Monday, September 13, 2021

It's a Woking Thing - Changes at 'Writers at the Gate'

We're going local

From 31 October 'Writers at the Gate' will only be including writers from Woking and the immediate surrounding areas. However, guest writers from elsewhere in the UK will be invited to showcase their work if they have a definitive connection with Woking. 

The blog will continue to reach out to local writers offering a FREE alternative platform from which to showcase their latest titles.

What does this mean?

Woking authors will be invited to submit information about their latest work as it's published. We'll add a Press Announcement with a link to each author's chosen point of sale. This could be a link to the author's own website, publisher's website or Amazon etc. Each post will be communicated to our 1,500 plus Twitter followers.

Frigsake Books will also be offering a hugely discounted full Press Release service to our writers for each of their new titles. (More info will be available soon).

Helping local authors

We've already been able to negotiate an arrangement with the good people at the Lionsheart Bookshop at 67, Commercial Way, Woking whereas authors' books are sold from the shop on a sale or return basis. Each author is able to negotiate their own terms.

A number of Woking authors already have their titles available in store. Some, at cheaper than normal retail prices.

Similar arrangements are being sought elsewhere.

Meet Ups and Signings

Emails have been exchanged between a number of writers suggesting dates for meet-ups between authors. We expect these to be informal affairs where authors can share their sources of inspiration, writing and publishing experiences.

Blog Name

The name of this blog will be changed to reflect its local status and dedication to Woking's writers. Any suggestions are welcome. Please email: 

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Blog Tour : Clare Marchant and her novel, 'The Queen's Spy'

I’m pleased to welcome Clare Marchant and her latest novel ‘The Queen’s Spy to Writers at the Gate as part of the Coffee Pot Book Club Tour, founded by Mary-Anne Yarde.

Read on to find out more…


About the book…

1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.

There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…

2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.

Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?


Book Title: The Queens Spy

Author: Clare Marchant

Publication Date: 8th July 2021

Publisher: Avon

Page Length: 400 Pages

Genre: Historical Dual Timeline



About the author… 

Growing up in Surrey, Clare always dreamed of being a writer. Instead, she followed a career in IT, before moving to Norfolk for a quieter life and re-training as a jeweller.

Now writing full time, she lives with her husband and the youngest two of her six children. Weekends are spent exploring local castles and monastic ruins, or visiting the nearby coast. 

Twitter Handles: @ClareMarchant1 @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @ClareMarchant1 @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #TheQueensSpy #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page (Follow the tour):


Brief Interview...


When did you start writing your new book?

I started the actual writing at the end of May last year, but I had already been researching for about two months prior to starting. At that point I had finished the editing of my first book The Secrets of Saffron Hall and agreed the outline of The Queen’s Spy with my publisher. 

What was the inspiration behind the book?

I really wanted to have Tom Lutton in this second book. I always plan my books in great detail however when I was writing The Secrets of Saffron Hall Tom just arrived out of the blue, this silent child and I loved him so much that I wanted to continue his journey. I was interested to explore his disability, the prejudices he faced and how his deafness could have been used to his advantage in the sixteenth century, and I loved giving him such a great role as a spy. As he was drawn to the triptych in the chapel at Saffron Hall it was perfect to carry that love of art through to The Queen’s Spy. And as a foil for Tom’s story in the present day I wanted to have another protagonist fighting against other people’s narrow-mindedness and so Mathilde was created. The theme of the book that you can’t go back and change the past but you can change the future weaves it way through the two storylines. 

Can you describe your route to publication from concept to completed novel?

When I am writing a book I spend about five – six months writing a first draft and editing it, then it goes to my agent. She reads it through and suggests an edits she can think of that will improve it and when they are done we send it to my editor at my publishers. Then about four weeks later I will receive it back with structural edits from my editor, she will always find ways that the manuscript can be polished and improved upon so it will sell well. After those we do another edit in more detail and finally a proof read to try and make sure every typo and grammatical error have been wheedled out. It doesn’t always happen though, there is often a spelling error that slips through despite about four pairs of eyes reading it many, many times! And once the proofs are signed off the book goes off to the printers and I start to think about the next one!

What ideas do you have for future books?

