Meet Hearts On Fire Author, Jenny Lynch.

It’s a pleasure to welcome author Jenny Lynch to talk about her new book.

Thank you for joining us- tell us about your new book Hearts on Fire which releases on 25th July 2022.

Jenny Lynch

“Hearts on Fire” is my new novelette, which began its life as a (long) short story. I wrote it to submit to Dragonfly Publishing earlier this year. They’d put a call out for submissions for a romance anthology. Unfortunately, the anthology is not going ahead, but I was offered a contract for my story to be published as a stand-alone novelette. I was rather flattered…and extremely excited!

A hot heartthrob features in Jenny’s book.

This fun-filled little book is going to be launched on Monday 25th July, at 2pm, at the Gosnells Bowling Club on Albany Highway, Gosnells. The event is free and anyone is welcome, but registration is essential through Eventbrite.

Perth Australia people book your tickets via Eventbrite

Are you writing anything else?

I’m currently writing another children’s Christmas book for Pink Ribbon Books (my fundraising project). Plus, I’m always writing something—whether it’s flash fiction, short stories or rhymes for my writing group (Gosnells Writers Circle), or a piece of writing for a writing competition.

Some quick-fire questions. Late nights or early mornings?

Definitely late nights (and lazy sleep-ins with breakfast in bed).

What’s for breakfast?

I’m not a huge big breakfast fan unless it’s for a special occasion. So, usually just cereal or toast, and definitely a nice hot cup of tea or two.

A light breakfast to start the day.

Night out or Netflix?

Netflix…or other streaming services, of which there are now plenty to choose from.

G &T or Tea/coffee?

Tea at home mostly, but a nice, large flat-white coffee when out. I must admit though, I am rather partial to a G&T on the odd occasion…with lemon or lime, and lots of ice.

Perfect weekend?

Spending time with family and friends is always a perfect way to spend a weekend. The simple things in life are usually the best.

Time spent together.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Believe it or not, a teacher…which I never did become! I studied computer programming and systems design instead, gaining a Bachelor of Business degree. My husband and I ran our own computer consulting company for 34 years.

What is for dinner tonight? Can you cook? What would you rather be eating?

Dinner is whatever my wonderful Masterchef husband is cooking. I think tonight might be green chicken curry. I can cook (if I have to) but truth be told, I have been known to burn boiled eggs…more than once!

Curry and rice.

What brings you joy? Lifts your spirits and chases away a down mood.

Spending time with family and friends; doing good deeds for others; fundraising for worthy causes, especially breast cancer research—which is why I created Pink Ribbon Books. I donate all profits to the Breast Cancer Research Centre-WA, as I am a breast cancer survivor. It’s my way of ‘giving something back ‘for my good health.

Supporting breast cancer research.

Your hero?

I’d have to say, my mother and late grandmother. I can’t think of anyone else who could reach the height of their pedestals. Whatever good values I possess, they were instilled in me by these two remarkable women.

If you could choose three people (living or dead) to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Celebrity guests for an informal dinner party

J.K. Rowling (because I admire her literary success and creative imagination)

Celeste Barber (because that crazy woman cracks me up! She’s the only celebrity I follow on Instagram, and she’d be the life and soul of the dinner party.)

Regé-Jean Page from season one of Bridgerton (no explanation required J!)

I applaud your choice!

Do you have any non -writing-related interests?

I’m a wedding celebrant, so I enjoy being part of couples’ special day, creating a beautiful ceremony and taking care of all the legal paperwork. I also TRY and exercise, so I belong to a local walking group and exercise class.

Helping couples celebrate their special day.

Questions about Writing.

What writing resources have been most helpful to you?

Joining a local writers’ group has taught me so much about writing. We not only learn from various workshops, but we learn from each other, simply by sharing our written work. We have been taught how to edit each other’s work too, and that has been extremely beneficial to me.

Creativity can bond people of all ages.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing/publishing journey?

How to ‘show not tell’, and what POV and head-hopping are!

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Trying to think up plots and characters that are unique but still believable, so that my story is unlike any others.

Did you do any research for your current book?

