham and Titchwell. I pushed them aside a little and created a headland that juts out in the salt marshes and put Nelson’s Bar on top of that.

Top centre and bottom right are shots of the vibrant seaside resort of Hunstanton, the nearest big town to Nelson’s Bar.

Top right and left centre are from Brancaster Staithe where there’s a sailing club. I had fun watching all the activity without feeling the actual urge to go out on the water myself.

Bottom centre is part of a footpath in the salt marshes near Thornham. I loved the salt marshes. Some of the grasses were taller than I am so I didn’t venture down those paths even though, to my surprise, I got a great mobile phone signal on the salt marshes! As Nelson’s Bar does not have a good mobile signal and only scant broadband, checking my phone for signal was a constant preoccupation of the trip.

I hope you like the pix. There are probably a hundred more but I just picked out a few.

A Summer to Remember will be published in paperback, ebook and audio on 2 May 2019.

 

 

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The joys of research

What’s not to love about research?

My next book, A Summer to Remember (2 May 2019), is set in north Norfolk. When I decided to make Clancy, the heroine, run away from A Situation in London, where better to run to than a remote village with rubbish mobile and broadband signals?

Writers vary in the way they choose their settings. Some choose real places; others create entire countries or even worlds. I’m comfortable with a technique halfway between these two as I create fictitious towns or villages set in proximity to real places, and my characters move between the two. The real places provide authenticity and the created places give me freedom. I don’t have to worry about whether you can really get from A to B in twenty minutes or whether a business I depict as a grotty pick up joint will be recognised.

I began with iMaps, searching the coast until I found a place where I felt I could realistically bisect the salt marshes and shove a headland in on which to build my village. I asked my street team, Team Sue Moorcroft, for suggested names for the village and took one from Manda Ward: Nelson’s Bar. Then I booked a couple of nights at a lovely pub in a village called Thornham, very close to my Nelson’s Bar spot, and set off on my research trip. Spending time on the coast in gorgeous sunny weather, taking photos and making notes – well, it doesn’t sound like hard work, does it?

Screenshot 2019-02-22 at 09.29.43

Over the course of several days, I built up a collection of leaflets and maps from Hunstanton Tourist Information, books on local history at the pub where I stayed and, like most writers, I used the Internet to research businesses and study aerial views. It was essential to my plot to know where I could and couldn’t get a mobile signal so I did a lot of sending experimental texts too. North Norfolk has several of its own free newspapers and they were invaluable in getting a feel for the area. I read them in the pub garden with a glass of wine on a sunny evening.

And I spent hours and hours walking in the area. The salt marshes and the beaches, the villages and the resorts. I took hundreds of photos with my digital camera and my phone so, once home, I could check out the undulating stripy cliffs, the beach, the breakwaters … Pretty much anything I could think of was recorded whilst I was on the spot.

I don’t yet have the final cover of A Summer to Remember to share with you but it’s nearly ready! Meantime, if you’d like your appetite whetted, here’s the back-of-book blurb:

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

A Summer to Remember is available to preorder now and will be released in paperback, ebook and audio by Avon Books (HarperCollins) on 2 May 2019.

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