The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BookReview #BlogTour

When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers today. Many thanks to the author, Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The opening chapter of The Dark Place briefly introduces the reader to Issy as she returns home following her first year at university. We learn very little about her here, other than she is the mother of a young son, Noah who is cared for by her parents and she seems to struggle to know how to relate to him. The moment when her life comes to a sudden and violent end is a shocking …

A Forsaken Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape #GuestPost #BlogTour




 No-one said friendship was easy. 

Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help. 

But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire... 

It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined. 

Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea. 

The FRIENDS trilogy continues in this heart-warming and hilarious hoot as two best friends navigate men, careers, family and rock bottom in this brilliant sequel to A FALLING FRIEND.

I took part in the double cover reveal for A Forsaken Friend and the first book in the Friend trilogy, A Falling Friend back in February so I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour today. Many thanks to the authors, publishers and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. A huge thank you too, to Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape for the fabulous guest post they've written for Hair Past A Freckle.

A Forsaken Friend is published by Lakewater Press and can be purchased here.



 Questions Readers Ask
If only I had a pound for every time someone asked: ‘Are your characters based on real people?’ 
There wouldn’t be enough money in the pot to sail the seven seas but there’d be a sizeable contribution to my Mulberry handbag fund.
It’s a legitimate question, of course, but the laws of libel dictate that the correct answer is always: ‘Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is entirely coincidental.’
In truth, though, most fictional characters are a bit like a tin of Heinz beans with 57 varieties of human being canned into one body.
Take the character Declan, a key player in both A Forsaken Friend and its predecessor, A Falling Friend. He’s a joint creation – as are all our characters including the two main protagonists, Teri Meyer and Lee Harper.
I can’t speak for the elements Susan added – his ruthless philandering and hard-nosed professionalism – but Declan’s easy charm, which I describe in the opening chapters of A Falling Friend, is borrowed from a newspaper reporter I worked with many years ago, and his childish ‘ding dong bell’ trick of pulling Lee’s plaits comes courtesy of a boy in my class who had the same annoying habit.
Other characters too have little tricks and quirks borrowed from people we have known. In fact, Declan’s love rival Dan, a suave TV presenter, has a number of characteristics unashamedly stolen from my husband. He can’t make a sandwich without spilling crumbs everywhere and nor can Dan. 
In addition, they both end their morning showers with a 30 second blast of cold water. 
Why? Because it’s supposed to be refreshing…
Physically, Dan bears no resemblance whatsoever to my husband. He’s taller for one thing and his hair is darker. 
They’re different in other respects too. Dan, for instance, is a dab hand at pastry. My husband most definitely isn’t. While Dan’s quiche Lorraine is world famous in Yorkshire, my husband’s annual attempt to master the art of the Christmas mince pie is a work in progress.
So they’re not the same people – but my husband is the man I know best so sometimes when I’m not quite sure how Dan should react to a particular scenario I imagine my husband in a similar situation…But then the character and the writing take over and the things play out in ways that would never happen in my husband’s hands.
There’s one scene, for example, where Dan surprises Lee with an extravagant bouquet of flowers. Okay, my husband does, sometimes, buy me flowers, but they’re usually picked up at the supermarket – and probably on special offer. (I married him for his kind heart not his romantic one!) He’d certainly never follow in Dan’s footsteps and pop into a florist and order a bouquet to be hand delivered to the office.
And that, neatly, brings me to another question readers often ask: how do you plot your novels?
In other words, are you plotters or pantsters? The honest answer is neither: we don’t fly by the seat of our pants but nor do we use colour co-ordinated charts and post-it notes to track characters and plot development. And we also don’t have a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline of the overall plot before we start.
Instead, we have a rough story arc for both Teri and Lee – we know their starting point, where they’ll end up and some of the key things that need to happen in between.
But we also allow ourselves the freedom to go off piste. For instance, a key character in A Forsaken Friend becomes seriously ill and eventually dies. This wasn’t part of the original story arc but happened organically as we were writing. 
Which is a posh way of saying I got caught up in the writing and that’s where it took me. 
But, the important thing is that we had a discussion: ‘Did we want the story to go in this direction?’ The answer was yes, it provided an opportunity to showcase different aspects of the personalities of both Teri and Lee so we left it in.
Equally, there have been other times when we’ve found ourselves going in the wrong direction and, again, after a discussion, we’ve amended and brought the recalcitrant character back on track.
It’s vital to allow ourselves this flexibility: our novels are character-driven and it’s good to allow our characters to have the freedom to steer the plot.
Just so long as they remember: we’re in charge.
Finally, readers always want to know: ‘How do you write together.’
Strictly speaking, we don’t write together. We write in separate home offices in separate cities and we each tell the story from the viewpoint of one character. So, Susan writes a chapter telling Teri’s version of events and I move the story on in the next chapter by presenting Lee’s view of what happens next. And vice versa.
Of course, we talk a lot – via email, and on the phone and we regularly get together for lunch to gossip and plot and laugh.
The laughing bit is especially important. It’s why when people ask whether we’ve ever considered going solo, we always reply: ‘Why would we? We’re having too much fun.’

Thank you so much for this warm and witty guest post Sue and Susan, I really enjoyed reading it and love that you have so much fun writing together.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.


About the Authors

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.
More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.
The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).
Their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, has been followed by a second book, A Forsaken Friend, in their Friends trilogy.
Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.
Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.
They blog about books at https://bookloversbooklist.com/
You can find both Sue and Susan on Twitter: @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus



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