Answers can be just a tap away.

Of course. Google is my best friend!

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?

From my novelette “Hearts on Fire”, I adore the character of Lizzie. She was such a fun grandmother to create! I hope I’m just like her when I’m in my eighties.

From one of my children’s picture books, “Bootsie and Snudge”, I adore the two cute little elves who help Santa out when he’s tired and has become forgetful. Obviously, the elves’ names are Bootsie and Snudge and they are adorable. Personally, I think ABC should turn them into a cartoon show…they’d certainly give Bluey a run for his money.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions?

I certainly think it would be hard to ‘show’ and not tell if the writer lacked emotions.

Creativity allows us to express our dreams.

Best writing advice: edit, edit, edit and then when you finish, edit again! And then get someone else to proofread your work.

Worst advice: Write what you know. With the internet at my fingertips, I have written lots of stories about places and events I’ve never visited or experienced. All you need is a little bit of online research time and a lot of imagination!

Best money you have spent as a writer?

Some money is worth saving and some is worth spending.

My annual fees at my writing group and an online ‘Writing and Editing’ course run by Nas Dean. I learnt so much from that course.

Do you have a favourite author and why?

I have several favourites actually: Jane Harper, Trent Dalton, and Liane Moriarty to name a few.

What are you reading now?

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. I absolutely love it and I can’t wait for the movie to be released here in July. (But I always read the book first…that’s a golden rule!)

Favourite quote (does not matter the source)

“Believe you can, and you’re halfway there!”  (Theodore Roosevelt)

Words to live by!

Favourite book/story you have read as an adult?

“A Fortunate Life” by A.B. Facey. I can’t find enough superlatives to describe how much I loved this extraordinary book. It’s an autobiography of Albert Barnett Facey’s life, growing up in Western Australia in the early 1900s. I have actually read it several times now. It’s modestly written but is such a moving memoir, I highly recommend it to everyone. It certainly opened my eyes to how hard life was back then, and how privileged we are these days.

Favourite book/story you have read as a child?

Absolutely everything and anything written by Enid Blyton.

 Jenny’s book is available on Amazon for pre-order before it is released on 25th July.

I was lucky enough to read an early copy and I enjoyed it. My review appears on Good reads.

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Meet Ruth Morgan, Author of The Whitworth Mysteries.

It’s a pleasure to welcome author Ruth Morgan to talk about her  book The Whitworth Mysteries

Ruth Morgan.

Ruth lives in Lismore, New South Wales where the whole community has been devastated by flooding. We are talking unheard of flood levels of up to 14.4 metres. Lives and homes and businesses were lost. Even more cruelly, a month after the first flood, when the cleanup was well underway, Lismore endured a second flood. While helping out in her local area, Ruth is still writing. She is also promoting a re-stocking drive for the Lismore library which lost 29,000 books.

A sight to hurt any book lover.

DETAILS HERE. https://rtrl.nsw.gov.au/  – Flood Recovery Donation page.

So, I am very grateful that Ruth has taken the time to talk to us. We will discuss her writing later, but first some quick-fire questions.

Late nights or early mornings? Always early mornings.

What’s for breakfast? Toast and coffee.

Night out or Netflix? Night in, with a good book.

G &T or Tea/coffee? All three – but not at the same time!

A night in, with a good book.

Perfect weekend? Going for a walk, catching up over coffee with friends, and time spent in the garden getting dirty.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I’m not sure I’ve grown up yet! Everything! Reader, writer, dancer, nurse, vet, work in a zoo..

Cooking can be fun.

What is for dinner tonight? Can you cook? What would you rather be eating ?Love cooking. Dinner tonight – probably leftovers! Preference these days is vegetarian, and when the veggie garden is productive, whatever is in season is usually what’s for dinner. I love it though when someone else cooks.

What brings you joy? Lifts your spirits, chases away a down mood. Cats – always cats. The sound of a purring cat, being head-butted, sat on – magic. Or going for walk, sitting by the ocean, listening to beautiful music.

Two of Ruth’s cats.Muscat and Champurrs.

