Hello Fellow Book-a-holics,
Today, I am delighted to welcome British born, independent paranormal cozy mystery author, Holly Bell, to answer some of those burning bookish question floating around my unique mind.
Hi Holly and welcome to Flora’s Musings…
Flora: I have been completely captivated by the world that you’ve created for your Amanda Cadabra series and have lost myself to the village of Sunken Madley and it’s residents; I want to go there – despite the murderous happenings. Lol! What story have you lost yourself in, either recently or in the past, that has left a lasting impression on you even now?
Holly: It has to be Lord of the Rings.
When I was reading it, it felt more real than reality. It was all I wanted to think or talk about! More than any other book it taught me about world-building, especially a world with fantasy elements. It plugged into my love of history, and the richness of the context made the whole saga utterly believable. I revel in Tolkien’s use of language in creating characters and regions, and the emotional terrain is vast. It is glorious escapism, full of valuable life-lessons absorbed by osmosis and has been a how-to for me as a writer. It is one of my oldest friends.
Flora: I have to confess that I haven’t actually read any of Tolkien’s work (I’m ashamed to say the length puts me off) but I LOVED the films; they’ve become some of my favourites. As we’re on the subject of favourites, what are your top 5 favourite books?
Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (See above!)
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis (Another utterly believable escapist tale of goodness triumphing)
Four adventurous siblings―Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie― step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch.
But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been drawing readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters for over sixty years.
This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to explore more of the Narnian realm, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Friday’s Child – Georgette Heyer (Funniest romance I have ever read and love the historical setting and detail)
Rejected by the woman he deeply craves, the incomparable Miss Milborne, for his unsteadiness of character, wild Viscount Sheringham is bent on avenging fate and coming into his fortune. Rebellious young Sherry could not gain his inheritance until he married, he leaves his mother’s house and on a passionate impulse, he vowed to marry the next woman he saw. But the very first woman he sees is his life-long friend Hero Wantage, a young and charmingly unsophisticated girl. To orphaned, pixie-ish Hero, who has secretly loved him since childhood, it seemed like a star-studded dream when dashing Lord Sheringham asked her to be his bride–for although she knew it was a marriage of convenience (his convenience), it eliminated the depressing prospect of life as a governess. It seems that this marriage might solve all their problems.
Back in London, Hero soon discovers the glamorous social scene and strives to make a name for herself among the right circles. But their marriage soon became a frenetic comedy of errors, as Hero tried to keep up with the fashionable and very unfamiliar society in which she now found herself. From chariot races to gambling tables to exclusive drawing rooms, an exasperated Sherry followed in his wife’s wake, trying to clear the air after her well-intentioned but scatterbrained escapades. But when Sherry intervenes, fearing she’ll embarrass them both, misunderstandings pile up, friendships are tested and hearts are pushed to breaking point. And it was with great surprise that both Hero and Sherry discovered that even a marriage of convenience can turn into a love affair, under certain circumstances….
Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett (Wisest and most entertaining spin on fairytales I have come across. Great admirer of Sir Terry’s collected works.)
‘Things have to come to an end, see. That’s how it works when you turn the world into stories. You should never have done that. You shouldn’t treat people like they was characters, like they was things. But if you do, then you’ve got to know where the story ends.’
It seemed an easy job… After all, how difficult could it be to make sure that a servant girl doesn’t marry a prince? Quite hard, actually, even for the witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. That’s the problem with real life – it tends to get in the way of a good story, and a good story is hard to resist. Servant girls have to marry the prince. That’s what life is all about. You can’t fight a Happy Ending, especially when it comes with glass slippers and a Fairy Godmother who has made Destiny an offer it can’t refuse.
At least – up until now…
1066 and All That – W. C. Sellar, R. J. Yeatman (Laugh-out-loud spin on history and traditional attitudes to it.)
One of the most well-loved and best-selling British humor titles of all time
“Canute began by being a Bad King on the advice of his Courtiers, who informed him (owing to a misunderstanding of the Rule Britannia) that the King of England was entitled to sit on the sea without getting wet.”
This humorous “history” is a book that has itself become part of the UK’s history. The authors made the claim that “All the History you can remember is in the Book,” and, for most Brits, they were probably right. But it is their own unique interpretation of events that has made the book a classic; an uproarious satire on textbook history and a population’s confused recollections of it.
Flora: I loved reading the Narnia Chronicles when I was younger and I have fond memories of repeatedly opening up my Nan’s old bedroom wardrobe hoping to feel snow! Although I haven’t read all of The Discworld books, the ones that I have read I’ve enjoyed so I’ll have to check out Witches Abroad and add it to my pile.
Thank you for visiting Flora’s Musings today, Holly and answering my questions. I think you’ve added a few more titles to our ever-growing TBR piles, you’ve certainly added to mine.
So what about you, fellow book-a-holics, have you read any of Holly’s favourites? Have you added any of the above books to your lists like I have? As usual, I’d love to hear from you, just leave a comment below.
Holly’s latest book, Amanda Cadabra and the Flawless Plan (Amanda Cadabra Mysteries #3) is available NOW.
Amanda Cadabra and the Flawless Plan (Amanda Cadabra Mysteries #3) by Holly Bell
An accident waiting to happen. Sunken Madley village church hall seems safe enough for a dance class. Now there’s a body. Or is it two? Only ghosts for witnesses. Covert witch Amanda and her grumpy feline familiar must look for answers in the past. But which past?
With a spy, a saboteur, an uncooperative ghost, multiple puzzles, and herself as the number one suspect she’s going to need backup.
There’s just one choice: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. Only if Amanda can dare to trust him can they survive and solve the case before the murderer strikes again.
But who, in this peaceful English village would resort to murder?
In the words of Grandpa: ‘This one is going to be more complicated than the last one. Possibly … probably. Definitely.’
Amanda Cadabra and the Flawless Plan (Amanda Cadabra Mysteries #3) is available to buy as an eBook through Amazon NOW!
Cat adorer and chocolate lover, Holly Bell is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Holly lives in the UK and is a mixture of English, Scottish, Cornish and Welsh, among other ingredients.
Whilst being an enthusiastic novel reader, Holly has had a lifetime’s experience in writing non-fiction. Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth is her first official venture into the realms of fiction and there is no looking back in the foreseeable future.
Her favourite animal is called Bobby. He is a black cat. Purely coincidental. Of course.
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