Weighing In

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Winona Kent. Today, Winona shares her wellness journey and new release, Notes on a Missing G-String.

Here’s Winona!

I’ve just turned 65. And in a few weeks, when I retire from my job, I’m looking forward to finally being a full-time writer, instead of juggling 12-hour workdays with my lifelong creative passion. I’ve got a clever countdown app on my phone that displays the months, weeks, days, minutes and seconds to that glorious moment. I am sooo ready for this massive change in my life!

But it’s not the only change I’ve been dealing with recently!

Two years ago I was encouraged to switch to a different writing genre by a very kind agent in New York, and also by my alpha reader, Brian, in England. Brian suggested that I think about having Jason Davey, my main character from Cold Play, as the hero of my next story.

The last time we’d seen Jason, he was a musician aboard a cruise ship in Alaska. What if he came ashore and got a gig playing guitar at a jazz club in London? What if he was now into solving mysteries?

I loved the idea. Jason Davey, professional guitarist and amateur sleuth, is asked to track down a missing musician, and all of the clues lead to northern Canada. The result was Disturbing the Peace, a novella that I published at the end of 2017.

Then, last year, I wrote Notes on a Missing G-String, a full-length novel in which Jason’s asked to investigate the theft of £10,000 from a dancer’s locker at a Soho gentlemen’s club. He initially considers the case unsolvable. But the victim, Holly Medford, owes a lot of money to London crime boss Arthur Braskey and, fearing for her life, has gone into hiding at a posh London hotel.

Jason’s investigation takes him from Cha-Cha’s and Satin & Silk (two Soho lapdancing clubs) to Moonlight Desires (an agency featuring high class escorts) and finally to a charity firewalking event, where he comes face to face with Braskey and discovers not everything Holly’s been telling him is the complete truth.

As he becomes increasingly drawn into the seamy underside of Soho, Jason tries to save Gracie, his band-mate’s 14-year-old runaway daughter, from Holly’s brother Radu, a ruthless pimp, while at the same time protecting Holly herself from a vengeful Braskey—nearly losing his life, and Gracie’s—in the process.

The outline for the novel literally burst out of me – and it provided enough of a boost to my confidence that I decided to tackle something else – losing weight.

I’m a Type 2 diabetic – I was diagnosed in 2009, around the same time that I was hitting menopause. My version of the disease turned out to be particularly aggressive and within a couple of years I was on four different diabetes meds, including 55 units of insulin nightly.

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of insulin is weight gain, which works against you when prevailing medical knowledge suggests that if you modify your lifestyle, get regular exercise, adjust your eating habits and, most importantly, lose some weight, you’ll go a long way towards improving your blood glucose levels and, in some cases, partially or fully reversing your diabetes.

By the time I asked my endocrinologist for a referral to a medically-supervised weight loss program, I was about 80 pounds overweight. I was referred to the Medical Weight Management Program in Coquitlam, BC. The program considers the full impact your excess weight has on your health, your psychological well being and your mobility and involves intensive lifestyle modification where the bulk of the visits take the form of in-person group interactive medical visits. The main philosophy is that your best weight is the weight you can realistically and healthfully sustain and be comfortable with.

I’ve been with the MWM program for a year and a half now and I’ve lost 34 pounds. I’m still dropping. It’s a slow process, but it’s meant to be. The lifestyle changes I’m working on are meant to be lifelong and permanent.

I faithfully use a food journal. I never feel deprived – for instance, I haven’t given up chocolate at all. I’ve learned to treat myself and to be aware of how much of that treat I’m having.

I’ve learned some other great tricks – for instance I adore the savoury scones at JJ Bean but one entire scone is worth more than 400 calories. So I buy three at a time and take them home and chop them into quarters and freeze them. Then I have one of those quarters as part of my afternoon snack every day. Yes, it takes a certain amount of willpower. But if you know you’re going to have a tasty treat at 3pm every afternoon, it’s a lot easier to tell yourself that you don’t have to eat the entire thing right now.

I’ve learned to plan in advance. I have breakfast at home but I take three small meals to work with me every day: a morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack. The snacks include things like cubed cheese, spicy roasted chickpeas, exotic Japanese and Chinese pickles, chopped celery, sliced orange peppers, wasabe peas…anything that satisfies that need for something tasty and satisfying to put into my mouth. I weigh it all out and stick to my eating plan.