Your hero? I don’t know that I have a hero. If I look around me at the moment my community is full of heroes. To deal with two floods a month apart makes heroes of us all. A hero is someone who doesn’t quit, although they may want to, even when the odds appear overwhelming, they just keep going. Those who help clean up after the flood, those who listen, those who are running a business from their damaged premises and are operating through the back door, yet still going. The battlers, the fighters, those putting one put in front of the other… Those wonderful heroes who came from nowhere in droves to help, the wonderful Sikhs who drove 27 hours to come and cook the most amazing food for everyone, groups who turned up offering food, water and fruit to the mud army, those who run the Resilient Lismore FB group…

Ordinary people, emergency services, the fire service and even the army were called in to help.
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
It seemed perfect as a representation of the Lismore Heart symbol

If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party,( dead or alive)who would they be and why?

Only three! Probably Laurens van der Post, Arthur Upfield, Agatha Christie and Carl Jung – maths was never my strong point!

Coco as a kitten

Questions about Writing.

Have you always written? I’ve been a storyteller since childhood. Growing up in a very isolated location threw me back on my own resources for entertainment. So I learned at a young age to see stories everywhere and in the most mundane events. In my first years of primary school, I began writing. There have been long periods when I haven’t though and always felt something was missing. Now it’s a full-time occupation, and I’ve never been happier.

What inspired your new book?

Mildura. My home town renamed Whitworth for the book. I love the wide-open spaces, the red dirt, the river red gums, the river… The breathtaking sense of solitude that standing in the middle of somewhere like the Hay Plains brings. The sense of peace. I grew up in Mildura when there were lots of interesting things going on – especially for a budding crime fiction writer. I wanted to explore links between events, characters, to explore what was hidden,  and always to learn why people do what they do.

What time of the day do you usually write? Much prefer mornings. Brain is fresher and ideas emerge more easily.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you? When my characters refuse to co-operate, or tell me what’s going on. Sometimes threats work, cajoling, offers of tea or something stronger. They fall silent when I’m taking the story in the direction I want it to go, rather than how they want it told. When we work in harmony it’s so much easier.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? It depends on where I’m up to in the process. Always start early and often work through. If I have a deadline, I just keep going. If I have time, usually finish about lunchtime and do other things in the afternoon.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?  Being able to close my eyes and watch the characters interact, eavesdrop on conversations, see what’s unfolding through someone else’s eyes. And if the characters are playing nicely, be able to ask questions. That’s a fabulous quirk to have!

Did you do any research for your current book? Yes. Because it’s a police procedural I need to understand how things are done, interviews conducted, the treatment of a crime scene. A lot of information can be gathered by reading widely, asking questions, but in the end how you put the research together, which sections you use are all determined by how the story wants and needs to be told.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? It would have to be David. The man in my current novel who didn’t want to be the hero. His refusal to take on the role ground the entire story to a screeching halt. It was only when I asked a writing group I’m part of why he was being unhelpful that someone made the suggestion that perhaps the wrong person was in the hero role. I listened to the characters, to the story, and swapped the hero. A flood of ideas and events, layers and understanding emerged and I have to type more quickly in order to keep up.

Coco all grown up! .Cats just get everywhere..

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions? Possible. But perhaps not fiction. So much of what goes on in a story, love, loss, anger, grief, hope – are strong emotions and for many felt physically as well as in the mind. It would be hard to be convincing if the emotion wasn’t felt.

Best writing advice/ Worst writing advice you ever received? Best advice – get the story out of your head in whatever way works for you. Worst advice – draft everything. That takes out all the fun of discovery.

Best money you have spent as a writer? The first course I did at the NSW Writer’s Centre, was in about 1996. I don’t remember now what it was, but I remember the teacher and her belief that I had the capacity to tell gripping stories. No one had ever given me that backup before.

Do you have a favourite author and why? Favourites change from month to month, there are always new discoveries to make. I always come back to Garry Disher and Peter Temple. I love the speed in Temple’s work, and the dark depths and how he handles dialogue. I love the spartan writing in Disher’s work and how the landscape is a powerful part of what unfolds.

