Wordy Wednesday - a break from the interviews

Hello all, for reasons too numerous the mention (but laziness may be one of them) I have no author interview for you today so I'm going to have a natter about reading, about not reading enough and asking you what you are reading.

I used to read loads. As a teen in the 80s (I know!) I didn't have the internet to distract me, the only friend I had who lived in another country was Costas, a Greek penfriend. Penfriends were all the rage back then, but writing letters and waiting, while fun, was not the distraction that the instant conversations of social media are today.

I'm a friendly sole and so I love to chat online, it makes it hard to break off to read a book. Coupled with the feeling that I don't really enjoy books that are written now. It used to be so easy - I loved horror stories for a while in my early teens, couldn't read enough James Herbert and Stephen King, but went off of those as I grew up. Then I fell for Sci-Fi and I still love science fiction, but rarely like the modern tales, that seem overly moralistic or depressing. I know the classics can be that too, but there was a lot of looking for utopia in science while now distopias seem more common.

I tried reading some YA (young adult) fiction, thinking maybe it would be more cheery...ha! It seems if you don't have a life threatening condition, a major disability, a traumatic home-life, or possibly all three you are not a YA hero. I even asked twitter (that distraction) for some happy YA - no one could name one..."oh it's sweet...but yeah..he dies"

Fantasy kept me entertained, I loved the stories of the Dragons of Pern (is that sci-fi or fantasy?) and Terry Pratchett wrote a world of comedy genius filled with trolls, goblins, witches and elves. But lately I really struggle to find something I can get properly lost in.

Recent books that have captured me have included, The Martian, The Girl in the Red Coat, The Golem and the Djinni, Down Station (hurry up and write part 2!), and The Lollipop Shoes. And the thing all these had in common was that I didn't read them....I had them read to me via audible audio books. It's a great way to consume books while I'm driving, double tasking! With the added bonus of not listening to Radio 4 and their obsessive politics.

So what else should I be reading or listening to? Tell me the good stuff I've missed. Pop over to my Facebook page and comment on this post there, or let me know on twitter. Until next week.


Giving yourself a bit of a VÖOST with vitamins

Having a teenager and being a working mum it can be easy to sometimes slip up in the 'balanced diet' stakes. Not very day but sometimes. And the media love to scare us daily with fears around missing our vegetables, getting rickets, scurvy, and the like. The latest scare is around not getting enough vitamin D because we use sunscreen! We really can't win can we!

Since DD was small we always supplemented her diet with vitamins just in case, I realise that if you have a proper balanced diet you don't need them, and that more is not any better than 'enough'; but as I said before, it's easy to find days slip by with no fruit and hardly any vegetables, and all that sunscreen....well..

As DD got older of course the vitamin requirements changed but also so did the tablets, away with the cute chewy jelly type and in with the hard 'swallow whole' sort that DD hated. So I was really thrilled to find VÖOST multivitamin and mineral effervescent tablets that make vitamin taking into a task as simple as a taking a drink (extra points for making the teen drink more) and I bought some to try. Imagine how keen I was to try the others in the range when asked! It turns out that VÖOST has a full range of vitamins and minerals, each with a different flavour and all easy to take in a drink.

VOOST vitamins and minerals

We have been trying out the various ones sent to us for free. And I think I shall be carrying on with the multivitamins and maybe the Vitamin C and D too. I'll let you know if I feel boosted when I've been taking them for a few weeks!

Designed exclusively for busy modern lifestyles, the VÖOST range is ideal for anyone who feels like they need a vitamin or mineral boost. Effortlessly slipping into demanding lives, they simply fizz away in a glass, turning plain water into a great-tasting, nutrient-packed drink. Created by experts who are passionate about health and wellbeing, the VÖOST range has proven to be a hit Down Under, selling over 3.5 million tubes since it launched there three years ago. Effervescent tablets really are one of the most effective ways for people to get a vitamin or mineral boost when they aren’t getting what they need from their diet alone, and it’s been widely reported that many Brits aren’t getting enough on a daily basis.

VÖOST’s extensive range is designed to meet the needs of each individual in order to help them live life to its fullest. The range boasts a Vitamin B Complex to help unlock energy from food, Vitamin C to help maintain a healthy immune system (because who has time to be ill?!), Magnesium to help maintain normal function of the muscles and nervous system, Vitamin D and Calcium + Vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones and teeth, and a Multivitamin, which contains RDAs of a whole host of vitamins. The vitamins and minerals also contain no added dairy, lactose or yeast, so are they are ideal for people on specialist diets or with dietary requirements. Available in Asda, Superdrug, Waitrose and Morrisons, VÖOST’s effervescent tablets are sure to put a fizz inyour step.

