******Author Q & A Rosanna Ley*******

Today I am going to share with you an interview with the amazing Rosanna Ley

West Bay 2 by Grey Innes

Rosanna Ley, who teaches creative writing on annual writing holidays, is a great advocate of researching her novels and says ‘don’t write what you know – write what you want to explore and discover’. For The Saffron Trail Rosanna did extensive research into saffron farming in Norfolk, collected personal experiences of WW2 from people in West Dorset; and travelled to Marrakech and Essaouria to experience Moroccan cooking and architecture for herself.

Hello Rosanna – Thank you for taking part in this interview for Natsreadingcloud. Would you like to start by introducing yourself to my readers..? Hello! I write novels set in locations such as Burma, Morocco and Sicily for Quercus Books. I love travelling – which helps! – and live by the sea in West Dorset. I also run writing retreats in the UK and abroad.

I really enjoyed The Saffron Trail – can you tell us a bit about it? A small group of Europeans travel to a tranquil riad in Marrakech to learn about  Moroccan cuisine. Among the group are Nell, who dreams of opening her own restaurant back in the UK and photographer Amy, who is gathering illustrative material for a Moroccan event and publication for her gallery in Lyme Regis. Nell is searching for a sense of direction following the death of her mother. Amy is searching for her cousin Glenn – an American draft dodger last heard of living in a hippie commune in the shadows of the Atlas Mountains. Although the two young women have not met before and know nothing of each other, their families are linked through history – by the relationships they have shared and by what they have lost in wartime and in peace. The book follows their journey as they search out the secrets of the past and make decisions about how to move on into their future. 

How did you go about doing the research for the Saffron Trail? Did you visit Morocco? I did lots of reading and Googling to find out more about saffron, about Moroccan food and architecture, about draft dodgers and the history of the Vietnam war, about the ‘hippie trail’ of the 1960s and Bridport during World War 2 – all subjects that feature in the book. And yes, I visited Marrakech, Essaouira, a saffron farm in the foothills of the Atlas mountains and a waterfall in Morocco to get the full flavour. And Roseland in Cornwall of course!

What is your favorite Moroccan Food? I had some wonderful tagines while over there – my favourite was a fish tagine with saffron, cous cous and an aubergine and tomato salad. Yum.

I understand you worked as a creative writing tutor for 20 years. What are your top 3 writing tips for writers just started out? 

Don’t write what you know – write what you want to explore.

Try and write a bit every day.

Never give up.

Who are your favorite Authors?  And what genre of books do you enjoy reading? I have so many! DH Lawrence is my hero and I also love Jane Austen. In contemporary writing I love Anita Shreve, Kate Morton and Maggie O’Farrell. I like reading crime, psychological thrillers, intelligent women’s fiction. I like some literary fiction as long as it’s accessible and not self-indulgent. I just like a really good story written well, and it’s a shame we have to separate it into genres for marketing purposes.

What is the best thing about being a writer? Justifying travel beyond one holiday a year is the pat answer. The more considered answer would be that although it’s hard work it’s also incredibly thrilling when a book is finished – and even more so when readers like it!

And finally – have you started writing your next book? Oh, yes. I’m almost finishing the first draft. It’s set in Cuba and the working title is ‘The Last Rumba’.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these 🙂 My pleasure!! Rosanna x


 The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley is out now (Quercus, £7.99)

What lovely answers from a wonderful lady

Loved this book my review of The Saffron Trail will be posted up on here later on this week 🙂


***Author Q& A*** Mannah Pierce

Today I am going to share with you an interview  with the amazing Mannah Pierce.

UK-based Mannah Pierce is a former scientist and teacher who has developed innovative and diverse lesson plans and syllabus for the UK education system. Cast Adrift by Mannah Pierce (published by Clink Street RRP £3.99 ebook) is her first published work and is available to buy online from retailers including The second book in Pierce’s science fiction saga, Foothold, will be available later this summer. For more information please visit

Hello Mannah – Thank you for taking part in this interview for Natsreadingcloud. Would you like to start by introducing yourself to my readers..?

