Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Review, Interview & Giveaway: Siren Spirit by Elizabeth M. Hurst

About Elizabeth M. Hurst
 

Born in the North West of England, in a coastal fishing town near to the Lake District, Liz was a voracious reader from a very young age. She did well at school, excelling in most subjects but in languages in particular and kept a diary throughout most of her childhood and teenage years.She started writing in 2012 after a friend offered some encouragement and has never really
looked back. Liz writes at her home in Warwickshire, ably assisted by her dearly beloved cats.
 
Interview
 
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure. I come from the North West of England, close to the Lake District, but I moved down to the Midlands when I left home to go to university, twenty years ago. I was always a voracious reader as a child, with a reading age years ahead of the rest of my class. I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy before I was ten years old, for example.

I loved to write stories at school, but it wasn’t until I turned forty that I gave it any serious thought and the whole thing seems to have gathered way more momentum than I could possibly have dreamed. If you had told me five years ago that I would ever have a novel published, I might have laughed in your face!
 
2. I love your website and your blog. It looks so classy and peaceful. Did you set it all up yourself?

Thank you. Wordpress is fabulous for running a blog. With really very little knowledge at all, I managed to create my blog and I can maintain most of it myself too. There are hundreds of guides out there for getting started. My biggest problem is finding the time to write my posts!
 
3. Can you describe a typical day for you?

I have a day job as well as writing, although I am hoping to develop my writing such that I don’t need to do that soon. Therefore, during the week, I don’t sit down to write until I come home from work, feed the cats and sometimes do some yoga to calm the mind. Only then can I pick up my pen or my laptop and start.

I much prefer the weekends. I rise early, around 6am, then after about half an hour of ‘waking up’, I sit and write my To Do list for the day. I struggle with procrastination, so I have two lists – writing activities and non-writing activities – and I alternate between the two. After thirty minutes of writing I leave my desk and go and hang out some laundry for a break. Things like that make me much more productive.
 
4. You have your cat Lily in your book Siren Spirit. What more of yourself have you included in your stories?

Sadly, Lily passed away in November 2015. She had been ill for some time so it wasn’t a shock but upsetting nonetheless. I now have two crazy young kittens to entertain me and fill the empty void that Lily left behind. There’s a good chance they may crop up in future novels!

Apart from the animals, there are some aspects of the story where I have drawn upon my own experiences. Following my own divorce, I too felt somewhat lost and rudderless for a while. I wanted to write about how much divorce affects your life. Despite having no children, and a straightforward financial situation, it still created a profound sense of loss in my life, very much like a bereavement. I wanted to get across how much divorce causes you to question everything about yourself, hence Emma’s doubts about her sexuality.
 
5. What gave you the idea to write Siren Spirit?

Siren Spirit started life as an erotic short story, which I was going to publish under a pseudonym but after spending time with a friend at her retreat, it grew legs, and I decided to give it more depth. As I was rewriting it as a larger work, I grew to really love some of the characters, so I then chose to make the book part of a series.
 
6. You write about paranormal events. Have you ever experiencedsome yourself?

I haven’t, no, but I like to keep an open mind. I believe there is a lot about the physical world that we don’t yet understand and science will continue to try and investigate these things. However, I like the idea that there are some things we can’t explain. To resolve all of these things in this life would remove the mystery and I think that would be a great shame.
 
7. What did you write about in your diaries?

Diary-writing has always been quite intermittent for me, even as a teenager. Back then, I wrote about one thing only – love. I was only fourteen when I fell in love for the first time. I thought I would die without this boy. To some extent, my writing remains the same. I like to weave as much emotion as I can into my stories.
 
8. Could you tell us what your favorite book from 2015 is?

I joined my village book group in 2015, which is great because I am now reading a wider variety of books than I was previously. One of our books was Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which was a unanimous success among the group. Beautifully written story about such a wonderful lady and incredibly moving. I am planning to watch the film shortly, which I believe is a very good adaptation of the book.
 
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Just do it. Don’t worry about who sees your work, not to start with, just write. It’s the easiest and hardest thing, at the same time. Find yourself some space, both physically in your home, and in your head.

Joining a local writing group is useful. It’s important to learn your craft from others. There are an awful lot of moments where you will be transported out of your comfort zone - reading your work aloud in front of an audience for the first time is terrifying! But, once you overcome these barriers, you’ll find you have more confidence than ever and your writing will reflect that.

One day, you’ll wake up and realize you’re a writer. Your writer friends will have known it all along, of course, but until it dawns on you, it never feels quite the same. It may take some time, but until then, just keep plugging away. You’ll get there.
 
10. What can we expect from you in the future?

In Summer 2016, the follow-up to Siren Spirit, The Plain Truth will be available on Amazon. I’ve written about half of the novel so far and I’m busy doing some historical research into the story. Emma and Lewis are back, along with Meredith, and there’s another haunting from a different period in history. This story has some factual elements to it, so I’m keen to ensure I don’t make any glaring errors.

