#GuestPost by Joanna Stephen-Ward, author of The Doll Collector @OperaLover12 @bloodhoundbook

Posted November 23, 2018 by Zoé in Guest Posts, Reviews and Stuff / 2 Comments

#GuestPost by Joanna Stephen-Ward, author of The Doll Collector @OperaLover12 @bloodhoundbook

The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward
Published by Bloodhound Books on November 22, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Murders that look like accidents. An accident that looks like murder.

A couple and their young son burn to death in a house fire.A girl dies from a nut allergy.A woman falls under a train during the rush hour.An accountant falls down the steps to his basement.Their deaths appear to be accidents but Gloria knows they were murdered because she murdered them. And every time Gloria kills she buys a doll.But how many dolls will she need to keep her satisfied? When Gloria takes a room as a lodger her behaviour starts to spin out of control. Gloria wants love and happiness and friendship and she will do anything she can to get what she wants...

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Joanna Stephen-Ward to my blog with a Guest Post, while we look at her new book The Doll Collector. So what are other bloggers saying about the book?

The Beardy Book Blogger says 

The Doll Collector is great fun and is an extremely well written, tense, maddening, infuriating, character driven slice of domestic noir. There are parts where you’ll be biting your lips down to the quick, desperate for poor Maurice to man up and kick Gloria in the lady parts and out of his life.
The characters are often repellent, but fascinating, and you really do root for the good guys, whilst all the while fearing that this is going to be one of those books where it all turns to shit at the end and the bad guys get away with it all.

Over the Rainbow book blog says

The story is incredible fast paced which makes the book hard to put down.  There is always something happening with one of the characters that makes you want to continue reading to find out how it all plays out.

Ginger Book Geek says

Oh my gosh, ‘The Doll Collector’ is one of those books that grabs your attention from the start and much like a fisherman landing a catch, the author reels you in.  I ended up getting so caught up in the story that I couldn’t stop reading.  It was almost as if the book had cast a spell over me and it didn’t let me go until the moment I closed the back cover.  I had to keep reading to see what further mayhem Gloria would cause and whether or not she would be caught.  The pages turned over so fast that it was almost as if they were turning themselves and I seemed to charge through the book rather quickly for me.

How awesome do these reviews sound! I might have to bump this one up the list and pronto!!

The Idea for The Doll Collector 

Sarah, a colleague and friend of mine, was tormented by an aggressive, abusive and spiteful neighbour. She and her husband John had bought a house with three bedrooms and a garden in a pleasant street. All the houses in the street were identical except that some had been converted into two flats. The neighbour from hell rented a ground floor flat. As soon as they moved in this woman tried to be friends with them. Put off by her manner and the way she shouted at one of her elderly neighbours, they rebuffed her. She turned on them. Almost everyday Sarah would arrive in the office nervous and exhausted. She dreaded what she would find when she returned home. Would her two cats be alive and well or would they be dead or horribly injured? Her stories were so dreadful I wondered if she was exaggerating. Surely a woman would not threaten to kill her neighbour’s cats. She couldn’t possibly throw buckets of water over the fence when they were trying to enjoy their garden in the evening and weekends.

Sarah told me she had no idea why the woman was so vile to her and her husband. She even felt sorry for her at times because she was unemployed and divorced.

One Saturday afternoon when my husband and I visited Sarah and John, the neighbour from hell was out the front washing her car. When she saw us opening the gate to their house, she scowled at us. As soon as I saw her I realised that her behaviour was due to jealousy. Sarah was attractive with a good figure, her husband was handsome, they worked full time and they had a happy marriage. They owned their house. She rented her flat. She was plain and overweight.

John had to go to a conference for three days and Sarah invited my husband and me to dinner. We were just about to start our first course when the doorbell rang. Sarah went to answer it. From the dining room we heard a torrent of abuse, and then this woman forced her way into the house, and said she was going to kill Sarah. My husband rescued Sarah while I rang the police. They were sympathetic, but because there were no injuries they did not arrest her or press charges. Sarah protested that she would have been either dead or seriously injured if we had not been there, but nothing changed their minds.

The neighbour from hell’s garden was ugly and mostly concrete with some broken plastic pots. Only a trellis fence divided the gardens, so Sarah and John had an unpleasant view of her yard. To hide this they planted a fast growing shrub which weaved itself through the trellis. This ignited her fury. She tore down the vine on her side of the fence, leaving huge gaps and giving them a good view of her yard. They decided to put up a solid fence. The man who was erecting it received a torrent of abuse. She banged on their door and threatened to kill them. The police were called but again could do nothing.

Sarah was in the eighth month of her pregnancy when their baby died. Their devastation was made worse when this woman laughed and told them they were barren. It was then that they realised that she was spying on them and listening to their conversations.

Sarah once told me that she was sure I could write a novel about her experiences. I could and did.

Follow the rest of the tour here

My thanks to Emma at Bloodhound book for the tour invite and the author for the Guest Post

About Joanna Stephen-Ward

Joanna Stephen-Ward was born in the Australian outback, and grew up in Melbourne. Her school days were spent dreaming about being an opera singer or a writer. To the exasperation of her parents and teachers she spent her final year sitting at the back of the classroom writing a novel set in WW2.

When she left school she went to an opera school where she was taught drama, movement and language pronunciation and had small roles in the workshop productions. She was not good enough to become a professional opera singer, but the seeds of her novel Vissi d’arte were sown.

She left Australia and spent a year travelling around Europe and the UK. While working in outpatients for the NHS she met Peter and they married in 1985. They lived in Richmond Surrey and she worked at The National Archives, an enthralling place for anyone interested in history or crime.

Having been brought up as a lonely only child, she was astonished to discover in 2010 that she was one of eight children. She and her sister had last been together on a verandah in the outback when they were babies. They had a joyous reunion in Cornwall in 2012.

Joanna has written seven novels and is working on her eighth.



Stay and have a chat :)

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