An Interview with Linda Huber

I am joined by Linda Huber for a Q and A, her new novel published by Bloodhound Books is out today, called Baby Dear, and is a thought provoking read on many levels.

Baby Dear: a gripping psychological thriller Caro and Jeff Horne seem to have it all until they learn that Jeff is infertile. Caro married Jeff because her biggest wish was to be a mother, and he had the means to give their children a better life than she’d had. Jeff, who is besotted with Caro, is terrified he will lose her now they can’t have a baby. Across town, Sharon is eight months pregnant and unsure if she really wants to be a mother. Soon her world will collide with Jeff’s. He wants to keep Caro happy and decides that getting a baby is the only way.    Then Caro is accidently drawn into an underworld of drugs… Meanwhile, Jeff is increasingly desperate to find a baby – but what lengths is he prepared to go to? Is Sharon in danger, and will Caro ever have the family she’s always dreamed of?

Baby Dear: a gripping psychological thriller

Caro and Jeff Horne seem to have it all until they learn that Jeff is infertile. Caro married Jeff because her biggest wish was to be a mother, and he had the means to give their children a better life than she’d had. Jeff, who is besotted with Caro, is terrified he will lose her now they can’t have a baby.

Across town, Sharon is eight months pregnant and unsure if she really wants to be a mother. Soon her world will collide with Jeff’s. He wants to keep Caro happy and decides that getting a baby is the only way.   

Then Caro is accidently drawn into an underworld of drugs…

Meanwhile, Jeff is increasingly desperate to find a baby – but what lengths is he prepared to go to?

Is Sharon in danger, and will Caro ever have the family she’s always dreamed of?

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?


My novels are all character based, so the original inspiration always comes from ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. With Baby Dear, the idea came from a news report – a woman had abducted a baby from a maternity ward, because she was unable to have one of her own. That started me thinking – who was she, this woman? How did she feel, knowing she would never have a child of her own? Did she have a partner? How did he feel? Who were the other people in their lives? And of course, the mother of the baby – what a terrible experience this was for her. How did she cope? Slowly, my cast of characters in Baby Dear took shape

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?

My involvement depends a lot on how the book is published. In traditional publishing, the publisher has a big say in the cover, although with Baby Dear the idea for the cover image came from me – I was really happy about that. With my self-published books, I make the end decision. I always work closely with the cover designer to create the best possible image for the story, because it’s often the cover that entices a reader into the book. So covers are vital. To date, my best-selling book is one of my self-published titles, Chosen Child, and I’ve lost count of the people who’ve said, ‘I saw your lovely cover and just had to have a look…’

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?

My work in progress is still untitled, but it’s another psychological suspense novel. It’s set in Glasgow, and tells the story of two neighbouring families. In one, the grandmother is suffering from an incurable disease and wants help to die. In the other, the grandmother has moved in with the couple, and they can’t wait to get rid of her… It isn’t a ‘Strangers on a Train’ plot, but the interaction between these two families eventually brings about the denouement – but I’m not quite at that bit yet!

    How important is social media to you?

   I live in Switzerland, so social media is very important – it’s often the only contact I have with other book people for weeks on end. My main platform is Twitter, but I’m on Facebook and Pinterest too. I’m always amazed at the goodwill between strangers on social media. I’ve ‘met’ so many people, some of whom have now turned into friends in real life too.  

Which of your books have you enjoyed writing to date and why?

The one I’ve enjoyed most is The Attic Room, because part of it is set on the lovely Isle of Arran in Scotland. I spent all my teenage summers there, with family friends whose home is on the island. It’s an amazing place, and I have so many happy memories of that time – summer jobs, discos (it was the swinging seventies), beachcombing, hikes, that magical scenery… I could go on and on!    

 

Linda, your last job was based in a castle, did you have any feeling of history from the building itself?

Oh, yes – it was the best job ever, and although I was thrilled to be able to give it up to concentrate on my writing, I was gutted at leaving the castle. It’s Arbon Castle, and parts of it date from the 12th Century. Approaching the front door you go up a little hill into the courtyard, and you’re wondering just how many feet have walked on these cobblestones over the centuries – who were these people, and what was their story? Inside, our classrooms (I taught English in Adult Education) were more modern, but the antiquity of the place shone though everywhere. It was a privilege to work there.

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Huber/e/B00CN7BB0Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1492953138&sr=1-1

Website: https://lindahuber.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/

 

An Interview with K.A.Richardson

Today, Kerry joins me on my blog for a Q and A session, thanks and welcome Kerry. If you haven't read Kerry's books, she has a brilliant series written, and a new book due out on 2nd May, published by Bloodhound books.

