Friday 15 December 2017

Penhaligan's Pride
Terri Nixon

Series: The Penhaligon Saga
Genre: Historical Saga
Release Date: 07 Dec 2017
Publisher: Piatkus

I'm absolutely delighted to host the Blog Tour for Penhaligon's Pride by Terri Nixon here on Boon's Bookcase. I also have a Q&A with the author for you. I have been lucky enough to meet Terri and have had a lot of interaction on Facebook and she is such a lovely, funny and down to earth lady and when I saw the opportunity to host her new book, I jumped at the chance! So welcome Terri and I hope you enjoy the extract, Q&A and Giveaway!

1910. Anna Garvey and her daughter are still running the Tin Streamer's Arms in Caernoweth, Cornwall, and it finally seems like she has left her tumultuous history behind in Ireland. Meanwhile Freya Penhaligon has blossomed and is now the object of increasing affection of Hugh, the elder son of the wealthy Batten family.
After the dramatic events of the previous months, it feels like everything is finally getting back to normal. But when Anna inadvertently reveals something she shouldn't, she finds herself at the centre of a blackmail plot and it seems like the past she longed to escape is coming back to haunt her. To make matters worse, the tiny fishing hamlet is battered by a terrible storm and shifting relationships find themselves under more scrutiny than ever before.
With the Penhaligon family at breaking point it will take enormous strength and courage to bring them back together - but is it already too late?

Q&A with Terri Nixon

Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
Hello! Thank you for having me here today. Briefly then, I’m a hybrid author, writing historical sagas for traditional publishers, but self-publishing my own spin on contemporary folklore. I live in Devon, and grew up in Cornwall, on the edge of the moors – which was as wonderful as it sounds! (And probably explains that folklore thing!)

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
This is always a tough question to answer, because while I’ve always known I wanted to write, I used to try and convince myself that meant I should be looking for a job as a journalist, or just to work with books in some way. It was only when I was in my early twenties that I dared to think I might try and actually ‘be’ a writer. At school I used to write ‘fan fiction’ for my friends, putting them with the boys they fancied!

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
Sadly I’m still doing it! I work full-time in the faculty office in a university, and before that I did twenty years or so in the civil service. I’d love to be able to give up at least a couple of days, but needs must when the devil’s your bank manager.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
I read. A lot! I try to read mostly first-hand accounts of people from the era I’m writing about, to try and develop an authentic-sounding voice. I find that’s far more valuable than learning facts – you absorb so much more than you realise, and find it leaking out gradually and more naturally. I think you can tell when someone’s been on a fact-finding mission and is determined to let you know everything they’ve learned!

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Dialogue – particularly arguments, or verbal conflict – I absolutely love. I can get swept right up in both sides once I get started, and often emerge a bit blinky, and not quite sure what’s happened until I read it back! I’ve changed massive plotlines and character arcs based on something that’s popped out while writing a massive row! More difficult, is making sure all my loose ends are tied up; I write series, so I’ll have dropped all kinds of hints, foreshadowing, and clues, then powered through and forgotten I’ve sowed all those seeds. Time for a tidy-up!

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
Because of my job I’m restricted to weekends for actual writing, though I can use the odd hour or so in an evening for a bit of editing, or plotting. But I write best when I begin early in the morning, so Saturday and Sunday you’ll find me planted at my bureau, trying to ignore the washing up. I’m getting pretty good at that…

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I’m a long-time rabid Stephen King fan, and I also love the novels of Walter Scott. Wildly romantic, in all its definitions. Been a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s books for years and years too, and for humour it has to be Tom Sharpe or Terry Pratchett.

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
Crazy-important! You don’t have to like it, but you’ll be putting yourself at a disadvantage if you decide to avoid it. I’ve heard writers dismissing it as unnecessary, and those will be the ones who complain the loudest that it’s impossible to get their work or their name noticed. A connection with people you’re writing for, as well as a support network of people who ‘get it,’ is vital.

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Penhaligon’s Pride is the second book in my Cornish series: The Penhaligon Saga. Set in a mining and fishing town in the early years of the 1900s, it focuses on family and friendship, and follows the lives ofa community of people living and working in dangerous occupations. The central family have secrets and regrets, but they’re close, and when something threatens the deep trust between them it’s hard to imagine how they can recover from that. Add in a potentially fatal explosion in the tin mine, a body found floating face-down in the quarry pool, and a ferocious coastal storm, and there’s quite a lot going on in this book!

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
Ooh, tough one! I don’t think any of them escape having a bit of a hard time now and again – some more than others – but nearly all of them also have times of great joy and contentment. I think, at this moment, I’d pick Lizzy Parker from Maid of Oaklands Manor… without giving too much away, I think she’s destined for an unpredictable and exciting life, with a very exciting companion!

Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
I would like to use this space to extend my thanks to all the wonderful bloggers and readers who have taken the time to review my work, or to help me bring it to the attention of those I might otherwise have missed. It’s SO deeply appreciated, and I just wanted to let you know that. Thank you all. And Merry Christmas!

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

Extract from Penhaligon’s Pride.

(Matthew Penhaligon is working in the tin mine, and his old adversary David Donithorn, his shift captain, has been uncharacteristically distant all morning. The men are on their lunch break.)

