Interview with author, Thea Hartley

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Hi Thea, welcome my blog. I notice you’ve recently published a book called, The Fall of the French Letter King, which is the third in a trilogy about your grandfather, father and the family business. I enjoyed the first two books, how does this one differ to the others?

This book is far more personal. It covers a period of my life from the beginning of my teens to my twenties. A lot happened at that time which affected me as well as my parents, so I have written about some painful memories and events . It is very powerful and reveals many secrets.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Recounting these very personal and painful memories. The self disclosure was extremely difficult.

What was your favourite part of this book to write and why?

I enjoyed the parts about other people in the town, especially a famous fight which I witnessed. I liked it because it wasn’t about me and because it was so humorous.

How long did it take to write and how did you research for it?

This book took about a year. Most of the research was already done for the two previous books. However, I did have to check with some people about including them etc.

Do you have any plans for any future novels?

I already have a fictional novel almost completed called “Under the Clouds of War”, after that I plan to write a temporary psychological thriller. I haven’t any plans for more factual books however.

Tell me a little about a typical writing day for you…

I get up, have breakfast and usually write until around noon. I stop then for lunch and go shopping or do housework etc. Some days I pick the grandchildren up from school. I return to writing later in the evening around 5pm. It depends how I feel and how things are going to determine how much writing I will do. Maybe a few minutes or several hours. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and write.

Where are you most comfortable writing?

Although I enjoy writing and get a lot of satisfaction out of Psychological thrillers and crime fiction, I am most comfortable writing historical romances.

Which authors have most influenced your life and why?

I have been influenced by Peter James, Val McDermid, Barbara Erskin, and Phillips Gregory. I love their individual style of writing, their ability to weave a complicated story and the way they draw the reader in.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I have already had it…as a psychology and Counselling lecturer and therapist. I had that career before I became an author.

Did you learn anything from writing this particular book?

I learned a great deal about myself from writing this particular book. Especially what an idiot I had been. I became very angry with myself and wished I had done things differently. If you read the book, you’ll see why.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I prefer email and messenger. Email me on thea1710@hotmail.com.   I also encourage responses to my Facebook pages and website ( thea writes.co.uk)

And finally, where can readers buy a copy of your latest book?

Amazon is probably the easiest place to buy my book, whether in ebook or paperback. It is also available in various bookshops such as Waterstones.

 Many thanks for a great interview, Thea!

Thank you Lynette for interviewing me on your blogspot.

 

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The Workhouse Waif is available on Kindle!

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Eleven-year-old, Megan Hopkins, is an inmate at Merthyr Tydfil Union Workhouse.

Megan’s family has fallen on hard times. Her hardworking collier father, was killed in a mining accident at Castle Pit Troedyrhiw, and her mother has six mouths to feed, besides her own, so they all find themselves interned at the local workhouse.

One day, Megan has been asked by the matron to fetch some shopping as there’s a Board of Guardians meeting that afternoon, she is skipping past the Temperance Hall holding a wicker basket in her hand, when she’s stopped in her tracks by the most melodious voice she has ever heard in her life. It’s the voice of an angel, called, Kathleen O’Hara.

Megan doesn’t realise it, but their paths are about to cross and maybe a little magic is about to occur…

Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Workhouse-Waif-Winds-Fortune-Book-ebook/dp/B01M8JN9H4

White Roses

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London was not what she expected it to be at all. It was beginning to get dark by the time they arrived and a thick mist had descended. “I’ve not seen anything like this since I lived near the marshes back home…” Kathleen muttered.

“Apparently London is notorious for thick fog, it’s a mist mixed with chimney smoke.” He coughed. “It’s going to make it all the harder to find our way.”

Two young men dressed in breeches, jackets and flat caps made their way towards them.

“Carry your trunk to a cab for a shilling, sir!” one of them shouted.

“Tisn’t a bad idea,” Kathleen commented.

Dafydd nodded and dug deep into his pockets and handed the young lad a shilling. The other lad beside him stood there holding his grimy hand out.

Dafydd drew in a breath. “But your friend said only a shilling.”

