Sunday, 14 October 2018

#BlogTour #AuthorInterview #Win #Giveaway #Review: Chasing Ghosts @ActScribblerDJ @rararesources

Chasing Ghosts

Written by Madalyn Morgan  

Published by Independently Published
Genre Historical / English / Thriller
Pages 248


My thanks to Madalyn Morgan and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to join the blog tour for Chasing Ghosts and a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Today, I've got a new feature on my blog called Interview with the Author, where Madalyn Morgan will be answering a few questions for me. There's also a raffle to win signed copies of China Blue and Chasing Ghosts at the bottom of this post.  

The blurb:

Chasing Ghosts

In 1949 after receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire's husband disappears.

Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery?

Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.

My thoughts:

This is book 6 in the Dudley Sisters Saga, and not unusually for me, this is the first one I've read. That said, I did not feel that I needed to have read the others in this series to be able to fully appreciate this story.

Set mostly in 1950, the action takes place in England, France and Canada. Alain Mitchell, known as 'Mitch', has been receiving psychiatric therapy from Doctor Lucien Puel in Canada for shell shock. During the course of this treatment, Mitch has remembered something which now puts his life in danger.

When he disappears, his wife, Claire, sets out to find and help him using her network of French Resistance contacts, despite circumstantial evidence suggesting that he might have left her for another woman.

The blurb didn't give much away, but I was attracted to this book by the cover, which had a war-time feel to it. 

The plot was interesting and well-thought-out. It contained several details which underlined the time-frame in which it was set. I liked the characters, especially Esther, Mitch's grandmother, who comes across as a wily old lady and Thomas Durand, the leader of the Paris Marquis. 

However, I struggled to get into it until about mid way through, because I felt there was too much detail about things which did not matter to, or enhance the story - such as an entire paragraph in chapter one about making tea and toast. As I read that paragraph, I thought this detail would make great stage direction, but it's detracting from the drama by reducing the tension which should be building in a thriller.

The books in the Dudley Sisters Saga are set between 1939 and 1950 - a period I very much enjoy reading about - and I have now added these books to my wish-list.

Purchase from:

Author Bio –  

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in Lutterworth, at the Fox Inn. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, as there were so many different characters to study and accents to learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn taught herself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and started writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

Happy to be an Indie Author, Madalyn has successfully published six novels. Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue and The 9:45 To Bletchley are set before and during WW2 and tell the wartime stories of Bess, Margot, Claire, and Ena Dudley. Foxden Hotel and Chasing Ghosts are both post war.  Chasing Ghosts is a sequel to China Blue.

Madalyn’s books are available on Amazon - in paperback and all formats of eBook.

Interview with the Author

~ Madalyn Morgan ~

Q.1. When did you start writing, or have you always been a writer?

I have been writing since 2008, for thirty years before that, I was an actress. 
I say I gave up acting for love, and then love gave me up. It’s true, and it was heartbreaking at the time, but it’s a long time ago now. Financial institutions didn’t give jobbing actors mortgages in those days; they probably still don’t, so when I was offered a PAYE job in an office in the city of London where I had been working as a temp, I took it. The people I worked with were lovely, but the work was monotonous and I was soon bored. I did a correspondence course with the Writers Bureau out of Manchester - and I loved it. Ten years later when I was free to go back into acting, I no longer wanted to.

Q.2. Have you always written fiction?

No, I began by writing articles. My first published article was about Smithfield Meat Market. EU regulations meant the loss of many traditional jobs. The headline was, “Pitchers and Bummarees - trades that have served the world-famous meat market for centuries - are on the way out as modern technology advances.”
Smithfield is in Islington, London, so I sent it to the Islington Gazette and, unbeknown to me, the following month it was 140 years since the Gazette first went into print. My article was the centre page spread to celebrate the anniversary. They had their own in-house journalists. So, I was lucky they printed my article, but unlucky because they had their own journalists and couldn’t pay me.

Q.3. Does luck play a big part in writing?

As much as it does in any profession. Being in the right place at the right time helps, as the publication of my second article proved.     
It was called Women with Balls. Sounds rude, but it wasn’t. I was a football supporter and I interviewed three other women who loved football. One was the accountant I worked for; one a director of the company, and one an executive. I sent Women with Balls to a popular football magazine. The editor suggested I sent it to a woman’s magazine as it was about women. However, someone beat me to it. One day my boss came into the office waving a well know glossy magazine. She congratulated me on getting the article published. It was my article all right. The same title and the interview with a football fan was mine, word for word. The ‘author’ of the article was the editorial assistant of the football magazine. It was theft at worst, plagiarism at best, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Q.4. Which do like writing best, articles or novels?