Find more info and the full rang at http://www.vitaminhaus.com.au/

Disclosure - I was sent 6 tubes a VOOST to try them for myself!


Camp Bestival 2016 - out of this world

camp bestival lulworth castle

I have been going to Camp Bestival with DD since 2010 when I first head about about it. Every years there are new things to surprise us. For several years the Dingly Dell was a quiet arty location but lately it has been full of excitement and fun and extreme tree climbing for example!

tree climbing

The lovely layout with fields of different types lends itself to discovery and for some reason we seem to spend most time in the same field for most of the festival, though the field we pick has varied by year! This year we spent a lot  of time in the main castle field, and in the lower kids field.

camp bestival kids field

A highlight for DD and for me too was Mr Motivator on the main stage, getting an entire field of adults and children alike, swinging our arms and leaping around to music. Dick and Dom were as chaotic as always with plenty of laughs for the children and innuendo for the adults, once again they made a small child cry on stage (which always makes DD and I feel bad when we giggle).

mr motivator on the camp bestival main stage

Fatboy Slim's set was a triumph and quite possibly my favourite act of the weekend.

fatboy slim at camp bestival

Though Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and his 'chap hop' was certainly a contender for most fun set of the weekend.

This year the theme was Space and so our fancy dress Saturday costumes were R2D2 and a StormTrooper. The fancy dress costumes and buggy pimping just get better year after year and this year my Morphsuit costume, while wonderful, was put to shame by a real stormtrooper! and even Chewbacca on a rare day off.
stormtrooper drinking gin by a castle
Me as a Stormtrooper

starwars stormtrooper
An actual Stormtrooper
starwars chewbacca
The theme didn't put me off wearing my Deadpool Morphsuit though, and so one day was made more surreal as Deadpool met the Clangers, and Camp Bestival does do surreal very well, with giant spacemen too!
deadpool meets the clangers
deadpool and a giant spaceman

The food was great, plenty of simple choices for small children (and fussy teens!) and more fancy fayre in the  Feast Collective tent. 

As always the end of the festival was marked by an amazing firework display around and even on, the castle.

Some people have remarked that for 4 days it's an expensive festival. But I honestly think you get value for money. If you look at how much you would pay to go to a circus, watch several well known bands, see comedians, meet the Clangers, go to a movie (we watched Pete's Dragon, the new Disney movie 2 weeks before it's UK release date!!) as well as have a camping pitch I think you'll see you are getting a bargain.

cinema in a big top
Saturday Morning Pictures Camp Bestival Style - in the Big Top

Tickets for next year are already on sale! Why not take advantage of the payment plan and spread the cost over the year. (from as little as £5 a week)

sunset with bunting

giant spaceman by a castle

Disclosure : I was invited to attend the festival for free in exchange for promotional blog posts and an honest review, but in previous years I've been happy to pay!


Being a Wise Woman, or a Killer Whale

Earlier today - interested by the mysterious headline "What can killer whales teach us about the menopause?" I had a read of a BBC article. Sadly it was not a ground breaking moment of clarity about hormones and physical changes. It was a moment of anger and rage!

At first I merely tweeted -

"The menopause is a puzzle for biologists. Why would the female of a species cease to reproduce half way through her life, when natural selection favours characteristics that help an individual's genes survive?"

Maybe because women have other skills that help improve the gene pool and the survival of the young as well as actually making the babies? Maybe old women have a purpose too!
""From an evolutionary perspective, it's very difficult to explain," says Prof Darren Croft, who travels here from the UK's University of Exeter to study the whales." says a man ...maybe we women know things, maybe we can teach things!

Seriously sometimes scientists can be dim.

but the more I thought about it the angrier I became. Were scientists (or at least one scientist) really saying that they had always thought that once we couldn't make babies women were useless? Based on that, even in animal and evolutionary terms they were saying female animals are only about babies. I assume that all animals while needing to make babies are also about keeping those babies alive. Making a new whale, or a new human, is important to carry on your genes but if you just leave it (especially among mammals which tend to be born fairly small and weedy) then your genes will die out pretty fast along with your baby!

