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Orenda 5 Book Launch Party and interview with Louise Beech

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 5th December 2018

An Orenda Books launch party is always rather special, one celebrating five new books is not to be missed! 

Team Orenda gathered in force, with support from fellow authors, bloggers, friends, loved ones, and of course LoveReading. I have been fortunate enough to have read and reviewed all five books. All very different, yet united in celebrating a different, fabulously moreish read.

In order of publication:

After he Died by Michael J. Malone published 15 September - Michael J. Malone has created a dramatic and thrilling family tale that just sings with intensity. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech published 30 September - An absolute wow of a relationship tale, gloriously beautiful yet it may well have broken my heart. 

Good Samaritans by Will Carver published 15 November -  I can genuinely say that I had absolutely no idea where this was going, I stayed in each moment, sucked in the words, and feel as the story has tattooed itself on my mind.

The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday published 15 November - A thrilling, chilling, shocking tale, perfect if you take delight in an icy shiver scuttling down your spine.

Attend by West Camel published 13 December - Attend has a deliciously dark fairytale quality that sits alongside the heartfelt realism of life quite beautifully. 

The drinks flowed, cakes circulated, book chat peppered the air, and Louise’s lion pen found a way into a lot of photos!

We also have a more in-depth interview with the very lovely and fabulous author Louise Beech.

Who is your favourite children’s author, why is that and do you still read their books? 

C.S. Lewis is a favourite. Someone gave me The Silver Chair when I was about eight and I loved it but knew there were others before and after, which was why some hadn’t made sense. I got the rest of the Narnia series from the library. I loved that it featured four siblings (I’m one of four) and that they escaped their world to go into another one. I’ve read them again as an adult and they haven’t lost the magic.

How did you develop your writing style? 

I honestly don’t know how to answer that. It just happened. I guess I mean that I learned it by writing. It’s that simple. Writing and writing and writing. I never had a very good education, so I’ve had to just read a lot and write until I knew how to do it. I’m still learning. Every day.

What is your one big tip for someone who is trying to find their voice? 

Do it your own way. If it feels right for you, then it’s probably right for you. Learn as much as you can about language, and then have some fun. Voice is all we have that’s unique as a writer. All writers use words and trickery and metaphors and all that stuff. But the way you put it all together is what gives you your voice. Don’t let anyone tell you how to do that. Write and discover it for yourself.

How did Karen from Orenda Books find you?

I found her. On Twitter. Not the most professional way to get a publisher! I was coming home from an awards event in London and in a really desperate place. I’d just lost a big competition to get my novel How to be Brave published. I’d written four novels over ten years and all of them had been rejected by every single agent and publisher. I saw that Karen was starting up Orenda books and tweeted her … and she loved How to be Brave. It changed my life.

I have adored reading your books, you have a wonderful way of expressing reality and emotion, that actually feels quite magical. The Lion Tamer Who Lost steers away from what has gone before yet still feels undeniably you. What concerns and challenges were there for you in this change of direction?

Thank you so much. Struggling to fit into a particular genre (which caused me so much difficulty in getting published) does have its blessings. It means I’m free to write what I choose. The only direction I follow is the story’s direction. But of course there is always the challenge of hoping readers will like your newest offering. 

You have a fabulous social media presence - were you already on twitter when you became an author or was it a conscious decision to connect with your readers?

I was already on Twitter – with about three followers! I called myself @LouiseWriter with great hope. Or maybe a sense of what was coming? I’m really glad you think I have a good social media presence. It can be hard to get the balance right between trying to promote your books and being yourself. But it really is the best way to meet readers. I’ve met so many wonderful people on social media, many of whom I’ve gone on to meet in the real world and who are now my friends.  

Do you have a book that you return to read again and again, if so can you share with us what it is about it that you adore?

I’ve only reread ones I read as a kid/teenager, which is odd now I think. Like the Narnia series, and Flowers in the Attic, and Paul Zindel’s YA books. Maybe it’s out of sentimentality? I’m not sure. 

Do you have a booky photo that sums up how you feel about your time as an author? Would you share it with us and tell us what it means to you? 

It was REALLY hard to pick one. As I looked through them, I was really proud of what I’ve actually achieved in the last few years. In the end I went for this one. It was last year at Crimefest, one of the biggest literary festivals there is. So to sit on a panel, with writers like Thomas Enger and C.L. Taylor, was just wow.

Can you tell us a secret about your next book?

My next book – Call Me Star Girl – is unlike anything I’ve written so far. And as someone who doesn’t fit into any genre, whose current book you said steered away from my usual, that’s probably saying something. It’s a psychological thriller and involves the murder of a local pregnant woman. I had the most fun writing it. I really did. I’m scared (as it’s a big change) but excited too. And a secret? I wasn’t a hundred percent sure until the very end who had done it …

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