Monday, August 3, 2015

**Giveaway** Interview/Review - Paula Brackston - Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

Today I'm excited to welcome back to the blog a multi-venue bestselling author who's become very special to me. A woman whose novels touch my heart and speak to my soul. A novelist who's so versatile that she actually changes her storytelling voice when she writes as her alter ego, P.J. Brackston.
I hope you enjoy our conversation and my review(s) as well I've enjoyed bringing them to you. And as if that's not enough Paula's publisher, St. Martin's Press is sponsoring a giveaway of one print copy, giveaway details below!
I give you the fabulous Paula Brackston!!

p.s. the book releases tomorrow!

ISBN-13: 9781250069689
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 08/04/2015
Length: 336pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndyBound/Audible


Artist Laura Matthews finds her new home in the Welsh mountains to be a place so charged with tales and legends that she is able to reach through the gossamer-fine veil that separates her own world from that of myth and fable.
She and her husband Dan have given up their city life and moved to Blaencwm, an ancient longhouse high in the hills. Here she hopes that the wild beauty will inspire her to produce her best art and will give her the baby they have longed for. But this high valley is also home to others, such as Rhys the charismatic loner who pursues Laura with fervor. And Anwen, the wise old woman from the neighboring farm who seems to know so much but talks in riddles. And then there is Merlin.

St. Martin's Press is sponsoring the giveaway of
One Print copy of Lamp Black, Wolf Grey
Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Paula, helo! (I’m told this is hello in Welsh so fogive the error if it’s not)

Welcome back to the blog.
Tell my readers a bit about your new release that’s actually a re-release from 2010Lamp Black, Wolf Grey.
Bore da, Debbie! That’s ‘good morning’ in Welsh…look what you started! It’s lovely to be here again.
Yes, Lamp Black, Wolf Grey first came out with a small publisher in the UK five years ago, but this is the first time it has been released in the US. 
Was this a straight re-release or were there alterations?
There was quite a substantial amount of re-writing done. Every writer likes to think her work improves over time, so of course there were things I wanted to change about the original, things I thought could be done better. The story is essentially the same, but in this edition the main character has evolved considerably.
Paula it wasn'tuntil I was some way into the
novel that I realized the title is actual colors in a painters pallet.
Did you pick the title?
I did! Both my parents are artists, so I grew up with the smell of oil paint and surrounded by all a painter’s paraphernalia. Some of the names are so mysterious and intriguing. I liked the conflicting idea in my head of  the brightness of a lamp and its opposite darkness being in the same thing. The name Lamp Black comes from the substance found after burning oil, which isn’t quite so romantic! As for the wolf, well, you’d need to read the story…

How important is the title conception of a novel to you as the novelist?
Sometimes I find they come really easily, often before I’ve properly started the book. Other times I have to hunt them down. I don’t think they influence the way I write the story, but I am very aware how much they might influence the reader. And the bookseller! In the end, though, you can’t second-guess the rest of the world. You just have to go with what feels right for you.

Tell us a little about the birth of the Laura character, shes not the first artist youve given us.
Is she based on any one person, a combination or just a figment of your furtive mind?
With a background of artists in my family I suppose it’s not surprising I like to feature them in my books. And anyway, I find them interesting! I’m curious as to how creative people, people who need to step outside the everyday and here and now to do what they do, how they also function in what passes for the real world. Laura struggles with that sometimes, and this is reflected in her nature. She is a conflicted person. She is flawed, like the rest of us. She makes some poor choices, and pays for them. She is not a goodie-two-shoes, but she is at heart a good person, and she tries to put things right.

I love your method of storytelling and your inclusion of lore into your stories, it really brings the past alive for me in Technicolor.
Wales is so full of stories. Growing up in these mountains had a huge influence on the way I see the world now. Of course I was affected by the wildness, the beauty, and the tranquility, but I think the most powerful aspect of the place for me has always been its timelessness. There is a real sense of ages past touching the present. I wanted to get that across in my story.

Is there a physical place you go to for your research into the past and figures like Merlin or is the internet your library of choice?
I didn’t use the internet to research this story because at the time I wrote it I was living in an ancient Welsh long house, off grid, with no electricity, and the only web we had were spiders’ ones, lot of ‘em! The house where I lived, for nine years, is the one where I set Lamp Black, Wolf Grey. Because it had not been modernised it was easy to imagine the families who had lived there before. Centuries of them, blunting the stone stairs with their soft footfalls. Their stories were in the walls and beams of the place. It was truly inspiring.
Of course I read a great deal. We are not far from Hay-on-Wye, which is famous for having the largest number of second hand bookshops anywhere in the world. Merlin is a popular topic, so there is plenty written about him. And Welsh history is something every child here absorbs.

Merlin, is he fact or fiction?
What’s the difference!? As you know, this is something that is at the very heart of this book.