And I’ve learned to be a “mindful” eater. My food used to disappear so quickly I didn’t even realize I‘d eaten it. Now, I stop to actually taste and enjoy what I’m putting in my mouth instead of mindlessly chucking it down.

Aside from being 34 pounds lighter – which has had a positive influence on nearly everything in my life, from dropping a couple of clothing sizes to just feeling better physically and having more energy – I’ve managed to reduce my nightly insulin dose to just 5 units. The plan is that, after I’ve lost a few more pounds, I should be able to stop using it altogether.

I love my newfound hero, Jason Davey, and I can’t wait to see how Notes on a Missing G-String is received.

And I’m still counting the days ‘til my retirement. Now that I only have 21 days, 9 hours, 17 minutes and 52 seconds left, I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter in my life (and the next chapter in Jason Davey’s sleuthing career)!

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

I read this book in two sittings and had trouble putting it down. Ms. Kent has a way of drawing me into her stories and keeping me hooked until the end. It helps to have an intriguing protagonist like Jason Davey, who has a knack for stumbling into high-stakes crime scenarios. Like the first installment—Disturbing the Peace—Notes on a Missing G-String is a fast-paced novel filled with plot twists, exotic and ruthless characters, a teenage runaway, and a love child…all set against the seamy underside of Soho.

Next, please!

Where to find Winona

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Marianne’s Memory

I’m happy to welcome author Winona Kent to the Power of 10 series. Today, Winona shares interesting facts about her latest release, Marianne’s Memory.

Here’s Winona!

1. The story opens aboard a pirate radio station in the Thames Estuary in 1965. The name of the ship is the Cilla Rose. I introduced readers to the same ship a few years ago in my novel, The Cilla Rose Affair. I didn’t base the Cilla Rose on any pirate station in particular, but I did borrow a few details from Radio London, which used to broadcast from an old American minesweeper called the Galaxy a few miles off Frinton-on-Sea. Radio London was the home of some famous British radio names who started out as pirates: Tony Windsor, Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett, Ed Stewart, Keith Skues. I’ve always been fascinated by pirate DJs. There’s lots of info online nowadays for those who want to hunt it down, but back in the 1960s my bible was a rare book called Who’s Who in Pop Radio, edited by Peter Alex. I still have it and referred to it a lot for both The Cilla Rose Affair and Marianne’s Memory. It originally cost 5 shillings. Nowadays it sells for about £25.00 on Amazon.

2. The characters of Arabella and Giles Jessop were inspired in part by the life of Tara Browne, a young Irish aristocrat who was an heir to the Guinness fortune. Tara became the epitome of the Swinging Sixties in London. He knew the best people–and would introduce them to each other. He threw the best parties and led a charmed life – until, at 21, he crashed his Lotus Elan into the back of a parked lorry in South Kensington. His death, in December 1966, happened at about the same time that the innocence of Swinging London gave way to a much harsher and cynical era. It was apparently the report of Tara’s death in the papers that inspired John Lennon to co-write “A Day in the Life”, although the circumstances were altered somewhat in the lyrics. An excellent book was written about Tara Browne by Paul Howard. It’s called I Read the News Today, Oh Boy and I referred to it often, especially when I was trying to capture the essence of the Jessops, and Arabella’s pre-nuptial party at Stoneford Manor.

3. I am quite a stickler for detail and it has been mentioned in reviews of my work that the details I write about are meticulously researched. I take quite a lot of pride in the authenticity of my settings. For instance, when Charlie and Shaun accidentally travel back to 1965, they end up in Covent Garden – as it was in 1965, which is very very different from the way it looks today. My research involved watching a number of films – beginning with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1972 film Frenzy. The baddie in Frenzy works in Covent Garden as a fruit and veg wholesaler, and he lives in a flat overlooking the area. The film was shot on location and there are some fabulous scenes of how it looked back then. I also watched several nonfiction films that were (thankfully) available on YouTube, that followed the lives of the people who supplied the flowers, fruits and vegetables to the market, and then documented their day as they dealt with the merchants who came to buy their goods, and then, finally, the end of their day as the market closed down until the next morning at about 5am. I was particularly drawn to the flower market, because it became what we know today as the London Transport Museum – one of my most favourite places in London. And I have a personal connection – in 1968, when I was 13, I visited London with my mum and sister, and my mum made a point of taking me to see Covent Garden before it disappeared. It was late in the afternoon and there wasn’t much left to see – all of the fruit and veg and flowers had been sold. But they’d left a lingering scent, and there were boxes and crates and the odd discarded potato and onion left on the ground. And that memory has stuck with me.

