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About Lynne Barrett-Lee
Born in London and now based in Wales, Ghostwriter Lynne Barrett-Lee has been a full time author since the mid nineties. Having enjoyed several years of success as a short story writer, with her fiction appearing in almost all of the UK’s leading women’s magazines, she had her first novel, the acclaimed Julia Gets a Life, published by Bantam in 2000. She has since written seven further novels, including her 2006 work, Barefoot in the Dark, which was shortlisted for the inaugural Melissa Nathan Award. Lynne was also approached to write one of the first titles in the Quick Reads series for emergent readers, and went on to ghost a further title for TV presenter Fiona Phillips.
Lynne began ghostwriting full length non-fiction in 2007, when approached to co-author paraplegic Melanie Davies' incredible story, Never Say Die, and since that successful collaboration has been ghostwriting full time. Her 2010 title, for Faith Scott, I Won’t Forgive What You Did, enjoyed seven weeks in the UK Sunday Times Bestseller list, as did the 2012 memoir The Baby Laundry. She also ghosted the acclaimed memoir Giant George: life with the World’s Tallest Dog a bestselling title in both the UK and US.
More recently, Lynne ghosted two bestselling titles which were published in the spring of this year. The first, Mum’s Way, is the story of mum of eight, Angie Millthorpe, who died of breast cancer, aged 48, in 2010. The second, The Girl With No Name, was published in May 13, and relates the story of a young girl abandoned in the jungles of Colombia, and has already been sold in eighteen countries, with film rights being negotiated and a National Geographic documentary being shown in December 13.
Lynne also co-writes a major non-fiction series for one of the world's leading publishers, under a pseudonym. The first seven titles have also all been Sunday Times bestsellers, with three more being published in 2013/14. The series was launched in the USA in 2013, and the first ebook in the series was a NY Times bestseller.
Lynne also writes about writing, as she teaches the craft weekly, at Cardiff University - her ebook NOVEL being the written distillation of her popular novel writing course.
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In 1963, London was on the brink of becoming one of the world's most vibrant cities. Angela Patrick was 19 years old, enjoying her first job working in the City, when her life turned upside down. A brief fling with a charismatic charmer left her pregnant, unmarried and facing a stark future. Being under 21, she was still under the governance of her parents, strict Catholics who insisted she have the baby in secret and then put it up for adoption.
Shunned by her family and forced to leave her job, Angela was sent to an imposing-looking convent for unmarried mothers in north-east London. Run like a Victorian workhouse, conditions in the convent were decidedly Spartan. Vilified and degraded by the nuns for her 'wickedness', her only comfort came from the other pregnant girls, all knowing they too would have to give up their babies. After a terrifying labour with no pain relief, Angela gave birth to a beautiful son, Paul, with whom she fell instantly in love. At eight weeks he was taken from her and forcibly put up for adoption, leaving Angela bereft and heartbroken. Not a day went by without Angela thinking about him. Then, thirty years later, she received a letter. It was from Paul, and a reunion was arranged.
This vital slice of social history is a shocking reminder of how cultural mores have changed around the issue of single motherhood since the early 1960s. It is also an honest, heartfelt memoir that explores the closest of human bonds.
THE TOP TEN BESTSELLER: The Inspirational Life of Finn, Britain's Bravest Dog, Winner of the 2017 Daily Mirror Animal Hero of the Year Award and Star of Britain's Got Talent 2019
Hertfordshire, October 5th 2016. At around 2 a.m., PC Dave Wardell and his dog, PD Finn, were trying to apprehend a robbery suspect when he turned around and attacked them. Finn was stabbed with a ten-inch-bladed knife, both through his chest, via his armpit and then - the knife bound for Dave - through the top of his head. Finn no doubt saved Dave's life, but the race was on to try and save Finn's.
Dave Wardell's heartfelt memoir charts an incredible journey of friendship and loyalty. It is a celebration of the bond between one man and his dog, from when Dave collected Finn from his kennels at just nine months old, all the way through to Finn's recent and hard-earned retirement. The book charts the career of a highly trained, highly decorated dog. In his time on the job Finn tracked offenders of all kinds; found missing children; tackled armed offenders; saved lives. But Finn isn't just a police dog - he's also a cherished family pet and this is his remarkable, life-affirming story.
Handsome, attentive, caring and musically gifted, he felt like the antidote to all the bad things that had happened in her life. Sexually abused by her eldest brother and dominated by a violent father, Vikie's childhood ended with the death of her mother when she was just sixteen.
