Women Writers… writing | Alex Martin

Alex MartinThe Plotting Shed (see my blog http://www.intheplottingshed.com/) is at the bottom of my garden where I can be found bashing both brain and keyboard in an attempt to express those thoughts and ideas that have been cooking since I was seven and read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was a genuine light-bulb moment when I closed the covers of that excellent story and knew deep-down in my soul this was what I wanted to do with my life. I had inherited an old black and gold typewriter and, when I wasn’t skinning my knees climbing trees or wandering aimlessly in the countryside with my dog and my dreams, I could be found, as now, typing away with imaginary friends whispering in my ear, but it was many years before I had the confidence to publish any of them.

Now I have five novels on Amazon and a collection of 3 short stories, called Trio (a free copy of which is available at The Plotting Shed).

My first novel, The Twisted Vine, is based on my adventurous escape from real life when I went picking grapes in France in the 1980s. I met some amazing people there but none as outrageous as those that sprang to life on my screen.

Daffodils, the first in The Katherine Wheel Trilogy, is quite a different book and is based in Wiltshire where I grew up. It attempts to portray how ordinary lives and the rigid social order were radically altered by the catalyst of the First World War as it slowly eroded the age-old way of English country life. The sequel, Peace Lily, takes the characters into 1919 after the armistice. They each have to carve out a new life in the aftermath of the great war and find their way into the new modern age. The next book is Speedwell, when the four protagonists race into the motoring era of the roaring ‘twenties.

I’m now working on a fourth book in this series, which I’ve already mapped out (Woodbine and Ivy), and this will be set in the second world war, taking the story into the next generation.

Meanwhile, I’ve just published something totally different. The Rose Trail is a ghost story with the English Civil War as its backdrop. The story slips between the time of the English civil war and the present day and is woven together with a supernatural thread in a ghostly voice. I’m happy to add that The Rose Trail has won 2 awards since publication: Chill with a Book award and a B.R.A.G Medallion.

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The Rose TrailRose Trail cover

by Alex Martin

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense/Paranormal Romance

Award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
Can a golden pomander contain the power of the past through the scent of roses it carries?
Fay, lost and lonely, feels trapped and unable to move on from tragedy. Haunted by restless spirits her life is not her own. When she meets an old rival she is drawn into a chain of events that both terrifies and fascinates her.

Meadowsweet Manor is also unable to escape its own tragic history from the English Civil War. Only when Fay follows a trail of roses back through hundreds of years can she unlock its secrets and redeem her own.

Is it chance that brings Fay and Persephone together?
Or is it the restless and malevolent spirit who stalks them both?
Once rivals, they must now unite if they are to survive the mysterious trail of roses they are forced to follow into a dangerous, war torn past.

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Daffodils coverDaffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1)

by Alex Martin

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Historical Romance/Victorian/Sagas

Short description: Katy, maidservant at Cheadle Manor, longs to escape her narrow life but events unfold slowly in her rural village. Finally, frustrated by personal tragedy and the shackles that continue to bind her, she becomes a mechanic in the WAAC as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Through the horrors of WW1 she discovers only love brings freedom.

Long description: In this heartbreaking romance feisty heroine, Katy, dreams of a better life than just being a domestic servant at Cheadle Manor. Her one attempt to escape is thwarted when her flirtation with the manor’s heir results in a scandal that shocks the local community.

Jem Beagle has always loved Katy. His offer of marriage rescues her but personal tragedy divides them. Jem leaves his beloved Wiltshire to become reluctant soldier on the battlefields of The First World War. Katy is left behind, restless and alone.
Lionel White, the local curate, has just returned from India bringing a dash of colour to the small village and offers Katy a window on the wider world.

Katy decides she has to play her part in a world at arms and joins up as a WAAC girl. She finally breaks free from the stifling class-ridden hierarchies that bind her but the brutality of 20th century global war brings home the price she has paid for her search.
“A profound meditation on love and loss and the perils of war”: Bookbub

Note from the author: For fans of historical fiction, DAFFODILS is part one of a true love trilogy, The Katherine Wheel Series, is set in Wiltshire, England at the time of the First World War. It starts slowly. Life changes little in Cheadle. Petty scandals, gossip and the huge gap between the haves and those who serve them continue to dominate their small world. As I researched this era, I was drawn into the terrible tragedy of the war and so were the characters I’d created. Daffodils drags Katy and Jem out of their lives and catapults them into the wider arena of a global conflict. Most books follow what happened to the soldiers and so does Daffodils, in part. It also follows the gallant women who provided the backbone for the army, not just the nurses, but the gender defying mechanics and drivers who managed the vehicles and ambulances. I found it fascinating to discover just how much women took on and how it shook up the world they returned to, once the conflict was over. But in essence, Daffodils is a love story, whose tender heart is almost torn apart through this tumultuous time.

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