4. There’s a short story which precedes Marianne’s Memory. It’s called Easy When You Know How and it’s included at the end of my novel In Loving Memory. The story sets up Marianne’s Memory, as Charlie and Shaun travel back to 1964, and the premiere of the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus. It’s here that Charlie’s mum, Jackie, is caught in the rush of the crowd and falls and hits her head on the pavement. She’s rescued from being trampled by pirate DJ Tony Quinn, who goes with her in the ambulance to the hospital. Jackie doesn’t remember a single detail, however, because her fall causes an episode of Transient Global Amnesia, a somewhat rare and highly fascinating condition which I’ve encountered first hand.

5. My sister had an episode of Transient Global Amnesia a few years ago. It was caused, as far as we can tell, by a combination of stress, a recent minor operation, and an undiagnosed systemic infection. She literally woke up from a nap and couldn’t remember anything about that day. She ended up in Emergency at the hospital, with a rather bemused doctor trying to figure out exactly what was going on. My mother was terribly worried but I, shamelessly, thought it was quite humorous. My sister would ask a series of questions: What happened? Where am I? Did I go to work today? Who brought me here? What day is it today? and we’d patiently answer them. And then, five minutes later, she’d ask the same series of questions in the same order, having retained absolutely no memory of the answers, or even of asking the questions before. I even took her to the loo – and she had no recollection of that at all. A few hours later she was sent home. My husband collected us in the car, and brought some sandwiches as nobody’d had anything to eat all night. Over the next week or so some memories came back to my sister – she remembered walking to the car, and eating the sandwiches – but the earlier memories, her day at work, waking up from her nap, going to the hospital and her hours in Emergency – never came back. Interestingly, she could always tell us her name and her birthday, and she knew exactly who we were. And that’s what differentiated this interesting diagnosis from a case of the more common amnesia, where the patient loses absolutely all of their memory, including their identity.

6. The premieres of two of the Beatles’ films – A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, and Help! in 1965 – figure prominently in Easy When You Know How and Marianne’s Memory. I wasn’t old enough to be in the crowd outside the cinema for those films – and more importantly, I wasn’t in England! But in the summer of 1968, I was in England. I was 13 years old (nearly 14) and my sister, my mum, my uncle and I all travelled up to Piccadilly Circus, to join the throngs of fans outside the London Pavilion for the premiere of the third Beatles’ film, Yellow Submarine. My sister, who wasn’t quite 10, was nearly knocked out and trampled and had to be lifted to safety by a very kind policeman (and you wonder where I get my story ideas!). I worked my way to the front of the barricades and was lucky enough to see a whole parade of celebs arriving – including all of the Beatles. And that truly, is what inspired and informed those scenes in the two stories.

7. As mentioned above, I was too young in 1964 and 1965 to fully take part in the phenomenon that was Swinging London. And I didn’t live in England – I was tucked away in a small city on the Canadian prairies. But the “British Invasion” was very far-reaching. I was born in London, and my relatives all lived there, and I remember the fashions, the music, the pop groups, the sheer delight of changing all the rules and throwing over everything that was comfortable and familiar to our parents. In truth I actually completely missed “Swinging London”. We visited England for Christmas in 1961, and we were there again in the summer of 1968, and in between those two dates was when everything happened. One of the first places I headed to after I arrived in London in 1968 was Carnaby Street. I’ve always wanted to write about that era because it influenced me so much. My favourite films were To Sir With Love (1967) and Smashing Time (1967). If you haven’t seen it, Smashing Time is a wonderful parody of Swinging London, starring Lynn Redgrave and Rita Tushingham, who both actually sing, and a young Michael York playing a photographer much like David Bailey. Much later I discovered Darling (1965) and Blow Up (1966) (starring Lynn Redgrave’s sister, Vanessa, and David Hemmings as another photographer inspired by David Bailey) and I consulted all four films (and many others) indepth when I was researching details for Marianne’s Memory.

