Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Robin Lovejoy

Banshee in the Well on

Written Words of Madmen - Interview with author Robin Lovejoy

In this interview we’re talking to Robin Lovejoy-Tolkien, a young fantasy author from Kensington, London, England. Banshee in the Well is her first book, published on Kindle in January 2012.

WWM: What inspired you to get into writing?

RL: Noses run in my family, and so does writing. One of my favourite books when I was nine or ten years old was STIG OF THE DUMP by Clive King. Although it’s now seen as a ‘modern classic’ a lot people tell me it’s ‘old-fashioned’ and was written in an ‘age of innocence.’ Stig was published in 1963 and people from that generation have said to me that even in those days kids were warned ‘not to speak to strange men.’ But Barney, the eight-year-old main character of the book, does exactly that. He meets Stig, the caveman who’s travelled in time from prehistory, and straightaway they become friends. They have half-a-dozen exciting/amusing adventures, and no way does Stig ever mean Barney any harm.  However, when Barney tells his family about his first meeting with Stig, Barney’s sister Lou says:  “Let's pretend Stig's a wicked wizard who lives in a cave and turns people into stone.”  This is on the last page of Chapter One. Over the years it got me thinking, what if someone takes up Lou’s suggestion and writes a dark version of Stig of the Dump? Would this be sacrilege, or just a reflection that we no longer live in an age of innocence, more like an ‘age of paranoia’?

WWM: How did you develop the idea?

RL: My sister lives in a Newquay, Cornwall, a town brimming with art galleries. One day were looking around the gallery of a gothic type artist and one of his pictures was of a spooky, scantily clad black-eyed female with dark stripes on her limbs. That gave me the idea for Sathra, my eponymous banshee girl character.

WWM: Can you tell us something about the book?
RL: Banshee in the Well is set in Cumbria, better known as the Lake District, one of my favourite places. The main character is Niall Carver, a twelve-year-old farmer’s son. Niall is alone in the farmhouse when he hears a cry outside. He goes to investigate and follows the sound to an old well in the corner of the garden. He rescues Sathra and soon realises that she’s come through a time-warp from the thirteenth century. He thinks it’s going to be fun, having a magical friend for a while. What he doesn’t know is that Sathra must sacrifice him to recharge her magical energy and return to her own time.

WWM: What made you decide to self-publish?
RL: I’ve never submitted my work to an agent or a publisher, but I’ve spoken to quite a few people who’ve tried it and none of them were happy with the treatment they received. It seems that the UK publishers are very risk-averse in the current climate, rejecting fresh talent in favour of celebrity books and TV tie-ins. Then I heard about Amazon Kindle and it was a no-brainer really. Once I’d finished Banshee in the Well I thought: “what the heck, let’s get it out there and see whether anyone likes it.”

WWM: What book are you reading at the moment?
RL: “I couldn’t Put it Down” by Paige Turner.

WWM: Are you working on a new book at the moment?
RL: Not really, I'm watching the sales of Banshee in the Well before deciding whether a sequel is justified.

WWM: What is the last book you read?
RL: "Retired Cobbler" by Eustace L Boots

WWM: Where can people go and read your work?
RL: Banshee in the Well is only available as an eBook via Amazon. But this doesn't mean you have to own a Kindle to read my book. There are free apps that allow you to read Kindle books on any computer, plus other gismos like iPads, Androids, Windows Phones etc.

WWM: Which writer(s) inspires you?
RLT: I can do no better than to repeat what is said in the dedication of Banshee in the Well: This Book is Dedicated to the Genius of Richard Adams, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Geoffrey Chaucer, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Penelope Farmer, Bob Gale, Diana Wynne Jones, Clive King, Edith Nesbit, Anthony Shaffer, JRR Tolkien and Robert Zemeckis.

WWM: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
RL: I’m a great believer in plot and plot structure, as opposed to character-driven stories. I think the most important part of a story is the ending. A book should always build up to an exciting climax and a satisfying conclusion. No one has a God-given right to be a successful author. I had to learn the craft the hard way, and in as much as I’m qualified to give advice I would definitely recommend the following ‘how to’ guides: On Writing by Stephen King, Complete Guide to Writing Fiction by Pat Kubis, How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey, Creating Characters by Dwight V Swain, Creating, Character Emotions by Ann Hood and the Newnovelist computer software.

WWM: Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews - what are your thoughts on each of those?
RL: I love good reviews, and I don't mind mixed ones. As for bad ones - well, it's like telling a young mum her baby is ugly.

WWM: Do you think a mixed review would impact your sales? 
RL: That's a tricky one. I guess if you had mainly good reviews, plus a small proportion of mixed ones, that would be ideal. If you only have a bunch of glowing reviews it looks like you're part of some mutual admiration society.

WWM: If you review other indie writers’ books, what is your approach to reviewing those?
RL: I'm always kind, but usually that's not difficult because most (though not all!) indie books are very well written.