Novels, but I enjoyed writing articles. When no one would publish me, I wrote articles for my Church magazine. The editor was a good writer and I learned a lot from him. In 2002, I began presenting local radio and started writing band profiles. I also wrote articles about rock bands and concerts for local magazines. I tried my hand at short stories, but I am useless. I'm incapable of writing a story that’s less than 10,000 words. I love writing poetry and one day I hope to publish my collection. These days I write novels full time. I don’t think I will write articles again, but then I never say never.  

Q.5. What are your novels about?

Strong women pre and post World War Two. My novels are fiction, but I have made my mother and three of my aunt’s dreams come true. They were all intelligent women who passed to go to the Grammar School. None did, because my grandparents were poor. They had seven children to feed and clothe on a grooms wage. I used my grandfather’s job as a head groom and the place where he worked, The Cromwell Estate, to set my first novel, Foxden Acres.

Q.6. Where did the name Foxden Acres come from?

I was brought up in a pub called The Fox Inn, but the real reason I chose Foxden was that I am against fox hunting. Part of my grandfather’s job as Lord Cromwell’s head groom was to ride at the side of Lady Cromwell. Part of the Cromwell Christmas was the hunt on Boxing Day. The villagers lined the streets to watch the gentry in their hunting pink, ride past on their horses. Anyway, when they caught a fox they cut off its paw and dabbed it on the face of a child. It was meant to be lucky. Not for the fox, or the child. My grandmother dragged my mother to be bloodied when she was six. Mum said she was terrified and had nightmares for years.
I had just read Mary Webb’s novel Gone To Earth. The vicar’s young wife used to run ahead of the hunt shooing the foxes into their holes, sometimes following them in to protect them. So, I called my first novel is Foxden Acres in honour of the fox and its den.

Q.7. Are your books part of a saga?

The first four are, yes. Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue, and The 9:45 To Bletchley tell the stories of four sisters during World War Two. The last two books, FoxdenHotel and Chasing Ghosts, are set in 1949 and 1950.

The four Dudley sisters are introduced in Bess Dudley’s story. Foxden Acres is about redemption, cutting across the class divide, love and loss. Margot Dudley (Applause) moves to London, works as an usherette in a West End theatre and ends up as the show's leading lady. Claire Dudley (China Blue) joins the WAAF and is recruited by the SOE. She is parachuted into occupied France to work with the Resistance. And Ena Dudley (The 9:45 To Bletchley) works in an engineering factory. While taking work to Bletchley by train Ena is robbed and later accused of sabotage.
Foxden Hotel is set in post-war Leicestershire and brings the Dudley sisters together. It was going to be the last in the saga but having written three endings, none of which gave the sisters satisfactory closure, Foxden Hotel became a sequel to Foxden Acres and Chasing Ghosts, published this year in June, is a sequel to China Blue

Q.8. So, Madalyn, what is next?

I have just plotted my seventh novel, a cold war spy thriller. It’s a sequel to The 9:45 To Bletchley, but like the other books, it can be read on its own.  

Q.9. Will there be a book 8 in the series; a sequel to Applause, perhaps?

Yes, a sequel to Applause would be a good way to end The Dudley Sisters Saga. My very first attempt at writing a novel was about an elderly actress who was terminally ill. She rose to fame in London’s West End during the Blitz in WW2 and her daughters, born after the war, wrote and put on a musical to celebrate her life.

Q.10. Do you have any ambitions left?

Yes, lots. When I was an actress, I wrote character breakdowns that included what I hoped for in the future. For instance, when the curtain goes up on the play, Antony and Cleopatra, everyone’s happy and looking forward to the future. By the end of the play Antony, Cleopatra and her handmaidens are dead. But, I didn’t want to know that when the play began. So, as Cleopatra’s handmaiden, I wrote a wish list. It said, I will fall in love with one of Lord Antony’s lieutenants and we will get married. My children will play with my Lady’s children and grow up to serve the royal family as I do. When the play opened, I had a wonderful future to look forward to.
I have quite a lot of theatre photographs with poems to accompany them. The book will contain some of my articles.

I also have a couple of contemporary books I want to write. One, working title, Forty into Twenty-eight Won’t Go is based loosely on my life in the 1980s.

But the most important book will be about the time I spent with my aunt’s Native American in-laws on an Indian Reservation in 1960. For six weeks I lived with Grandma Cavender who was the Elder of the Dakota Sioux Tribe in Minnesota. While I was there, I was adopted into the tribe during a powwow. Thirty years later, I was given my Native American name, Wacantkiya Win, which translates to, the Charitable Girl.

Thank you, Madalyn, for joining me today to answer a few questions.

Thank you for inviting me to answer questions on Against The Flow Press. It was fun and made me think.

Giveaway – Win signed copies of China Blue and Chasing Ghosts (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions - UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. 

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