I have lots and lots of ideas for future books! But when I start having an idea for a book it comes from many tiny strands of ideas which I then weave into proper plot that I think might work. Then it needs a lot of research and polishing before I think it will stand up as a book. And there are so many events in Tudor history to choose from and to weave into a story I could be writing for the rest of my life and not have covered them all!

Which publishing services would you recommend?

There are two organisations to which I belong here in the UK. The first one is the Romantic Novelist Association, an organisation that champions all types of romantic fiction and they are the most supportive group of people I have ever met. There is always someone who can offer advice and everyone is only too happy to help one another. They are definitely my tribe! The other really useful organisation is the Society of Authors. They are the place to go to if you need a contract checking over, and they have had some brilliant webinars and talks over the past year.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lionsheart Bookshop - Woking

I'm pleased to advise that the new Lionsheart Bookshop in Woking has started stocking books by local authors.

The shop at 67 Commercial Way, which also offers coffee, teas and cakes is taking books on a sale or return basis in an initiative to support the work of local writers.

Lelita Baldock, author of 'The Unsound Sister' and 'Widow's Lace'  

Look out for titles from Sunny Angel, Lelita Baldock, Alan Dale, Mal Foster, Greg Freeman, Jacquelyn Luben, Sue Mackender, Harriett Steel and more. 

Bookshop Contact email : 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Blog Tour: The Queen of the Citadels by Dominic Fielder

Writers at the Gate is pleased to welcome Dominic Fielder and his latest book, 'The Queen of the Citadels' to the blog as part of the Coffee Pot Book Club Tour created by Mary-Anne Yarde.

Read on to find out more…


About the book… 

October 1793: The French border: Dunkirk was a disaster for the Duke of York’s army. The French, sensing victory before the winter, launch attacks along the length of the border. Menen is captured and the French now hold the whip hand. Nieuport and Ostend are threatened, and Sebastian Krombach finds himself involved in a desperate plan to stop the Black Lions as they spearhead the French advance. Werner Brandt and the men of 2nd Battalion race to Menen to counterattack and rescue Erich von Bomm and the Grenadiers, whilst von Bomm struggles to save himself from his infatuation with a mysterious French vivandière. 

Meanwhile, dark and brooding, the citadel of Lille dominates the border. The Queen of the Citadels has never been captured by force. The allies must now keep Menen, which guards Flanders, and seize Lille to open the road to Paris. All of this must be done under the watchful eyes of a spy in the Austrian camp. Juliette of Marboré is fighting her own secret war to free Julian Beauvais, languishing in the Conciergerie prison, and waiting for his appointment with the guillotine, as the Terror rages in Paris.

Book Title: The Queen of the Citadels

Series: The King’s Germans, Book 3

Author: Dominic Fielder

Publication Date: 26th August 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 550 Pages

Genre: Historical Military Fiction


Twitter Handle: @Kings_Germans @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @kingsgermans @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #KingsGermans #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page:


Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:


About the Author…

Dominic Fielder has had careers in retail and the private education sector and is currently working as a secondary school Maths teacher. He has a First-class honours degree in history and a lifetime’s interest in the hobby of wargaming. The King's Germans series is a project that grew out of this passion He currently juggles writing and research around a crowded work and family life. 

Whilst self-published he is very grateful for an excellent support team. The Black Lions of Flanders (set in 1793) is the first in the King's Germans' series, which will follow an array of characters through to the final book in Waterloo. He lives just outside of Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor. where he enjoys walking on the moors and the occasional horse-riding excursion as both writing inspiration and relaxation. 

Social Media Links: 




Amazon Author Page:



Brief Interview…


When did you start writing your new book?


I started writing Queen of the Citadels in August 2019 – It took 18 months to write 85,000 words and six-weeks to write the last 45,000. This book has been an exercise in how not to write a story!



What was the inspiration behind the book?


An extinct breed of horses, or at least an article I came across about them Hanoverian Creams were used to pull the carriage of George III, until Napoleon was presented with them, after overrunning Hanover in 1803. The British had taken the breeding stock back to the United Kingdom, but the French captured enough horses to pull Napoleon’s carriage to his coronation.