The Written Words of Madmen

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Banshee in the Well - April News

Hi y'all, I'm pleased to announce that my children's novel Banshee in the Well is to be offered FREE via Amazon Kindle promotion 19th to 22 April 2013 inclusive. So if you want to sample my blood, sweat and tears at absolutely no cost to yourself here is your chance, I couldn't give it away for less :) 

Banshee in the Well - Review by "Thriller Lover"

I read some reviews for this novel indicating it was for young'uns. I couldn't disagree more. For me, it's a story for kids of all ages. You've probably guessed that I'm no longer a spring chicken. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Banshee in the Well immensely. I was wary, at first, that this book would not be for me. After the first page, I discovered there was no cause for concern. I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. I started and finished it in a matter of hours. I would recommend it to anyone interested in a very entertaining story.

Thriller Lover Review

Saturday, 13 April 2013


I'm pleased to introduce and recommend Joe Conlan, an exciting new author and his equally thrilling debut novel NAMELESS.

Chilling and taut, NAMELESS, introduces a fresh and exciting twist on the deadly game of cat and mouse. By virtue of one impulsive and deeply human, but all too grave mistake, a good and decent man finds himself pitted against the embodiment of evil and threatened with losing everything and everyone he loves and values; including the pristine reputation he has endeavored all his adult life to establish.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel Falcone unwittingly steps onto course for a head-on collision with a frighteningly brilliant psychotic serial killer, whose harrowing childhood abuse and neglect left him devoid of humanity and salivating for revenge. Framed for a brutal murder on a commercial cruise ship, and fighting for the right to raise his sons and clear his name, Falcone races against the clock and struggles to keep his eyes on the prize, even while his profound guilt and self-loathing threaten to destroy him faster than his maniacal adversary.

Nameless on Amazon

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pauline Fisk Review

With my kid’s head on I loved Banshee in the Well. The idea was great.  Niall finds a banshee, Sathra, down a wishing-well and rescues her. She turns out to be a trickier character than he first realizes.  A great character as well from a kid’s point of view, sparky, spiky and full of life – which she’s trying to hang onto at all costs. Any child would identify with Sathra and with the dilemma she faces, which I won’t tell you about because it would spoil your fun.
And therein lies my ‘but’.  From the blurb onwards – which acts as its own spoiler – I knew too much. And I knew too much because I was told too much and most definitely too soon.  What could have surprised me was frequently spelled out. Where I could have had the pleasure of discovering things, I was told them instead.
So, when Sathra’s been rescued, for example, before I’d had time to decide whether or not to trust her, I’d been told the legend of the devil child. And later, when I could have been still wondering who Sathra was, I knew about the Banshee Sisterhood. The information had to come out some time, but did it have to happen so soon?  I’d have liked some suspense here, but Robin Lovejoy is an impatient author with a lot to tell – and she can’t wait to tell it.
Having said all that, Lovejoy’s first chapter is exciting and dramatic, her portrayal of the 21st century through a stranger’s eyes is insightful, and there’s a real skill in the way she presents that stranger – even with her dastardly intentions – in an attractive light.  With speech that’s weird to modern ears, and her equally weird markings, Sathra’s a fascinating mixture of mythical and punk.
‘What’s the matter?’ said Stewie. ‘Don’t you like girls?’
‘Well… I guess I do,’ said Niall. ‘Except the stripy ones.’
‘Stripy girls?’ said Stewie with a grin. ‘Get a lot of those in Cumbria, do you?’
‘No, just the one,’ said Niall. ‘And I don’t need to worry about her any more.  She’s history.’
I don’t think so.  I feel a sequel on the way. Robin Lovejoy is a good young writer despite my little gripe.  I enjoyed her book, I’m sure that many children will love it and I wish it well [excuse the pun].
Available in Kindle format
To find out more about  Robin Lovejoy

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Google Removals

Here's a useful tool for any authors out there whose ebooks have been pirated. First, do a Google search of your book title followed by the words 'free download.' Log all offending URLs in a Word document or similar. If you have a Google account (and if not they're very easy to create) log in and go to 
You'll then be able to paste in the offending URL with the request that Google remove it from their search index. Result: the pirated copies of your books will no longer show up in a Google search, making life more difficult (and therefore less profitable) for our wonderful pirate chums! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ebook Piracy Just Got a Whole Lot Worse

Hi, fans and sweeties, the reason I'm vexed today is I've just discovered that is a TOTAL SCAM, try the search box below, type anything in it such as your grandmother's name or even some random letters like fu2mpn, the search will come up as a downloadable file with hundreds of hits, all a trap to ensnare you into paying a fee and/or revealing your financial details.

From Amazon: "Jade's heart-breaking diary of her fight against terminal cancer and her final precious months with her beloved family. In August 2007 Jade Goody received the shattering news that she had cervical cancer. She was only 27 years old. But with her usual strength of character, Jade was determined to beat the disease and carry on with life as normal with her two little boys Bobby and Freddy. A percentage of profits from the book will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care."
Not if those charmers at have anything to do with it - see link below. They appear to be offering free copies of "Forever in my Heart" - well not exactly free, you have to pay them $75 up front to join. Don't you just love these anti-capitalist heroes? Although $75 subscription sounds suspiciously capitalist to me.

UPDATE: seems to have morphed into
That's the bad news; the good news is that I've just reported to Google Removals :)