There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.
In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.
Meet Ritu Bhathal
Ritu was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.
A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was recently awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh.
Books by Ritu Bhathal
One of the recent reviews for Marriage Unarranged
If you are looking for a wonderful romance read full of flavour and contrast, then take a look at this book. The characters are beautifully written and you are transported into their world at every turn of the page. This is a love story with lots of twists and turns, heartbreak, unfaithful relationships and ultimately, happiness. The story is rich in culture, heritage and family expectations. Perfect for those who love a romantic novel to add to their bookshelf.
Meet Karen Demers Dowdall
Karen Demers Dowdall PhD, MSN, BSN, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and spent her elementary-grade school years in the small farming community of Salmon Brook, settled in 1680 by a stalwart group of Europeans. She grew up exploring its lush and dark forest preserve, swimming in Salmon Brook with a plethora of the unexplained, exploring Rock Fall Caves, and ice-skating on a “haunted” pond in winter.
Karen has traveled abroad and lived in the Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and England. Living overseas opened to her, a vista of cultures, historical vistas, and led her to believe that all cultures have storytellers that reveal all their hopes and dreams through vivid fantasy fictions, poetry, short stories, and dramatic written presentations throughout their culture history.
Karen has always written poems and short stories, and now has three novels that represent fantasy, coming of age, and a dark mystery.
Books by Karen Demers Dowdall.
A recent review for Garrett’s Bones
Garrett’s Bones is a young adult mystery with paranormal elements written by Karen DeMers Dowdall. I’ve followed the author’s blog and read another of her books in the past, so when this one became available, I added it to my reading list. As I came to love in her first book, the descriptions of the characters and the setting are wonderful, almost leaping off the page as you quickly turn each one to find out what’s going on.
In some ways, this felt a bit like a Nancy Drew book. The teens in this one are a little older than Nancy and her cohorts, and the time periods might be slightly different (this takes place in the 1960s), but there is a similar storytelling approach and mindset. Dowdall creates beauty in her scenes by helping readers visualize all of the components, across many of our senses. Adding suspense and thrills, the hint of romance, a strong sense of right and wrong… it’s woven well and tells a story about two very likable characters, Garrett and Anna.
The title caught me right away. Was Garrett alive or dead? As quickly as the plot develops, we find out what the title references. A fellow teen girl has disappeared, and no one seems to know how to find her. Garrett and Anna, step-cousins, set out to find her. You can tell there’s a love growing between them, but they won’t act on it… in fact, others enter the picture and complicate a relationship from brewing. When Garrett and Anna find a body, it is intense, and the cops believe Garrett might’ve killed the girl. What were they thinking? What a good way to set up the conflict in this story.
Over time, another death happens. A suspect emerges. Then a second. Anna wants to explore the potential clues, but Garrett holds her back. This is a young adult novel, so Dowdall is careful to follow appropriate themes and approaches… especially since it’s setting is from over fifty years ago. When the paranormal aspects (minor) are introduced, we feel an almost spiritual connection to the Native American tribe member who appears to help at various time. Something is amiss in this town, and we can’t help but wonder if it’s supernatural or real. Why don’t the cops see it?
Anna is restless. I love her character. Garrett is protective, perhaps moreso because they’ve grown up together as friends and step-cousins (second marriage for a parent). We want them to cling to one another, it’s so obvious — Dowdall presents a vibrancy between them, but we also know it must be difficult in their time period and location. Especially when a friend seems to be super connected to one possible suspect and a cop who we wonder if we should trust. So many angles, so many parts of this story to enjoy.
When it all comes together, I was a happy reader. Great writing. Strong themes. Clever mystery. I definitely look forward to another Dowdall book in the future. Great job!
Meet S. A Harris
S.A.Harris is an award-winning author and family law solicitor born in Suffolk and now living and working in Norwich, Norfolk.
She won the Retreat West Crime Writer Competition in 2017. She was shortlisted for The Fresher Prize First 500 Words of a Novel Competition in 2018 and published in their anthology, Monsters, in November 2018.
Her debut novel, Haverscroft, was published on the 15th May 2019 and Longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize 2019.
She is a member of the Society of Authors.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This book has two themes, a crumbling marriage and an old fashioned ghost story. Harris is strongest at creating atmosphere and building suspense.
The story is simple, a married couple and their young twins move into a house that is haunted. But it’s not your traditional ghost here. The psychological nuances add to the story, making the reader question the protagonist and her point of view. I enjoyed the style of writing. Vivid descriptions of family life and the daily struggle to be heard and appreciated by one’s spouse, made Haverscroft a very modern spin on an old- fashioned theme. Great job for author, S.A.Harris. Twists and turns and a surprise ending made the book a truly enjoyable read.
Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.