Thursday, February 28, 2019

Interview with middle grade author Chelsea Walker Flagg

Writer Chelsea Walker Flagg is here today and we’re talking a bit about her new early middle grade book, Tinsey Clover.

During her virtual book tour, Chelsea will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Chelsea was born and raised in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she spent countless hours writing stories. Mostly about cats.

In 2015, she published her first book: a quirky memoir for adults called I'd Rather Wear Pajamas that talks all about the journey through her young adult life that led to her becoming an author. It was an Amazon #1 best seller for five straight days and continues to elicit full belly laughs from its readers.

After the birth of her children, Chelsea shifted her writing to the kidlit world. She’s thrilled to share her newest baby: Tinsey Clover.

Chelsea lives in Boulder with her husband and three practically perfect daughters. Unfortunately, she doesn’t own any cats.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Tinsey Clover is the story of a spunky little elfin girl in the Icelandic Bungaborg Forest. She feels frustrated because her village isn’t allowed to leave or interact with anyone else in the forest. Certain there’s more positivity out there than she’s been taught to believe, Tinsey sneaks out of her village and finds herself on quite the journey. Using her great math skills, some quirky magic, and help from some unlikely new friends, Tinsey learns that sometimes things aren’t quite what they seem.

What inspired you to write this book?
This felt like a timely tale to tell. In this day and age full of exclusion and segregation, I really wanted to write a story of unity and acceptance. It’s even cooler since the protagonist is a young girl who doesn’t feel like she’s big enough to even make a tiny bit of difference. But, she does. She rises above all sorts of stuff and changes things for the better. It’s a nice spray of inspiration for kids to hear that they can cast a big light, no matter how small they are. It’s not an in-your-face message, though. The lessons are subtle enough and don’t take away from the fun characters and quirky situations they find themselves in.

Excerpt from Tinsey Clover:
Today’s the day. The day I’m finally going to sneak out of Snugglepunk to explore the rest of the Bungaborg Forest. Of course, I said the same thing yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. But, today, I really mean it.

I brush a strand of shaggy purple hair out of my full moon emerald green eyes and make a thirty-degree turn to the right followed by forty-four paces. A full right-angle turn to the left then another hundred-and-seven steps. I calculate the path with precision, quietly weaving my way in and out of massive brown tree trunks so old, you could climb into their wrinkles and stay hidden for weeks. The trees shoot up most likely all the way to space, spreading their enormous, greedy branches to hog all the sunlight for themselves.

Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty much an expert sneaker. I mean, when you’ve done something as much as I’ve done this, it’s hard not to be an expert. Another ninety degree right turn. I’m close now. Thirty more yards, which is no small distance when you’re only the size of a chipmunk. Still, my bare feet know the way by heart. They glide quickly over the mossy ground beneath me.

I tune into my slightly pointy ears for a second. Part of being a great sneaker is using all your senses. I hear the call of the morning Icelandic birds and a soft, melodic humming of the other trealfur elves waking up. It’s not an unusual sound. Trealfur elves always hum. It’s just something you do when you’ve got the best singing voices in the forest.

I never hum. Because, unlike every other trealfur elf in Snugglepunk, my voice does not sound like chimes tingling on a soft breeze. No way. I’m pretty sure a better comparison would be to say my voice sounds like an angry honey badger with a head cold. Who’s also dying. That about sums it up.

In front of me, a solid vine wall comes into view. The twenty foot wall my grandpa built before I was born that wraps all the way around the perimeter to keep Snugglepunk safe from the rest of the Bungaborg Forest. The border that’s always made me feel trapped.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m super excited to put pen to paper on a Tinsey Clover sequel, so stay tuned for that! I’m also working on a Middle Grade historical fiction.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Back in second grade, I’d bring in little stories I’d written (mostly about cats) to my classroom and beg my teacher to let me read them to the class. Things didn’t stop there. I wrote my first novel in middle school, although I sadly never published it. My life continued along and I fell into the trap of people telling me writing was a worthless occupation. I bounced around from job to job, and always found myself gravitating toward the writing piece of any project. Finally, I took the leap and allowed myself to really call myself a writer. I haven’t looked back once.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could write full time! As the full-time mama of three young girls, sometimes squeezing in even a handful of minutes can be a challenge. What I’ve found really works for me is, instead of committing myself to putting in a certain amount of time per day to write (ie, I’ll write two hours a day,) I strive for a certain word count. So, if I’m working for 2,000 words a day, that means I can get those words in at any point during the day. Maybe my kids are playing for a bit and I get fifteen minutes to write. Great! 500 words done. First thing in the morning before everyone’s awake. Awesome! Another 300 words. I’ve found that breaking it down that way makes it so much more realistic and achievable.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Ha! Where to start? I’m the type of writer who will just sit down and start writing whatever comes to mind. There are plenty of times when I’ll go back to edit and I have no idea what I’m even trying to read. What was I talking about??