In nature and still, often, in humans the bulk of rearing the young falls to the mother, often because of breastfeeding (those awkward breasts - being fixed to us as they are) and just the way things are. So if you are rearing young, pregnant and then rearing more young, you are pretty busy. (I see you new mums nodding) One of the things you are busy at is learning. Learning how to raise babies for a start! Your manly male may be off teaching hunting to the rest of the pod but that doesn't mean your skills are useless, just different.

So without being a scientist, or a professor of anything, it seems pretty clear to me that female mammals need a bit of time when baby rearing is totally off the table, to focus on teaching. Leaving that until after they have had time to learn makes some sense too.

To me the menopause is the start of that movement into 'wise woman' status. And while modern humans can share baby raising, share feeding (how handy to have bottles that make detatching a baby from the mum so easy!) and can control their fertility and pregnancies, it wasn't that long ago (in evolutionary terms) that we couldn't.

Like killer whales we seem to live fairly complex lives; and having the ability to pass on information without the complication of babies seems pretty clever to me. After all males are burdened until death with sexual desire. Something older female mammals can move away from (and before you all shriek, yes I know older ladies like sex...shhhh) Males of many species often retain the testosterone instincts to fight and hunt too, leaving those pesky useless women at home.

The mysterious wise women of folklore, that 'scary' knowledgable witch, is a real person, with midwifery skills learned from years of doing it right (after all - if you got it wrong you would die) and skills in childhood illnesses and finding useful foodstuffs that babies could eat. These are skills to pass on to your own offspring, because your genes mustn't die! And you might not have time if you are busy still raising babies, to teach your daughter what she needs to know.

I can't help wondering if we would have come as far along the evolutionary path as we have if women had all died as soon as fertility finished. Longer life gives rise to greater learning, and a better ability to pass things form generation to generation.

So the article just seemed to confirm the obvious, that women, even old women, have a place of genetic evolutionary importance. And I didn't need to go to university, or study killer whales to know that...it seems I just needed to be old.

Read the full article:

Need to tell me what you think? Pop over to my Facebook page

Whale Image Copyright: desertsolitaire / 123RF Stock Photo

Woman and child Image Copyright: digitalpress / 123RF Stock Photo


Wordy Wednesday with - Dogs!

If you like books about dogs, more specifically about terriers and even more specifically written by terriers then today's book suggestions are for you!

Fizz the border terrier puppy
Fizz - my border terrier

One of my favourite books of all time is by Rudyard Kipling. Called Thy Servant, a Dog, it tells the simple tale of Boots and Slippers two terriers (Aberdeen terriers) who meet and live together, of their adventures with the small human that later appears, and their friendship with hunt hounds. It has thrills (when they meet a bull in the yard!) and sadness. Written very much in a style that terrier owners will recognise "I have eaten grass and sicked up I am happy dog" it is just lovely. I think it's now out of print but you can grab an old copy either in a good second hand book shop or online if you are lucky, or read it free online here. It contains scenes that may upset younger readers.

The next book on my suggestions list is Dear Clementina, once again a terrier meets a friend in the park, and then letters are exchanged. The terriers in this story are Border Terriers (my favourite breed) and Stanley writes endearing tales to Clementina. The story starts as Stanley and Clementina meet in a Manchester park. As many young puppies are, Stanley is a mischief and a trouble maker, but even when stealing socks he is far too cute for anyone to be angry for long. Stanley's first year is a fun read for dog owners and non dog owners alike, if you are getting a puppy maybe reading this will prepare you! (or put you off!! haha) You can get a copy of Dear Clementina on Amazon. It is wittily illustrated through out. Perfect for bedtime reading,  with a letter a night from Stanley.

Not all border terriers are living a (mostly) peaceful life in Manchester though, and in Wingin' it with the Wright Brothers we meet Angus (a fictional creation, unlike Stanley) the Wright Brother's dog. He guides us through all that they get up to, thus adding some terrier thoughts to a historical incident. Angus is also a border terrier. Angus insists it was he that gave the brothers the idea of making a flying machine! You can get a copy of this book on Amazon too. And if you like dog stories try others in the Tall Tales range.

Lastly a book for grown ups and young adults. If you have lived your life without reading Fluke by James Herbert - now is the time. A book about a dog who thinks he's a man or a man who thinks he's a dog. A truly amazing tale of intrigue, mystery and adventure. Not for the faint hearted there are some genuinely scary moments and some very sad ones, but an excellent story by a world class story teller.

