Welcome to the 2023 series of meet the authors. This series offers me the opportunity to not just share my personal recommendation for the author, but to also check for new books I might have missed, changes to biographies and profile photos and check links.
I also I hope will introduce you to previously unknown authors to you and their books. As the curator of a towering TBR like most of you, I hope it will also encourage you to move books waiting in line up the queue.
The first author today Noelle Granger has recently released the fifth book in the Rhe Brewster mysteries and has also recreated the world of the early pilgrims in a fantastic book The Last Pilgrim that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Meet Noelle Granger
Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a rambling, 125-year-old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming. She was also one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation. Granger graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series was born.
The series features Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse, as the protagonist. Rhe lives in the fictional coastal town of Pequod, Maine, (similar to Plymouth) and Granger uses her knowledge of such a small town, her experiences sailing along the Maine coast, and her medical background to enrich each book in the series. In the first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair, the discovery of a wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of a soccer field, leads Rhe on a trail that heads to a high-end brothel and a dodgy mortuary operation.
The second novel in the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death in a Dacron Sail, was released in 2015, and finds Rhe responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The third book, Death By Pumpkin, begins with the sighting of the remains of a man’s body in a car smashed by a giant pumpkin at the Pequod Pumpkin Festival. Up next? Death in a Mud Flat.
In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Granger has had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine, and has been featured in Chapel Hill Magazine, The News & Observer, The Boothbay Register, and other local press. Granger lives with her husband, a cat who blogs, and a hyperactive dog in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She spends a portion of every summer in Maine.
Books by Noelle Granger
My review for The Last Pilgrim
This book is amazing. Not only is it wonderfully written with a great flow that carries you through the events of Mary Allerton Cushman’s long life, but because you feel you have stepped right into the lives of those first settlers to the New World four hundred years ago.
It is a novel that fictionalises the true story of Mary Allerton and her family, from the age of four aboard the Mayflower, through her long life to 1699, first in the words of her father Isaac and then Mary as she takes over the narration in her early teens.
It is a chronicle of a journey begun in Germany, as those who were persecuted for their beliefs made the decision to move to the Americas where they were promised they could practice their religions as they wished. Arriving in England they wait for passage with several failed attempts due to weather and unseaworthy vessels, before finally boarding the Mayflower. Of course even in the 1600s, money was also involved, and a deal was struck to fund the pilgrimage, with the expectation that trade goods would flow back to England in repayment of the loan. This placed an enormous burden on the fledgling communities on the east coast of America that was to last generations.
We travel with the 102 pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, where below decks families were crammed in to any available space with little food, no washing facilities or fresh air. This led to many deaths through disease and malnutrition with scurvy rampant. Babies were born and died, as did their mothers, and a much depleted group of men, with only a handful of women and their children landed in this unexplored New England.
This was not the good life, and without the help of the local native Indians it is unlikely that the remaining pilgrims would have survived. Sickness and their primitive living conditions led to more losses and it took several years for the colony to begin to thrive.
We share in their failures and successes through the next 75 years as demands from England continue to drain the economy. Relationships with both the Indian tribes and newcomers intent on land grabbing are tenuous, and their strict beliefs are tested on many occasions. There is no doubt that their presence in some areas displaced the indigenous people, and the introduction of European diseases resulted in thousands of deaths. But the author also shares the benefits of this coming together of two cultures, and the fact that a great many settlers formed long lasting friendships and trade agreements with their Indian neighbours.
The author knows the area intimately and even took part in the historical re-enactments of the period when she was a teenager. Combined with exhaustive research into the available writings of the time, Noelle Granger has recreated the life of this incredible group of migrants in great detail.
I particularly enjoyed the wonderful inclusion of the details such as the herbal remedies used for sickness and childbirth, the methods for preparing wild and cultivated crops, the making of candles and soaps and beer. The food was simple but the recipes for the dishes were enhanced by the many herbs that were grown for medicinal and seasoning purposes.
This is an intimate and detailed glimpse of the life of these early settlers and serves to remind us how privileged we are today with all our modern technology and medical advancement. Immigrants to a new country, particularly in this day and age, are looked upon by many with distrust and even hostility. But where would all of our countries be without these original settlers, who were not looking for adventure, but a safe sanctuary? Millions of Americans today can trace back their family trees to these early arrivals, and that is a testament to their forebears’ fortitude.
I can recommend the novel to anyone who enjoys well researched and written historical adventures based on true people and events.
Head over to read more about Noelle A. Granger and buy her books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor
The next author Chris Hall lives in South Africa and I enjoyed her fantasy novel Song of the Sea Goddess and can highly recommend.
