Indie Publishing: A Study in Modern Manners?

One of the themes of Evie Woolmore’s novel Equilibrium is the breaking down of boundaries, particularly social ones. In the novel, whose Edwardian setting reflects the very great tension between the public and the private, not only does Martha masquerade publicly in very few clothes as an inviting spirit from the other world, but the spirits themselves abandon appropriate privacies to speak their secrets directly. More than one character ‘says something they shouldn’t’ and the blurring of upstairs and downstairs, the movement of protagonists between front of house and back and between class environments fragments the natural order, and the proper codes of behaviour.

In an era of social media, we are constantly examining and questioning what those codes are, and in a climate of free speech and the ubiquitous mobile phone, the concept of privacy seems increasingly fragile. We know the details of countless strangers’ private lives, we could see the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby bump if we chose, and we can watch Oscar Pistorius cry in court. But the column this week is going to discuss three instances of how fragmentation of definitions of ‘appropriate behaviour’ has impacted indie publishing.

Twitter is constantly under scrutiny for the role it plays in freedom of speech, but an aspect of it which has become Continue reading

An interview with Flora Chase, author of The Strattons – new to Kindle this week

To coincide with the publication this week of the first novel in The Strattons series of YA historical fiction, allonymbooks author Flora Chase tells us a bit about the novel, and what led her to write it.

Flora, why did you choose to write a historical YA novel rather than something in the currently popular YA genres of fantasy or dystopia?

I was told once by a literary agent that it’s difficult to pitch historical novels successfully to teenagers and young adults, but I’ve always wondered if that was really true. The 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has recently been celebrated and lots of writers have been talking about why they love it so much. For me, reading it for the first time as a teenager (a long time ago!), I felt a great sympathy with how long the process of courtship seemed to take, how much time there was to sit around and wait and think and pine for the person you were falling in love with. Falling in love is an agonising experience as it is, but if you impose a lot of waiting around on it, every tiny change is ripe for interpretation and dissection.

But in these days of instant messaging, texting, facebook and Twitter, young people wear their hearts on their sleeves and the pace of romance has accelerated, hasn’t it?

That’s right, and that’s why I picked the Edwardian era. The novel is set in 1913, just before the start of the First World War, and was just at the start of the period of mass communication. In fact, one of my characters, Julia, is terrified of the new-fangled telephone, so it is a period which combines that traditional slow pace of older historical periods with a new degree of urgency. It’s also quite a racy time – there was a lot of gossip and intrigue, particularly among young people who were going to debutante balls or doing the social rounds of their peers, there was lots of flirtation, fashions were beginning to become more daring, and I think that makes a great backdrop for the writer and the reader.

Tell us something about the characters.

Freddie, Julia and Blanche Matchingham are the three teenage children of a travelling diplomat, the 4th Marquess of Stratton, and they have grown up pretty much alone on their family estate in the English countryside. Blanche, the youngest, is perhaps the most modern of the three, an adventurous social butterfly who is eager to escape the boredom of the country house to enjoy parties and enter the exciting adult world. Her older sister Julia is extremely shy, more interested in books than people, particularly since she was dumped by a Continue reading

Words for the Wounded: Guest Post by Margaret Graham

This week’s blog is another guest post, this time by novelist and writing tutor Margaret Graham, on the charity Words for the Wounded 

Words for the Wounded seemed like a good idea at the time. Why not start a charity that raises money via writing competitions and donations for the rehabilitation of wounded troops? I’d done it before when I set up the Yeovil Literary Prize to raise funds for the arts in Somerset when the council withdrew funding.

So, I approached a couple of writing friends, Penny Deacon and Tracy Baines and an extreme sportsman, Matt Pain, who happens to be my son. They came on board.

Fairly tedious forms then had to be filled in and a specific charity bank account opened and then we started worrying about how to fund the prizes. Matt did the Lanzarotte Ironman and raised enough and Julian and Emma Fellowes agreed to be our first patrons. Dick Graham did a wonderful website out of the goodness of his heart, and we were off!

Soon we had a long list of patrons. Writers Forum agreed to publish the winners. RAF News showed interest and will also publish the winners. Hours and hours have been spent emailing endless writing groups, ex-pat magazines and Uncle Tom Continue reading

Equilibrium by Evie Woolmore: Review by the Historical Novel Society

allonymbooks is delighted to announce that Evie Woolmore‘s historical magical realist novel Equilibrium has just been reviewed in the Indie section of the Historical Novel Society:

“Equilibrium” is an evocative tale of two sisters – Epiphany and Martha – who are mediums performing on stage in London in the early 1900s. Lady Adelia Lyward sees the performance and wants Epiphany to give her a private reading in order to learn the truth about her brother’s death – not knowing that the sisters have a previous connection to her household: Martha was a housemaid to the Lyward’s two years previous. She had a child by Adelia’s husband, Lord Rafe Lyward, left the household in disgrace, gave her child away and attempted suicide. She knows there’s more to the Lyward household than meets the eye.

“Equilibrium” starts slowly, but the mystery surrounding Adelia’s brother’s death is skillfully revealed. I would like to have seen the historical elements of the story more strongly developed and expanded – not just the social changes in England during this period but also a clearer picture of the experiences Adelia’s brother had during the Boer War. But the story is rich in complex characters just the same, and the character of Epiphany gives the story a calm and delicate reality as the plot unfolds. I recommend “Equilibrium” to readers who enjoy historical fiction with spiritualist influences.

Equilibrium is available for Kindle from Amazon UK or US

Guest Post by Tahlia Newland of Awesome Indies

This week Tahlia Newland, founder of Awesome Indies, writes a guest post about the importance of review sites in the new publishing


The advent of ebooks and print on demand technology have revolutionised publishing. For the first time ever, it is relatively cheap and easy for anyone to publish a book. That is wonderful news for the authors with excellent stories who just missed out on getting a publishing deal. Such authors can now take their books directly to their readers, and if they have a professional attitude, get the help they need and follow the exact same steps as those taken by a traditional publishing house, their book can be as good as anything put out by a mainstream publisher.

In that scenario the reader gains access to many great books that they would never otherwise see, sometimes for no other Continue reading