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian. And a ballerina. And a concert flutist. And, of course, a writer. I’m two of the four of those now. Can you guess which ones?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for hanging with me today!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Interview with writer Sandra J. Jackson

Writer Sandra J. Jackson joins me today to chat a bit about her new sci-fi suspense, Playing in the Rain.

Sandra J. Jackson was born in Montreal, Quebec but has lived in Ontario for close to 34 years. The last 31 in a rural setting in Eastern Ontario with her husband and children.

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, being creative has always been Sandra’s passion. Over the years she has enjoyed creating works of art for her family and friends. Her children, however, brought out the storyteller inside when Sandra told them bedtime stories. Her wild imagination lent itself to new and exciting ideas.

As her children grew and the storytelling faded, Sandra’s desire to write blossomed. Fed by her personal experiences, she began writing. As she wrote, her confidence grew and so did her courage. Sandra began sharing her ideas, even volunteering to write articles for her son’s hockey team for publication in the local paper.

An avid reader of many genres, Sandra’s writing does not fall into any specific category. However, her goal is to create stories that pull readers into the book and make them feel as though they are a part of the story.

With several stories in various stages of completion, Sandra made a decision. Armed with her experience of travelling to the east coast, her wholehearted belief in soulmates, and the draw she has always felt for the UK, she completed her first manuscript.

Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was originally released in 2015 by her former publisher. A short story, Not Worth Saving, was published in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. Her second novel, Playing in the Rain - Book 1 of the Escape Series, released in September 2017 also by the same former publisher. In October 2017, her short-story, China Doll, took second prize in a newspaper contest for Halloween stories. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra is currently working on editing Book 2 and 3 of the Escape Series, her first trilogy.

Welcome, Sandra. Please tell us about your current release.
Playing in the Rain is the first book of The Escape Series – a trilogy. It is the story of a young woman who begins to wake from a drug induced hypnosis. She has no idea where she is or who she is. But as her memories slowly start to return, she realizes that she needs to escape.

Playing in the Rain won the 2018 Golden Quill Book Award for SciFi

When the effects of a hypnosis inducing drug fade, April slowly begins a conscious awakening. Memories of her past are unclear and she has no recollection of her identity or her whereabouts.

As the days slip by, April realizes there is more to life than existing when she is introduced to an occupant who does just that—her sister. The more she learns about her environment the more she wants to escape.

Will April remember her past, her sister? Will she have the courage to leave? And if she does, where will she go?

Experience through April’s eyes her struggle to remember and her determination to escape in this sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, suspense story.

What inspired you to write this book?
I don’t think I can pinpoint what inspired the book. It was an idea that came to me and I started writing. However, the very first draft of Playing in the Rain was a stand alone novel with a much darker plot line. I decided to change it and make it a post-apocalyptic sci-fi. To do this I added about twelve chapters ahead of the original beginning. Then I revised what I’d originally wrote to work with the new plot. My characters also aged a few years in the revised version.

