My stop on the Half A World Away blog tour today is the blog Jaffa Reads Too. I’m so happy that the blog’s author, Jo, really liked the book and gave it a great review.
But who is Jaffa? Well, he’s Jo’s “glorious ginger cat,” who assists her reading by positioning himself somewhere close by. I’m now wondering whether I should call my blog “Elliott Writes Too,” as I have my own feline assistant who’s never far away while I’m writing.
We’ve had Elliott for ten years. He was born on Bonfire Night and we got him on New Year’s Eve, so he’s very cool with fireworks. On the day we got him we were amazed at how such a tiny little kitten already knew what a litter tray was and how to use it. We were also impressed with the way he “defended” us against our older cat, Frostie, the first time she dared to try to come into her own house.
Elliott is more like a dog than a cat and follows me from room to room. This has its down-sides too, as he’s always been the most gassy cat I’ve ever known. We have to warn visitors that he’s part cat, part dog and part skunk.
“I enjoyed seeing East Berlin through Nicky’s eyes whilst at the same time allowed myself to follow in Alex’s footsteps into a very different world.
Beautifully written, and in perfect step with time and place, Half A World Away is one of those stories which stays with you long after the last page is turned.” – Jo (and Jaffa)
I’m honestly quite blown away by the amazing review of Half A World Away today on Mairead Hearne’s blog, Swirl and Thread (she also loves sewing, hence the blog’s name: “I was visualizing the swirl of words on a page and the thread of a story working together to make a great book. Also swirls and thread are synonymous with sewing” she says).
As well as the fabulous review there’s also a Q&A which I enjoyed doing because I got to talk about Holby City, Stephen King, trains, Liverpool – all the stuff I love!
“Half A World Away is a beautiful read. Set just before the collapse of The Wall, Sue Haasler has captured the claustrophobic atmosphere of living within such a restricted and, at times, frightening regime. For many this was their norm and what lay on the other side of the wall was what they feared…the unknown. Sue Haasler approached this novel using her own knowledge and experiences of East Berlin, having travelled there over the years and her husband being from East Berlin. For me this familiarity gives a very authentic feel to the novel. At times I was drawn right into the pages as though I were actually there myself.
Alex, Nicky and Detlef are all so very different, yet their individual stories knit together wonderfully to bring the reader a very poignant and at times heart-breaking story. This is a love story, set against the backdrop of one of the most incredible and fascinating times in recent history….The Berlin Wall and it’s subsequent collapse.” – Mairead Hearne
Today my host on the Half A World Away blog tour is the wonderful Zoe, from the No Safer Place blog. I talked to her about how music influenced the novel (and my own attempts to learn to play the flute), the authors who inspired me to write, and the differences between writing fiction and non-fiction (Holby City: Behind the Screen). There’s also a hint about the book I’m working on now, which I’d better get back to …
Today my host for the Half A World Away blog tour is Melisa Broadbent, who writes the blog Broadbean’s Books. I was very happy that she liked the book and took the time to review it. Pop over there and see what she thought.
“I must admit that I was quite young when the Berlin Wall was pulled down but Sue Haasler does a magnificent job of describing how harsh and completely different things were depending on which side of the wall you were on. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story but I found this book to be one that I didn’t know a lot about going into but learnt a lot at the end of the journey.” – Melisa Broadbent
The lovely Ronnie Turner, who hosted the cover reveal for Half A World Away, hosts today’s stop on the blog tour. There’s a chance to win a copy of the book – but you’ll have to hurry because it finishes at the end of 17th April.
Ronnie’s review of the book is detailed and gives a great flavour of what it’s all about, and I’m so happy she liked it!
“Sue Haasler’s evocation of 1980s Cold War East Berlin is fantastic. I really felt as if I’d been transported back through history. The level of detail is utterly remarkable. Charming, ambitious Alex, unnerving, obsessive Detlef and sweet, strong Nicky make up a set of characters that will really stick in your mind. This book was like a breath of fresh air. It’s a gripping and often quite moving love story with a musical note running through it. I really enjoyed and fully recommend! Half a World Away is a rich, compelling and thought-provoking tale about love, obsession, ambition and going against the grain to be different. Wonderful!” – Ronnie Turner
On the latest stop of the Half A World Away book blog tour, I’m talking on Cheryl M-M’s blog about what lies behind the book’s title. It’s an REM song, because I often steal song titles for my books (two of them from Cyndi Lauper!), and it’s a song which I strongly associate with Berlin when I used to travel there a lot. I think it also applies to East Berlin at the time: “East Germany in 1987, the time that the book is mainly set, was half a world away from life in Britain or even West Germany – the same, but distinctly different.”
Cheryl has also given the book a great review.
“A riveting read, and a bold combination of love and history.” – Cheryl M-M
On today’s stop on the Half A World Away blog tour, I’m on Karen’s blog My Reading Corner, talking about how I got the inspiration for writing the book from real life. Meeting and falling in love with an East German man, who has now been my husband for 21 years, gave me an insight into a country that I knew nothing about before, and one which no longer exists.
There’s also a short extract from the first chapter of the book.