“A shilling a piece, Guvnor. He carries one end and I carry the other.”

“I’ll end up broke at this rate.” He dug into his trouser pocket again and handed over the shilling to the boy.

The boys made off quickly with the trunk walking at a fast pace with the trunk between them and Dafydd and Kathleen found it hard to keep pace.  Then they hit the mist again and had no clue where they were.

“The lads, did you see where they went?” Dafydd asked a man in a bowler hat who just approached them.

“No, I didn’t, sir. Did you just get off the train by any chance?”

“We did, yes indeed,” Kathleen added.

The man shook his head. “It’s the oldest trick in the book. They wait for people’s arrival at the station, offer to carry their bags for a bob or two, then run off with the luggage. You have little chance of catching the urchins in this peasouper of a fog tonight.”

Dafydd stood there open mouthed at the situation.

“My gown, my beautiful green velvet gown…” Kathleen sobbed. “I needed it for my stage audition. Now what will I do?” She looked around in panic but there was no sign of the lads anywhere in the mist…

Purchase a copy here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013X89GT6/ref=series_dp_rw_ca_2

 

Murder by Midnight

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I wrote this crime fiction novel under the name of ‘Lyn Harman’. It’s set in my hometown of Merthyr Tydfil. I got the idea for the story after watching a real life crime documentary about a murdered teenage girl, the killer was never found, until years later when the police discovered they still had her duffle coat in a locker at the police station. There was now one major difference to how crimes were solved — DNA!

This is a story which dips into the past as policewoman, Ruth Carter, is forced to relive her youth once again and remember the horrific murder of her best friend, Jenny Johnson whilst the police search for a serial killer in the community who calls himself, ‘Prince Charming’…

***

When an elderly man turns up at her police station, D.S. Ruth Carter, does not immediately recognise him. However, when she does, she is immediately transported back in time to 1980 when her best friend Jenny was murdered.

“There’s a man at the desk asking for you.” P.C. Aled Evans held the door open for her.

Sergeant Ruth Carter frowned. “What’s he want?”

The policeman scratched his head. “Dunno. Didn’t ask him.”

The bloody probationer didn’t have a clue. For goodness sake, the first rule was to prioritise, didn’t he realise that?

“Hello, Mr Johnson. I’m Detective Ruth Carter. What can I do for you?”

She detected a twinkle in his eye. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

Looking directly at her, his eyes softening, he said just one word. “Jenny.”

She fought to stop the image from entering her brain. For more than thirty years she had pushed it aside. Jenny was the reason she had gone into the police force in the first place.

Her hand flew to her mouth, her heart started to pound reminding her of all the frightening and scary events of her life.

There’s a killer on the loose who calls himself, ‘Prince Charming’, his modus operandi is to leave just one shoe on his victims. The murderer’s style is similar to the person who killed Jenny back in the eighties, but is this the same man?

Whilst the killer plays a ‘Cat and Mouse’ game with the detectives, Ruth’s personal life begins to unravel. What has her partner Pete been up to while she’s been at work? He’s been staying out over night and making excuses for his absences. Can she trust him? Particularly as he went missing the night of one of the murders.

Who is the killer is he a stranger or is he someone that she thought she knew so well?

 

Purchase here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Midnight-Lyn-Harman-ebook/dp/B0168KD0G6

Review for ‘Blue Skies’ – [Seasons of Change book 3]

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This is the third book in the Seasons of Change series. Rees introduces us to yet another strong woman in this compelling saga series.

Rebecca is the daughter of Dafydd and Kathleen Jenkin [Kathleen was previously referred to as an O’Hara as her stage surname in the previous novel, White Roses.]

The story begins as Rebecca is working as a nurse on the ward at Merthyr Tydfil’s General Hospital, where she meets the handsome but arrogant doctor, Daniel Evans. Their relationship begins to develop but meanwhile she encounters, Doctor Mansell Owen, a married man with several children. He takes a shine to Rebecca and she to him, but she realises it’s a relationship she cannot pursue. Mansell’s wife has a serious mental health condition which she’s developed since the birth of their last child and requires constant supervision.

