Jane Lovering is here to discuss her love of deserted, ruined buildings in the countryside and how they inspired her brand new book The Forgotten House on the Moor 🌿


Deserted Buildings

I like ruins. Which is just as well, because it’s what I see every morning in the mirror, but I like ruined buildings even more. When I was young – well, younger than my current self – there was a derelict hotel at the end of our road. From the age of about ten, my friends and I spent hours wandering among empty rooms, dodging falling ceilings and spiders the size of saucepan lids, crawling through dark basements and scaring ourselves silly at sudden noises.

There’s just something about a ruined building that sparks the imagination. Even better if it used to be a house, and even better if the previous occupants left in a hurry and there’s still furniture in the rooms, photographs on the mantelpiece and, for that extra touch of terror, a half eaten meal on the table. Where have the people gone? And, more importantly, why? And then there’s the rooms. Once a house has reached a certain state of decay, it’s hard to tell what the rooms were once used for, and walking through a shell of a building where the roof is now mostly floor and walls have rotted down from their full height, all you can do is imagine what happened in this space.

So I suppose the house in The Forgotten House on the Moor, in its exploded and mostly-gone state came from memories of these places. I recently came back from a trip to Orkney, where there are still buildings like this. A half-open front door that you peer through leads to nothing but wilderness, there’s glass in the windows but no room left behind them. Whereas here in Yorkshire, most deserted houses are very swiftly either knocked down and rebuilt , or re-roofed, refurnished and turned into holiday lets, which does make the countryside tidier, but detracts from the imagination experience. How are our children and grandchildren supposed to terrify one another, when Health and Safety and swift planning applications mean no sitting amid perished chairs and cupboards with the doors ever so slightly ajar, wondering what those footsteps were that came from an upstairs that no longer has a floor…

And the gardens too. Wonderful, tangled, neglected spaces, where carefully planted and tended flowers have run riot, to form impenetrable growths, from which the occasional statue can be seen poking a stony finger. Or dry fountains, now playing host to moss and the crispy curls of dessicated pondweed. How is the younger generation meant to learn about the creeping dread of suddenly coming upon a headless Venus during a game of hide and seek when all these places have been sanitised and cordoned off, or, worse, turned into the weekend homes of the rich and famous?

More neglect, that’s what we need. More deserted houses, in isolated locations, more creepy noises and more untended gardens. I am convinced that what the young of today are missing from their lives is a good dose of healthy, screaming horror coming from dark, mysterious rooms.


Jane’s brand new book The Forgotten House on the Moor is out now!

Pick up a copy:

Introducing… The residents of Alardyce House


Amy

Grieving the loss of her parents, Amy’s natural fiery spirit refuses to be doused. After being forced to leave London – where she was born and raised – to stay in Edinburgh with her only living family, she reacts fiercely to her uncle’s excessively puritan ways and her aunt’s cruelty.  She has no fear in pushing the boundaries and conventions of the time, which she finds restrictive and biased in favour of men. Therefore, Amy has a reputation for being wild. Although her temper does get the better of her, she has boundless courage and strength. Amy is not considered to be a great beauty but possesses an unfathomable quality that men find fascinating, which leads to her downfall.

 

Henry

The oldest of the two Alardyce brothers, Henry is distant, haughty and cold, like his mother. As soon as Amy arrives at Alardyce, he develops an interest in his cousin that unnerves her. As the oldest son, he is the one that will inherit Alardyce and the vast wealth that comes with it.

 

Edward

Henry’s younger brother. The most relaxed and laidback member of the family, Edward and Amy hit it off immediately and become close confidants. He has always felt isolated from the rest of his family, so he is grateful for Amy’s company. He also assists her to avoid Henry’s unwanted attentions.

 

Sir Alfred

Father to Henry and Edward, he is Amy’s uncle, being brother to her mother. He becomes Amy’s guardian on the death of both her parents. He also becomes guardian of her own large fortune. Although he gathered his own wealth through hard work, he believes flaunting that wealth is a sin, so Alardyce has a cold, austere atmosphere as he refuses to purchase any luxury goods. Alfred hates London and believes it to be the new Sodom and Gomorrah, so he refuses to allow Amy to contact her friends in the city, leaving her lonely and isolated. Despite his puritanical ways, he does have a good heart and attempts to keep everyone happy. When he inevitably fails, he hides away in his study.