This chimed with a story I wanted to tell, about ‘German’ soldiers in Britain’s service, and what would principally become the King’s German Legion. However, the more I thought about this, and the more I realised that I wanted a backstory to flesh out the characters, it made sense to start during the wars of the First Coalition. And that is where the ‘Kings Germans’ came from. It will be a twenty-two-year story arc and around twenty books. I will need to learn to work more efficiently than at present! 



Can you describe your route to publication from concept to completed novel? 


It should work something like this…Read around the subject to a depth that I feel confident with the intricates of the period, the story behind the story. I have several interwoven storylines (it’s an exercise in plate spinning) and my first step in this section is a paragraph, which tells me the very broadest outline of the book.


Then plan!


I will take notes on the significant events during the time frame of the book, and then work up that first paragraph into a two-page concept of the story and how this is impacting on my characters.


Once I have this, I start to flesh out a chapter-by-chapter timeline, which I will use to build my scene details. This doesn’t mean that the process is set in stone but the more that I plan, the more I find that I develop the ideas. I do also like to give myself time to write between scenes, just so that I can visualise what is about to happen in the story.  


Occasionally, the characters fight back and try and buck this planning regime. A love story developed in this way between a character called Julian Beauvais and Juliette, a disinherited countess. Part of my aim, when writing, is to challenge readers about the people perceived to be the enemy. What happens when we start to like those who are trying to thwart the goals of the main characters. By making these two fugitives, they became part of the flotsam of war, in the same way that many of my rank-and-file King’s Germans had.


I did say that the process should work like this. My first two books came from one massive (220,000) story and it made sense to turn these into two separate stories. I’d already started book two (which became book 3 after the split), so there was a long pause while new editing occurred, then promotion. It was a year until I returned to Queen of the Citadels, just in time for me to have a new career change, in studying to become a Maths teacher at Secondary level, and then Lockdown, where my on-line tuition work went into a ridiculous seven-day week. Returning to writing since finishing my course has been so liberating, something I enjoy again. I hope that it has not affected the flow of the story too badly. I will know when the reviews start coming in.


What ideas do you have for any future books?


Other than the seventeen remaining books in this series (I type that with disbelief myself), I’d like to write a story about Guy Gibson (the commander of the Dam Busters raid). His life after the raid (about 18 months), is a series of great contradictions. I’ve also been asked about some of the characters within the King’s Germans series, and whether there might be stand-alone books for these. There are a couple of characters that have great potential. 



Which publishing services (if any) would you recommend?


The Coffee Pot Book Club – without hesitation. If you are thinking of self-publishing, then Mary Anne (and Ellie) would be my first port of call. They have built such a great platform for authors, it’s an essential part of the new book release process and then after publication promotion.


And find a decent graphic designer for your cover too. I use Jennie Rawlings:

Her cover designs always make me go, Wow! I will be genuinely excited to hold a finished copy of Queen of the Citadels with the design that Jen has created.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Bog Tour: Meredith Allard and her novel, 'Down Salem Way'

I'm delighted to showcase 'Down Salem Way' by US author, Meredith Allard here at Writers at the Gate as she continues her book blog tour hosted by the Coffee Pot Book Club.

On tour with the Coffee Pot Book Club, founded by Mary-Anne Yarde. 

Read on to find out more...

About the book... 

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts? 

In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time. 

But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practising witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all? 

 Buy Links: 

Down Salem Way:

Her Dear and Loving Husband:

Her Loving Husband’s Curse:

Her Loving Husband’s Return:


 Universal Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Barnes and Noble:




About the author...

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at

Social Media Links:





Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


Brief interview...

When did you start writing your new book?

I began writing Down Salem Way in the autumn of 2018. I completed my PhD in the spring of 2018 and I definitely needed a brain break after spending two years working on my dissertation. I gave myself a few months off from writing anything because I simply couldn’t concentrate. Then, once I buckled down, it took about six months of researching and writing, and then a month or two for revisions and edits, and Down Salem Way was published in June 2019.

What was the inspiration behind the book? 

Down Salem Way is the stand-alone prequel to Her Dear and Loving Husband, which goes back and forth between present-day Salem, Massachusetts and Salem during the witch trials in 1692. 