Unravelled is the story of Vikie’s life with Paul, and the years in which his behaviour and mental state became increasingly erratic. It's the account of his casual cruelty, his spying, his inexplicable and sudden rages before he committed suicide; of his growing obsession with having more and more children, and of naming them according to a precise set of rules; of how, over a period of years, he all but gutted their family home, tearing down most of the internal walls and removing almost everything but basic furniture, while simultaneously creating a secret home for himself, made out of plywood, in what used to be a shed; and of his secret diaries – the tens of thousands of entries he made, documenting every minute of every day.
After his death, it would be these writings that would provide such compelling evidence of what further tragedy might have happened had he not made the decision that he did to take his own life. Because whatever was wrong with him was like a ticking bomb that even Vikie hadn’t properly heard, as it seemed he’d spent time planning to kill the whole family.
Vikie Shanks was born in 1958 in Aden (now South Yemen), where her father was stationed in the RAF, the youngest of three children, and lived from the age of five in Waterbeach near Cambridge. At the age of seventeen she left home and moved to London to start work as a trainee buyer in Harrods but left after a year and became a croupier. After two years working in London and a further year in Spain she became a full time model back in the UK. Aged 25 she met Paul Shanks, who was to become her husband and father to her seven children, whom it transpired was mentally very ill. Paul committed suicide aged 51.
Lynne Barrett-Lee is a full time novelist and ghostwriter and has co-authored over thirty Sunday Times bestsellers. She has also penned two writing guides, both published by Lume, based on the creative writing courses she teaches in Cardiff. Lynne’s latest work of fiction is a psychological thriller, Can You See Me?.
On a Saturday morning in May 1980, Melanie Bowen, a pretty fifteen year old, ran down the stairs of her parents’ home in Port Talbot, grabbed her leather jacket and crash helmet, yelled a goodbye, and then walked out of the front door into the sunshine for what was to be the last time in her life. Never Say Die is the true story of what followed…
Since the motorcycle crash that left her paralysed from the chest down, Melanie's life has been one of extremes. On the down side, she has endured 5 horrific months of despair and indignity in rehabilitation, undergone a colostomy at 23, been in another serious car crash, suffered syringomyelia and the terrifying prospect of full quadriplegia, been diagnosed with breast cancer and broken several bones.
On the plus side, however, she's won medals in athletics for Wales, been humbled and inspired by Falklands veterans at RAF Chessington, raised thousands for charity, become a major disability poster girl in America, dabbled with the film world and been screen tested for a movie, met the Queen, and set up her own rehabilitation charity, whose patrons include the acclaimed actor Michael Sheen, Dame Tanni Grey Thompson and former Welsh Rugby captain, Gwyn Jones.
She has also, against all the odds, found lasting happiness, having fallen in love with and married the surgeon who 25 years earlier told her she would never walk again.
‘It all happened so quickly. One minute I was squatting on the bare earth, preoccupied with popping pea pods. The next, I saw the flash of a black hand and white cloth, and before I even had a chance to cry out it had sailed towards my face, and completely covered it . . .’
In 1954, in a remote South American village, a four-year-old girl was abducted and then abandoned deep in the Colombian rainforest.
So begins the incredible true story of Marina Chapman, who went on to spend several years alone in the jungle, her only family a troop of capuchin monkeys. Using instinct to guide her, she copied everything they did and soon learned to fend for herself.
At around ten years old, a completely feral Marina was returned to civilisation by hunters, who sold her to a brothel. After being enslaved and beaten daily, she escaped – to live the perilous existence of a Colombian city street kid.
Marina’s life as a wild child wasn’t over. In some ways, it had only just begun. This is her astonishing story.
Previously published as Our Vinnie.
The infamous Canterbury Estate in Bradford, a hotbed of crime, drink and drugs, was a law unto itself in the ’70s. So when one of their own was wronged in any way, the community always had its own way of dealing with it.
The first title in a series of gritty family sagas, In Cold Blood accounts the dramatic true story of a brother’s determination to avenge his younger sister’s rape. Josie was just 11 when her Vinnie, then 14, was taken away to a detention centre. Distraught by his absence and left alone with indifferent parents, when she escapes from one of their rows she naively enters the house of a neighbour, Melvin, who – horrifically – leads her upstairs and overpowers her.
Convinced by her friend Carol, Josie tells her sister Lyndsey about the rape but, with Vinnie out of the picture, Lyndsey uses the information for her own ends. When Vinnie returns, hardened by years inside the system, his outrage on discovering the truth is severe. And with new abuses continually coming to light, a cataclysmic series of violent events begins to spiral out of control…
Dramatic and shocking, In Cold Blood is an unbelievable page-turner, documenting a community forsaken by society, and one brother’s unrelenting determination to take justice into his own hands.
