Tracey Wickham's Book Talk

My name is Tracey and I am the author of the Anya Harding series of books.

I am currently working on a new novel which will be the first in a new series.

When I am not writing you will find me sitting down reading.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Birmingham Connection

Tolkien is probably more popular as a writer today than ever before thanks to the success of Peter Jackson's film adaptations of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings."

J.R.R. and his brother Hilary were both born in the Orange Free State in South Africa, but as the climate did not suit their mother the three of them came to England in April 1895.It was while they were staying with their mother's family in King's Heath near Birmingham that  word came through of the death of their father who was still in South Africa. Instead of returning to Africa as had been originally planned the family found themselves  staying in Birmingham.

To being with Mrs Tolkien rented a small house, but eventually she and the boys moved into the Warwickshire countryside. The boys were ready for educating and their mother taught them herself. Things changed when Mrs Tolkien and the boys started going to St. Anne's Church which was on the site of the original Birmingham Oratory which had been founded by John Henry Newman.

In September 1900 J.R.R. passed the entrance exam for King Edward's School in Birmingham. He was able to take his place with the help of a relative and the family started renting a small house in Moseley. It was around then that the family began going to the Birmingham Oratory where they were befriended by Father Francis Morgan.

When monetary problems forced J.R.R. to stop attending King Edward's Father Francis found him a place at the Grammar School which had been founded by the Oratory. Yet again the family moved but the accommodation was not ideal and J.R.R. was not finding the academic standards of the Grammar School challenging enough for him. With the help of his mother J.R.R. returned to King Edward's in the autumn of 1903 with a Foundation Scholarship. On his return he developed an interest in English Literature thanks to one of the schools assistant masters.

His mother's health was not good and her greatest fear was to leave the boys orphans. She made the boys wards and made Father Francis their guardian.

J.R.R. and Hilary moved in with an aunt who lived in Stirling Road, Edgbaston but as far as they were concerned the Oratory was their home.

J.R.R. lived in Stirling Road between 1905 and 1908 and during that time he must have seen two landmarks. One was a folly, the other a dark red and blue Neo-Gothic structure in the local waterworks. The locals called them "the twin towers." There must be every possibility that the "towers" influenced the second book in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The brothers moved in with a Mrs Faulkner in 1908 and she gave them board and lodgings. J.R.R. grew close to another lodger Edith Bratt, but Father Francis found out and disapproved of the relationship. In 1910 Edith moved to Cheltenham, but three years later the couple were reunited and eventually they married. John Francis, J.R.R.'s first son, was named after his father's former guardian.

In 1935 Father Francis dying leaving £1000 each to J.R.R. and Hilary.

Oratory House still has some of the relics Tolkien left behind after the time he spent there.

(c) 2015 Tracey Wickham 

A book is a portal
A book is a portal

Keeping It Fresh For Readers

Ever since I was small the two things I have loved doing the most were writing and reading.

And even now nothing has changed.

If I'm not working on my latest book you will find me sitting down with my Kindle in my hand reading.

To be honest with you I do think that as a writer it is good that I do so much reading as I am able to see things from two points of view: that of the reader and that of the writer.

Now at the moment I have three books available for Kindle, but I am currently working on another two.

One is the first book in a brand new series, while the other is the fourth Anya Harding.

The new series I am writing is again fantasy, but I all ready have an idea for the second and I know what is going to happen character wise well in advance. I would like to think that this will keep potential readers in the series interested in the books.

I know that as a reader I don't want to be reading a series of books that are, shall we say, the same plot line time and again told differently. To me that gets boring and takes away the excitement of what is going to happen next.

And it is for this reason I have taken the decision to take the Anya Harding books off in a new direction in order to keep them fresh for readers.

In A Murder Is Foreseen as it was the first book in the series I introduced Anya and we saw her clairvoyance develop and her work with the Police in order to stop the murder she had seen from happening.

When Witches Gather was different as it is a collection of eight short stories told by Anya and her friends.

In The Dead Can Kill Anya is again trying to stop a murder, but she also has a restless spirit to deal with, so to me that makes the book different from the first.

But for all that I know a reader may think different and it is because of this I am making major changes to the storyline in the fourth book. Now naturally I don't want to go into details but I hope it will keep the series fresh for readers.

I think I read a while ago that George R R Martin said that readers of A Song of Fire and Ice shouldn't get too attached to any one character as anyone could get killed off before the end of the series. And let's be honest he hasn't been afraid to kill off the likes of Ned and Rob Stark before now!