 

Lenora

Alfred’s wife and mother to Henry and Edward, she is Amy’s aunt through marriage only.  Cold and cruel, Lenora hates Amy and can’t bear how defiant she is. From the moment Amy arrives, Lenora begins plotting to marry her off so she can get her out of the house as quickly as possible. Lenora rules Alardyce, not Alfred, her husband living in terror of her. She’s a beautiful, statuesque woman but the lovely exterior masks a dark, rotten soul.

 

Matthew

First footman at Alardyce House, Matthew has ambitions that he hopes will raise him above the station in life he currently finds himself in. Matthew finds himself drawn to Amy immediately. Both are dissatisfied with their lives and wish to escape the confines of Alardyce House. He is a handsome, passionate man with a tendency to be controlling.


The Missing Girls of Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson is out now!

Pick up a copy today:

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Heritage Cove is a bustling community filled with people coming, going, and getting on with day to day life. Helen Rolfe has put together a list of all the residents that appear in Coming Home to Heritage Cove and then any additional characters that arrive later on in the series. Enjoy getting to know the lovely residents of Heritage Cove!


COMING HOME TO HERITAGE COVE

Barney – Every year he runs the charity Wedding Dress Ball in the barn on his land at his cottage. Has been a father figure to Melissa and Harvey since they were kids.

Melissa – Flight attendant. Moved away from the Cove to see the world. Dating pilot Jay. Barney is family to Melissa.

Harvey – Lives in the Cove, loft fitter but wants to start own renovations business. Barney is family to him. His mum, Carol still lives locally.

Lucy – Local blacksmith who took over from Fred Gilbertson while he was unwell.

Tracy – Owns and runs the Heritage Inn with husband Giles. Good friend of Melissa’s. They have two daughters, Sandy and Violet

Terry and Nola – They own and run the local pub, The Copper Plough

Celeste and Jade – Own and run the Heritage Bakery on the main street through the village

Lottie – Works in the convenience store in the village

Benjamin – Chef at the local pub, The Copper Plough

Etna – owns and runs the tearooms

Tilly – owns and runs the candle shop

Winnie – Harvey’s dog, a Labrador retriever

Carol – Mum to two sons, Harvey and Daniel.

Gracie – sometimes walks Harvey’s dog Winnie. Lives in Hollyhock Cottage.

Zara – runs the ice-creamery

Ashley – works at the White Clover charity

Patricia – works in the tea rooms

CHRISTMAS AT THE LITTLE WAFFLE SHACK

Lois – was once married to Barney, the love of her life. Separated by tragedy they are at last together again.

Daniel – Returns to the Cove after a long absence from the village and his family. Sets up the Little Waffle Shack

Hazel and Arnold – brother and sister duo own and run the local riding stables

Brianna – works at the Little Waffle Shack

Troy – works at the Little Waffle Shack

Donnie – Was Harvey and Daniel’s father, now deceased

Dessie – Tilly’s assistant at the candle shop which has been renamed as Tilly’s Bits ‘n’ Pieces

Kenneth – Local man who keeps an allotment

SUMMER AT THE TWIST AND TURN BAKERY

Jade – Runs the Heritage Bakery with her sister Celeste.

Linc – Etna’s nephew. A teacher. It’s the long summer holidays and so he takes the temporary job in the village, helping do up the bakery.

Joseph – Linc’s dad

Valerie – Works in the florist, has a young baby

Dario – Jade’s former boyfriend

Orla – Linc’s ex girlfriend

Carly – Terry and Nola’s daughter. Has two young children, Cora and Justin

Jane Wideman – Head teacher at the secondary school near to the village

WINTER AT MISTLETOE GATE FARM

Tilly – owns and runs Tilly’s Bits ‘n’ Pieces

Benjamin – chef at The Copper Plough, the village pub

Uncle Scott – Tilly’s uncle

Heather and Danny – own Mistletoe Gate Farm – children are Benjamin and Charlotte

Charlotte – brother is Benjamin. She isn’t local.

Sasha and Nigel  – Tilly’s parents

Grandma Shirley – Tilly’s grandma, now deceased, the original owner of Tilly’s shop and a good friend of Barney’s once upon a time. Barney has always looked out for Tilly.

Jared – staff member at Mistletoe Gate Farm

Billy, Henry, Marnie – kitchen staff at The Copper Plough, on Benjamin’s team


All four books in the Heritage Cove series are out now! Order here: ⬇️

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Helen’s brand new book in the Heritage Cove series Finding Happiness at Heritage View is out 6th July and you can pre-order here:

 

Erin Litteken discusses the inspiration behind her brand new novel The Memory Keeper of Kyiv which is out today!