Childhood sweethearts, Ian and Angie wanted nothing more than a big family. But eight children later and aged just forty-eight, Angie fell seriously ill. When she was told her illness was terminal, the welfare of her family became her only focus.
Raising that many children would be a big job for any couple; to raise them alone, without their mother, was a superhuman task for Ian. But this was exactly what Angie wanted him to be able to do. So, in the last months of her life, Angie compiled a list of ‘rules’ to guide Ian in the future: from lunchbox favourites to bedtime rituals and favourite lullabies, Angie’s manual gave Ian the strength and certainty that he could fulfil her wishes when she was gone.
Mum’s Way is an inspiring, if heart-rending, story of love that lingers long in the memory. Bound to stir emotions, it is above all life-affirming and uplifting.
Praise for Mum’s Way:
’If I don't see this book in the best-seller lists I will be very disappointed. I read a lot and have not been so moved in a long time. I often give books away when I have finished with them – but not this one!’ - Amazon review
Ian Millthorpe, Angie’s husband, wrote Mum’s Way with Lynne Barrett-Lee, who is a novelist, short-story writer and ghost-writer based in Wales.
Family is not always a place of safety.
Kathleen was just eight years old when her mother was tragically killed in a car accident. And when her father remarries it is to the bitter and resentful Irene who has two children of her own and no space in her heart for another. Irene goes out of her way to make Kathleen's life as miserable as possible and will stop at nothing to get her out of their lives…
When Kathleen is sixteen, a shocking incident rocks the family, and life takes a darker turn.
Among this darkness, Kathleen finds a glimmer of hope in an older man, but Irene is ruthless in her mission to destroy her.
Can Kathleen find happiness or is she destined for tragedy?
It’s 1971 and seventeen-year-old Christine is about to give birth to her son. When her family throw her out, Christine has the biggest fight of her life to bring up her son safe on the infamous Canterbury Estate in Bradford, rife with crime, alcohol and drugs, a place where family is everything and nothing.
Those of us who find ourselves afflicted by what many writers liken to a disease will know only too well that the true writer can’t NOT write – many of us tend to do so compulsively. And even if we’re not all scribbling furiously in cafes, then we’re often to be found, miles away, staring into space, making up stories in our heads.
This step-by-step course on creating sensational short fiction is for everyone. Written by bestselling author Lynne Barrett-Lee, and based on her face-to-face course of the same name, Telling Tales will guide you through the whole writing process. It starts with the basics – where to start, how to create characters, how to plot and how to write sparkling dialogue – to the business of polishing and editing your fiction, before taking the next step and getting it out there in the world.
It doesn’t matter whether you already have some experience or are a complete novice, because writing fiction, at any level, requires just three things: a desire to create stories; an imagination; and most of all, a sense of adventure. In other words, nothing the average person can’t muster, if telling tales is an affliction for you too…
Lynne Barrett-Lee is a full time novelist and ghostwriter and has co-authored over thirty Sunday Times bestsellers. She has also penned two writing guides based on the creative writing courses she teaches in Cardiff. Lynne’s latest work of fiction is a psychological thriller, Can You See Me?.
The explosive sequel to #1 Sunday Times bestseller Bad Blood.
Set 18 years later, Hidden Sin is the story of Joey, his girlfriend Paula and Rasta Mo, the man he is to discover is his dad.
Joey Parker is a young man with big dreams. Almost eighteen, he’s desperate to escape the shackles of his window cleaning round, so when’s offered the chance to try out as a drummer in a local Blondie tribute band he jumps at the chance. But it isn’t just the music that moves him. It’s also the fact that Paula Foster is the lead singer. The daughter of his mum’s old mate, Josie, she was once a childhood friend. They’ve not seen each other in years, and their mutual attraction is immediate.
Meanwhile, notorious local drug overlord, Rasta Mo, has recently returned to Bradford after a spell inside and years in Marbella. He is instantly enamored with the good-looking drummer he discovers is his son. He decides that his new club is in need of a house band – and so begins his attempts to woo him.
This book charts a journey between two men into a future neither visualized. And, in Joey’s case, into a dangerous criminal world he’s never known. And, while his mother and step-father can only look on in horror as Joey potentially becomes the one thing she’s always dreaded – his father’s son.
Joey is oblivious to who Mo is. The truth has always been hidden from him. All he cares about is that his and Paula’s dreams are all starting to come true. But will the cost of achieving them be too high to pay?