Friday, 15 November 2013


This week my guest is Sarah Menary, who has been writing in her spare time for a few years, along with a full time job. What is for sure, is that she lives a varied and very interesting life, as you will see. I am so pleased that she has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog. Readers often wonder how writers spend their time. So here goes!

Q.1. What do you write?

A. I write gothic horror, and fantasy, and general fiction. I started writing novellas as a teenager as a sort of therapy for dealing with the world. These developed into full length novels over time. More recently I have been writing short stories and poetry, and I have been influenced by a group of poets I write with. They are all hugely talented and extremely modest people who continue to inspire me. I like to be challenged, so I write different things as it forces me to try out new ideas, I was recently challenged to write a romance story which I found very difficult, as I have a tendency to gravitate to the dark and the macabre.

Q 2. Can you tell us something about your present work in progress?

A. I have just finished work on my first international publication. It is a fantasy romance short story that I was asked to write for the Oklohama Tornado Relief Fund. The Anthology was compiled by 19 authors from around the globe, and available from 30th October 2013.

I am also working on my debut novel, The Blood Gate. It is a fantasy/horror novel about revenge and the land of the dead.

Q.3. Have you ever had writer's block, and what did you do to get out of it?

A. I have had writer's block! Not too many times though. The best way I've found to deal with it is to post the problem up on Facebook, and ask your friends for help! Some people would recoil in horror at the thought of doing that, but I have had much success with a great bunch of helpful friends who have the daftest suggestions. They always make me laugh, and I usually come up with something out of what they say.

Q 4. Where do you write? Do you stick to one place?

A. I write predominantly at home, but I find the best place to think about writing is in bed. My subconscious seems to unravel the plot if I dream. I also find that I write poetry best on the train, staring out of the window. I also have the occasional treat to go off to a writer's retreat. I know a fantastic little place in Wales where there is no mobile signal anywhere in the village, and it is fantastic if you want to get your head down to write.

Q 5. What do you like to read? Give us a few of your favourite books.

A. Tough one to narrow down! My all time favourite books are Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I am a big fan of the classics. There is a sense of patience with the Victorian classics, which I think we have lost in this fast world of today. However, I do like contemporary writers such as Val McDermid, and Neil Gaiman.

Q 6. Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?

A. I have so many hobbies it's a wonder I have time to write! I am a practicing Martial artist, studying Tang Soo Do. I am also a historical enactor and musketeer with Sealed Knot. That basically involves strapping yourself with gunpowder and having a massive battle with all of your friends! I also do a bit of freelance artwork, and I love my music.

Q 7. Do you have any pets? And do they play a part in your writing?

A. I have a very dozy cat called Artemis, She likes to walk across my keyboard and generally cause chaos! She almost set her tail on fire once when I was writing by candle light! Needless to say, the candles are now banned.

Q 8. Where do you get your inspiration?

In the strangest places! When I used to go to work early in the morning, I often found myself first on the train platform as the sun came up. There is something special about how the light hits the industrial landscape. It always feels like a secret beauty, just on show for you.

I find a great deal of inspiration from music, and I create playlists to listen to when I am writing particular pieces of work. For a high action piece, I listen to Rob Zombie, and for a more relaxed piece, I might have a bit of Moby.

Q 9. Do you find a particular food or drink helps with the creative juices?

A. Two things I need - caffeine and sugar. My family laugh at me because sometimes my fridge would be empty apart from diet coke and skittles.

Thank you so much Sarah. I'm sure readers would find your life most interesting! And best of luck with The Blood Gate.

Thank you all for taking an interest in Sarah. If you would like to ask any questions, please click on the envelope below and/or, write in the comments box.

You can follow Sarah



Thursday, 14 November 2013

What motivates Writers? Who or what inspires them? How do they come up with ...

.... ideas, names, characters, plots.

How do they write?

Where do they write?

What do they read?

Do they read much, or not at all while writing? Or just a little?

What genre do they read? Same as they write? Or some different genre?

What hobbies do they have ...apart from writing?

...and so many more questions...

Tomorrow I will begin my series of interviews with different guest writers. There are so many questions to ask each writer. If you would like particular questions answered, please post your questions in the comments box at any time.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Peppery Pumpkin and Sweet Potato soup...

.....with grated apple and cream. 

This is a lovely Autumn and delicious soup, full of flavour, using seasonal vegetables and fruit.
It's really easy to make. Here is the recipe.



Half small eating pumpkin - peeled and cut up into cubes
2 medium onions, chopped up
2 large sweet potatoes (6"x2") peeled and chopped up
fresh parsley chopped (2 tbl sp)
2 large cloves garlic - chopped
2 medium tomatoes - chopped finely
1 bird pepper - chopped finely
handful of fresh coriander - chopped finely
1 medium Bramley cooking apple or any other sharp apple -peeled and grated (large hole)
1 chicken stock cube
1 tsp flaked sea salt
1 tbl spoon olive oil
2 ltrs water


Using a large heavy pan, heat oil

Turn down heat to low, and cook onions till soft and transparent.

Add pumpkin cubes stir and cook for about 3-4 mins

Add sweet potato, stir and cook for another 3 mins

Add tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and bird pepper, and stir

Add water, turn up heat, and crumble in the stock cube

Add salt, and bring to the boil.

Lower heat right down, and cover pan.

Simmer for about 45 mins - 1 hour, or when vegetables are very soft.

Remove from heat and let it cool for about 20 mins.

Pour in a large food processor, and blitz till smooth-ish (optional)

Return it to the pan, and add grated apple and coriander.

Heat through to boiling point.

Cover and let simmer for about 10-15 mins

Serve with cream, and crusty granary bread. (optional)

Hope you enjoy it!

If you've got any questions or comments, please leave them below in the comments box.