So there you have it. The reason why I am keeping my books fresh. I'm doing it for the readers :)


BookLikes is Growing: Scheduled Maintenance on Thursday

Reblogged from BookLikes:

BookLikes is growing

We're extremely happy to see that BookLikes community is growing so fast. BookLikes has became a hub for book lovers from all around the world showing that the passion for reading and reviewing bonds and creates close relationships, and is perfect for global community.


We've launched the redesigned BookLikes to public in 2013, introduced nearly 100 Thursday releases since then and gathered tens of thousands members, growing every week. We're blown away with this success (!) but this remarkable achievement couldn't have been done without you: readers, reviewers, bloggers, authors and publishers -- thanks to your engagement we're developing and improving on daily basis making BookLikes the best place for all book lovers. Your satisfaction is the ultimate measure of BookLikes' performance and a sign of fulfilled expectations and trust. This success is also your success!


This incredible growth brought big smiles on the BookLikes Team's faces and was a trigger to perform big changes. For your convenience we're moving to brand new high performance servers which are bigger, faster and will ensure further development and growth of BookLikes. They will also allow us to work better with a growing number of the community -- so hands on keyboards and prepare the invitations -- we're ready to welcome all your friends and family on BookLikes :-)


The server relocation is a complex process which needs time, for this reason BookLikes will be down for maintenance on Thursday. We'll make the process as fast as possible, however, the move can take up to 9 hours as it's a serious undertaking and needs to be performed with the utmost caution and attention.


The maintenance will start at 5:30 am UTC on Thursday 26 March, 2015. Please remember that this time will vary to your time zones.


All your shelves, books, reviews, posts and webpages will be safe and secure, they will be alive on new servers on Thursday afternoon/evening. Thursday will be a special day of dual release: new server's performance and new Thursday feature. We're looking forward to both of these!


Thank you for being with us :-)

Review of Murder Most Witchy by Emily Rylands

Murder Most Witchy (Wendy Lightower Mystery) - Emily Rylands

Murder Most Witchy is the first book in the Wendy Lightower Mystery series and introduces us to the central character.

Wendy is the Head Librarian at North Harbour Library and Museum, but unknown to most people Wendy is s witch.

When she finds the body of Benny the janitor in the Museum Wendy finds herself drawn back to magic.

I found the book very easy to read with well thought out characters. I am hoping to read the second book in the series at some point in the future.

If you are looking for something new in the Paranormal/Fantasy field then I would recommend you give this a try.

How I fell in love with e-books

I remember quite clearly when Kindle was first introduced into the UK. I was horrified at the thought of electronic books replacing physical books.

The owner of a book shop that I knew shocked me when he said he loved his Kindle and that he much preferred it to a book. I couldn't see the appeal and told myself that wasn't for me.

But in time my opinion changed.

A while later someone I was friendly with at the time got a Kindle. And the more she talked about it and told me about the books she wouldn't have been able to get otherwise, the more interested I got.

And I'm sure you've already guessed what happened next. I bought a Kindle which I promptly fell in love with and I haven't looked back since.

I even have the app installed on my phone so I don't have to rely on my reader.

A friend gave me a book at Christmas and it was the first paperback I had got in goodness knows how long. I can't even remember when I last went to a bookstore and that used to be something I did on a regular basis.

My partner isn't a big reader but he has the app on his tablet and he is always downloading books now and reading. It has even changed his reading habits, and that is some achievement.

In my opinion there will always be a place for paperbacks and hardbacks, but there are advantages to the Kindle. Not only are some books exclusive, but they are cheaper and you can buy them 23 hours a day seven days a week.

I have made the decision  to only publish my books for Kindle. There will be no paperback editions available.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and you may prefer paperbacks to e-books any day of the week. But in this day and age there is enough room for both versions and everyone can read the version they feel happiest with.



Let me introduce myself

I would like to take this opportunity to say hello to you all and introduce myself.

My name is Tracey and my first novel A Murder Is Foreseen has just been published.

For as long as I can remember the two things I have loved doing are reading and writing. If I wasn't writing short stories I had a book in my hand reading.

And nothing has changed over the years as even now if I'm not sitting at my laptop working I have my Kindle in my hand and I'm reading.

I am looking forward to reviewing the books that I read and I may also blog a bit about writing.

Until my next post. Happy reading.

Currently reading

Lonely Souls
Karice Bolton
Progress: 12 %