Thank you, Nat, for interviewing me. I expect some of your readers are like me, a secret writer. I have written stories all my life but they were just for me; even my husband of thirty years had not read them! Then I hit fifty and I decided it was time to share the world I had created in my head and write a story for other people to read.

In the real world I have been a scientist and now work in education. I like my job. I live in a suburban semi with my husband and two cats. We are content and comfortable, so I feel free to write the stories I want to write and I think readers will enjoy rather than ones someone else thinks will sell.

Needless to say, my husband was first in line to buy the ebook the day it was published! It was a huge relief when he said he was looking forward to the sequel.

 I really enjoyed Cast Adrift – can you tell us a bit about it?

Cast Adrift starts when Jae, a boy whose life was mapped out for him before he was born, meets Rae, a boy determined to avoid a future that promises nothing. It’s about friendship, growing up and how difficult it is to remain true to oneself when faced with difficult choices.

It is also an adventure story set in my world of the far future. Jax is on the run from his uncle, who has murdered Jax’s father and usurped the leadership of the Navaja clan. Rae is a canine-human hybrid but no one knows who made him. They become cabin boys on the Willow, a small spaceship that trades between star systems.

I won’t tell you anymore because it will give away too much of the story!

What was your inspiration behind Cast Adrift? and who was your favorite Character/s to write? 

Cast Adrift is set is the world in my head, the one I have been creating over the last forty years. I wanted to share that world with other people by writing them a story I hoped they would enjoy.

I like writing all the characters, although it is always challenging to make them real. None of the characters are like me. None of them grew up in this world. Some, like Rae, are intrinsically different from you and me.

Do I have a favourite? Probably Kip. Maybe Tre. You’ll need to read the book to meet them.

Who are your favorite Authors?  And what genre of books do you enjoy reading?

My all time favourite Author is Cordwainer Smith. He wrote science fiction in the 1950s and 1960s. He can communicate an entire world within one paragraph and make you love a character with a single sentence. I also like Jane Austen for the same reasons!

My favourite living author is Orson Scott Card, although I prefer his earlier works. From this you can tell that I like science fiction but it has to have characters that feel real and that I care about.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Am I a writer? The best thing about writing is imagining a world and the people in it. The second best is trying to communicate that world to others so they believe in it too. 

And finally – can you give us any hints on book 2? 

It’s called Foothold. It is with the publishers and will be out in the next few months. I don’t want to spoil the story, especially for anyone who hasn’t read Cast Adrift yet, so I won’t tell you about the plot but you will get to travel on a salvage ship and a luxury liner on your way to Tarrasade, the oldest spacestation in the Fringe.

You can purchase Cast Adrift from the following;

Cast adrift


***5 Star Review*** Evil Games (D.I. Kim Stone #2) by Angela Marsons



The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal.

My Review 

Thank you Bookouture for sending me a copy for a an honest review

From page One  I felt like I was back with old friends the type where you can pick straight up from where you left off. But as you were getting comfortable you are introduced to Dr Alex Thorne which makes you go to the edge of your seat. Alex is Smart, clever and above all EVIL to the core. I cannot remember when I hated a book character so much, which is a credit to Angela Marsons writing ability, Angela has said she had fun writing this character and I understand a heck of a lot of research.

There is a lot more character development with D I Kim Stone you get to see her more as a person and not just the front she puts on as a Detective Inspector.

Once again an amazing, breathtaking, twisty and exhilarating novel by a cracking writer.

I cannot recommend this enough

5 of 5 stars


**Review** Cast Adrift by Mannah Pierce

Cast adrift


Cast Adrift is the first part of a science fiction saga set in an interstellar world of the far future where Earth is merely a myth. Ean is queen of the Willow, a small ship with a Traditional crew who live in space and trade between the stars. Suddenly Tre, the laid back crew enforcer, is demanding that they dash to one system to pick up cabin boys and then divert to another to recruit an adolescent who is utterly unsuited to spacer life. Who is Jax? What is Rae? Why is the most powerful individual in Known Space interested in Kip? Most importantly, what is Tre up to?

