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Sabbie Dare and Friends

I have been writing fiction since my reception teacher, Mrs Marsden, put a paper and pencil in front of me. I can remember thinking; What? Do real people write these lovely books? I want to do that! I gained an MA in creating writing and sold my first books for children; Sweet’n’Sour, (HarperCollins) and Tough Luck, (Thornberry Publishing), both from Amazon. I also love writing short stories and they regularly appear in British anthologies. I now write crime fiction, published by Midnight Ink. The idea for In the Moors , my first Shaman Mystery came to me one day, in the guise of Sabbbie Dare. She came to me fully formed and said; “I'm a young therapist, a shaman, and sometimes I do get very strange people walking into my therapy room. Honestly, I could write a book about some of them...” I am a druid; a pagan path which takes me close to the earth and into the deep recesses of my mind. Shamanic techniques help me in my life - in fact they changed my life - although, unlike Sabbie, I’ve never set up a therapeutic practice...I’m too busy writing and teaching creative writing with the Open College of the Arts. I’m a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Although I was born, educated and raised my two children in the West Country, I now live in west Wales with my husband James. IN THE MOORS, the first Shaman Mystery starring SABBIE DARE was released in the US in 2013 and UNRAVELLING VISIONS will be out this autumn, but you can already reserve your copy on Amazon. Join me on my vibrant blogsite, http://www.kitchentablewriters.blogspot.com where I offer students and other writers some hard-gained advice on how to write fiction.


It must be dreadful trying to follow up a best-seller with a second book, and LAKE OF DREAMS  by Kim Edwards did try to be different at least, with this one, choosing fresh subject matter, settings and characters. I don’t remember The Secret Keeper’s Daughter being quite so beautifully written, actually; this is lyrical prose with brilliantly painted scenes, something that’s reflected within one theme...stained glass art nouveau. At 377 pages, it’s clearly a long book and complex in that she keeps several plot balls in the air at one time. Sadly, for me, after a good start in the symbolically rumbling and shaking world  of Japan, these ball in the air seem to float in slow motion for most of the middle of the book. She sets up some crackers of plots, mostly related to family dynamics now and in the past, but none of these are able to fully develop or be realized until the end, when she'd want her explosive finish.  I wasn’t precisely bored at any time, but I did begin to wonder when things would reach their dramatic climax. 
I didn’t think the characters, especially Lucy, behaved in a plausible fashion for a lot of the time. Having been away for  five years, she hurts her brother by telling her mother that his girlfriend was pregnant after he specifically asked her not to do so, then calls him at 1:00 am (in bed with said girlfriend) to tell him that she thought that he was handling his career choice all wrong. Long overdue, in the final chapters she asks if she needs to apologise – unbelievable behaviour and by no means the only time in the book this happens. Lucy discovers her uncle has committed manslaughter and yet she does not contact the police...instead she gets away scot free with vandalizing his store. I recognise that she might be described as a multi-dimensional character with many conflicting personality traits, but by this time, Lucy was irritating me too much for me to be convinced. There is also too much coincidence. She finds an old package of documents in her mother's house; why has no one else found them and who put them there...we are never told, but her mother suddenly recalls that she found a baby blanket hidden in the lining of an old trunk in the barn twenty-five years ago, which had a note with the same hand-writing. I found this hard to swallow. But I did get caught up in the story that is revealed by the package and particularly liked the minutia of the Art Nouveau stained glass work Rose was involved in. I liked the end; at least this wasn’t forced.