Daniel grows increasing distant towards Rebecca which causes her great concern, she doesn’t find out the real reason for his cold-hearted behaviour until the night they both dine at Doctor Owen’s home and there, Rebecca sees for herself what Mansell has to cope with regarding his wife’s often hysterical and unpredictable behaviour.

A request from Mansell to send his wife to Cardigan for recuperation to stay with family at their farm, sends Rebecca on a journey to West Wales where she becomes a carer for the doctor’s wife on a short term basis.

I don’t want to reveal any more of the story not to give the plot away but several taboos are broken in this book. Life for women was pretty miserable back then but Rees smashes down barriers — her heroines are not for the faint-hearted. Even the great social reformer, Caroline Norton, gets a mention here.

The novel, Blue Skies, is a roller coaster of a ride which takes the reader from Merthyr to Cardigan and back again. By the time you’ve finished this book, you’ll feel like you’ve been on a journey yourself. Whilst at times it’s tinged with sadness, there is a great flame of hope burning brightly throughout this story. I love the way the author writes about women of substance who end up changing things for the better.

Highly Recommended.

 

‘J. Gowerton’ – Loves Books

 

Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Skies-Seasons-Change-Book-ebook/dp/B01BQLXMAQ

 

Review for ‘White Roses’ by novelist, Thea Hartley

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White Roses is a bouquet of delight. A gripping historical novel, with the added element of suspense.

I was given an ARC of this book, and was so pleased to receive it, because it is one of the best books that I have read this year. This book is the second in the series of historical novels by Ms Rees that I have read. I was completely overawed by her excellent description of the area in Wales and its people. She brought characters to life, who lived in Merthyr Tydfil, and visited such venues as the music hall, where the main character in this book, Kathleen sang.

Her writing in both this novel and the previous “Black Diamonds” encompasses the atmosphere and narrative of “How Green is my Valley”, the famous book and film. Her brilliance of writing and storytelling has not emerged from Welsh novelists since that time… until Ms Rees began her series. I can’t wait for the next book “Blue Skies” which continues following the trials and tribulations of this Welsh valley family.

I highly recommend White Roses, plus Black diamonds, especially if you enjoy history and romance. After reading a few historical romances by other authors, this was like a breath of fresh air, it gripped me from the first page, and I couldn’t put it down. I finished the book in two sittings,

I read the first book in this series, “Black Diamonds” and fell in love with the characters, The main character in White Roses, is Kathleen, who had appeared in the previous book. She carves out a career as a singer, against the opposition of some of the family, and most definitely the local gossips, who spread malicious lies about her.

Black Diamonds was an excellent book, but White Roses is brilliant. It accurately portrays the dilemma of a young married woman with an exceptional talent, which could threaten her marriage. She is independent and ambitious in the days when these were seen as negative qualities in a woman. The book chronicles Kathleen’s ups and downs, as well as the fate of other members of the family and community in Wales. There are some shocks in store and twists and turns which keep you on the edge of your seat.

A book to be recommended if you like a meaty story, a gripping read and some absorbing surprises.

Available here! https://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Roses-Seasons-Change-Book-ebook/dp/B013X89GT6

 

Thea Hartley is a full time writer who has published several books across genres. She has written the Resa James Psychological crime series, Psychological thrillers, Romance, Erotica, and Biographies. Thea was formally a lecturer and practitioner of Psychology and Counselling for many years, and takes a lot of material from her experiences… as well as real life. She says she hopes to “keep on writing as long as possible.” Thea lives with her family in South Wales.

 

White Roses [Seasons of Change book 2]

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“She had to get a job at the wash house and has been mixing with a rum lot…” she lowered her voice an octave. “Now there’s talk that she might be working as a ‘lady of the night’, if you get my meaning?”

Lily nodded, shocked that poor Lucy Howells had resorted to selling her body for beer money, while her children were left to fend for themselves. “Mr. Davies and I will do all we can to help…” Lily comforted.

Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Roses-Seasons-Change-Book-ebook/dp/B013X89GT6