#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

or

(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people from West Virginia in America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

Will you ever write another story like these two?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Jaye’s Journal # Week 20

Jaye's Journal x12

 

So far, this has been a good week, no major disasters or tinkering malfunctions. Apart from the new email format on BT, that is!

This is still driving me nuts, but I have discovered that the problem might be due to an ageing Windows 7 that will be discontinued at the end of the year. I have been warned to expect more of this kind of problem.

Which means I have a decision to make, one that will cost money, so I am dragging my heels a while longer. Quite apart from coughing up for a new pc, it means I will have to tackle Windows 10, not something I am looking forward to frankly.

ON THE EDITING FRONT

The editing of PayBack is progressing well, and the first two rounds are done and dusted. Next, I will run through each of the characters chapters. This is an excellent way to ensure that the story of each character runs true, with no yawning great holes or continuity errors. I love this edit, as it gives me the opportunity to get up close and personal with my favourite people and make sure I have presented them in the best possible light.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT

It seems like a long time since I had a really crazy moment. Just as I was thinking I was getting too old for crazy, one trotted up and tapped me on the shoulder.

I will explain if you promise not to call the people with the straitjackets.

Last month, I had my hair cut. To cut a rant short, I wasn’t happy with it. At all.

I have been patient, trying to decide what to do about it.

I usually prefer my hair to be on the short side as it is fine, wispy, and a bit curly, with a mind of its own. It usually prefers to do its own thing and resists any attempt to make it behave. Which most of the time is okay with me.

It grew quite long, and I have been wearing it pinned up, simply because I cannot stand it wrapped around my neck like a scarf.

Out of the blue (and this took me by surprise too) I grabbed a pair of scissors in one hand and chunks of hair in the other and chopped away. I had seen this done on films and must have secretly wanted to have a go.

Well, my hair is no longer hanging around my neck but is a tiny bit shorter than I wanted it to be. But I dare say it will grow again…

watermark xjj

 

 

#The Sunday Whirl ~ #Wordle 403

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Image by Leonard Bentley

Old London

The name’s Sparrow and this is my story.

Born on the wrong side of the tracks, the dark alley down by the Bull and Rag is home to many like me. Life don’t hold out no gold permit for the likes of us.

Unwanted, we live in the shadows. The fog of London turns us invisible, helping us to find food and old clothing. Anything we can find to keep us warm in winter. Twelve years now, I have seen many, much younger. Not all survive. When one goes, we shift the body under the street lights, where for once in their lives they will be seen. When we hear the siren, we know they have been taken away to be buried, a permanent home.

A plain wooden cross with no name, he’s a number. Someone should have loved him. One of these days, I will tear down this invisible barrier, the blocks that stand in my way. I will walk the streets of London in style. Men will doff their hats; ladies in their Sunday best will smile as I pass by. The name’s Sparrow, I am part of this world, I will be seen…

AAAAA

Far Below…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Far Below

 

Deep below in the castle dungeon, lay a red and gold dragon.

Chained to the wall, his colours fading as the years passed.

He could hear his mate calling, but he cannot break the chains. The fire no longer burns in his chest. Love is a fading memory, the egg she laid when last he saw, grown now.

He wished for her to leave this place, forget him, his freedom will not come.

For who would be brave enough to approach a dragon, whose foul food lay all around, fed by the master who captured him.

He too could be long dead, like the foul maggot stench the dragon lived in, hope slowly dying.

A new queen has taken the throne, a new broom sweeps through the castle.

On her wanderings, she found the dungeons. Peering down a large hole, the stench almost knocks her off her feet. She hears movement, a chain rattle. Someone was down there.

Her heart thumped.

She called the guards, demanding to know what lay below.

‘It is your father’s dragon, Mam and the one who flies above is his mate.’

‘Then we must set him free,’ she said.

‘You won’t find anyone who will go down there. They are afraid.’

‘Then I shall go, have a ladder placed here while I change my garments.’

This was done, and the queen descended, a large key in her hand.

The light from above illuminated the rot she stood in. A glint of red and gold flashed with the smallest of movements.

‘I need more men. This dragon will not die in my castle. A sling must be made. I want him transported to the sanctuary of my garden. I will wash and feed him. He will be saved. Go now, before I have you all tied in his place.’

The queen was never happier than when caring for her dragon.

Watching as his mate flew overhead, each day his strength returned.

Soon he will want to join her.

Everyone in the household thought her mad.

‘As soon as he is strong enough, he will kill her,’ they whispered.

This did not happen and the day came when he flew with his mate.

The day also came when she needed him to fight for her, to keep her reign and her castle…

AAAAA

May 9: Flash Fiction Challenge ~ Growing Old… #Poetry

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May 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older. It can be humorous, dark or poignant. It can be true or total fiction. It can be fine wine or an old fossil. Go where the prompt leads!

 

 

I don’t look in the mirror these days, because there is a road map where my face used to be.

Time makes strange marks on all of us, some you cannot see.

From my window, I have watched my neighbours grow old. Two that used to walk to town, now in wheelchairs. One used to pedal his bike everywhere, now uses a stroller.

We are shrinking back to childhood.

Others I have watched through nine months, waiting to produce new life. Now that same child walks beside her mother on her way to school.

