Saturday, 2 June 2018

We Other by Sue Bentley @suebentleywords #BlogTour @rararesources #MyLifeInBooks #WeOther

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night. 
Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. 
When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

Welcome to my slot on the Blog Tour for We Other by Sue Bentley. My thanks to Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources who invited me to take part in this tour.

We Other begins in a gritty urban environment, where Jess Morgan is struggling with almost every aspect of her life. Her single parent mum is alcoholic, they have no money and her mum’s latest boyfriend is the worst in a long line of no-hopers.
Jess doesn’t fit in and never has. She vulnerable and scared but hides it behind a spiky, street-wise exterior. Her only friend is, Mike, a homeless guy who lives in the subway. But Mike is not who he seems and before long Jess’s fortunes change in ways she could never have imagined in her wildest dreams.
There’s an entire world of which she’s been unaware. It’s a hidden world of beauty and possibilities, but also untold dangers for the unwary. There she’ll discover her true destiny and how it’s linked to family secrets and tragedies in her past. She once thought her life on the run-down housing estate was bleak, empty and desolate, but pretty soon she’s desperate to get back to what she knows. The alternative is altogether too much in every way, for one girl in her late teens to encompass.
We Other is part love story, part thriller and is informed by Sue’s love of traditional fairy tales and folklore of the UK. Her fairies are pitch-dark and not the sort you’d want to meet alone, on a moonless night. We Other is her first novel for Young Adults, but has been equally enjoyed by many adults.

I'm really happy to welcome Sue Bentley here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life in Books.

My Life in Books - Sue Bentley

Like many writers it was discovering the public library at an early age that gave me a lifelong love of books. I’m British born of indeterminate roots, but my mother’s side of the family have been in Northamptonshire for at least two hundred years. The eldest of 5 girls, I was often in trouble for having my head ‘stuck in a book’. My harassed mum would call me to come and do something useful – washday was pretty intense in our house.

The library used to be a Methodist Chapel. It had a very shiny wooden floor, which creaked at each hollow-sounding footstep. The elderly librarian with glasses and a stern manner, had a twinkle in her eye. Probably because she recognised a fellow bookworm. I’d borrow four books on Saturday visits to my grandparents. I’d sit reading while grandad checked his football pools and grandma laid out a special meal of ham sandwiches, cream cakes and endless strong, sweet tea. I stopped reading long enough to eat and maybe run an errand for grandma. But by the time we left for home I’d want to exchange my library books. Which always caused a row as I took ages choosing them.

Enid Blyton was an early favourite - although I remember being perturbed when Goblins stripped off Noddy’s clothes and left him naked in a forest! Oh, his poor little bare wooden limbs. (Did that really happen – or is it something I dreamed up?) I loved the Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five and Secret Seven books.

The antics of Richmal Crompton’s William Brown, and his gang of Outlaws, made me laugh out loud. They were echoes of the pranks I got up to playing with the family of boys in our road. Boys had more fun and weren’t expected to do housework.

After Swallows and Amazons, The Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island and many others, I made a bee-line for the adult section. By then I was about eleven or twelve, old enough to walk to my grandparents by myself and browse the library shelves for as long as I liked.

I read the Brontes, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Jean Plaidy and Anya Seton were also favourites. To my delight I recently discovered some copies of Jean Plaidy novels with the original dust covers I remembered from those days. In the same shop were some novels by the prolific Kathleen Lindsay and the unlikely-named Lozania Prole – pen-name of Ursula Bloom. I thought these romantic novels racy at the time, but then I chanced upon the series of Angelique books by novelist duo Serge and Ann Golon! True bodice-rippers and very steamy – I adored them.

I was by then working as a library assistant and family sagas were popular – or ‘rats and rickets’ as we nicknamed them. Josephine Cox, Iris Gower, Maeve Binchy and Susan Howatch were favourites. There’d be a huge waiting list for a new Catherine Cookson title. I’d have to wait my turn to get my hands on a copy.

I also enjoy historical crime. C J Sansom’s Shardlake series is wonderful, as are City of Shadows and Relics of the Dead, written by the late Dianna Norman under the pen name Ariana Franklin.

I like anything written by Michel Faber. The Crimson Petal and the White is a masterpiece. With its detailed Victorian setting and shades of gothic horror, it doesn’t shy away from the darkness in humanity. Michel Faber’s a difficult writer to get a handle on as each novel he writes is totally different in subject and tone. (Something with which I empathise) I loved Under the Skin; pure fantasy, disquieting with a gritty undertone.

A book I enjoyed recently was The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis. The heroine is dark and dangerous and full of surprises. A fabulous unique ‘voice’.

In a way historical novels led me to reading fantasy novels. They say ‘the past is another country’ and I think it’s this quality of an unfamiliar landscape that I enjoy so much in any well-crafted novel. Modern fairy tales are another favourite. Tithe by Holly Black was a revelation.

Currently in my to-read pile is Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore, bought unashamedly for its beautiful cover. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Ghost Hawk, the latest Susan Cooper, who’s writing I adore.

Reading is a complete sensual experience for me. I’m never without a book. I enjoy the physicality of them and the way they look. A room always looks better for a shelf or twenty of books. I’ve been a library user, a library worker and now I make my living writing the books people buy and borrow. It seems I have always lived my life in books.

Thank You so much for hosting me on the We Other Blog tour. And thank you readers for joining me on my journey through books.

Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. 
She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. 
She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. 
She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. 
A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. 
Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. 
We Other is her first book for Young Adults. 

Follow her on Twitter @subentleywords
Find her Author page on Facebook 
Follow her on Instagram @therealsuebentley 
Check out her website 

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