My Review

I  was contacted by Clink Street Publishing a self publishing imprint of Authoright   to ask me to review this. I must admit I did hesitate for a moment as science fiction is a genre which to be honest does not interest me, also I don’t tend to read self published books.  But I thought hey Clink Street  found me and took time out of their day to email me so I said yes. Sometimes I do need to be taken out of my reading comfort zone and boy I am so glad I said yes.

The book caught my imagination straight away  when we were introduced to Jax and Rae at a recruitment fair. What is Rae? Why and how is he there? and Why is Jax there? and why is he so special?

Once abroad the Willow a small ship with a traditional crew (good guys) you met the other characters (Spacers, Cats, etc) all the characters were fascinating and kept me reading on to see what would happen next.

Some of the more ”sciencey” components of the book did go over my head a bit but the story line more then made up for that.  The one element of the story I was not sure on was the ‘catting’. I felt that the ages of the boys made me feel uncomfortable reading these parts.

A captivating debut which you don’t have to be geeky to read  i’m not and I really enjoyed the adventure it took me on.

I am so glad I took the leap of faith to read this book and I cannot wait until the next installment. What a cliff hanger you are left on

4 of 5 stars


5 STAR REVIEW: I let you go by Clare Mackintosh

I let you go


A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.

DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.

As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating

My Review

Firstly I would like to thank Little, Brown UK and Net Gallery for sending myself a copy for an honest review.

Within the first few pages I was just totally spellbound by this book. I cannot believe this was a debut by this author as it was just utterly brilliant. Her knowledge of the law and criminal law was fantastic (this of course was from being on the right side of the Law).

The twist in this book was just SHOCKING (in a good way) and had me shouting WHAT!!!!!!! I just did not see it coming.

Please please don’t try and guess this twist and ruin it for yourself. It is in my top 10 of best book twists.

This book is part of Richard and Judy Book Club 2015 and deservedly so.

5 of 5 stars


5 Star Review: Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton


In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely…

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it’s no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders—Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum—are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

My Review 

I would like to thank the publisher for sending an ARC of this book  for an honest review.

This is the first Sharon Bolton book I have read, I have heard good things about the Lacey Flint series by the same author but have never got round to reading this yet.

Firstly I have never read a book which is based in the Falklands. Bolton brought this landscape totally alive for me. what an incredible setting

This Story is told by 3 main characters (islanders)  Catrin, Callum and Rachel. Each holding onto a secret.

This book is full of suspense and is so dark you probably cannot see a hand in front of your face if you were actually in the dark.

This book is defiantly one of the best I have read this year and will be a MASSIVE hit. Right from the first page I was hooked.

This is a must for your TBR list

5 of 5 stars


Promo Blitz for ‘Life’s a Beach and then..

front cover

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Banner made by Gina Dickerson: 


Holly Wilson has landed a dream job but there is one proviso… she must keep it secret, and that means telling lies. Holly hates telling lies.

Her latest assignment has brought her to the paradise island of Mauritius where she meets a British couple, Robert and Rosemary, who share a tragic secret of their own.

The moment they introduce Holly to handsome writer, Philippe, she begins to fall in love, something she hasn’t allowed herself to do for twenty years.

But Philippe has not been completely honest either and when Holly stumbles across the truth, she feels totally betrayed.

Bio Julia Roberts 

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts was born in Nottingham in 1956 and shortly afterwards, in 1957, contracted the deadly disease Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as Polio. After a five month stay quarantined in hospital she was discharged on Christmas Eve with her left leg in a calliper. Thanks to extensive physiotherapy, swimming lessons, and persistent parents, who wanted their daughter to be able to walk through her life unaided, Julia was out of her calliper by the age of 3.