Do you know any books written by animals? I'd love to do a round up of more! pop over to facebook to let me know or tweet me.


Pete's Dragon. A Camp Bestival movie treat

One of the things I like at Camp Bestival is watching movies in a tent in a field. It has that childlike joy of the Saturday morning pictures with the added benefit of being able to have a beer as you watch.

Petes dragon 1977
This year I was pretty excited to discover the movie they chose to show was Disney's Pete's Dragon. I assumed it would be the old Micky Rooney version from 1977 which I love (I own it on VHS!) , but imagine my excitement when it was the 2016 version with Robert Redford! (released in the UK on 12th August)

I was a teensy bit worried that glossy CGI would spoil the joy of Elliot the Dragon but I need not have worried, his face even resembles the cartoon version, and his expressions and quizzical noises just as good and sweet as the original.

The film started pretty slowly, and there are a lot of 'in the dark' scenes (they may be easier to watch without sunshine leaking in around the edges of the tent), and obvious omissions are the rough hillbilly family that used Pete as a meal ticket in the original, in this version he is just a lost child. There is also a fairly well signposted 'eco message'.

The plot bumps along following fairly closely to the original though, and both DD and I wept at both sad and happy scenes even though we knew the ending!

The finale of this new version was better than the 1977 version in my opinion.

You can watch the trailer here.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

Smaller children may prefer the 1977 version, with a colourful clowning dragon and plenty of musical numbers, but older children and adults will no doubt enjoy the more realistic (!) 2016 version.

Pete’s Dragon flies into UK cinemas on August 12, 2016

Petes dragon movie 2016


Camp Bestival is only days away and yet still new things are being announced!

Camp Bestival keep emailing me and each email is better than the last!

Now they are unveiling that not one, but two utterly awesome Giant Astronauts built by Shipshape Arts will be joining the space cadets and festival fans at Camp Bestival.

Resplendent in gleaming space suits, and stationed in the Magic Meadow, Camp Bestivals very own super star-sailors stand at an astronomical seven metres tall and will be bathed in their own special cosmic light under starry skies.

Sure to be an awe-inspiring sight, you won’t be able to miss these twin emblems of exploration and discovery.

But that’s not all, I've been told to be prepared to be dazzled by the elegant beauty of Celestial Dreaming. A stunning, interactive installation designed by glowing friends And Now: take your family on a voyage through the infinite possibilities of an enchanting solar system filled with glistening constellations, cosmic relics and storytelling star gazers.

As the sun sets Celestial Dreaming will radiate the burnished light of 450 points of fire arranged in incandescent orbits, celebrating the majestic brilliance of the universe. One of the most exquisitely breath-taking spectacles you’re likely to see at a festival, Celestial Dreaming is your chance to get lost in space.

I'm sure these two cosmic treats will spark some out of this world costume ideas for Saturday’s
fancy dress parade. As you know I'm all set with mine!

See you there?


Wordy Wednesday with Terry Ray Hall

After a gap last week due to me being lazy off work and soaking up the relaxing vibes with my family and new puppy I have a Wordy Wednesday interview for you once again.

This week I'm pleased to hand the stage to Terry Ray Hall, as I don't know a lot about Terry and his writing I asked him to introduce himself, I'll just lurk and have a cool drink in the shade of a tree to avoid the heat while he says hello:

I have been writing and drawing since I was very little and my mum encouraged me to read almost as soon as I could talk. She grew up in the war and was moved from school to school, so she became embarrassed about reading. She made sure I never had that experience. She says I was born with a pen in one hand and a suitcase in the other...so writing a children's book about travel seems quite appropriate!

Do you have another job or are you a full time author? If you do something else (exotic dancer?) what is it and do you like it?
I am a film screenwriter and producer. I like the creativity of it, but dislike the time it takes to raise investment for the projects. That can be disheartening.
I work as a trainer for international blue chip companies, teaching staff about customer service and developing the necessary business skills for managers to run a company effectively.
I am a hypnotherapist and have teamed up with musician and movie score-writer Imran Ahmad to create "Mindtracks," downloadable audio mind entrainment MP3s, which enable people to achieve natural sleep or for business professionals to relax, meditate and alter their perspectives when dealing with issues in their day to day working environment.
I also trained as a dancer, raced in athletics meetings at Crystal Palace and have acted on screen. However, I would definitely liked to have trained as a gymnast. - busy busy!