Meet Chris Hall
Chris describes herself as a compulsive story-teller, cat slave and hen keeper. Originally from the UK, she now resides in the Western Cape of South Africa.
Her most recent novels, ‘Song of the Sea Goddess’ and it’s sequel, ‘Spirit of the Shell Man’ were inspired by the charm and beauty of her adopted country where, in Chris’s vivid imagination, myth and reality collide on the southern shores of Africa.
‘You’ll Never Walk Alone – Thrills and Spills in 1980s Liverpool’
‘Following the Green Rabbit – a fantastical adventure’
‘The Silver Locket’ (published under pen name, Holly Atkins)
‘Song of the Sea Goddess’ and ‘Following the Green Rabbit’ are also available as audiobooks.
A selection of her poetry is included in ‘Creation and the Cosmos – a poetic anthology’, published by Raw Earth Ink in 2021.
She has also published a tiny taster of her work in a short story collection, ‘A Sextet of Shorts’.
More of her short fiction has appeared in ‘Adler’s Writing’ and ‘One Minute Wit’. Her work also appears in the ‘Writing My City’ anthology, published in Cape Town in 2019.
Books by Chris Hall
My review for Song of the Sea Goddess
A wonderful magical tale that is a fusion of ancient myths and the modern world.
The author has created a world where both these elements can exist together embodied in the delightful characters who share their story with us. They each are on their own paths with differing ambitions and hopes for the future and some escaping the scars of the past.
Despite this sleepy fishing village appearing to be a haven for those who find themselves living there, it becomes the epicentre for an act of revenge from the depths of the sea in response to the greed and destruction of man. The environment is under attack as are those mythical beings who live in within its shadows.
Where has the golden treasure tainted by dark magic come from? As those who touch it will discover, its hold on humans and creatures who cross its path is compelling and addictive, resulting in actions that become increasingly dangerous as the story races to the explosive climax.
The Sea Goddess is on a mission to restore the natural order of the land, and to retrieve the coins that do not belong in the earthly realm. She is also prepared to take drastic action to right the devastating impact of this assault on the land before it is too late, putting the lives of Sam, the mystical Sasha, the Professor, Jannie and Dawid at great risk as they seek to solve the mysteries unfolding around them.
There some lovely humour threading its way through the story as we meet the other inhabitants of the village. I loved the two aunties Rose and Grace with their homespun wisdom and approach to life. The colourful Albertina who captures the heart of all she enounters as she attempts to fulfil her ambitions in life. The myterious and gentle Abdu who has a secret that will astonish all who know him and the little monkey Toti who will play a pivatol role in the adventure as it unfolds.
A wonderful fantasy adventure that I can highly recommend and I am looking forward to reading Spirit of the Shell Man soon.
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Chris: Goodreads – Facebook: Chris Hall Author – Twitter: @ChrissyH_07
Then next author is Miriam Hurdle who has written both poetry and a delightful book for children. Recently she published her memoir sharing her breast cancer treatment and recovery which is inspiring.
Meet Miriam Hurdle
Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.
Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband and daughter’s family in Oregan, and when not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.
Books by Miriam Hurdle
My review for The Winding Road
This is a brutally honest journal that takes the author from her initial and unexpected diagnosis of a rare cancer, through the gruelling treatment plan and her survival against the odds.
Despite the difficult subject matter, there are many elements in this story that shine through, such as the strength of faith, support of not just extended family but from kind friends within the local church fellowship, and the extraordinary courage it required to keep going despite the trauma.
Not all challenges were medical by nature, as there were hoops to jump through with regards to work, finance and obtaining the necessary approvals from health insurers. This can only have added a layer of stress totally unwelcome on top of the need to be positive about the prognosis.
Family and so many people came together to support, provide transport, meals and after treatment comfort in the form of emails and online messaging. This was a community at its best, and as important as the chemotherapy and surgery were in achieving the final outcome.
Family is key, and the love of her husband and her daughter with her growing family, are clearly a wonderful incentive for Miriam Hurdle to overcome not just the diagnosis and treatment, but the subsequent after effects that still have to be managed.
At the end of the book there are some wonderful photographs of the author and her family travelling around the world, celebrating life to its fullest. Perhaps with a new awareness of just how precious life is and should be celebrated every day.
At times this book lies heavy on the heart, but it is also an uplifting reminder of the human spirit. It is recommended reading for those who may be facing the challenges of cancer treatment to illustrate that there is hope, but also everyone who respects courage in the face of devastating adversity.
Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – – Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…