As the Sun Breaks Through by Ellie Dean #BookReview #BlogTour

Cliffehaven, June 1944

As the planes continue to circle over Cliffehaven, Peggy Reilly’s sister Doris must seek refuge after a V-1 blast destroys her home. Rita, Sarah and the other residents at Beach View Boarding House quickly find their peace disturbed and it’s not long before even Peggy loses her patience. But with more bad news to come, will Doris finally be forced to swallow her pride?
Meanwhile Peggy’s father-in-law Ron Reilly is delighted when his sweetheart Rosie returns home. Until a heart-breaking confession suggests things may never be the same between them.
With loved ones scattered far and wide across the globe, and tensions running high, the end of the war feels somehow further than ever. And yet with the long-awaited Allied invasion in sight, a glimmer of light is starting to break through...

I'm delighted to be hosting the first stop on the blog tour for As the Sun Breaks Through by Ellie Dean today. Many thanks to the author and Becky McCarthy from Penguin Random Ho…

Pog and the King's Armour by E.H. Howard #GuestPost



Peregrin Otis Grimshaw (Pog) has a problem.
He’s almost ten and has to spend his holiday at his grandmother’s cottage.
No wifi and no phone - living without any of life’s gadgets is bad, but things get worse when he accidentally releases an evil force unlocking the secret that Gran really isn’t who he thought she was.
Falling through to the alternative world of Twistedwood, Pog finds himself in a land where playing games is not just a way of life, it is life.
Having stuck his nose where it shouldn’t be, Pog now must fulfil a prophecy, rescue his kidnapped grandmother and save both worlds from a crazy ruler intent on conquest.

Today I'm delighted to be featuring a guest post from the author of a really exciting looking children's book today -  Pog and the King's Armour. With its young protagonist, this is a story I'm really looking forward to reading with my youngest daughter, Maggie who occasionally co-reviews books with me. When I receive requests to review books that might also appeal to Maggie I always check to see if she agrees. She thinks Pog and the King's Armour looks like a tale she'd very much enjoy so look out for our review in the future!
In the meantime, Eric has written a fascinating guest post on how what inspired him to write the book and how he created the story.



Every writer gets asked, ‘Where do the stories come from?’ 
I’ve said elsewhere that Pog came from a group of surly British children staying at a hotel in Greece. The sun was out, the pool delightful. The swings needed a bucket of water to cool them before they could be used. The whines from the children demanding to go back to the room and play on their tablets triggered thoughts of the street games I played as a child: Cannon, Kingy, Statues and Rounders.
My head is always stirring with ideas; not complete stories, but fragments. Things are rarely discarded, they are filed waiting to be linked up to other ideas. So, creating a story becomes a mental jigsaw of musing.
For quite a time I had wanted to create a story suitable for reading aloud to my grandchildren. Nothing too moralising, but with some hidden depths to amuse them in their later years. To hopefully draw out the phrase, ‘I didn’t see that.’
My idea was for a world where playing games meant something. A place where people camped out under the stars and told stories. A place in the tradition of Swallows and Amazons, Peter Pan and every other children’s classic, a place where they had adventures away from parents, a place where they had to make decisions and choose right from wrong.
In doing a jigsaw, you find the corners and the sides, and then fill in the middle.

Pog was the first corner piece in my jigsaw. A modern boy, ten going on teenager. People often say that ‘the youth of today’ wouldn’t stand in chance in war/ school/ whatever. I don’t agree, I think modern children are fabulous. He was the first corner piece in this jigsaw.
Imagine a place where major decisions were decided by playing hopscotch. That world appeared because of the surly children in Greece. That counted as another corner.
Gran? Old people were once young. They fought in wars, they danced at the Folies-Bergere, they loved and dreamed no less than we do. Imagine finding out that your grandmother was once a great warrior, and an object of desire. Another corner found. 
In my multi-racial team of questers, where did Jazz come from? I often find once I’ve given a character a name they peel off the page, flex their muscles and misbehave. She rarely did what I expected, she made me laugh as I wrote her. Sal and Brad were going to be the main characters, but Jazz elbowed them aside. My cast complete, I had all the corners for my jigsaw.
The next group of pieces, the boundaries around the edge, is creating the conflict. Stories are about conflict. Children love it, but we try so hard to keep them away from it. Admit it, stories about nice people having a lovely time are boring. Good versus Bad, an age-old favourite. Nobody is all good, and few are all bad. It really depends where you stand. I wanted to show this. Miekal’s world is slower and more fun, but not all science is bad. Jazz almost dies through a lack of modern medicine. 
Finally, filling in the middle. A quest, a chase across the lands. Bad people searching, games to be won, all building to drop in the final pieces, a rescue.

I hope that gives an insight into how I create stories. It might not be true for everybody, but for me, creating a story is just another game.
The end result is, I hope, a book that children will enjoy, and adults will enjoy reading to them. Secretly, it contains games and ideas I hope they will talk about for years to come.

Thank you so much Eric, I really enjoyed reading about your jigsaw and I can't wait to read about Pog's adventures!

If Eric's guest post has tempted you to read Pog and the King's Armour, it can be purchased here.

About the Author

I still remember the wonderful effect when a teacher read CS Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was years later I discovered there were more Narnia books. Norse and Greek myths held me until I met Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings has been a favourite read for over thirty years. This was enhanced by the zany view of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and the saga of Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. 
Not all my reading is classic fantasy. In recent years I’ve enjoyed Kim Harrison’s Hollows books and Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock. New writers bring the joy of reading to new readers. I hope some out there enjoy my writing. I split my writing time between short stories and novels. I love to take the challenge of creating a viable story in a reduced number of words for flash competitions.
As a grandfather of seven, one of my greatest pleasures is reading them to sleep when they stay over. With Pog, I wanted to create a modern Narnia and help all of them find the magic of reading.
Links:
Twitter: @EHHowardUK

Comments