What was the first thing you wrote (apart from your name, I mean the first story)?
I went to Cubitt Town school on the Isle of Dogs until I was about five or six. I remember I wrote a little 5-minute play for the rest of the children to act in. It was about a flying saucer and we built a cardboard box to represent the alien craft. I liked magic and sci-fi a lot - and still do!

What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?
The funny things animals do, a beautiful sunny beach or mountain scenery, elegant events where everyone can dress up and enjoy each other's company.

Do you have any pets?
No. But I think they would help with the writing process. (you better add one to your list of things you need then!)

Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
Bill Bryson, I love his sense of humour, his fascination with words and language, and his urge to travel. I read his entire book "The Lost Continent' on a flight from London to Los Angeles and couldn't put it down. It fits very well with me and is the sort of book I'd like to have written. - Oh I love his books too, to be informative while being funny is such a skill, and to be wry in that humour without ever being mean is even more of a skill! - My favourite of his is A Walk in the Woods. 

Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
I actually prefer non-fiction books, filled with beautiful pictures, maps and factual information. I also like inspirational self-help, health manuals or spiritual books which help people change perspectives.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Currently at my parent's place, so that I can use the internet. Sometimes in Starbucks where they also have wi-fi!

What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
Some words I have heard so you can choose from: Electric, considerate, approachable , trustworthy, open-minded, teacher-like, avant-garde, creative, inventive, arty, quirky, weird, friendly, interesting, magnetic, futuristic, day-dreamy. My dad, when he wants my attention, often says, "Earth calling planet Zog." Says it all, I suppose.

Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - no spoilers!
Gwendoline. I saw her character first. She knows what she wants and she goes out to get it. Whether anyone else wants the same thing is another matter.

What is your favourite biscuit?
Anything with a minty taste. Although I like Bourbons and Ginger Nuts.

Tea or Coffee?

I prefer coffee

In the film of your life, who would play you?
Haha, I used to look like John Travolta, back in the day, and used to teach the dances in Saturday Night Fever. I even had a shiny blue shirt and white flares! So I guess it would be him. Or maybe Clive Owen!

If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of a cauliflower sheep - you could cover it in cheese and then shear ready made cauliflower cheese!

A tree squirrel. It would be an animal that had a ready made place to live! - with a very shrubby tail!

Thanks for taking part Terry, all the best with the book!

Passports To Peril is available on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.

Terry is also promoting a movie "The Border Guide", an inspirational war story about a young boy Aksel who guides refugees over the Norwegian/ Swedish border. He is working on getting the script produced. It is filmed in the National Geographic style, to show the beauty of Norway.

Find out more about what Terry is up to on his Facebook, and don't forget to like my page too while you are there!

Until next week - keep reading!


What I did on my holidays

Extra points to anyone that spotted the Terry Pratchett reference in this blog post title. I haven't been to Ankh-Morpork but I have been off work for a week and having family fun, including spending time with Fizz the puppy who is finally old enough to go outside for walks.

Apparently puppies should only be excercised for 5 minutes for each month of their age so poor bouncy Fizz is limited to 20 minutes, however this hasn't stopped up taking her out an about, armed with a large bag in case she needs a rest.

We had a fun day out in Petworth for a food festival, where as usual Fizz behaved like a loon with every dog she met - she really needs to learn that leaping on someones head is not the sign of affection she thinks it should be.

border terrier puppy on shingle beach

Later we took a trip to Brighton where Fizz was universally admired (or course she was - she is gorgeous), and Mr TM and I took her for a half day out at the Weald and Downland Museum too which was fab. I plan a much fuller blog post on that over at TentSniffing for Beginners later. But here is a cute picture of her enjoying the day to keep you going.

border terrier puppy

DD has totally finished school - I have a student not a child for a daughter now - so I probably should feel like a grown up - oddly, I don't.

Luckily she doesn't seem too grown up either - so we are looking forward to our summer of festival fun. despite the fact this Minion costume in Asda is not available in her size...ah well.

minion fancy dress

Sorry to anyone that missed Wordy Wednesday last week, normal service should be resumed soon...

