Monday 12 December 2016

An Interview with Derek Hayes, author of Maid of Turpin’s

As regular Linda’s Book Bag readers know, I’m always happy to support less well known authors and publishers so it gives me great pleasure to introduce Derek Hayes today. Derek’s latest book  Maid of Turpin’s was published by Bretwalda Books on 16th July 2016. Maid of Turpin’s is available for purchase here.

Maid of Turpins

Young Sybil Turpin is an innkeeper who caters for the unsavoury underworld of 18th Century London. When she gets involved in a fiendish plot about spies and political intrigue her life is suddenly in danger from the most ruthless of men.
The year is 1720 and the government of Prime Minister Robert Walpole is overwhelmed by a criminal scandal which threatens to bankrupt the country. Richard Hamilton secret agent of the crown is sent to investigate. The story centres around the notorious tavern in Honey Lane; a lawless neighbourhood within Cheapside.
Turpin’s is ruled by a feisty young Sybil Turpin; an eccentric character who bathes daily in a hogshead barrel and rides like a highwayman.
She and Richard, himself an unconventional character, start as adversaries but when more brutal criminal activity unfolds, they join forces and their quest leads them around the streets of London, from Tyburn to the Bank of England; through Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to a prison vault under London Bridge.
Richard Hamilton may have met his match with this bold young woman but the Maid of Turpin’s has a further challenge ahead, far beyond her comprehension or ability.

An Interview with Derek Hayes

Hi Derek. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?
I’d describe myself as a well-fed bookworm, people-watcher, storyteller and an expert at make believe. They are lifelong attributes and still as useful now as they ever were. I read a lot and have quite diverse tastes. I usually have two or three books on the go at the same time.
I was a child of the fifties, but I hasten to add a very young one. I live in Wiltshire with my wife Jennifer and lots of grandchildren nearby; still able to indulge the story telling.  I spent most of my working life in the NHS and that was where the people-watching began. It was always a privilege being present through the critical times of other people’s life experiences; often of the dramatic and terminal kind. But then there was hospital humour; usually itself profoundly unnerving but always a palliative for the distress and sadness. Experience enough for several lifetimes.
(I bet!)
And tell us a bit about your Langford series of books.
This is where the people-watching became reality for me. Set in the 1950s Langford Follies are a study ...

You can read the entire interview HERE

Friday 2 December 2016

First ebook sale of December - Winter God: The Authorised Biography of Father Christmas

Buy your copy HERE

Some people call him Father Christmas, other people name him Santa Claus, but whatever name he goes by we all know him.
He is the jolly, fat man who comes out only on Christmas Eve. He loads his sleigh up with toys for all the good children in the world. He wraps himself up in a warm, fur-lined suit of red cloth with matching hat and warm black boots. Then he hitches up his magic flying reindeer, leaves behind his workshop at the North Pole and takes to the skies. For hours he gallops across the wintry, frozen landscapes to bring toys to millions of excited children around the world.
He has become the living embodiment of the Christmas Spirit. But where did this loveable old boy come from? How old is he? Has he always been so jovial? And what about the elves, reindeer and North Pole?
Many people think that Santa was invented for an advertising campaign by Coca Cola. Others date him to Victorian times. A few may place him back in the 18th century or even Tudor times. But they are all wrong.
He is much, much older than that.
This book traces the development of our favourite Christmas character from his origins many centuries ago down to the present day. We learn when and how he started giving presents to children, why he is so fat and where the reindeer came from - among many other things.

Saturday 26 November 2016

A History of Christmas Food - new ebook out now

- With over 20 historic recipes

Buy the ebook HERE

Christmas today is a time of feasting, drinking and all round merrymaking. We serve vast meals that cause our dining tables to groan with the weight and our families to gasp at the luxury.
But it is not just a matter of serving huge meals. Christmas - more than any other time of year - is associated with its own special foods, drinks and eating customs.
Most Christmas foods are widely recognised. Roast turkey graces most tables, which also feature sprouts, roast potatoes, parsnips, bacon rolls, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and bread sauce. All that is in due course cleared away to be replaced by Christmas pud and mince pies.
Others are very personal. I grew up in a household where supper on Christmas Eve was always sausages and mash, and where the adults began Christmas Day by trooping down to the kitchen for "Grandma's Special Christmas Tea", which was consumed with much lip smacking and joking. As a tot I found this early morning ritual a bit odd, but when I grew older I learned that "Grandma's Special Christmas Tea" involved my grandmother tipping a healthy dose of whisky into each mug before pouring out the tea.
We take so much of this for granted as part and parcel of our Christmas traditions that we indulge ourselves without thinking. And if we do spare a thought we probably imagine that Christmas has always been like this.
But it hasn't. Christmases of years gone by were very different. Oh, there has always been plenty of eating and drinking going on, but what has been eaten or drunk has varied enormously.
So what did our ancestors eat and drink on the greatest feast of the year?
Read on.

Please note that in producing the recipes included in this book I have adapted original recipes found in books and manuscripts dating back to the times in question. Earlier recipes often did not include either precise measurements or detailed instructions, so I have experimented to find what seems to work best for me. I have generally sought to avoid recipes using ingredients that might be difficult to find these days or have suggested easily obtained alternatives when I have - how could I possibly miss out Mrs Beeton's original Christmas cake of 1861? Enjoy trying out these recipes and your taste of the past.