8. The disused Underground station where Charlie and Shaun are interrogated after being mistaken for KGB agents has appeared in my writing before. I “borrowed” a few details from my spy novel The Cilla Rose Affair, which involves a fictitious station on the Northern Line called Romilly Square. The layout of the station, the secret tunnels and the disused lift shaft, the stairs, the passometer and the old posters on the walls might all seem familiar to you if you’ve read The Cilla Rose Affair. And, in fact, Romilly Square was inspired by a real former tube station on the Piccadilly Line, Down Street, situated between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner.

9. The Four Eyes Coffee Bar in Stoneford, where Shaun and his dad take part in Amateur Night and end up with a record contract, is a small private joke on my part. Coffee Bars were very popular in England in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and provided an entire generation of teenagers with venues where they could listen to their favourite tunes and watch local bands perform, usually in very cramped conditions in the cellar. One of my favourite bands was (and still is) The Shadows, who got their start in the Two I’s coffee bar in London’s Soho. When I was trying to think up a name for Stoneford’s coffee bar, I remembered the Two I’s, and the fact that the Shads’ lead guitarist, Hank Marvin, was well-known for his Buddy Holly-type spectacles. Thus the Four Eyes Coffee bar was born – “four eyes” being a British slang term for people who wear eyeglasses. And the house band is, of course, called The Spectacles.

10. And finally, right at the end of Marianne’s Memory, Charlie makes an interesting discovery about her toes. To quote: “Her second and third toes were rooted a little higher up on her feet than the others, and had always reminded Charlie, as she’d studied them in the bath, of the letter V, surrounded by lower case i’s.” I, too, have spent countless hours studying my peculiar toes in the bath – and they’re exactly as Charlie describes them. And I recently discovered, quite by accident, that I inherited this unusual configuration from my mum, whose toes – which I’d never noticed before – look just like mine.

So now you know.

Blurb

Marianne’s Memory is the third novel in Winona Kent’s accidental time travel / historical romance series, featuring Charlie Duran and her 19th century companion Shaun Deeley.

A Beatles badge from 1965 accidentally sends Charlie and Shaun back to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties, where they’re mistaken for KGB spies and subjected to a terrifying interrogation.

Rescued by top-ranking MI5 agent Tony Quinn, they soon uncover the details of a child born out of wedlock to Charlie’s mum and the uncomfortable truth about Charlie’s dad’s planned marriage to selfish socialite Arabella Jessop.

Further complicating their journey into the past is Magnus Swales, an 18th century highwayman turned time-travelling assassin, and the timely arrival of William Deeley, Shaun’s father, who’s been persuaded to leap forward from 1790 in order to save Tony from Swales’s deadly mission.

Ms. Kent has skillfully crossed several genres—fantasy, historical romance, mystery—to produce a well-crafted story that spans three different time periods: 1790, 1965, and 2015. The third installment in the accidental time travel series, Marianne’s Memory follows the delightful escapades of modern-day Charlie Duran and her 19th-century companion Shaun Deeley.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the previous two installments, I wondered if Ms. Kent could possibly raise the stakes any higher. I needn’t have worried! In addition to introducing a host of fascinating characters, among them a celebrated DJ operating on a pirate ship, a vengeful highwayman, and KGB spies, Ms. Kent demonstrates a wonderful eye for detail. Her research skills are impeccable. I could easily imagine myself traveling along with Charlie and Shaun as they hopped from one time period to another. My best time was spent in London during the Swinging Sixties.

Next, please!

Where to find Winona…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Amazon Author Page

Canada | United States | United Kingdom


10 Interesting Facts About Jason Davey

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Winona Kent to the Power of 10 series. Today, Winona shares ten interesting facts about the protagonist of her latest release, Disturbing the Peace.

Here’s Winona!

I first wrote about Jason five years ago in my novel Cold Play, which took place on board an aging cruise ship sailing from Vancouver to Alaska. Jason was one of the ship’s entertainers; he spent his evenings in the TopDeck Lounge singing, playing his guitar and observing his audience, several of whom ended up having rather more to do with Jason than merely sharing his voyage north.

Jason left the sea after Cold Play and after some adventures in Australia and Hong Kong, ended up back in London gigging at The Blue Devil, a jazz club in Soho.