What are you reading now?  Gary Jubelin’s I Catch Killers, and Fiona Macintosh’s The Spys Wife.

What books or authors have most influenced your writing? I think everything I’ve ever read has added something. The way of describing a scene, an emotion, a discussion between characters – I’ve taken some piece of information, view, learning from every book I’ve read. Some books show me how NOT to tell a story. The influences can be positive and negative.

Favourite book/story you have read as an adult? How much paper do you have! So many remarkable books and all have had a different impact on how I see stories. I loved the Far Pavilions, Len Deighton’s Hook, Line and Sinker series, Ruth Rendell, Simeon, Arthur Upfield. Arthur Upfield’s, Death of a Swagman has a special place in my memory. It was the first book set in a country that I knew well and had grown up in. Jon Cleary, Trent Dalton, Kate Forsyth….

Favourite book/story you have read as a child? Lord of the Rings was the first book I read as an early teen that has stayed with me and is reread on a regular basis. But I don’t write or read fantasy. There is such depth to the story that it always enriches anything I’m working on. LOTR is a place to retreat, to emerge inspired and restored and after, well, some decades, it always has something new to offer that I hadn’t discovered before.

Flood waters at the second floor of The Lismore library.Photo taken by Dannika from the Lismore library page.

If you would care to donate to the library appeal ,as I did,  more details can be found on the Lismore library home page.

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Guest Post – Questions for P.L.Harris – a.ka. Polly Holmes.

Today it is my pleasure to welcome P.L. Harris and her alter-ego Polly Holmes to chat with us about her writing journey. We first met at a book launch and I asked her if at some point she would be a guest on my blog. She is a busy and versatile writer who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense as well as cosy mysteries. She also holds down a fulltime job as a teacher so her time is pretty full.

Peta Flanigan - P.L Harris
Author.P.L.Harris

What is your latest book about?

My latest book is the first in my Burrum Ridge romantic suspense series, In His Protection. It follows Melody Maddison as she discovers an old photo of her mother with a newborn baby that is neither her, nor her siblings. While she’ll do anything to uncover the truth, someone is willing to go to whatever lengths to keep the truth the secret, even if it means silencing Melody for good.

What inspired it? This book, in fact, the series, is inspired by my niece Kara-Lee through a brainstorming session about two years ago while visiting the Hot Springs at Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne. She asked me, what if you found a photo of Grandma (my mother) with a baby you know nothing about, what would you do?It kind of went from there and it has turned into a series of six books, one for each of the siblings and I can’t wait to write them.

InHisProtection (1)

 

Who is the main character?

My heroine is Melody Maddison. Her mother past away when she was 26 and she has been travelling for 2 years trying to deal with the loss leaving her sister Riley to pick up the pieces. Now she’s 28 and returned home to help her sister sort their mother’s possessions.

My hero is Noah St. Reeve. Noah has been working in Perth and decided to start his own security and protection business, but unsure where to base it. Seeing Melody almost run down by a car cements in his mind his course. To protect her at all costs.

Why should we care about them?

Everyone has a secret, and for Melody finding out the secret behind the photo may lead her to a long lost sibling. If she can uncover the secret she’ll be able to share with them how wonderful her mother really was. We want to find out who the baby is, for Melody’s sake. We want to know if Noah will be able to save her in time and most of all if Melody has the willpower and strength to save her own life in the face of danger.

person having tea while working
Often a love of reading leads to writing.

Did you always want to write?

I loved reading and writing stories, but no I never thought I was good enough to write a story that could be published. I loved to make up stories in my younger days. My imagination would always be racing ahead of me. I loved being in a world of make-believe, maybe that’s why I went into the theatre and became a director and drama teacher. A few years ago, I took some time out for me and I started reading again and I realised I could forget the worries of the world for that moment while I was immersed in the story.

 

Which books did you love as a child?

woman and a girl on bed holding a book
A love of reading begins in childhood

Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams romances were my all-time favourite books to read when I was growing up and I still have most of them today. I loved Nancy Drew, I suppose that is why I love writing mystery novels. Also, Enid Blyton’s the Wishing Chair.