I do hope you are all making the most of this sunny weather!

caution i'm hot sign on cup


Wordy Wednesady with Oliver Clarke

Good day Wordy Wednesday fans. Another Wednesday another author to quiz, another brain to poke about in. Today it's rather a joy as I've known this author (via the medium of twitter) for quite some time and I've read a fair bit of his writing, so I know something you might not, he is a great write with a very dark, warped view of things, a creepy, disconcerting view of the world, but I'm leaping ahead, allow me to introduce Oliver Clarke, and let us ask him to tell us about himself and his books

I'm in my early 40s (just) and am married with a young son. We live in Sussex with and an overweight cat. At night, when a story grips me, I write. Genre is a tough one for me to pin down, but most of my work has an element of crime or horror in it. I've published 2 novels to date, the first 'Sunliner' is a mix of 50s noir and sci fi, the second 'One Night' is a more traditional romantic thriller about a young woman who meets a bad boy on the run.

Aside from the novels I've written a bunch of short stories, including 5 about a plucky cat. That series ('A Cat Called Hope') started life as a bit of a joke, because people kept telling me I never wrote anything nice, but has ended up being my most successful work by far. I've sold more copies of those than everything else but together (a few times over) and the first book in the series is now available in French too ('Un Chat Nomme Espoir'!)

Do you have another job or are you a full time author? If you do something else (international spy?) what is it and do you like it?
My "real" job is very dull, I'm a project manager for a big high street bank, specialising in telephony based projects. Most of the time I like it, I work with some great people and delivering something new is always satisfying.

When did you start writing?
As a child, I still remember the first short story I wrote for a school project when I was about 10 - it was a sci fi tale of an astronaut who crash lands on a planet inhabited by vicious robots. Through my teens, twenties and thirties I kept at it but never really managed to finish anything. My new year's resolution at the start of 2012 (the year I turned 39) was to stop pissing about and make it happen. The result was Sunliner, which I wrote in about 6 weeks and published in the February.

What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?

My son telling me about the latest crazy invention he's dreamed up

That thing where you take photos of 2 people who look alike but reverse the name captions underneath - a fan of Private Eye no doubt then!

Early Adam Sandler films

Do you have any pets? If yes, what, and do they help or hinder the writing process?

We have a cat, Venus, who is fairly saggy and lazy. I don't think she either helps or hinders my writing, but she is good company and very chatty.

Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?

Stephen King, without hesitation. I've struggled a bit with his more recent stuff, but I LOVED his books as a teenager and he has been a massive influence on me.Oh I totally agree, weirdly for an author I think his early stuff was better, proper fear inducing stories.

Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?

I generally have a few books on the go and flit between them - at the moment those are 'A Princess of Mars' by Edgar Rice Burrough, 'Shogun' by James Clavell and 'Alone in Berlin' by Hans Fallada

Where do you do most of your writing?

Anywhere I can! I used Google Drive which gives me real flexibility. Most of 'Sunliner' was written on my phone whilst walking to work and then edited at the dining room table in the evening. Writing books on your phone, what a world we live in

Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - no spoilers!

Tough choice, as there are a few I really like. The most popular with readers is Marx, the feline protagonist of the 'Cat Called Hope' books, who I think of as being a bit like a moggy version of Jack Bauer (he does the right thing no matter how hard it is).

My own fave is probably JJ, the villain in Sunliner. Writing someone utterly evil is great fun and really cathartic!

What is your favourite biscuit?

Custard Cream, no competition

Tea or Coffee?

Tea. I like coffee but only drink one cup a day compared to about 5 or 6 cups of tea

In the film of your life who would play you? (why)

I'd like to say Bradley Cooper, but that's probably wishful thinking. I genuinely don't know!

If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of a potato and a sloth...could you get a lazier creature? (my soul mate)

My cat crossed with any vegetable would be lazier (trust me).

How about an onion crossed with a 3 legged puppy for when you need a good cry?

Here's the link to Oliver's Amazon UK page

It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that there is someone else called Oliver Clarke who publishes on Amazon. He writes dirty books and is not me! (I'm sensible enough to publish my dirty books under a pseudonym ;)) This made me laugh!

And here's a link to One Night, which is probably my most accessible book (and is only 99p at the moment!)

Massive thanks to Olly, and do check out his books, they are ...well good is the wrong word...fascinating maybe, creepy definitely and if you read Camera Phone v1 don't do it alone ...oh same for Doorbell, actually maybe read them all in a friendly spot ....

Do follow Olly on twitter, (I'm on Twitter too you know!) and pop over to Facebook to like my page and have a natter.