Love letters

This week, allonymbooks novelist Evie Woolmore reflects on a theme which has emerged from the books she reviews.

Although I tend to review indie-published novels with a magical realist and/or spiritual theme, there is another quality that runs through many of the books I read for review: the desire by the author to share knowledge or experience that matters deeply to them. It is not surprising that these qualities surface: after all, how often are we told as writers to ‘write what we know’? But recently I have come away so much more often than before with this feeling, that I thought it worthy of discussion.

I’ve written and published as a ghostwriter for some years, but all along I have been writing my own novels – Equilibrium, Rising Up, and most recently The Salt Factory – because I had something specific I wanted to say. The wide-ranging aspects of spirituality – from ghosts and mediumship to faith, healing, and other ‘psychic phenomena’ – have not been particularly well explored in fiction, at least not in the realm that sits between the believer and the cynic. I wanted to write in that middle ground, exploring how characters deal with spiritual phenomena, how they respond to them, what questions they ask and what questions are raised in the reader. And certainly several of the novels I have read echo my particular intention to some degree: Leigh Podgorski’s Desert Chimera and Tahlia Newland’s Diamond Peak novels do the same thing although in rather different ways, exploring their authors’ own interests in other ways of seeing the world, other ways of living and existing if you like, through their fiction.

But there’s another type of fiction which I mentally sub-categorise as the Love Letter, in which authors share a different kind of passion. This is where authors draw on themes, ideas or facts they feel provide a rich ground on which to build their fictional development. Many times these work very effectively and provide an atmospheric backdrop to a book: Kirsty Fox’s Dogtooth Chronicals (reviewed here) is a novel which succeeds very well in this way. But I find at times it can go beyond the mere use of research and the incorporation of authentic detail. The novel becomes a voice for something, often marginalised, highly academic or controversial, that the author feels is important. These are themes which perhaps might not survive a commissioning editor’s inbox or an agent’s perusal, for they become so much the foundation of these novels that a commercially-minded editor or agent is bound to think that the novel will not appeal to a wide enough audience. These themes appear too specialised and the novel is too specifically built around the idea to have a broader attraction to the generalist reader, who is reading for entertainment.

All of which has led me to wonder to what extent indie publishing has enabled people to write more novels of this type.  Indie publishing is a marvellous and powerful way for every writer to find their voice, to say what is important to them. Indeed, these novels can be analogous to collections of matchboxes or candlesticks, thoroughly beautiful in the eye of the owner, appreciated, valued and understood in all their intricacies, intricacies which the owner/author is only too glad to share with you. But as with any craft – a painting with too much of one colour, a chair with one arm longer than another, a play where the actor keeps breaking the fourth wall – while this particular feature of a novel can be very successful as s device, at times the passion can obstruct the story and the pacing. It takes a fine balancing act to engage the reader enough to take them on a journey into an unknown, afresh area they may not be that familiar with, while keeping them engaged enough in the real reason for the story: the characters and their own journey. The characters’ journey can, in books that are more Love Letter than novel, become secondary to the journey the author wants to take the reader on, and in those instances the book becomes bigger than the novel, as it were.

Is a novel’s purpose to educate? At times, perhaps yes. Is it written in order to open our eyes to something new? In the case of science fiction, magical realism, and fantasy that is certainly true. But it is also written to entertain. And while just as in the collection of matchboxes, there are always sellers as well as buyers, other fans and enthusiasts to share the fascination, no conversation can ever survive on one topic. A novel is a conversation between writer and reader. But at times it can become a love letter, sent out into the unknown, so passionate and devoted in the hope that the reader will respond in kind.

If you are interested in reading any of Evie’s books, please visit her page or download samples from her pages on all Amazon sites.

allonymbooks: quality, independent publishing of excellent fiction

As the first anniversary of allonymbooks flies past,  we thought we’d remind you of the excellent novels that have been published by allonymbooks this year. All allonymbooks books are available for Kindle at all Amazon sites.

If you like a contemporary satire with a dark side, look no further than CRASH COLE IN ‘THE RAKE SPARED’ by Cadell Blackstock (Available at all Amazon sites including Amazon UK and Amazon US)

Crash Cole in 'The Rake Spared' cover

This is a scandalous tale with a supernatural twist. If you like your heroes to be decent honourable men, then look away now.

Crash Cole’s fans love him enough to literally keep him alive. But who hated him enough to want him dead? Just like Don Juan before him, celebrity TV biker Crash Cole finds himself at the gates of hell as a consequence of his dissolute and promiscuous lifestyle. Except this hell is of his own making. Hauled back from the brink of death by the unfettered love of his fans, Crash can now hear every one of their voices inside his head, a chaotic din that obscures his memory of how he nearly died in the first place. Learning to live with it proves more than Crash can bear, and with his body mending at a phenomenal rate due to the healing love of his fans, he goes on the run, aided by Julia, a nurse with a bit of a crush on Crash.

Virtually unrecognisable due to terrible scars on his face, Crash revisits his life and the accident, a voyage of discovery constantly overshadowed by the thoughts of those who wished him live and the silence of those who didn’t. But will he learn the truth before his fate catches up with him?

Love him or hate him, you’ll want to get to know him.


If you like historical fiction or magical realism, Evie Woolmore‘s haunting and imaginative novels will draw you in from the first page. Find out why Read Dream Relax say that Evie is “one indie author worth reading”.