There will be a third book in the series too (and possibly more), but I’m trying my best to keep that particular idea to the back of my mind for now, until The Plain Truth is finished.
 
Book review

Amazon USA Amazon UK
By Anniek

Siren Spirit is a book that consists of two stories, Grace's and Emma's. Grace is living in the 18th century and Emma in the 21st. You can imagine how different their lives are.

Grace is living with her father. Ever since her mother died he is barely able to look at her since she is the spitting image of her. In the 18th century it is expected of a woman to find a husband and start a family, but for Grace this is not an option. She is in love with her best friend Suzanne. They both know that their love will always have to be hidden from the world. When the love of her life chooses another path Grace makes a heartbreaking decision.

 Emma was married and thought she would live the happily ever after. When her marriage falls apart she moves to a small village to find herself again. It turns out her new house isn't as empty as Emma thought it would be. Together with her handsome neighbor Lewis she is trying to put the
pieces together.

Liz Hurst has done a wonderful job putting two eras together in one story. I loved to find out more about Grace and liked that her story was alternated with Emma's who's researching her. Even though the stories are separate ones in the beginning they come together so naturally.

Siren Spirit was very exciting. You have everything you could possibly ask for in a book, a ghost haunting a house, a gorgeous neighbor, a search for the truth combined with something that feels like a treasure hunt and last but not least love. I read this story in one sitting and I can't wait until it's summer, so I can start reading the follow-up to Siren Spirit. I'd love to read more about Emma and Lewis and about their next quest.
 
Giveaway
 
Five very lucky readers of With Love for Books will get an amazing prize. Two winners will receive a signed copy of Siren Spirit and three winners will receive an eBook.
 
All of our giveaways are international

21 comments:

  1. I think I would be terrified if they were not very nice spirits. I saw my Grandmother standing next to my bed when I was 13, she had passed away when my Dad was 4 years old.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never lived in a house, let alone a haunted one, but I would love to! I hope I will live in a house someday. And in case it turned out to be a haunted one, I would definitely investigate it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never lived in a haunted house ! If that was the case i would investigate it :) Thank you for the chance :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ohhh yes my family once lived in a haunted house and all kinds of weird stuff happened in that house. My family still tells the stories. I was too young otherwise I would have investigated for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Never have lived in a haunted house.If I did I would move.😀

    ReplyDelete
  6. I never have, nor do I want to! I will read about it though!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't know how to answer that. I've had my experiences with gosts but I wouldn't say that my house is haunted because of that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes I have been in a haunted house. I live in one. A lady visited me in my bedroom one night a few years ago. She didn't say anything but just stood at the door and looked at me in my 'sick bed' Maybe I was hallucinating with the pain-killers I was taking that night but I don't think so. Our house was built in the late 1880's & it's been a guest house of different kinds since then so many people have stayed here. Not all have paid...lol I'm not scared - ghosts don't usually harm you unless you upset them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. No, I've never lived in a haunted house If I did I would definitely move! Lol!

    ReplyDelete
  10. No I've never lived in a haunted house but I tell my children that our house is built on an ancient haunted orchard and if they don't go to sleep at night, the apples will get angry and will fly around and hit them on the head :) Mean mummy :) If I did live in a haunted house I don't think I'd investigate, I'd be more likely to move house :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have never lived in a haunted house.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've never lived in a haunted house. If I found out my house WAS haunted, I would definitely be scared!
    Dianna

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't think I've ever lived in a haunted house. My mom swears that when I was a kid, however, that our dog came back after she died to check on her "pups" (us).

    ReplyDelete
  14. i used to live in a house that had some very strange goings on! saw a shadow of a monk walk through the back door x

    ReplyDelete
  15. No. And I wouldn't investigate!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Never been in one or lived in one( I think). Although I have had some strange going's on in my old houses. When I was living in my grandad's house many years after he passed away I was sitting downstairs on my own one night when there was a loud crash from upstairs. When I bravely when to investigate some of the tiles had fallen off the bathroom wall. Funny thing was though they didn't break. Also in another house I suddenly after a few weeks of moving in spelt a strong smell of violet perfume. Always reminds me of a holiday I had with my dad. I like to think he was looking out for me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have never lived in or visited a haunted house as far as I know. There is a house quite local to us, up in the hills, an old manor house, which is meant to be extremely haunted and there are always specialised overnight tours investigating it. I keep meaning to book myself and my husband on one, as I would love to see if we do experience anything paranormal!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The wife has seen strange images in house but nobody is scared.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never been in one that I was aware of. I don't believe in ghosts personally, but that doesn't mean I don't get 'spooked' in a dark empty house or unknown place.

    ReplyDelete