In my new novella, Disturbing the Peace, Jason discovers he has some excellent investigative skills, and ends up in northern Canada attempting to find out what happened to a legendary musician who’s been missing for four years.

When I wrote Disturbing the Peace, I wanted to make sure I could actually handle a true mystery. I’ve been writing gentle time travel stories for the past couple of years, and I felt a complete change would be good for my creative soul. I ended up falling in love with Jason all over again. The result: I’m going to give him more adventures, full-length novels that fall squarely within the mystery genre. The next one is tentatively titled A Diminished Seventh, although I’m toying with renaming it Notes on a Missing G-String. I hope to have it finished by the end of 2018.

Here, then, are ten things you might not know about Jason Davey…

1. His real name is Jason David Figgis. His parents, Mandy Green and Tony Figgis, formed the folk-pop group Figgis Green in the early 1960s. Although he could trade on his parents’ fame, he doesn’t. He hates nepotism and would rather be recognized as a musician in his own right. In fact, very few people in the business in London know about Jason’s musical pedigree, and he wants to keep it that way. As a result, he sometimes finds himself struggling for recognition.

2. Jason’s a smoker. He gave it up for a few years after his wife, Emma, died, but picked it up again after he left the sea. He also gave up drinking – and that’s lasted. His favourite non-alcoholic concoction aboard the Star Sapphire was a hand-made melon-juice concoction supplied by Samuel, the bartender in the TopDeck Lounge. His favourite non-alcoholic drink now is a spicy tomato juice he creates himself from tinned crushed tomatoes, vinegar, sea salt, stevia, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, minced onions and horseradish. The drink doesn’t show up in Disturbing the Peace but I’m going to introduce it in the next story. It’s my favourite drink too – I make it in bulk every couple of days and keep it in a jug in the fridge.

3. Jason has four guitars, which he keeps in a locked room at The Blue Devil: two solid body Fenders (a Tele and a Strat), a handsome black Phoenix hollow-body similar to the one Brian Setzer plays, and a Gibson ES-175, an archtop that’s a favourite of traditionalists, although he finds it uncomfortable because of an injury he sustained on board the Sapphire. He had six different guitars when he was gigging at sea, including an original Fender Strat that once belonged to his dad. You’ll have to read Cold Play to find out what happened to them.

4. Jason believes in ghosts and guardian angels, and intuitive and psychic powers. He had a guardian angel named Jilly in Cold Play, although he spent much of the novel assuming she was just one of his Twitter followers. She ending up proving she was much, much more than that. I suspect Jilly may put in a return appearance in future stories. She could definitely have helped him out in Disturbing the Peace.

5. Jason was married to a makeup artist named Emma. He has a son, Dominic, who’s now at university studying film production. Emma died in a fire which Jason believed he caused and the guilt he felt was what originally drove him to run away to sea. In Cold Play he met and fell in love with a travel agent named Katey Shawcross. Some years have passed, but he’s still on very friendly terms with Katey – and, indeed, we meet her again in Disturbing the Peace, where she proves to be very useful.

6. Jason’s favourite restaurant is Rules, in Covent Garden. He’s well-known there. His favourite dish is the Steak and Kidney Pie, although he has been known to order Wild Boar Pie, much to Katey’s disgust.

7. Jason’s a frustrated actor at heart. He loves situations where he can play at being someone he’s not. In Disturbing the Peace, he harnesses his acting skills to impersonate an accountant. Not the most exciting of roles – but it excites him, because it allows him access to information he might not otherwise have been privy to.

8. I love looking in peoples’ fridges to see what they keep there. Jason’s little fridge in his crew cabin on board the Sapphire contained the following: eleven G&B chocolate bars in assorted flavours, two jugs of fresh melon juice (see above), four bottles of Starbucks Mocha Frappucino, a four-day-old tray of take-out sushi from Ketchikan, a package of Brie, a package of Kerrygold Dubliner and a box of artisan whole leaf teabags (assorted varieties, many from obscure places in Africa). In Disturbing the Peace, Jason calls a tiny flat in a converted Georgian townhouse on Pentonville Road home. I didn’t have time to explore what was in his fridge there, but I promise in the next story, I’ll investigate! I suspect these days he’ll still have different cheeses and packets of pate from Waitrose. And a bread maker on his kitchen counter.