You write in several genes Contemporary romance and Amateur Sleuths or cosy mysteries – was that deliberate choice or do you just have so many ideas? Which came first?

It wasn’t a conscious decision, I kind of stumbled into it. I always wanted to write contemporary romance and I knew I wanted to have drama and suspense in them. So I started writing contemporary romance first. I also knew it was a way for me to deal with certain things going on in my personal life and I could express it through my characters. I suppose you could say it was a kind of therapy.

Then when I was looking for a cover for Callie’s Dilemma I stumbled across Mariah Sinclair’s website where I did indeed find the cover, but also stumbled across the cupcake capers cozy covers and that was it I was hooked. I ended up buying 13 covers but had no idea what a cozy was. Crazy I hear you say. Yep, totally.

Cupcakes
Can you see why Polly Holmes fell in love with this cover?

 

In His Protection went on hold and I had to research the genre. What it was, what you can and can’t do, it was a whole new world. Then I posted on Amazon the dates I was releasing them in 2018. Why I did that I have no idea because it put me under so much pressure to get them out on time and at the same time I was staging the musical Lion King Jr at school.

In the end, it was a huge learning curve, but it also helped me realise that I love writing cozies and also romantic suspense.

Research into each writing style is the key. Know what the readers want and deliver. I had an email from a lady who loved my book but wanted a recipe in the back like everyone else does.

I do have to try and turn off one genre when I am writing another and that’s where my planning comes it. I love to plan my novel out.

 

What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Never give up no matter how much you feel like it.

questions answers signage
Asking for advice can bring positive results.

What is the worst? I’m not sure I have had any bad advice. It’s about knowing which bit of advice to take that will work for you and which bits to leave behind.

 

If you were starting now would you do anything differently?

I would definitely have learnt more about the self-promotion, social media side of the industry right from the start and started that much, much earlier. Follow the experts. If they have tried something and it didn’t work, think carefully if you are going to follow in their footsteps. I would have created another pen name for my different genres, which I have now done, but a year after the first cozy publication. Look out for Polly Holmes in the cozy mystery genre.

You sound incredibly busy how do you manage to fit it all in?

81c2-WudiPL._SY600_
Polly Holmes.

Sometimes, I don’t fit it all in. Although I work full-time, I want to write and I can’t let my busy schedule stop me. It’s something that I can do for me, something that makes me happy (When it’s all going to plan) I do have to try and prioritise especially around the busy times at school like exams and reporting time. Sometimes I am guilty of putting things in the too hard basket and then I feel guilty so out they come and I persist until I achieve it.

Often I ask myself is it worth it? The answer always turns out to be yes. In the long run, I know that I will succeed if I persist. Take the good with the bad and there is always more good than bad.

How long have you been published and how are you so prolific?

I have been published 2 years now and self-published 18 months. I think the key is persistence and learning as you go. You can’t get everything right the first time, but learning from mistakes allows you to improve the next time. Knowing what you want and setting the intention to achieve it.

 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

person holding round smiling emoji board photo
What makes you smile?

That is a hard one and I’m not sure if they are fun facts. I love old musicals and sometimes I wish I was born back when Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Ann Miller and the greats were around. Even though I can’t sing it doesn’t stop me from having a go when a great tune comes on.

If I hear music with a good beat, I have to dance no matter where I am. It’s in my blood.

I’m addicted to most reality TV especially House Rules, MKR, Masterchef. I know, it’s very bad.

It has been great learning more about your writing journey- thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

Book links:

https://www.amazon.com.au/His-Protection-Burrum-Ridge-Book-ebook/dp/B07MTQRPN7

https://www.amazon.com/His-Protection-Burrum-Ridge-Book-ebook/dp/B07MTQRPN7

 

 

Did You Know That Reviews Are Really Helpful to Authors?

45218600647f1465021532-Untitled-1
Writers love readers who review their books!

Reviews are especially important to new authors, but I know we are all busy and don’t have a lot of time.

With that in mind, I have created a blueprint of how to write a quick review. Of course, your own words and honest opinions are welcome.

                wooden desk with books on top

Even famous authors began by writing just one book

How to Write a Quick Book Review.