It was at primary school that Julia’s creative and performance abilities began to shine through. Having started ballet classes at the age of three, again to help with strengthening her left leg, she was unable to attend for two years due to the death of her grandma and her mother’s ill health. Julia recommenced dancing lessons across multiple styles at the age of 9, and also began elocution lessons. She was very successful in the Nottingham Speech and Drama festivals and also in a variety of dancing competitions. At the age of ten she wrote her first play which was performed by fellow classmates at Jesse Gray School, and buoyed by that success she entered a short story writing competition, with her creation The Foundling, and was awarded second place.

Despite the challenges of a weak leg, Julia had decided that she wanted to become a professional dancer. Summer Seasons, pantomimes, a Caribbean cruise, and a stint at a theatre in Barcelona followed before Julia hung up her dancing shoes and moved into television. Initially she hit the screen as a TV extra before gaining small acting roles in TV shows such as Citizen Smith and many television commercials.  In addition to her on screen parts, Julia also secured a recording contract in the early 1980s with a band called Jools and The Fools.

As the 1980s fitness boom gripped the nation, Julia began teaching fitness classes to supplement her income before becoming one of the original hostesses on the game show The Price is Right in 1983. After 2 series of the show, Julia had a production of her own…her son, Daniel. He was followed 13 months later by her daughter, Sophie, which led her to take a short career break.

During this time, Julia decided to try her hand at television presenting, landing herself the role of chat show host for her local channel in Croydon. One of the shows she presented weekly was entitled Palace Chatback and this led her to become an avid Crystal Palace supporter. She also produced and presented features about her team for Sky Sports.

In 1993, she auditioned to become a presenter for a shopping channel called QVC and, having been offered the job, was one of the first faces to launch the channel on 1st October the same year. Julia has worked there ever since whilst continuing presenting roles for Sky Sports and several corporate productions.

Throughout her career, Julia has always wanted to write a book but, as a working mum, was time-starved. She kept her hand in writing for magazines and newspapers, and eventually started her first book – a memoir entitled One Hundred Lengths of the Pool – in 2011. The concept was a little different from a standard memoir, with Julia using the numbers of each of the chapters to relate to moments from her life.

Having battled against Polio as a young child, Julia had a new health challenge to face as, in April 2012, she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. CML as it more commonly known is a rare type of blood cancer which affects only 600 people per year in the UK. Julia responded well to the early stages of her treatment but in November 2012, her BCR/ABL results showed an increase in the levels of the disease. It was a frightening time for Julia as she feared she may have developed a mutation of CML called T3151 which is resistant to any currently available drug therapy. Fortunately, an increased dosage of her treatment drug, Imatinib, brought these elevated levels of the disease down and they have continued to reduce. It was in April 2015 that Julia received the news that there is now no recordable level of the disease in her body, although she has to remain on medication for at least two more years.

Throughout her battle with CML she has continued working full-time at QVC, attempting to keep normality in her life. She signed a publishing deal with Preface Publishing for her book One Hundred Lengths of the Pool and that was a sell-out success on QVC. As a result of the publicity surrounding her book she was approached by the British Polio Fellowship and asked to become an ambassador for the charity which she readily agreed to. In conjunction with QVC, British Polio and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Julia organised a charity swimming gala where she set herself the challenge of swimming one hundred lengths of the pool while other participants took part in fun races and games. A percentage of the profits from her first book went to polio charities and a similar percentage of her latest book will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Following the launch of her first book, Julia needed a well-deserved break and booked a holiday to Mauritius. Her children, now adults, had bought her a notebook with words on the cover that read Hold on people…  I’m having an Idea. On the first morning of her holiday, Julia had just that – the idea for her first novel.

Over the course of the ten days she was in Mauritius, she scribbled copious notes, thoughts and ideas. When she arrived home, she started writing.


Julia QVC Blog:

Link to Julia’s Previous Book:


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