9. In Cold Play, Jason was a Twitter addict. His Twittername was @Cold_Fingers. I have yet to find out if he’s still driven by social networking. I suspect if he’s in touch with any of his old Twitterfriends, they’ve probably now all migrated over to Instagram or Facebook. Hopefully none of them include SaylerGurl, his Twitterstalker who had a fondness for sending him obsessive love notes featuring dreadful poetry.

10. Jason loves watching films on Netflix. His favourite is Mission: Impossible – he loves how they use their skills to solve problems. His favourite music these days is jazz, of course, but he’ll always have a fondness for Cliff Richard’s old backing group, The Shadows, and Hank Marvin particular. He absolutely loves Hank’s more recent Gypsy Jazz tunes.

Blurb

Disturbing the Peace is a 22,000 word novella introducing professional musician and amateur sleuth Jason Davey, who first appeared as a cruise ship entertainer in Winona Kent’s 2012 novel Cold Play.

Jason’s last job was aboard the Star Sapphire as she sailed from Vancouver to Alaska. Now he’s back on shore, and he has a regular gig at The Blue Devil jazz club in London.

When Dominic, Jason’s film-student son, asks his dad to help track down a missing musician for a documentary he’s making, Jason leaps at the chance.

Ben Quigley played rhythm guitar in Jason’s parents’ pop-folk group Figgis Green in the late 1960s. And, after living a life that in many ways paralleled Gerry Rafferty’s, he dropped off the face of the earth four years ago.

Jason’s search ultimately takes him to Peace River, Alberta – 300 miles from Edmonton in Canada’s frozen north. And what he discovers there is both intriguing – and disturbing.

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (U.S) | Amazon (U.K.) | Amazon (Germany)

Bio

Winona Kent was born in London, England. She immigrated to Canada with her parents at age 3, and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she received her BA in English from the University of Regina. After settling in Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. Her writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power. More short stories followed, and then novels: Skywatcher, The Cilla Rose Affair, Cold Play, Persistence of Memory and In Loving Memory.

Winona’s sixth novel, Marianne’s Memory, will be published in 2018, along with a new Jason Davey mystery. tentatively titled A Diminished Seventh.

Winona currently lives in Vancouver and works as a Graduate Program Assistant at the University of British Columbia.

Please visit Winona’s website at http://www.winonakent.com for more information about her writing.

She’s also written a blog about the inspiration behind Disturbing the Peace: https://winonakent.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/disturbing-the-peace

When I heard that Ms. Kent was planning to explore another genre, I was curious to see if she could successfully transfer her well-honed writing skills. I needn’t have worried. In Disturbing the Peace, she demonstrates ample proof of her wonderful eye for detail and gift for creating a strong sense of place. Riveted from the start, I found myself immersed in Jason Davey’s journey as he traveled from London, England to Peace River, Alberta. I strongly recommend setting aside an afternoon or evening to read this well-plotted, character-driven novella.


10 Interesting Facts About Shaun Deeley

I’m thrilled to welcome Canadian author Winona Kent to the Power of 10 series. Today, Winona shares ten interesting facts about Shaun Deeley, the protagonist in her latest release, In Loving Memory.

InLovingMemory_coverLARGE (2)

1. He was born on 12 Nov 1791. When In Loving Memory takes place, in October 1940, he’s chronologically 148 years old. But since he leaped into Charlie’s time (the present) at the end of Persistence of Memory, his physical age is only 33. He’s a little bit younger than Charlie.

2. He’s fearless. If he wasn’t fearless, he would never have ended up in Charlie’s time. And he would never have been able to return to the night of October 14, 1940 to try and save Charlie from dying in the devastation caused by a bomb that destroyed Balham tube station.

3. He’s able to time travel at will. However he doesn’t quite realize it in In Loving Memory. And when he does understand how it works, he’s not very good at it (this kind of thing takes practice). In the bonus short story at the end of the novel, Easy When You Know How, he presents Charlie with a batiste nightgown, explaining that it’s French, and was worn by the Empress Josephine herself. Charlie asks whether he slipped into Napoleon’s chateau and stole it from her wardrobe. She’s joking, but in retrospect realizes it could be quite true.

4. He can play the piano. In the time that he came from, he often stepped in at the Annual Summer Ball when the regular pianist was too drunk to perform with the other musicians. In Persistence of Memory, in 1825, he plays a duet with Charlie on Sarah Foster’s pianoforte. after she teaches him FBI by The Shadows.

