Tan Twan Eng: What Malaysia means to me

Twan IMG_2492-03Tan Twan Eng, author of The Gift of Rain and The Garden of Evening Mists, appears in the Malaysian edition of Elle magazine (August 2015).

Five acclaimed writers share with Elle readers just exactly what Malaysia means to them. For Twan, it was the small things in life that he remembers with clarity. The kindness of his mother, and the gratefulness of those less fortunate than himself, come across in this short piece of reminiscence.

‘… perhaps, every day all over KL, all over our country, people are doing such similar acts of unsolicited kindnesses, these small things, for complete strangers.’ 

If you’d like to read the full piece from Elle then please click here.


How history informs fiction

tigerhuntThe Japanese character in this picture is typical of many Japanese in Malaya before the surprise Japanese invasion like the characters Aritomo and Endo in Tan Twan Eng’s books The Garden of Evening Mists and The Gift of Rain – performing all manner of seemingly innocuous roles while secretly spying for their country.
This was one of the factors leading to the rapid sweep of Japanese forces down through the jungles and plantations of the peninsula and the swift capture of Singapore.
The Malaya campaign and its ferocity is captured in the forthcoming illustrated autobiography from Myrmidon: And the Dawn Came Up Like Thunder, a republished work by war artist and prisoner of war, the late Leo Rawlings. This revised edition contains over 160 illustrations, many of which are published in full colour for the first time.
For more information about this book please click here. Or to pre-order your copy, please click here.


Deaf, peevish old beast – Laura Purcell discusses her latest heroine

Henrietta_HowardAhead of the release of Laura’s forthcoming novel, Mistress of the Court, she gives an insight into the life of her book’s heroine, Henrietta Howard, and the affliction that haunted her life.

Laura discusses Henrietta’s deafness and how it was perceived by those in her court, and by those closest to her.

To read Laura’s full blog post please click here: http://laurapurcell.com/. You’ll also find an extra treat towards the end of Laura’s blog as she includes an extra snippet that she wrote to help her explore the life of her character in more depth.

Mistress of the Court will be published on August 4th 2015 and can be pre-ordered here.

Fancy a free copy? We’re giving away 20 copies of this extraordinary book via Goodreads. Please click here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/144353-mistress-of-the-court to enter the giveaway competition.

Gov. LePage takes centre state in ‘craziest politicans’ book


FAT_BOY_LepageAnn Wood, Staff Editor at the Sun Journal, chats to our very own Brian O’Connell about his recent book, The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 more of the World’s Craziest Politicians.

Brian discusses how he chose his top 300 from an incredibly large list, how he originally wanted the book to be about American politicians only, and which American politician he believes is the craziest of them all.

To read the full article please click here: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/local/2015/07/02/gov-lepage-takes-center-state-craziest-politicans-book/1734637

The Fat Boy with the Bomb and 299 of the World’s Craziest Politicians can be purchased at: www.amazon.com/Fat-Bomb-Worlds-Craziest-Politicians/dp/1910183091/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435580572&sr=1-1&keywords=the+fat+boy+with+the+bomb.

Jeanne Gask is guest of honour in Calais

Nell and the GirlsJeanne Gask, author of the heartwarming memoir Nell and the Girls, paid a visit to Calais by invitation from the Calais Tourism Office. Jeanne travelled by Eurostar with her daughter and journalist, Marina Gask.
Whilst visiting Calais Jeanne attended a book signing at a local book shop called Librarie du Port – where the book is now in stock – and also attended a press conference. Jeanne was overwhelmed by the welcome and interest shown by the locals and the French press. It soon became apparent that Jeanne’s recounting of her experience of WWII in occupied France was not particularly well known in Calais.
The French press were very interested in hearing Jeanne’s experiences about the rounding up in 1940 of British nationals who were then taken to the Polish border, an account that was unfamiliar to them.
Jeanne’s father, Tom Sarginson was interred along with P G Wodehouse and you can read more about Tom in this wonderful account of his life: http://www.holywellhousepublishing.co.uk/Tom_Sarginson.html
If you haven’t yet purchased your copy of Nell and the Girls then please click here for purchasing options and more information about the book and the author.

Our new Princess Charlotte shares her name with one of the most beloved heirs to the British throne

CharlotteWe recently asked one of our historical novelists, Laura Purcell, to write a short piece about the naming of our new princess, and how she shares the name with one of the most beloved heirs to the British throne.

Princess Charlotte of Wales was born on the morning of 7 January 1796, following a ‘terrible hard’ labour. Her birth was much anticipated; despite raising a family of fifteen with his faithful consort, another Charlotte, George III had yet to become grandfather to a legitimate child. He was delighted with the arrival of this little girl, who secured the succession as third in line to the throne. ‘If the Prince of Wales is blessed with such a daughter as mine are to me, he will be a very happy man indeed,’ he wrote.