 I watch life go by…

AAAAA

While The Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle #Children’s ebooks

 

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes

 

MegaReader
I was immediately interested in reading this book, as I’ve lived in Suffolk for nearly 30 years, and not too far from Bungay. I heard lots of wartime stories from my mother who lived in London during the war, but this book was different in that the main character, a child called Elsie, lives in the countryside. Ms Cheadle has written anecdotes gleaned from family and friends over the years, and has written quite a charming faction book.
Elsie tells of what it was like to live not only through the war itself, but also about food rationing and how her mother made the pennies stretch to feed her family. There are highlights in Elsie’s life of Christmas Day, and the rich fruit pudding complete with a lucky sixpence that she and her siblings looked forward to, and also at other times of the odd rabbit that her farmer father managed to catch and the rabbit stew it became after her mother had skinned and gutted it. There is also the alarming sound of the air raid siren, and how she had to flee to the garden shelter with her family, sometimes in the middle of the night.
As Elsie is a child, the book is written in quite a young style that is suitable for older children as well as adults. She thinks nothing of walking two miles with her siblings to play at a favourite spot, something I think today’s children would not even consider (indeed if they are allowed outside in the first place). She took as normal today’s privations such as icy bedrooms and having to share a bed with her 2 sisters, but she was glad of them for warmth.
With a diet augmented by rabbits and whatever else her father managed to catch, Elsie possibly fared rather better than children in London who were not evacuated. I’m sure she grew up healthier than today’s children, brought up on a diet of fast food and lack of exercise. Hopefully she would have been too young at the time to let the war’s horrors blight her later life.

What Remains…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

What Remains

This once beautiful Abbey

stands lost, forgotten

Time no longer remembers

One lonely branch from the tree

reaches forward, touches the ancient stones

seeking remembered blessings

Forgotten souls lie in testament to footfall

that walked there long ago.

Unvisited headstones, their names faded

lost to the winds of time

Why do we not keep what is beautiful

built by those who went before us?

I would turn back time to see it

once more in its full glory

Coloured windows, sunlit,

throwing rainbows across the lawn

A sign, a promise long forgotten…

AAAAA

#Writephoto ~ Rooted

Thursday photo prompt: Rooted #writephoto

 

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Image by scvincent.com

 

 

Sacred

Two trees grow side-by-side, time weaving their pattern across the dusty pathway, a strange maze of hard bones, like arms waiting to greet you.

Below, soft roots entangle like lovers holding hands, searching for the life- sustaining water so new leaves can grow on the branches above.

This dance of love can last for more than a hundred years.

The spirit of any tree is gentle. I have noticed when walking in the woods, the wind drops and the trees stand still as if in salute, a thank you for your visit.

They communicate with each other, leaning their branches towards oncoming footsteps. If they feel the approach is harmful, they lean away from danger. From young boys with sticks beating against their trunks.

They remember your touch, the sound of your voice. In a way, they remind me of elephants for many of their trunks have a similar pattern to an elephant’s skin.

When I take a walk to visit my favourite tree, I have noticed on a warm day when there is no breeze to speak of, the leaves on its branches lift in a sweet rustling. The sound of welcome.

You may think me daft, but find a tree that speaks to you, put your palms on its trunk, lay your troubles at its roots. You may just feel a good deal lighter on your way back home.

Something will call you back to that same tree.

It is a friend of a different kind…

AAAAA

Our Review for The Donor by Stevie Turner @StevieTurner6 #Literature/Women’sFiction

For some reason, this review for Stevie Turner’s book was not accepted by Amazon, so running it again in the hopes it will make it this time!

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 When you know you have met the love of your life, the last thing you expect is for your sister to lure him away. Clare Ronson is faced with this scenario when her sister Isabel marries singer and guitarist Ross Tyler. To compound Clare’s jealousy and bitterness, Ross hits the big time and becomes a wealthy tax exile, relocating to France with his family. Clare cannot bring herself to speak to Isabel or Ross for the next 30 years. However, when tragedy occurs in 2002 causing Ross to arrive back in England at Clare’s doorstep, Clare must try to put the past behind her for her sister’s sake.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Donor-Stevie-Turner-ebook/dp/B016MJ9W0Q/

Our Review

The Donor is the story of an ordinary family, before tragedy strikes and rips it apart. Two very different sisters become entrenched in a bitter feud, one with far-reaching consequences for all of their family.

I always think that the mark of a good read is how quickly you feel at home with both the location and the characters inside a book, and I had my feet under the table, so to speak, in no time at all!

This was the first book I have ever read where all of the characters speak directly to me, making me feel as if I were part of them, although it was an uncomfortable place to be when the arguments start.

Tragedy strikes more than once, building sorrow and tension in equal measure. The author handles these emotionally charged scenes with a unique and compelling touch, but you will need at least one box of tissues!

 

Biography

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ caught the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
You can find her blog at the following link: www.steviet3.wordpress.com

Amazon Review:

The final heartbreaking chapters moved me from disbelief to tears some of joy some of sadness

From the word go this book grabbed my attention and kept it to the very end.

This was a book I could not put down and I read it in 3 hours.

The characters were profoundly flawed and that only added to the realism of the story, the relationships between them all are bittersweet yet heartwarming.