5. He met John Lennon in July 1964. You’ll have to read Easy When You Know How, the bonus short story included with In Loving Memory, to find out the details.

6. At the start of In Loving Memory, he and Charlie haven’t actually consummated their love affair, even though they’ve been sharing her cottage since he leaped into her life. By the end of the novel however…

7. His favourite clothes in the present are a pair of very worn jeans, an Italian cotton knit jumper, and light brown, scuffed boots, similar to the sort of boots he’d worn in 1825.

8. He knows how to knit. As he says in In Loving Memory – “I am not without my uses.”

9. He doesn’t mind having a bath in five inches of freezing cold water – and considers the constant hot water in Charlie’s cottage a curious luxury.

10. In 1825, he was the groom at Stoneford Manor. He’s rather fond of romps in the hay in a barn – in fact this may be how his son, Thaddeus Oliver Quinn, was conceived. But you’ll have to wait until the next novel, Marianne’s Memory, to read about his romp in the hay with Charlie!

Blurb

In this mesmerizing romance, a woman out of time falls in love with a man for whom time is running out.

“Kent combines time travel, mystery, and romance in a delightful sequel to Persistence of Memory that’s easily accessible for new readers.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

In Winona Kent’s novel Persistence of Memory, Charlie Lowe, a young widow in Stoneford, England, was accidentally transported back to 1825, where she fell in love with Shaun Deeley, a groom employed at Stoneford Manor. They are only back in the present for seemingly a breath before a piece of wartime shrapnel sends them tumbling back through time to 1940, the height of the Blitz. There, they discover pieces of Charlie’s past that counter everything she thought she knew about herself.

Charlie and Shaun have decisions to make—do they interfere in time’s progress to save a man? Do they put their own future at risk by doing nothing? And how much time do these two lovers have left?

Buy Links

Amazon (US) | Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | IndieBound | iTunes

Bio

WINONAKENTWinona Kent was born in London, England. She immigrated to Canada with her parents at age 3, and grew up in Saskatchewan, where she received her BA in English from the University of Regina. After settling in Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School. Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. After a career that’s included freelance articles, long and short fiction, screenplays and TV scripts, Winona has now returned to her first love, novels. She currently lives in Vancouver and works as a Graduate Programs Assistant at the University of British Columbia.

Where to find Winona…

Website | Blog | Personal FB Page | Writer FB Page | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest


Never Stop Trying

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author Winona Kent sharing triumphs and challenges during her multi-act life.

Here’s Winona!

WINONAKENTThank you, Joanne, for inviting me to contribute to your blog! I’m very honoured to share my story with so many accomplished people.

I had an interesting conversation with my ophthalmologist the other day. He’s elderly, and I wondered when he was going to retire. He told me that he was thinking about it, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to actually do it. I revealed I could hardly wait to retire from my full-time job in 2019, so I could become a full-time writer instead. But my doctor confessed he was afraid to give up his practice, because he wasn’t sure he would know what to do with himself. He had defined himself in terms of his career, and he was afraid that if he gave up his career, he would lose his entire sense of identity.

I’ve never had an issue with my sense of identity. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 12, and handing out chapters of my first epic novel to my classmates at recess. But I also knew I likely wouldn’t be able to make a living as a novelist. I decided very early on that if I had to work for a living, I would take jobs that had absolutely nothing to do with writing. My logic was twofold. One, I would keep my creative brain for myself, and not allow it to be used up by an employer. And two, I hoped I’d find interesting jobs that would fuel my writing, and give my characters an authentic place in their world.

So, I suppose, my First Act, after university, was to become a travel agent. I cheated a bit – my dad managed a travel agency and he hired and trained me. He also fired me five times for insubordination. I was always hired back by the Assistant Manager, who pleaded with me to stop getting into arguments with my dad, because they actually relied on me to do ticketing and bookings. After I met my husband I moved to Winnipeg, but I continued in the travel business. I also continued writing stories in my spare time – “practice novels”, I called them, because I knew they weren’t good enough to be published – but I was working on that.