Book reviews don’t have to be long and complicated, and reviews on Amazon, Good reads* or even sent to the publisher or author are really helpful.

Good reads are a Free online book lovers recommendation forum-It’s easy to join and helps you keep track of which books you have read.

How to use this form just use one or two sentences to say how you felt about the book, or of course add your own thoughts.

brown notebook in between of a type writer and gray and black camera
Reviews don’t have to be long and complicated.

Example  Fire & Ice by Sonia Bellhouse, told a good story.

The Book Was….enjoyable, easy to read, exciting, heartfelt, romantic, told a good story, I liked it. A real page-turner.Wasn’t my kind of book.

The Character (s) I liked best -Blaise Daniels, Kristoffer Eriksen, Saga, Trygve, someone else.

The Things in the Story I Liked. It was set somewhere different(Norway) It included Ice dancing. It had a parallel storyline. It had Vikings. Two different romances. It featured an Australian. I  learned about another culture and customs. It wasn’t a long book

Things I didn’t like…..

 

You get the idea and now to show I practise what I preach here are my March Book reviews

Summer of Love by Kate FfordeSummer of Love

An easy to read second chance at love story. engaging characters and an amusing plot. Super beach read.

The Single Ladies of  Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell.Jacaranda

Bette Davis famously said ‘old age ain’t for sissies’  but the people of Jacaranda retirement village have sunk into a torpor, thinking that doctors’ appointments and communal singing are all they have to look forward to.

When glamorous Angela Valentine joins the community, she ruffles a few feathers and unexpectedly befriends and mentors old school chum Peggy Smart. Suddenly there is more excitement in the air and a sense of optimism, the residents are not done with living yet.

The House of New Beginnings by Lucy DiamondThe House

Three women all at turning points in their lives are new tenants at 11 Dukes Square in Brighton. Each has a problem or secret that had brought her there. Rosa is embarking on a career change, but there is more to her story than that. Charlotte is dealing with loss and trying to remain disengaged from life. Georgia has followed her boyfriend Simon down to Brighton and now he seems to have no time for her, so she embarks on a new career path. Each story unfolds gradually and is told with warmth and humour,  you will feel like you know these women and want them to succeed.

55 Underemployed and Faking Normal by Elizabeth White

55 underemployed

The book is geared to American readers and suggests a much larger retirement and pre-retirement crisis is looming. Anyone in the USA could benefit from reading this book – not so much for me here in Australia. The take-home message society has changed, what you expected may not happen, and it’s wise to be prepared. It is not your fault that companies, downsize and that ageism is a barrier to employment as you get older.

The Cottage  at Rosella Cove by Sandie Docker

I enjoyed this book and found Nicole’s predicament with her controlling fiance believable and relatable. I cheered her on when she left to start her new life in Rosella Cove. There was a hint of intrigue which interested me. The way the story from the past intertwined with the present was plausible and added depth.

Charlie the irascible old man from the boathouse was one of my favourite characters. Also, like the gently unfolding romance. It was a believable and moving read. One thing bothered me that there was no conclusion with her relationship with Jane, but life is often like that.

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling.

The Little Bookshop of Lonely hearts
This gorgeous cover was so appealing

An interesting premise, after all, what book lover doesn’t love bookshops?
Many people dream of being left a bookshop. I enjoyed Posy’s plans to transform the bookshop she had grown up in. Her subterfuge to keep Sebastian ‘the rudest man in London’ in the dark as to her actual plans was amusing. He’s not the most appealing of heroes as he’s so dismissive of her plans and opinions. I Know that she does eventually stand up to him, but it seems a very unequal relationship.
While the addition of the secondary narrative Ravished by the Rake, was both an homage to Georgette Heyer and an insight into Posy’s subconscious. Personally, I found it distracting and the font harder to read. This is the beginning of a planned series.

A quick survey- Which pages interest you the most?

Hi there,

I  could really use your help, please tell me which of the topics that I post about are of Interest to you.

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Practical articles about writing

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My cats

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What I learnt from running a book group for eleven years

Attending conferences and author talks

Other topics you’d like?

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