Excerpt from Playing in the Rain:
Moments or hours later there was no telling which, my eyes sprung open to the darkened room. I stretched my arms above my head, but a sharp pinch in my shoulder caused me to pull them back down to my side. My hands absently plucked at the cushioned surface underneath me. I rolled the small bits of soft material between my fingers and dropped them on the floor. B2’s quiet and even breaths lulled me into a state of relaxation. My arms and legs grew heavy and sunk further into the cushion beneath me. I was about to cross into unconsciousness, but a low groan pulled me back. The sound of a rustling sheet and smacking lips disturbed the quiet dark surrounding me. “B2!” I whispered. “Are you awake?” I turned my head to the right and stared out to where I imagined her lying beside me.
She groaned again, a little louder than before.
“Is that a yes?”
“Hmmm!” she mumbled. “I w-was having a g-good –”
“Sh!” I placed my finger on my lips, even though I knew B2 couldn’t see my gesture. I turned my head away and stared up at the dark above me.
“What?” she whispered.
“Do you hear that?” My thoughts were fuzzy and unsure. I concentrated on the silence. Am I hearing things?
“I d-don’t hear anything. Let me g-go back to sleep.” B2 stammered with a somewhat cranky voice. I imagined her crossing her arms and stomping her foot. The corners of my lips pulled into a smile, but it was fleeting as my focus returned to the sound I was sure I’d heard. The crease in my brow deepened.
I rolled my eyes. “Listen!” My words were sharp. I closed my eyelids and inhaled, held it, and then allowed it to rush out through my pursed lips. “It sounded…” I searched my memory and tried to recall the sound I was sure my ears picked out in the dark, “like rain.” The blackness closed in around us, and we waited in silence for a sound we hadn’t heard in… How long had it been? Months – years?
“What’s –”
“Sh!” I silenced B2 once again. She shuffled beside me. Even in the dark, I understood she’d rolled away.
Finally, there was a delicate tapping overhead. At first, it was a few light beats, a random collection of taps. Within seconds, it settled into a rhythmic pattern. I was sure it was rain.
“I knew it. It is rain.” I smiled and sat up, my hands behind me for support. My delight did not last long. Where the hell are we? My eyebrows pulled together, and my smile turned into a frown.
“Rain?” B2’s voice whispered. She shuffled once again; her hand brushed the back of mine as she sat up beside me.
I searched my memory for the last time I’d seen rain. Visions from my strange dream of the dried grass came to mind. There was a bizarre feeling, almost an understanding, that it had been a long time. If I knew how long we’d been at C.E.C.I.L., then I’d have a bit of an idea, but my memories were still foggy.
At that moment there was nothing else I wanted more than to see the rain, to feel it wash over my head and down my face as it fell from the sky. My mind tried again to sort through the stored memories I managed to conjure. Unfortunately, they were not clear, and I could not gather any accurate details.
The dream interrupted my thoughts and brought with it visions of cool, soft, green grass. I reveled in the memory. Real grass under my bare feet, my toes curled at the thought. Almost in the same instant, the grass turned to brown, sharp blades. C.E.C.I.L.’s Astroturf flashed in my mind. Grass – that was another thing I longed for, even the brown, crunchy kind.

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment I a finishing the final revisions/editing of Book 2 of the Escape Series and then will send it to my publisher. Then I will begin editing Book 3.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I first considered myself a writer when I finished my first manuscript. But I think that consideration was more for me. I didn’t consider myself a true writer until my first book was published.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I would like to write full-time but unfortunately, I do not. I work full-time as a Finance Assistant for a large security guard company. I find time for writing in the evenings and on weekends and whenever I have time off. It’s kind of like having two full-time jobs.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I guess I would have to say my interesting writing quirk is that my stories always begin with the ending and the title of the book before I write the beginning. If I know how it’s going to end then I can work out the details on how to get the story to the ending.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be many things, a doctor, zoologist, artist, author, but I never imagined working in finance. I sucked at math.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I would just like to say thank you to my readers for your support. It is truly appreciated.


Amazon book links: Promised Soul | Playing in the Rain

Thanks for joining me today, Sandra.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Interview with novelist Sherilyn Decter

My special guest today is author Sherilyn Decter. She’s here to chat a bit about the first release in her new historical women’s crime fiction, Innocence Lost - Book One of the Bootleggers’ Chronicles series.

During her virtual book tour (schedule is listed below), Sherilyn is giving away two (2) autographed paperback copies of Innocence Lost. Each of the books comes with a couple of sheets of flapper paper dolls. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.

Welcome, Sherilyn. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.

Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why - wink.)

Bootleggers’ Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, and general lawlessness that defined Prohibition. The Bootlegger blog rose out of all the research that I’ve been doing about this incredible era.

Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what’s just over the next one. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a spoiled grandson, and two bad dogs.

Please tell us about your current release.
Innocence Lost is the story of Maggie, a young widow struggling to raise her son in 1920s Philadelphia. Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootleggers’ playground. When her son’s friend goes missing and the police aren’t interested in investigating, Maggie steps way out of her comfort zone to begin investigating. After all, the safety of her son may be at stake. Providing support and guidance is a ghostly police detective, Frank Geyer. Together they battle police corruption and dangerous bootleggers in their attempts to bring evil-doers to justice.

What inspired you to write this book?
I start a story with the idea ‘what if?’ and begin to knit up those fascinating threads into something that grabs the reader and holds them to the end.

Stories about women at the crossroads have always inspired me. Maggie started out life as a feisty, independent girl but wound up thinking and acting like her turn-of-the-century mother. With her back to the wall financially and worried about the safety of her son, Maggie is forced to rediscover who she was before life got her down.

I am also intrigued about how people react when faced with extraordinary circumstances. They’re tested-- revealing their true character, for better or worse. Several of the characters in Innocence Lost must come face to face with that truth. Innocence Lost is set in dangerous times, ‘not because of evil, but because of people who do nothing about it.’

