IT'S GUEST AUTHOR SATURDAY!! Please welcome back to my blog, the lovely saga author Sheila Riley...


Hi, Sheila! I am so happy to welcome you back to my blog and cannot wait to hear all about your latest release FINDING FRIENDS ON BEAMER STREET. I hope you are well and we get to see each other again in person one day soon - let's get on with my questions, shall we?

1.)                What genre do you typically read? Why?

I am usually knee deep in research books for whichever book I am writing at the time, but my all-time favourite book is Her Benny by Silas Hocking, which I first read when I was about nine, and cried my eyes out. Since then, I have read it many times and it always has the same effect. A fabulous read. I do buy a lot of fiction and my, to-be-read, pile grows by the day, but when I do manage to find time to read for pleasure, I have wide-ranging taste. So, if it’s a good story with a plotline that grabs me, I’m in my element. If the story is really good, as I said before, I will read it more than once.

2.)                Share a favourite childhood memory.

One particular morning when I was seven years old, we were in class and the girls were asked who owned a white dress, so naturally my hand shot up along with every other girl. I could hardly believe my luck when my name was called, and I was chosen to lead the whole school in a procession to lay a wreath of flowers on the head of Our Lady’s statue. A great honour for a little show-off like me.

       I would wear a white dress and veil, with a retinue of classmates following behind, all carrying a posy of sweet-scented, Lilly-of-the-valley, while a chosen boy would carry the flower crown on a red velvet cushion.    

      I told mum and she was delighted but told me she had given my white broderie-anglaise shift dress to the rag-man - The ceremony was taking place the following day and my dad didn’t get paid until Friday!

      However, my wonderful nan saved the day when she took me to one of the Liverpool’s poshest stores and bought me a fabulous white dress for the occasion – The dress, a cloud of white lace, came in a box and was cocooned in tissue paper. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

      This was the sixties, and the dress had a huge wide, stiff net underskirt, and my teacher wouldn’t let me to sit on a straight-backed chair in case I crushed the dress. I had to sit on a high stool until Mum came and replaced the fabulously frothy creation with my navy-blue sailor dress, which I’d worn that morning and while eating lunch at dinner time - and still bore the spaghetti stain I had dripped down the front. How the mighty fall. 😊

3.)                Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

 Books, obviously. Social History and biographies are favourites. Then there are notebooks, I can’t resist them – the more unusual the better, but then, I don’t want to spoil them by writing in them. I love bags, big bags, small bags, whacky bags - like the one I have that looks like an owl, one that looks like a library, slouchy bags, formal bags, hessian bags, leather bags, all colours, shapes, and sizes – did I say I like bags… then there’s shoes… No, we won’t go there.

4.)                What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Time. Without a doubt, if I was given a year to write a book (way-hay! The luxury!) I would need eighteen months. The more time I have the more time I waste, agonising over a sentence, a word even, let alone a chapter, yet, as my deadline hurtles toward me, I go hell-for-leather hardly stopping in case the story slips out of the back door, lost for good. Plotlines are not a problem. I just wish someone would invent an app that can take your thoughts and print the ready formed story directly onto the page. I’d pay good money for that one.

5.)                Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I aim to be disciplined, but unfortunately, life runs away with me sometimes. Some days I write for hours and on others I trawl the internet, distracted into oblivion. This year has been quite difficult, but as my deadline for Finding Friends on Beamer Street hurtled towards me something kicked in and I managed to get the manuscript out on time. I find the less time I have to finish a project the more my mind concentrates and focuses, but I wouldn’t like to do it too often, it can be mentally exhausting.  

6.)                What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

All my books are part of a series. First there was the Reckoner’s Row series, then The Dockside series. And now I have a new Beamer Street series, beginning with Finding Friends on Beamer Street, which is out on 16th November. Set in 1921 it tells the story of Mary Jane Starling who is forced to leave her small Irish village after her husband-to-be, Paddy, is brutally murdered on his way to their secret wedding. Paddy’s brother, Red offers to take pregnant Mary Jane, to Liverpool for fear of reprisals from her brothers. But her good Samaritan is not whom he appears to be, and Mary Jane is dependent on the good will of strangers to help her. There are at least another two more novels in the series, so plenty to keep me busy.

It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you again, Rachel. Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest.

    Sheila xx


       Out on 16th November!

Liverpool 1921

Pregnant, Mary Jane Starlings secret wedding to Paddy Redfern ends in disaster when her fiancé is murdered on the way to the church. Paddy’s wayward twin ‘Red’ intercepts Mary Jane and warns that they must flee Ireland for fear of reprisals from her family, never to return.

Too young and terrified to question Red’s motives, Mary Jane, is hurriedly escorted to Liverpool where she quickly discovers Red’s good Samaritan act is a sham when he abandons her homeless and destitute.

However, strength, fortitude and good luck save her when she catches the eye of reclusive Cal Everdine and is befriended by Molly Hayward’s lovable family.

But Mary Jane still has to live with the overbearing guilt of the secrets she holds.

Will she ever be able to follow her dreams and reconcile her past?

Finding Friends on Beamer Street: The start of a brand new historical saga series by Sheila Riley for 2022 eBook : Riley, Sheila: Kindle Store


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