Alan had broken off from talking to cough; a deep, hacking sound, appalling enough in an old man, never mind in a nineteen-year-old. Matthew swallowed hard, wondering if he was imagining the tickle in his own throat, and determined not to cough himself… it sounded as if Alan would never stop. He’d surely returned to work too soon, but during his time working with Tommy, Matthew had learned the Trevellicks had no living parents, just aging grandparents Esther and Joe. There had been little choice in the matter, Alan’s wage was needed.
At thirty-eight, Matthew was probably one of the oldest men working the underground levels, particularly down this far; most had succumbed to injury or illness long before they reached such an advanced age, but then most of the others had been doing it all their lives. He wondered, with a returning bleakness, how long it would be before he too sounded as if he were tearing himself apart inside. The tickle in his throat grew, and he cleared it, tasting rock dust. A swig of water helped, but as he pictured the dust swirling down his throat he wished he’d spat instead.
Donithorn came back, and picked up the coil of fuse and the tamping bar. ‘Time.’ He started back down the tunnel, but Alan spoke up.
‘Powder, Cap’n? Or be we not botherin’ with that today?’ The sarcasm made Tommy visibly flinch, and Donithorn stopped. Matthew couldn’t see his face properly, but he gave a little shake of his head, as if coming back from some other place his mind had been inhabiting. ‘Yes. And, um... bring the bar.’
‘You’ve got that,’ Alan pointed out.
Donithorn looked down at his hand. ‘Right. Swab stick then.’ Irritation crept in. ‘Just make haste.’ Then he was gone into the dark again, and Matthew and the others put their water bottles and lunch tins back in their bags.
‘Well he’s changed,’ Alan observed. ‘Time was you couldn’t speak to ’un like that without getting a right ear-bashin’ back.’ He nudged his brother. ‘Why din’t you tell me he’d turned into a purring kitten? I’d have come back sooner.’
‘He’s only been like it today,’ Tommy said. ‘And you wouldn’t anyway, you’ve been too sick.’
‘I was joking,’ Alan pointed out patiently. ‘Come on, boy, grab what’s needed, and let’s get this bloody stuff out.’ As they started down the tunnel he caught at Matthew’s shirt. ‘You take this. Nature’s callin’ an’ she’ve got a bleddy loud voice.’
He pushed the swab stick into Matthew’s hand, and went back out to one of the worked-out tunnels to relieve himself, while Matthew and Tommy rejoined their captain.
When they reached him he had already cut the three fuses, and was neatly re-coiling what was left. He looked up, and dropped the depleted coil of fuse on the floor, then nodded at the cart. ‘Tommy, finish getting that loaded, and get it out.’
‘Yes, Cap’n.’
‘On you go, Pen’aligon, since you’ve got the stick.’
Matthew cleaned the loose grit and dust out of the three holes, and Alan arrived and began pouring the gunpowder into the scraper. When he and Donithorn started to pack and tamp the shot-holes, Matthew turned to help Tommy push the almost-full cart back out to the main shaft.
‘Get in,’ he said, when he was sure they were out of Donithorn’s hearing.
Tommy looked at him, puzzled. ‘What?’
‘Get in!’ Matthew knocked the side of the cart, and grinned.
Tommy gave a snort of surprised laughter, and climbed into the cart, where he huddled down on the lumps of ore, making himself as small as possible. Matthew pushed, enjoying the sound of Tommy’s chuckling as they went, and only just remembering in time to duck his own head to avoid an ear-ringing collision with the low, rocky roof. The boy worked so hard it was easy to forget he was still a child, and it was good to be able to give him a rest, even a brief one, though the ground was almost impossible to navigate without stopping every minute or so to kick rubble out of the way.
Together Matthew and the cart rattled and slid around the last bend, where the tunnel opened up and the ore could be unloaded onto a kibble for its journey to the surface. Tommy climbed out, and Matthew manoeuvred the cart into position. He glanced around as the boy started back up the tunnel.
‘Where are you going now? Alan’s here, there’s no need for either of us to go back.’
‘My coat,’ Tommy said. ‘I tied it around one of the props. It’s the only one I got,’ he added, almost apologetically. He needn’t have; Matthew was only too well aware of the consequences of losing clothing, when you earned so little money.
‘I’ll fetch it. Stay put.’
Donithorn was removing the candle from his helmet as Matthew returned to the end of the tunnel. ‘What’re you back for?’
‘Tommy’s coat.’ Matthew stepped past him and saw the coat, tied by the arms around one of the roughly sawn props.
‘Get it then, and be quick.’ Donithorn touched the candle to the end of the first fuse. ‘Fire in the hole!’ Alan quickly lit the other two, and flashed a grin at Matthew, who swore and ripped the coat sleeves free. Turning to follow, Matthew’s foot slid on loose rubble, and, as he reached out to steady himself on the wall he glanced at the nearest burning fuse and blinked. Something was… then he froze. Almost burned through…
‘Run!’ It came out weak and dismayed, so he snatched a short breath and bellowed, ‘RUN!’
Donithorn half-turned to question the sudden panic, but there was no time to explain. Matthew’s heart hammered against his ribs, the sweat of terror mingled with that of the natural heat, and made
his free hand slip and slide on the rock wall. The hand holding Tommy’s coat gave him better purchase, and he leaned hard to his left, pushing against the wall to drive himself forward.
Donithorn, still blankly unmoving, looked past Matthew and, coming to life, gave a low cry of horror. Alan had heeded Matthew’s urgency and disappeared around the first bend, but Donithorn seemed locked in place and his face, in the thin light of the candle, was whiter than ever. ‘How…’
‘Go!’ Matthew shoved at him. He ducked low beneath the uneven roof, pushing Donithorn ahead of him. Even as he slipped and slid, and the skin was torn from his hands by sharp rock, he tried to calculate how long they had left. In his mind’s eye was only the sparking burn of the safety fuse, working its lazy, but unstoppable way towards the densely-packed gunpowder.

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About Terri Nixon

Terri was born in Plymouth, UK. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to the village featured in Jamaica Inn -- North Hill -- where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one's ever offered to pay her for doing those. Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press. Penhaligon’s Pride is her eighth novel to be published. Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don't possess pens. 

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