Finally, the 1920s was an exciting era. Hemlines were going up, hair was being bobbed, women were stepping out, and that razzmatazz jazz got fringes flying. Prohibition may have cut off the legal supply of liquor, but that didn’t stop people from drinking, which created a business opportunity for folks who enjoyed risk and adventure. Great change has interesting consequences, often unexpected. And that leads me back to answering, ‘what if?’.

Excerpt from Innocence Lost:
Philadelphia has not yet lost its soul. It’s still the early days of Prohibition. Sure, you can see the rot around the edges beginning to creep in, but people, for the most part, are enjoying the thrill of being lawbreakers. The times; they’re dangerous, but not yet deadly. Bootleggers are still the boys from down the street, and hooch still has a bit of quality control to it. Hell, the most dangerous thing about the Twenties, so far at least, is hemlines. Those short skirts are trouble.

You can smack your lips at the scandal of it all. Everyone has a bit of an outlaw in them, don’t they? Many of the good people of Philadelphia are secretly thrilled to be able to thumb their noses at a senseless bit of government regulation imposed by morons in Washington. It’s a buzz to sneak out to the local speakeasy, get in with a secret password, and tip back a refreshing swig of illegal booze.

Ah yes, that inevitable illegal booze. Stashed in old warehouses; some of them are by the river, some close to the tracks, all hidden from view. Brick carcasses of abandoned enterprise, those warehouses now bustle with new business. Risky business. Bootlegging.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The decade of Prohibition and its effects on America provide an endless source of inspiration for compelling, dramatic stories. Having completed the five book series about bootleggers, the ghost of a police detective, and Maggie Barnes, I’m now heading south.

The next series is set in Florida and delves into the dangerous world of rum runners. There’s a trio of dynamic women who run things along Rum Row, a fortune teller who finds answers in the tarot, and a very nasty villain.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always been a reader, losing myself in the pages of a good book. But I was finding it harder and harder to find the stories I wanted to read: stories of strong women facing exceptional circumstances, who find themselves along the journey. I love history and a touch of the paranormal. The stars aligned and I started to write.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m retired, so have the luxury of writing full time. As an early bird, you can find me at my desk well before dawn, spinning tales. I usually spend all my creative energies by lunch time, leaving me the afternoons to research historical aspects of my books, to look after the business side of being a writer, to cook or garden, to visit with my grandchildren, or play with my two bad dogs.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
All my stories have been written with one dog in my lap and another at my feet. (Yes, I have poor writing posture and long arms!) They wisely refrain from commenting on my first drafts and a good tummy rub often inspires the solution to a particularly vexing conundrum in the plot.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I was the tall, awkward, nerdy girl in glasses and her nose in a book. If I couldn’t be a teacher, I wanted to be a librarian. One of those weird quirks of fate that I had mentioned earlier put me behind a country bar slinging beer and mixing drinks instead of cool, quiet book stacks. But regardless of where I’ve been or what I’ve been up to, I’ve always had plenty of bookcases and my ‘to-be-read’ pile is at dangerous heights.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you like flapper fashions, you can find all kinds of eye-candy on my Facebook author page, on my Pinterest page, or on my website. There’s just something about sequins and feathers that stirs those creative juices.


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The full tour:
Monday, Feb. 25 - What Is That Book About - Spotlight
Juneta @ WritersGambit - Guest Post & Excerpt
Mythical Books - Excerpt
The Story of a Writer - Excerpt
Rockin' Book Reviews - Review & Excerpt
Today, Feb. 26 - Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews - Q & A
Thoughts in Progress - Spotlight
Wednesday, Feb. 27 - A Smile And A Gun - Interview
Thursday, Feb. 28 - Book Reviews by Pat Garcia - Review
Hank Quense's Blog - Excerpt
No Genre Left Behind - Excerpt
Friday, March 1 - Carole's Book Corner - Spotlight
Celticlady's Reviews - Excerpt & Spotlight
Reviews by Crystal - Excerpt

Monday, February 25, 2019

Interview with psychohistorian David Lewis

Writer David Lewis is with me today to share a little bit about his historical non-fiction book, Triumph of the Will? How Two Men Hypnotized Hitler and Changed the World.

Welcome, David. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an author, psychohistorian, Chartered Psychologist and award winning broadcaster who has devoted much of the last 20 years to studying the psychology of influence and the role of hypnosis in political, social and commercial persuasion.