My Second Act happened when I was 28. I was burning out of the travel industry, and I was also suffering from a serious clinical depression. I decided the best thing I could do for myself was to go back to university. I wanted a degree that did exactly the opposite of my BA in English, which had involved the forensic dissection of literature. I applied to, and was accepted by, the University of British Columbia. I moved halfway across Canada, to the west coast, and emerged, three years later, in 1985, with an MFA in Creative Writing. It was one of the best decisions I’d ever made, and it led to my Third Act.

Skywatcher-1 (2)My Third Act was very long, but incredibly productive. I found a full-time job at a communications company, whose head office was just down the street from where I lived. It was fantastic. No commuting, five minutes to get to work and home again, and, best of all, it didn’t tax my creative energies. The start of my Third Act was marked by the publication of my first novel, Skywatcher. Unfortunately, it was a spy story, and spy stories in 1989 were in a very bad way. Because of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the entire Cold War scenario was being rewritten in front of us. My brave little novel had dismal sales, and I wouldn’t be able to recover from that for many years.


THECILLAROSEAFFAIRBut I persevered at Telus… I moved from their Word Processing department, to Learning Services, where I wrote and edited teaching materials – yes, I know I swore I’d never get a job that involved writing, but I needed to know my creative skills actually did count for something. While I was working in Learning Services, I wrote The Cilla Rose Affair, which was the sequel to Skywatcher. Frustrated that I couldn’t find a publisher, I self-published it in 2001, and then began working on what would eventually turn out to be my third novel, Cold Play.

And then, in 2003, after 18 years with Telus, in four different departments, I embarked upon Act Four of my life. The company was downsizing and offered me an enormous sum of money to leave. At first I hesitated…and then, once I realized what an opportunity this presented, I accepted. On a fine Friday in May, 2003, I walked out of the main doors for the last time…and on the following Monday, I walked through the doors of Vancouver Film School where, at the age of 49, I was going to spend a year learning how to write screenplays.

Cold Play (2)My major writing project at VFS was my third novel, Cold Play, which I adapted into a feature length script. I couldn’t have chosen a more difficult path, as novels and screenplays really have very little in common, and turning one into the other was a daunting task. I was also the oldest student in the writing program.

But Act Four turned me into a much better writer than I’d been before. After VFS I worked on a number of projects, some spec scripts for potential TV programs, some original screenplays. But I had to find a way to make a living, and so I landed at my old Alma Mater, the University of British Columbia, where I became a Program Assistant in one of the schools in the Faculty of Medicine. I revisited Cold Play, and in 2012 it became my third novel, and the second to be self-published.

Persistence of Memory (2)The end of Act Four was marked by the 2013 publication of my fourth novel, Persistence of Memory, by Fable Press. I have no idea where this accidental time-travel story came from, other than to suggest it was percolating in my creative brain for a number of years, and that it emerged, first as a screenplay, and then as a novel, at exactly the right time. In a way, it was like the closing of a circle. The failure of Skywatcher all those years ago was forgotten. A publisher had decided to take a chance on me, and it was the most successful novel I’d ever written.

But my excellent progress was not to last. Last year, as I was writing my fifth novel, In Loving Memory, Fable Press went out of business. I was left with two choices – to self-publish yet again, or to aggressively seek out a new publisher. Surely, I thought, my four previous novels had to count for something. And I wasn’t wrong. I landed with a New York company, Diversion Books, who not only wanted to publish In Loving Memory – they also wanted to reissue my backlist, with new covers and a new “branding” image for me. Those four books – Skywatcher, The Cilla Rose Affair, Cold Play and Persistence of Memory – were republished this past July, as ebooks and paperbacks.

And so, at the age of 61, I have now embarked upon a glorious Act Five. A new publisher, a new look for my books, new sales to a new readership…a contract for In Loving Memory, which is due out in July 2016…and publication of all the following stories in my accidental time-travel series.

Will there be an Act Six? Oh I do hope so! To go back to the conversation I had with my ophthalmologist…in 3 years, 10 months and 2 days time, I’m looking forward to retiring from my job at UBC and, finally, becoming the full-time writer I’ve always dreamed about.

Do I have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act? Or a third, fourth, fifth and sixth act? Yes! First and foremost, to quote the wonderful Galaxy Quest, never give up, and never surrender. Be persistent. Never accept the idea that you’re too old, or not talented enough, or not clever enough. Never stop learning.

And never stop trying.

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Joanne here!

Wow!! Winona, Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.