Someone is breaking into Fire Investigator, Edina Blaze’s, home and leaving deadly messages. When Glen Peacock is burned alive, she has to put her own problems aside and attend the location with Crime Scene Manager, Kevin Lang.  As the body count rises, Edina’s sister Heather becomes involved. Is it her setting these gruesome fires? Or is she a target too?  Kevin has seen it all in his years on the force, but when a young girl is found burnt to dead, even he is shocked.  Who is taking pleasure in watching people burn? Why are they doing it? And will they be caught?  DI Alistair McKay and the team from North East Police have to work quickly to stop the killer, before they all end up in flames.

Someone is breaking into Fire Investigator, Edina Blaze’s, home and leaving deadly messages. When Glen Peacock is burned alive, she has to put her own problems aside and attend the location with Crime Scene Manager, Kevin Lang. 

As the body count rises, Edina’s sister Heather becomes involved. Is it her setting these gruesome fires? Or is she a target too? 

Kevin has seen it all in his years on the force, but when a young girl is found burnt to dead, even he is shocked. 

Who is taking pleasure in watching people burn? Why are they doing it? And will they be caught? 

DI Alistair McKay and the team from North East Police have to work quickly to stop the killer, before they all end up in flames.

If you could co-write with anyone, who would it be and why?

If I could co-write with anyone …. Hmmm great question. There’s a few people I’d love to work with on something – not entirely sure I’d be the easiest person to work alongside though as tend to be quite focussed as to where I want a story to go. I love Karen Rose’s books – she’s one of my inspirations and in part, the reason for me writing the way I do – I love her overlapping characters and plots. So definitely Karen. I’d also love to work on something with Eileen Wharton – her style is completely different to mine but I think if we got our heads together it would be a storming novel!

 

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

Read lots, and write lots. Stephen King said you can’t write if you don’t read too (or words to that effect) – I tend to read less when I’m working on something but my reading gets focussed attention when on holiday especially. Though can it really be called holiday when I write in the morning before breakfast and read at least a novel a day?

 

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?

I’m currently working on book 5 – it has a provisional working title which I love, and is allowing me to explore other loves within my writing. I’ve always loved horses – I rode lots when I was younger and still absolutely love anything horsey. So I decided that this one would be set on a riding stables – when I looked into it further I decided I wanted it to be a disabled riding stables – my brother is disabled and I remembered how much he enjoyed the times he went riding. I wanted to explore this whilst also maintaining the crucial elements that make a crime novel – like murder! So just cos there’s horses and even a newborn foal, don’t expect for one second that it’s not going to be as dark and gruesome as the rest of the north east police series!

What is the best and hardest thing about being an author?

Don’t know if it’s the hardest thing, but finding the time to focus to writing, even with just working part-time, can be challenging. It’s surprising really as when I first started writing I was working full-time – I didn’t actually manage to go part-time until book4 had been submitted to the publisher. But it’s fantastic having more time to write. Time is still the hardest thing though. The best thing about being an author – well there’s more than one to be honest! I love meeting up with fans and connecting with readers, I love working alongside other fabulous authors and quite often participate in something we call timed writing – it can be done from any location so you don’t have to be together, but we start a group chat on what’s app or facebook, and we set timers to write. Usually it’s an hour solid with a 10 minute break at the end, then go from there for several hours over the day. It’s a great way to make time to write and be focussed on what you’re writing.

 

Do you read your own book reviews - what has been your favourite and the worst?

I always read all of my reviews – whether on goodreads or amazon. My favourite is probably this one by Anthony Millington:

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Kerry Ann's writing draws you into the characters lives. So much I dispised one of them so much I wanted to punch his lights out for being such a sanctimonious women hater.

Gripping to the end. Don't let it give you nightmares after reading it.’

I loved how the bad guy made him want to punch his lights out! A character – that I’d written! It blows my mind.  

The worst is probably this one by Steve Kiley:

‘I've given up on it after a few chapters.
It sounded OK at the start, but then I realised all the characters were stereotypes.
What really turned me against it, was when she wrote that somebody had an "infinity" for computing.
Has she passed O level GCSE in English? I doubt it.’

I definitely don’t have an ‘o’ level as these were before my time – I do however have an MA in Creative Writing if that counts….

Kerry, when you started out writing, did you plan for it to be a series? Also, did you intend for it to have different sections of the Police? Personally I find it interesting the way you did this and it helps keep the series fresh, and intriguing as to what is to come next.

When I started writing With Deadly Intent, it was initially to form the 15,000 I needed for the dissertation for my Masters. By the time I’d written that though, I’d gotten to know the characters and wanted to see how their stories played out. Even when I was half way through I still hadn’t intentionally meant for it to become a series. Ben’s character comes into With Deadly Intent throughout and I found myself wanting to write about her – she grabbed me from the second I gave her the name Ben which is not really a girl’s name. When I was about 2/3 of the way through With Deadly Intent, I knew Ben would have a novel of her own and that it would be book 2 in what later became the North East Police Series.