Please tell us about your current release.
In the early 70s, American Intelligence declassified a previously secret report which claimed that Hitler’s blindness in October 1918, following a British gas attack, was due to mental breakdown rather than physical injury.

At a remote clinic near the Polish border, he was treated by means of hypnosis. While this restored his sight, it left him convinced that he had been singled out by destiny to make Germany, shattered by four years of vicious fighting, great again.

It was this belief in his ‘divine’ mission which motivated his drive to power.

Triumph of the Will? explored the different ways, many of them extremely brutal, that soldiers suffering from what was widely called ‘shell shock’ were treated during World War I.

I go on to recount how, in the 30s, Hitler came under the influence of a second hypnotist named Eric Jan Hanussen. He was a celebrity clairvoyant, magician, hypnotist, and showman with a headline act in Berlin's most prestigious theatre. He was also a media mogul, who promoted Hitler and the Nazi party through his newspapers, a multimillionaire who funded the brown-shirted S.A. and a mentor who coached Hitler in showmanship and public speaking.

We only know about his treatment via a book Der Augenzeuge (The Eyewitness) which had been sent to America, from Paris, just prior to the outbreak of war. It lay for many decades in a dusty New York filing cabinet unread and unnoticed until it was finally published in Germany as a work of fiction. It is now widely considered to be based on Hitler's original medical notes. These had been made available, in Paris, two German émigré writers and journalists after Dr Edmund Forster decided to fight back against the Nazis whose regime he despised
After the Nazis came to power all those who knew about Hitler's mental breakdown were eliminated if he and his Party bosses considered they posed even the slightest risk to his reputation.

Edmund Forster, the doctor, patriot and Naval Officer, who had treated Hitler in 1918 was found shot dead in his bathroom.

Eric Hanussen was murdered by his friends in the S.A. All documents relating to the case were confiscated by Himmler and the hospital where he had been treated turned into a Nazi shrine.

The author of Der Augenzeuge, Ernst Weiss, killed himself on the day the Germans marched into Paris.

What inspired you to write this book?
In 1998 I met the Rudolph Binion, Professor of Modern History at Brandies University, Boston. Fluent in German, Russian and French he had undertaken much of the early research into Forster’s life and the way in which he treated Hitler for his blindness.

I worked with Binion on a number of projects and became very interested in what psychology can tell us about history. Reading the research papers, he had retrieved from behind the Iron Curtain, I became convinced that this was a story which needed to be told if we are to get a clear idea not only of how Hitler came to power, and changed the world forever, but the role of hypnosis in political persuasion. Something which is becoming ever more urgent and resonant in the world of "fake news" and Social Media.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently writing a book on Altered States of Consciousness, explaining what they are, how they can be achieved and why they matter. The basic message is that by changing your mind through developing altered states you can change your life.

David as psychologist lecturing to
students on brain function
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first published book at the age of 16, a thriller entitled Mantissa of Death. Later I paid my way through medical school and university by writing fiction for an American paperback house. As a qualified clinical psychologist and director of a university-based research laboratory, I have subsequently written more than 20 books on psychological topics. My two most recent are Impulse – Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It (Random House/Harvard University Press) and The Brain Sell (Nicholas Brealey Publishing) about the ways in which retailers and service providers set out to influence and manipulate consumers.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write regularly for four hours a day, between working at the University and undertaking broadcasts. I work in both television and radio, always on programs with a psychological theme.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I'm pretty boring actually. I just switch on my computer work for four hours and then switch it off again. I especially like the research part and the writing when it flows, which it often does. When I get stuck I just stick at it until I get unstuck, but this is hard work and not so much fun.

David as a photojournalist in a war zone
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor, at least that's what my parents wanted, but gave up medicine for a while in favor of photography. I became a photojournalist travelling the world and covering battle, murder and sudden death as well as everything from funny animals to death-defying car, plane and motorcycle stunts. After a decade of working in journalism, I returned to university to study psychology and neuroscience. I obtained a doctorate from the University of Sussex in 1984 where I researched the role of self-help in the treatment of anxiety, depression and stress. I later established up my own laboratory, Mindlab International Ltd, in that University’s Science Park.

I have written a book about my time as a photojournalist entitled The Way It Was: A Photographic Journey Through 60s Britain (MLI Press 2019)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
While working as a photojournalist I learned skydiving and SCUBA, obtained a private pilot's license and marine qualifications in order to expand my scope as a photographer.

Today, while I have given up flying and parachuting, I still enjoy diving as a leisure activity. I live with my partner and four rescue dogs in a small village on the south coast of Britain, just 30 minutes’ drive away from the University.

Thank you for being a guest today, David.