But all was not as it seemed. Princess Charlotte had arrived in the midst of a failing marriage. Her mother, Caroline, was living a life of slow humiliation. Her indifferent looks and coarse manners had estranged her from Charlotte’s father, who now paraded a mistress before her. Not that the Prince of Wales was without his own troubles. He had illegally married a Catholic widow before Caroline, and the birth of his first child caused a crisis of conscience. He spent the night of Charlotte’s birth writing a wild and passionate Will – one suspects under the influence of much alcohol. In this strange document, he made it very clear that he wanted his new daughter to be protected from what he saw as the evil influence of his wife.

To read Laura’s complete blog post please visit her website here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 10.58.11Laura’s next historical novel, Mistress of the Court, will be released on the 4th August 2015.

“Ms Purcell’s knowledge of the intimate life of the Hanoverians is stunning, and in this novel she has brought a remarkable, and unappreciated heroine to gritty, heart-breaking life.” Anita Seymour, author of Royalist Rebel

“Laura Purcell is a wonderful storyteller, and Mistress of the Court a fabulous Georgian read!” Lucinda Brant, NY Times bestselling author of Georgian romances and mysteries

For more information, or to order your copy, please click here.

Heartwarming memoir is released on the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2

Nell and the GirlsTeddington Waterstones will be hosting a private launch party for author Jeanne Gask this coming Thursday 7th May. Nell and the Girls is a remarkable, dramatic and heartwarming true story of a family told from the viewpoint of young Jeanne Sarginson, later Gask.

The book launch and publication day coincide with the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe, making this a very fitting and special event.

Jeanne will also be back in the Teddington store on Saturday 9th May for a book signing event from 11am. Jeanne was born in Calais, France but now lives in Teddington. Nell and the Girls is her story of her family’s wartime experience while trapped in occupied France from 1940–1944.

For more information about Nell and the Girls, or to order your copy, please click here for more details.

Myrmidon acquires an unofficial guide to an award-winning TV series

sherlock-2Myrmidon has acquired Investigating Sherlock, an unofficial guide to the award-winning BBC TV series, from literary agent Bill Hanna of Acacia House acting for ECW Press of Canada. Myrmidon acquired English language rights for UK, Europe and the Commonwealth to the guide book by bestselling author Nikki Stafford, which examines each episode through in-depth and fun analysis, exploring the character development and cataloging every subtle reference to the original stories. 

This is a real, ultimate fans’ guide,” said Kate Nash, director at Myrmidon who acquired the title. “Investigating Sherlock is more than just trivia. There’s no other book on the market that considers Sherlock as a phenomenon and puts the BBC TV series into context. Included are biographies of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as well as Arthur Conan Doyle, and interviews with Sherlockian experts.”

Myrmidon will publish Investigating Sherlock in paperback on 2nd September 2015 with an RRP of £9.99.

Historical fiction: Blood, dung — and galloping bravery


CartographerFrom biblical feuding to dashing cavalrymen, Antonia Senior of The Times guides readers through March’s best historical fiction. Our very own author, P.S. Duffy and her novel The Cartographer of No Man’s Land feature in this wonderful write up with the following review:

Subject matter does not come much bleaker than the First World War and debut Canadian novelist PS Duffy tackles it with confidence. In The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, Angus MacGrath is a sailor from Nova Scotia who enlists in a quixotic attempt to find his missing brother-in-law, Ebbin. Angus is reassured that he will be employed behind the lines as a cartographer. Instead, he is dispatched to the front and the Battle of Arras. At home, his teenage son Simon, grapples with his father’s absence and the rising hostility towards his pacifist grandfather and his German teacher, Mr Heist.

Snag Harbour, Nova Scotia, echoes with a hollow patriotism while Angus and his fellow Canadians fight to gain control of Vimy Ridge. There is a disconnected madness at the heart of the fighting. The relationships between the men and the incoherence of battle are reminiscent of Karl Marlantes’ seminal Vietnam novel, Matterhorn. The fate of Ebbin is cleverly done, but horribly effective. If the rest of the novel feels unsubstantial, particularly Angus’s relationship with a French woman, it is only because the central horror is so vividly executed.

To read more about March’s best historical fiction then please visit The Times website here.

To find out more about this novel, to read an extract or to purchase your copy, please click here.

Breaking Bad to get full UK TV run

Wanna CookCult US drama Breaking Bad is to be broadcast in full on UK terrestrial television for the first time.

The critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad concluded in 2013. It won five Primetime Emmys last year, including best drama series and best actor for Bryan Cranston.

Whether you’re looking forward to watching the series again, or you’re trying it for the first time, you’ll definitely need the complete, unofficial companion Wanna Cook?.

To read more about this guide, or to order your copy, please click here.

To read the full BBC report please visit the website here.