🎉🎉 Happy Publication Day Kerena Swan 🎉🎉 Dying to See You is out today and you can download it now for a bargain price!! Huge thanks to the lovely Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for inviting me to join the #blogblitz.
In celebration, I’ve got a guest post from the author herself about her passion. But first, here’s the bookish stuff to entice you!
He’s Watching, He’s Waiting, She’s next.
When Sophie is told to organize care for elderly Ivy, she is unaware that by meeting Max, Ivy’s grandson, her life will be turned upside down.
As Sophie’s involvement with Max and Ivy increases she becomes more distracted by her own problems.
Because Sophie is certain she is being watched.
For a while Ivy relishes Sophie’s attention, but soon grows concerned of the budding relationship between Sophie and Max.
Torn between Sophie and his grandmother, Max cuts ties with the care agency, leaving Sophie hurt and confused.
Meanwhile there is a murderer killing women in the area.
Is there a link between Sophie’s stalker and the killings?
Soon Sophie will learn that appearances can be deceiving.
Guest Post – A Lifelong Love Affair
Looking back, the second-biggest disappointment when I was five was being given Avon hand cream for Christmas. What’s wrong with hand cream? Well, nothing I suppose. It makes your hands smell nice. My disappointment didn’t centre on what it was but on was it wasn’t. I was a girl on a mission and hand cream just wasn’t going to help me to accomplish it.
Even though I turned five in May, the head teacher wouldn’t let me commence school until September. My mum says it’s because she’d made a complaint about him and this was his revenge. Each morning I stood at the window and watched my two older brothers set off for school, envy and disappointment weighing heavily in my chest. I was desperate to learn to read. Picture books were all right but the mystery of words fascinated me.
How could all those random squiggles equate to my mum being able to say the same words each time she opened the book? Bedtimes were a joy, when Mum was feeling well enough, (she suffered six weeks of crippling pregnancy sickness) as she’d read us Norgy in Littleland by Freda Hurt. How I loved that magical book! I wanted to pick it up and make all those black patterns come alive inside my head.
My first day of school reached its peak of excitement when the teacher sat with me and taught me to read a few simple words. Other children were crying for their mums and I wanted to yell at them to ‘Be quiet! I’m learning to read here.’ The door to the secret garden had been opened and I could feast my eyes on all the colour, beauty and magic that lay within. Janet and John, Ant and Bee and of course Norgy were soon my best friends.
Once I was taught to read, I was obsessed. I would creep onto the freezing landing at night (we had no central heating then) to read by the dim light until I could no longer feel my limbs or Mum caught me and sent me back to bed. I never dared turn my bedroom light on. That Christmas my brothers were given torches and I received the girlie hand cream. Torches! How wonderful. Why couldn’t I have a torch? I didn’t even have dry hands. With a torch I could snuggle up in bed and create a makeshift tent to read my books undetected.
The obsession with reading grew and all my pocket or birthday money went on books. I recall a week spent in Poole, Dorset where Mum and Dad gave us each a small daily allowance to spend on ice-creams and sweets. As soon as I had those coins in my hand, I went straight to the newsagents to decide between a strawberry mivi or Enid Blyton’s The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage. No contest. Toffee bon bons or The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat? A feline crime story held far more appeal.
Without a book on the go, I am incomplete. When I finish a good novel, I lose a companion and at the end of an exceptional book I feel bereft. If someone told me I would have to choose between losing a limb or never reading another book, I’d tell them to make sure I had enough anaesthetic.
I have read a wide range of authors and most genres. I have travelled the world and travelled in time without going through the front door. The e-reader is my favourite invention. I can take numerous books on holiday without weighing my case down and can read at night without my husband telling me to turn the light off.
Losing the sight in my functioning eye from a detached retina two years ago was devastating but at least audio books were available to me. Discovering cancer within weeks of eye surgery was a trauma but I survived. With mortality staring me in the face, I decided to fulfil long-held ambitions so signed up for a novel writing course with the Writing Magazine to produce my first book. I was a woman on a mission.
Suddenly I felt like a teenager who’d finally been given the keys to the car. I was in the driving seat and could decide exactly where the story was going. The journey was exhilarating and it still is. How could I have missed this wonderful experience? I’ve written plenty over the years – policies and procedures, social work reports, training materials, content for my agency website but not fiction. I never thought I’d find a pastime I liked more than reading but writing is now my passion. With the expert guidance of my tutor, Lesley Eames, I learned the craft and finished my first book then spent three months re-writing and editing it.
I gave myself a year to find either an agent or publisher. I had a couple of kind rejections saying my writing was strong but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for but a few weeks later Bloodhound Books requested the whole manuscript. Two days on, I received an e-mail from their submissions team. I hardly dared open it and when I read the beginning I braced myself for disappointment. I have the letter in my dressing gown pocket right now. The first part talked about what they look for in a book and they’d noticed some editorial issues with my book and it wasn’t reaching its potential.
Oh dear, this sounds like the e-mail I had from the publisher who said it needed more threat in the earlier part of the book. Clearly a ‘No’ from Bloodhound but I’ll read on. The next part of the letter said the book was extremely well written and because of my strong natural writing ability, they want to offer me a contract.
Hang on. Did I misinterpret something here? Do they actually want my book? Excitement is fizzing through my stomach as I re-read. It reaches my chest then bursts out in a yell of ‘Yay! I can’t believe it. They want my book!’ I bounced about on my office chair then peered at the screen again as everyone turned to stare at me. Muted congratulations drifted across the room. I turned to look at my husband who was looking at me with an ‘are you serious?’ expression.
And now, after ditching a chapter or two and adding a few new ones, my debut novel ‘Dying to See You’ is full of threat and menace and being released on the 25th April. My second novel ‘Who’s There?’ will hopefully be published in September.
So what was the biggest disappointment when I was five? Being told my new sibling was yet another brother (sorry Craig!).
This is a woman after my own heart! And a few of yours, I’ll bet! Thank you Kerena for an insightful post into your journey! Don’t forget to catch the rest of the #blogblitz with these other fabulous bloggers!
Who Is Kerena Swan?
Kerena lives on the Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire border with her husband, son and two cats. She also has two daughters and two granddaughters.
12 years ago, following a life-time career in social work and management, Kerena set up a company providing support for children with disabilities. Highly successful, the company is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, which Kerena considers her greatest achievement thus far. However, following serious illnesses last year she decided to attempt to fulfil her long-held ambition of writing a novel and getting it published. She has yet to tick off other achievements from her bucket list such as playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano all the way through and being stopped for speeding in a red Ferrari at the age of 80 but can tick off building a brick wall.
After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer. Her husband (worried about his dinners being cooked) has threatened divorce if she writes another book so she’s told him she will write a trilogy.
‘Dying to See You’ is Kerena’s first novel and she has already started work on her second book ‘I Let You In’. Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience in the problematic world of social work, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir genre.
You can keep up with Kerena over on Twitter by following @KerenaSwan