While I was writing Her Dear and Loving Husband, I realized that because of the dual timeline I wasn’t able to delve into as much depth with the witch trials as I might have liked. After I finished writing the Loving Husband Trilogy, I decided to go back and revisit my characters James and Elizabeth during the madness of the witch hunts to examine more closely how they were affected by that time. 

Down Salem Way has a slightly different feel than the books in the Loving Husband Series because it’s written in the first-person point of view; in fact, it’s written as James’ diary. I had a lot of fun telling the story from James’ point of view.

Can you describe your route to publication from concept to completed novel?  

When I first have an idea for a novel, I usually kick the idea in my head for a while before I write anything down just to see if there’s something to that idea. Making the decision to write a novel can mean a months-long commitment, especially since I write historical fiction and I need to do research as part of my writing process. 

Next, if I decide that my idea will become a novel, I start brainstorming ideas and playing around with different scenarios. Then I’ll begin writing my first draft and completing my research. After my first draft is written, I’ll put the manuscript aside for at least a month to give myself some distance. After that I’ll write the second draft, and after that comes the revision process. 

It’s hard for me to say exactly how long it takes me to write a book because it varies with every project. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between six to eight months, or sometimes up to a year from initial concept to completed novel.

What ideas do you have for any future books? 

I’m continuing the Loving Husband Series. I’m currently writing Book Five in the series, The Duchess of Idaho, which is set during the time of the Oregon Trail. I also have a few more Loving Husband Series books up my sleeve.

Which publishing services (if any) would you recommend? 

Two services I would recommend would be to hire a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. It’s important to put out a professional-looking product.

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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Special Guest : Greg Freeman and his poetry collection, 'Marples Must Go!'

Anyone for poetry? I am absolutely delighted to welcome poet, Greg Freeman and his collection of poems, ‘Marples Must Go!’ to Writers at the Gate.

Read on to find out more…

About the book… 

A mysterious slogan on a bridge across the M1 that remained there for decades denounced a 1960s transport minister who had a finger in the pie of motorway building, and oversaw Beeching’s vandalism of Britain’s railways. Ernest Marples was a politician on the make who also liked to be chastised while wearing women’s clothing. Greg Freeman’s wry and bemused poems meander around this and other subjects such as free school milk, Juke Box Jury, Space Patrol, and the curious appeal of Andy Williams, as well as the first proper sentence of a two-year-old child: ‘Jack see Mrs Thatcher.’ As the years go by, the poet finds himself remembering the cartoon comic heroes of Beano and Dandy, picturing what might have happened to them in later life, and wondering plaintively: ‘Why can’t life still be hilarious?’  

About the author… 

Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His debut pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015. He co-runs a monthly open mic poetry night in Woking, Surrey. He watched the second half of England's World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the-then poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; and with hundreds of others, contributed vocals on Chuck Berry's no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling.


(Publisher's Website)


Brief Interview…

When did you start writing your new book? 

Some of the poems were written several years ago, and some much more recently. I started assembling the collection around the back end of last year, and it was accepted for publication early in 2021. Many of the poems were 'road-tested' at Woking Writers Circle and at Write Out Loud Woking open-mic poetry night, which used to meet at the Lightbox gallery in Woking, and has been sharing poems on Zoom since May 2020. (We hope to return to the Lightbox at the end of September, but to carry on with Zoom as well)  

What was the inspiration behind the book? 

The title poem refers to a dodgy Tory politician from the 1960s. It's not for me to comment if anyone thinks there are any parallels today. There are other political poems in the book - politics is one of my interests - but the subject matter stretches far beyond that to encompass 60s pop music, football, newspapers, the Sean Henry sculptures in Woking town centre - and, of course, Covid. 

What ideas do you have for any future books? 

I hope this doesn't sound too morbid, but I recently had to have two surgical procedures to treat my angina. I've already written quite a long poem about that process and would hope to include it in a future collection.  

Which publishing services (if any) would you recommend? 

My first poetry publisher was Indigo Dreams, which produced my debut pamphlet Trainspotters in 2015. Guildford-based poetry publishers Dempsey & Windle have produced my first full collection Marples Must Go! Both publishers work very hard, publish lots of books, run competitions as well, and in my case have come up with two smashing covers that I have been delighted with. Janice and Donall and D&W even run their own monthly poetry open-mic night in Guildford - and have been doing so since 2010, I believe.