Paula we are again back in the wilds of your beloved Wales for Lamp Black, Wolf Grey. And the verdant colors, landscape and eclectic characters are to me like stepping right into the pages of an antique painting, a classic book or a fairy-tale, but this time your heroine isnt a witch.
What made you choose a novel staring Merlin?
He is very present here. Wales has always laid claim to Merlin, and he’s not the only legendary wizard we have. There is a strong tradition of stories containing magic, and of blurring the lines between what happened and what might have happened. But then, isn’t most history like that? And he is such a charismatic character to work with. He’s a knight without a sword; he’s a true hero who lives to serve; he is powerful, but tempers that power with wisdom. He’s Heathcliff and Gandalf and even a bit of James Bond: what’s not to like?

You have another novel coming out in late July from Gretel series, Once Upon A Crime.
Can you tell us a bit about this novel please?
Oh, this is something quite different! This book is a kind of prequel to Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints, which came out in January. Gretel (yes, that Gretel!) is all grown up, grown very large, still living with her brother Hans, and working as a Private Detective in 18th Century Bavaria.
Note I will be featuring this series later in the month, click HERE for my review of Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints. 

What a great idea for a series.
How did it happen?
I’m having a lot of fun with this series! I had finished working on one of my witch books and needed a change to replenish the creative well, as it were. I have always enjoyed writing comedy, and the historical and fantasy elements are, of course, familiar territory for me. The challenge of also writing a mystery really appealed. As soon as my main character came to me in the large, colourful shape of Gretel of Gesternstadt I was away.

Paula thank you again for visiting the blog.
Will it be a witch, a warlock or something else for your next adventure?
I am currently working on the sequel to The Witch’s Daughter. I am really enjoying revisiting the characters who started the whole thing off. It’s like spending time with old friends. With luck and a following wind, The Return of the Witch will be out next spring.
I’ve enjoyed being your guest, Debbie - always a pleasure. Diolch un for iawn!

My Review of Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

Paula Brackston once again lets her creative juices flow in the wild rustic countryside of her mystical homeland producing a heartbreaking story of beginnings and endings, ancient legend and myth mixed with a contemporary tale. Her characters both corporeal and fabled are impressive in their complexities and completeness. Her heroine is fallibly human so much so at times readers might want to shake her and her brush with fantasy is utterly convincing. Her co-stars are charming, mystical and scary. Her narrative is eloquent precise and foreboding, and illuminate her innate storytelling genius. Her cunning plot twist is nail-bitingly wonderful.
Paula has taken me on some wondrous journeys both past and present and I
m ready for where she takes me next!

Centuries ago in the Welsh countryside lived star-crossed lovers whose lives shone for one short summer. Megan was a beauty who lived on a farm called Penlan, employed by a wicked nobleman who evilly sought the magical gifts of her lover Merlin.
Looking for a fresh start and hoping to fulfill the fervent wish of parenthood, artist Laura Matthews convinces her husband that trading in the hustle and bustle of London for the quiet, quaint wilds of the Welsh countryside and an ancient home named Penlan will be just what they need.
Instead of solace and inspiration Laura finds herself experiencing shameful longings and mysterious unexplained occurrences.
Perhaps living in a centuries old house in a remote area rich in lore and mystery she
s feeling some essences from the past, perhaps her imagination is running wild with tales of Merlin the Magician having lived nearby in his pre Arthur days, or maybe shes just losing her mind.

Connect with Paula - Website - Facebook - Goodreads

Paula Brackston (aka PJ Brackston)is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter, The Winter Witch, and The Midnight Witch(2014). 
Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was short listed for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.
Paula lives in Wales with her partner and their two children.

Today's Gonereading item is:
Another fantasy Alice in Wonderland items
Click HERE for the buy page

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I had no idea the title were colors on a pallet! My daughter would be ashamed of me LOL!
    I love that this incorporated lore into the story and I love the cover as well! I think I need to look into this one more. I have a feeling it is one that I would really like.
    Thanks for sharing this Debbie and Paula!

    1. Me either Ali, I want to always know how the title connects to the novel and all at once during the read it hits me. Fantastic
      Thanks for the comment and good luck!

  2. Thanks for this wonderful feature and fabulous giveaway. Paula's novels are creative and intriguing. What a talented author. I enjoyed The Witch's Daughter and would love the new release. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi traveler, glad to share the joy. Here's to your good luck!!

  3. Thank you so much for this opportunity to win one of Paula's books. I have read all of her books up until this point and I am super excited to get another book from her! Thank you again!!

  4. I'm excited that Paula has a new book out. I can't wait to read it.

  5. Paula is a great story teller. Her stories have everthing anyone could want. Friendship, love, adventure, and suspense. When I read her books a movie starts playing in my mind. I have to say it better than watching t.v..

  6. Okay, I must try at least one of her books this year!!

  7. I love the cover and have enjoyed this author's work before. I love the setting and the thin-veil..legends and more

    1. Very Thin veiled read this one Kim. Thanks for the comment!