“His terminology struck me as odd and then I realised he was talking about Toby. I snatched my hand from his and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up like the hackles on a dog. The unease I felt when I first saw him returned…”
The day after the first anniversary of her sister’s death, twenty six year old Sophie McAllister is paid an unexpected visit from a handsome stranger who delivers some disturbing news about her eight year old nephew and ward. Just when Sophie thought her life was getting back on track, she is forced to put her trust in a man with an extraordinary secret. She begins a perilous journey that not only threatens everything she holds dear, but also challenges her innermost fears. Does Sophie have the courage to defy her enemies, face her fears and open her heart to a man who promises a future that is out of this world?
A captivating love story about one woman’s struggle to protect, let go and love.
“I miss her auntie Sophie.” His voice wobbled and I watched a tear roll down each cheek. My heart went out to him. There had been times today when my grief had threatened to engulf me, and yet in spite of his tears and his own grief he had tried to be my pillar of strength.
“Come here.” I gathered him in my arms and he began to sob quietly into my shoulder.
It was the first anniversary of Katie’s death. A year ago today her life had been snuffed out on a lane just outside our village when her car had skidded on a patch of ice causing her to lose control and nose-dive into a ditch. She suffered fatal head injuries. It was the tragic end of a young woman’s life, the end of a doting mother and the end of my very special sister.
“I know you miss her, my darling, I miss her too.” My throat constricted. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath willing my tears to stay put. The pain my sister’s death had caused could only be matched by the pain I felt for my nephew’s loss. No child should ever have to suffer the death of their mother.
Toby took a shuddering breath. “Do you think she can see us?” He wiped his eyes.
“I’m sure she can.” I gave him a reassuring squeeze. I sat back and put my hands on his shoulders. “Your mummy is with you every second of every day, watching over you, watching you grow into a clever, funny, and wonderful young man.”
He gave me a weak smile.
“She loves you and is counting on you to hold your head up high and be brave.”
He sat up a little straighter and wiped his nose on the sleeve of his pyjamas. “I mustn’t let her down must I?”
His look of fragile determination swelled my heart. “You could never let her down.”
He was a handsome little boy, tall and muscular for an eight year old with a natural talent for sport and a distinct phobia of hairdressers.
I brushed a curl away from his right eye. I felt a desperate urge to reassure him and let him know he wasn’t alone. “I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you. I may not be your mummy but I will always look after you and keep you safe as if I were.”
Toby nodded and his bottom lip trembled.
I wasn’t sure I could hold it together for much longer. I got to my feet. “It’s getting late and you’ve got school tomorrow.”
I said this maybe a little too brusquely as I struggled to hold back the tears. I needed to go downstairs and bury myself in the sofa so Toby couldn’t hear my sobs. But not before I had made a significant dent in the bottle of rosé chilling in the fridge.
I stood up and switched the lamp off beside his bed.
“I love you Auntie Sophie.”
“I love you too,” I said, swallowing back the lump in my throat. I bent down and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Sleep tight and see you in the morning.”
I made my way down to the kitchen taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly in the hope that it would ease the pain lodged in my chest. It had been a tough day and I felt sad and wrung out. I knew that Toby would be asleep in a matter of minutes. I, on the other hand, would struggle to find any respite in sleep until the early hours of tomorrow morning. Insomnia had become my new best friend since Katie’s death. Why was it that, as an adult, I had lost that ability to switch off? I envied that about children.
I let Toby’s dog, a Weimaraner called Mungo, out for a last wee before retrieving the bottle of wine from the fridge. All I wanted to do now was curl up on the sofa and cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. I made my way into the lounge and poured myself a glass of wine. I downed it and stared into the fire roaring in the log burner. My tears began to fall. I put my glass on the coffee table and buried my face in the cushions. I sobbed for my sister and the future she would never have, for Toby who would never feel his mother’s comforting arms around him again, and for myself, who felt the loss of Katie so keenly that it had been a constant weight tugging at my heart over the last twelve months.
Eventually, my tears subsided and my grief was reduced to dry, chest heaving sobs. Despite feeling exhausted, I knew if I went to bed now I would only lie there, staring at the ceiling in the dark. I scoured the sitting room for my Kindle. The days I could cope with, I could keep busy and push the shadows of grief to the background, but it was the nights I struggled with most when the house was quiet and dark. Darkness only seemed to emphasise my sadness and fear.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
I couldn’t find a good book to read so I thought I would write one.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
I cannot pinpoint one source of inspiration. She is a combination of several people I know. The antagonist is based on Joan Collins’ character in Dynasty.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
I can honestly say I have not. I always have a plan so I know where the story is going and the characters sort of write it for me. I’m not mad, honest 😉
5. Your all time favorite book?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
6. What made you pick that one above all others?
I remember being completely bewitched by the story and the characters, particularly Aslan.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
My first book took me three years.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
At the risk of sounding clichéd, I have really found my raison d’etre and I’m never happier than when I’m writing. Before I discovered writing I always felt there was something missing.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
No, never. I had doubts whether anyone would want to read it, but I never felt like giving up. If anything, I became a little obsessed. I would have quite happily stayed in my pyjamas all day every day writing. I didn’t. Well, not every day anyway
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I have a husband, three children, three horses, two dogs and five chickens so when I’m not writing they keep me pretty busy.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
No-one likes to receive a bad review but I have learnt to accept them. I’ve realized that not everyone is going to find your book their cup of tea, but as long as the majority like it then I’m happy.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
I am currently writing the sequel. I wasn’t going to write a second book but I wasn’t quite ready to part with the characters. I have no plans to write a third but who knows? The second book sees a continuation of Ahran and Sophie’s story. I can’t say anymore!
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I have started another story. It is another romantic suspense but completely different to Tagan’s Child.
14. What made you decide to go the self-pub way?
I wanted to be able to work to my own agenda and not be tied to deadlines.
15. What would you say was the toughest part?
The toughest part is getting the book out there and under the nose of readers.
16. Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
The editing was done by fellow writers and friends who themselves are avid readers. I worked with a professional for the cover design and I did the formatting myself.
17. How did you decide who to hire, if you worked with pros?
I liked the approach of the company I chose for the cover work.
18. How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-pub to when you hit ‘Publish’?
Three years. The writing took a year but the editing took a long time because I was relying on the goodwill of others.
19. Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, some other distributor? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
Tagan’s Child is available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Nook and Kobo. I chose Amazon primarily because it’s the biggest fish in the book selling sea.
20. If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
I probably wouldn’t have signed up to Amazon’s KDP Select in the early days. It really did me no favours.
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
It would have to be world peace. There is so much senseless war.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Lord of the Rings
3. Name your favorite fruit.
4. Coffee or tea?
5. Favorite season?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours?
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
I was a girl scout for one day and then decided it wasn’t for me.
8. Favorite food for breakfast?
Granola, yoghurt and raspberries.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Eat, Pray, Love.
10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I can’t stand hoarding. If it has no use it gets thrown out.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
12. Drama or comedy?
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
“To get closer to perfection, you have to practice imperfection.”
14. Cats or dogs?
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Dinner by candlelight
About the Author & Links:
Amelia Ford lives in Kent, UK with her husband, three children and a variety of four legged and feathered friends. Tagan’s Child is her debut novel. She is working on her second novel due to be released later this year.