My fascination with Ukraine sparked at my great-grandmother’s knee, listening to the tales she wove of both her life there and the perilous journey she, my great-grandfather, and their three children made to escape the approaching eastern front during WW2.

Even though she died before I was old enough to ask the important questions and flesh out those stories, that fire was ignited. As I grew up, I felt pulled more and more towards Ukraine and its complicated past. I wanted to understand where she came from. I wanted to know what she saw. What she experienced. What she lost.

I read, researched, and peppered my grandfather and great-uncle with endless questions. I planned on writing a novel loosely inspired by their stories, but as I learned more about the Holodomor, Stalin’s man-made famine that killed an estimated four million Ukrainians in the 1930’s, I realized I wanted to write a book about that first. Very few people I talked to knew about it, and of those, many didn’t understand the scope of devastation or Stalin’s true intent.

For so many years, the Holodomor was hidden from the public. Census records, and the people recording them, were destroyed. Journalists were paid off or refused access to Ukraine. Even speaking or writing about it in a diary was a ten-year prison sentence. The Soviet government conducted a massive cover-up, and it worked. The Holodomor faded from memory for all but those who had suffered through it. Even today, the Russian government denies that it was a forced famine, ignoring the brutal decrees directed solely at Ukrainians.

I wanted to bring that tragic piece of history to life and give people a way to easily access it–to inspire a bit of interest in hopes that they’d want to find out more. I wanted people besides Ukrainians and those of Ukrainian descent to know and to remember.

Now, that goal seems more important than ever. The old adage, “history repeats itself,” is a cliché but that’s because it’s often true. We’re seeing that today in Ukraine as Russia continues this cruel and unnecessary war. Knowing what came before puts the present in a whole new context. It helps us to understand, in part, why Ukrainians defend themselves so fiercely, why they’re so unwilling to give up anything to the Russians.

This is not the first time. Ukrainians have been fighting for the right to exist for centuries.

I’ll never know the full story of my great-grandmother’s life or which parts were truth or hyperbole. But, I can learn to speak the language she whispered to me when she held me, and I can travel back to the village she left in 1944. I can preserve her precious heirlooms, pass them down to my children, and tell her stories. I can research and try to fit my family into the history I find.

I can imagine, and I can write.

But, I’ll never stop wishing for one more conversation with her.


The Memory Keeper of Kyiv is out today and you can order your copy here: 🇺🇸 https://amzn.to/3u2Ygu7 🇬🇧 https://amzn.to/3tJwr9P

 

 

 

 

In celebration of the publication of her brand new revenge thriller The Feud Gemma Rogers is here to share her top 5 revenge films!

  1. Falling Down

This movie is a classic from the nineties where the central character William, an ordinary man, is trying to see his daughter, has a breakdown and turns violent when things don’t go his way. It’s a great look at the problems within society and just how far people will go before they snap. Michael Douglas is fantastic, not to mention his flattop. For years I’ve been referring to my meltdowns as ‘having a Michael Douglas’.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106856/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  1. Promising Young Woman

I absolutely loved this genius movie about the lovely young Cassie, who is desperate to seek vengeance against the men who hurt her best friend Nina. Dressed to kill, Cassie frequents the local bars and nightclubs, pretending to be drunk, helpless and vulnerable when really is on the prowl for nocturnal predators just looking to take advantage. The ending left me thinking about it for weeks.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9620292/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  1. The Crow 

Another nineties classic and this is my favourite film of ALL time, just about to get remake apparently. The Crow is about Eric Draven, who is brutally murdered and comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée’s murder. Born from a comic book it has a fantastic atmosphere as well as a great soundtrack and script. The film is notorious as Brandon Lee who played Eric was tragically shot and killed on-set half way through filming.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109506/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  1. Gone Girl

This movie is insane, with a twist half way through that still blows my mind. Adapted for the big screen from Gillian Flynn’s popular thriller, Amy Dunne goes missing leaving her unfaithful husband to take the rap for what looks to be her murder. Both leads are fantastic, with Rosamund Pike chilling to the core. The story takes you on a wild goose ride where you have no idea who is really the victim. A must see!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2267998/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

  1. The Other Woman

A great comedy based on a mutual revenge plot. After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he’s been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing. This movie is great fun with lots of female comradery.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2203939/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

If you love revenge plots just as much as Gemma does you can start reading The Feud, her brand new book now!

Order your copy here:

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