EQUILIBRIUM by Evie Woolmore (Available at all Amazon sites including Amazon UK and Amazon US)


“…original, poignant, illuminating…”  “a “fine yarn” where spirits, mystery and love waver …”  “…evocative writing…highly recommended…”

Epiphany and Martha are sisters with a stage mediumship act in Edwardian London. When they are asked to give a private reading at the home of Lady Adelia Lyward to find out the truth about her brother’s death, Martha must face up to her past. For two years ago, her affair with Lord Rafe Lyward ended in pregnant disgrace, and her attempted suicide in the River Thames. But there is more at stake than Martha’s anonymous return, for Epiphany bears the burden of restoring the equilibrium, not just to the Lywards but to her sister and ultimately to herself.

The Historical Novel Society review says “the story is rich in complex characters … I recommend “Equilibrium” to readers who enjoy historical fiction with spiritualist influences.” Equilibrium is also Awesome Indies Approved.

RISING UP by Evie Woolmore (Available at all Amazon sites including Amazon UK and Amazon US)

smaller_ru“…simple and beautiful, human and poignant…”   “…mystery, history and a bit of mysticism…” “….it’s one of the best books on the subject I’ve ever read…”

Tom Macindeor is an itinerant English teacher, spending the summer in Warsaw in the hope of finding out the truth about his grandfather, a Polish resistance fighter. But when he hears the voice of Ela, a young woman trapped in the Jewish Ghetto of 1942, a window opens not just on his past but the future of the ghetto and all those who live in it. Should he share what he knows of their fate, or will Ela’s search for the truth about her own family doom them both?

THE SALT FACTORY by Evie Woolmore (Available at all Amazon sites including Amazon UK and Amazon US)


Evie Woolmore’s latest stunning novel has just been published on Kindle, with a fabulous review at Read Dream Relax.

‘I never shoot a man unless there is no other choice.’

The motto of Thelonia Jones, deputy Marshall, makes perfect sense in the silver-mining mountains of Colorado. But back in Victorian England, hoping to settle the debts of her half-brother Cadell, Thelonia finds much that bewilders her. Why has her wealthy stepfather abandoned his mansion to die alone in a rundown cottage by the sea? Who is the strange little girl who brings seagulls and sick people back to life? And why has the owner of the Greatest Freakshow on Earth followed her halfway around the world? For all her ease around matters of life and death, even Thelonia will be surprised by just how high the stakes are about to get. They say the past always catches up with you. For Thelonia Jones, that means literally.


If you yearn to be a teenager again – or are one still – try Flora Chase‘s luxurious young adult historical saga:

THE STRATTONS by Flora Chase (Available at all Amazon sites including Amazon UK and Amazon US)

The Strattons vol 1 cover

The Strattons, the first volume of The Strattons young adult historical saga, is set against the backdrop of the luxurious late Edwardian era, on the eve of the First World War. Four young people, aristocrats and servant, are about to find their safe, comfortable world changed forever. Each must come to terms with the expectations of their class, their gender, and their destiny, and decide whether to embrace them or find the courage to fight against them.

When their diplomat father, the 4th Marquess of Stratton, is killed in Germany, Freddie, Julia and Blanche Matchingham, and their housemaid Dinah, find their world changed forever. Freddie must abandon dreams of university to become the 5th Marquess. Julia is wrenched from the contented obscurity of her books to face the nosy aristocracy keen to marry off her brother. Shallow, sociable Blanche finds her ambitions to take London by storm thwarted by mourning and social restriction. And why is Dinah, the first housemaid, suddenly being sent away from Stratton? The arrival of a German prince and a factory worker will turn all their worlds upside down and each of them must decide what their future holds, and whether they have the courage to face it.

Indie Book Reviews (7)

The books reviewed by allonymbooks author Evie Woolmore this week share strongly imagined worlds.

Demon’s Grip by Tahlia Newland (Amazon UK and Amazon US)

DPeakDG2.2The third novel in the Diamond Peak series by Tahlia Newland is a somewhat different book to its two predecessors. Perhaps that is not surprising, for over the course of a series of books, the pacing will vary, and the narrative will bend and flex as it moves towards its concluding volumes. Unlike other serial novels, like the Harry Potter books, Ariel is on a long linear journey, and so the books will vary on that journey. Continue reading

Terrific review of Evie Woolmore’s The Salt Factory at Read Dream Relax

The Salt Factory by Evie Woolmoreallonymbooks is delighted to share a wonderful review of Evie Woolmore’s latest novel The Salt Factory from the reader review website Read Dream Relax.

“The verdict. This is one indie author worth reading. I highly recommend The Salt Factory to historical fiction and paranormal fans.”

To find out more about The Salt Factory and read an article about it by Evie, visit The Salt Factory page. To buy a copy of The Salt Factory visit Amazon UK, Amazon US or any other worldwide Amazon site.

Interview with Margaret Graham, novelist and ‘Words for the Wounded’ founder

Regular readers of this blog will remember a notice late last year about the writing competition for the charity Words for the Wounded. Founder Margaret Graham is a well-known and very successful writer of contemporary fiction and historical sagas, and an excellent tutor of writing also. Margaret talked to allonymbooks author Flora Chase about her ongoing involvement with the charity and the wealth of activities she manages to cram in.

Flora Chase: Margaret, since we first met at a writing workshop almost ten years ago at the Winchester Writers’ Conference, the book world has changed enormously. As a well-established and successful novelist yourself, what changes have particularly stood out to you as significant?

Margaret Graham: The e world! It is so powerful and easy that ‘DIY ebooks’ are riding high. But how to attract readers? Talks for the Women’s Institute or U3A maybe, press releases too? But let’s look at the e world: blogs in particular but it’s the same problem, how to draw people to them? I have started a couple of blogs – one of my own, and one for my charity, Words for the Wounded (W4W), which helps in the rehabilitation of wounded service personnel. A daughter does W4W’s social media for me at the moment and uses facebook, twitter, linkedin to encourage people to find the blog, whilst I mailshot friends. But obviously I need to get a grip and do it all myself. Crikey. Continue reading