Again it wasn’t intentional that it would feature different sections of the police force – this came about more from personal interest than anything else. I worked for the police as a CSI when I was writing books one and two, and was moved departments quite suddenly due to the government cuts back in 2010 – that move kind of forced on me that the police force is massive and CSIs have interactions with many of the different departments. I’ve been interested in diving since being young though it’s not something I explored past my teenager years but there was a news headline when I came to finish I’ve been watching you, that was about police divers in the water recovering a body. It piqued my interest enough that I decided Time to Play should be set around the dive team. I went through to Northumbria Dive Team HQ and did some research there with the extremely knowledgeable SGT Steve Howe – he answered pretty much all my odd dive and water recovery related questions and is just fab.

Book 4, Watch You Burn, is due to be published on 2nd May through Bloodhound Books – as you can imagine from the title, I decided this one would be arson based and would feature the fire investigator as well as the CSIs. I’d attended some arson scenes whilst working as a CSI and I found them fascinating. This led to further research with actual fire investigators and also some very odd chats with Crime Scene Manager, Dave Mason, and my university CSI lecturer, Gary Currie, who are both just fountains of knowledge!

I’m working on book 5 now which as mentioned previously, will be set on a riding stables. Book 6 is going to be my Edinburgh spin off which will feature Alex and Ali’s family up in Edinburgh and the deadliest killer yet! Book 7 isn’t plotted yet but I have some general ideas – so suffice to say there is plenty more to come from the North East Police team!

k a .jpg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ka.richardsonwriter

Twitter: @kerryann77 or @karichardson77

website: www.kerryannrichardson.com

An Interview with Tony J Forder

Today I am welcoming Tony onto my Blog with a Q and A, his book Bad to the Bone, will be published very soon through Bloodhound Books.

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road site. A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two accident was reported.  As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods. As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.  When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible. Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?  And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined? Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two

accident was reported. 

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media. 

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time?

I have completed five books now. One will never see the light of day, but two are due for publication this year, one next year, whilst the other I hope to have Bloodhound Books publish as well. On each of those five occasions the process was entirely different. Degrees of Darkness, due in September, came to me fully formed. I knew the beginning, middle and end. The ending of Bad to the Bone only came to me two-thirds of the way through, and even then I had not fully made my mind up as to who the main culprits would be.

I think if I can get the storyline clear in my head, I can live with the fact that along the way I have to sow seeds of doubt, I have to inject pace and conflict at the right times, I have to have one or two red herrings, and if I can throw in a twist so much the better. Yes, it leads to re-writes. But as a writer you do them anyway when you edit, and I would much rather do it that way than plot the book chapter by chapter before writing word one of the actual book. I've tried that, but I am far too impatient and just want to get on with the writing. What I have come to learn along the way is that there is no right or wrong way to approach this – only the end result counts.

If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?

It can be difficult omitting material you have lovingly (or not!!) spent so much time researching. On the other hand, I think you need to approach research in full knowledge that only a fraction should ever reach the page. For both Bad to the Bone and Degrees of Darkness I did a lot of research, and given the subject matter of each I was fortunate enough to be able to include a fair amount of what I learned about both taxidermy and the transformation a body's skeletal structure goes through as it ages.

Much of my research is about police procedure and it is vital. For instance, I recently completed a first draft of a book featuring the National Crime Agency, and were it not for research would have made a complete hash of the basic premise of the entire book. Oddly enough, both the NCA and Met were brilliant in answering my questions, whereas my local police service…not so much.

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

Believe in yourself. I did, and then I didn't, before I did again.  That middle part cost me a lot of years where I wrote without conviction and failed to complete a single thing. Also, don't just assume that raw talent will get the job done.  It's arrogant to think that you can write something without having to work at it and learn the craft. Finally, read as much as you can. If you enjoy a book, read it again, only the second time around decide what about it made you enjoy it so much; disassemble it and figure out what worked and what didn't.

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?

I am a chapter or so short of completing my follow up to Bad to the Bone, which takes the main characters from Peterborough to California and Ireland this time around. I have also started sketching out a third book in the series, which will edge into espionage territory, and it is already starting to have a nice feel about it.

Another book, a fast-paced action thriller, is awaiting me in first-draft form, and I will shortly move that on through its first major edit. In the back of my head I am toying with ideas for a potential follow up to Degrees of Darkness, my psychological crime thriller due out later in 2017, which features ex-detective Frank Rogers. I have already written a sequel, which I decided I didn't like, but I feel I want to extend Frank's story.

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.

Yes. In the action thriller mentioned in a previous question my main character took me in directions I had not expected to take. I had the germ of an idea, the first few chapters of which I wrote a while back, but when I started writing it for real the lead took over and pretty much dictated what I should write. I felt as if he was dragging me along for the ride rather than me telling him where to go and what to do. He took on a life all of this own. That's the first time I have not been in control of the storyline, and I have to say it felt great to write that way. It felt liberating.

I had read of this phenomenon, and must admit to having been sceptical about it. Not now, though. I wonder if perhaps the specifics of the story allowed me that greater flexibility, allowed me to cast off the shackles. Whatever the reason, I would not be at all anxious about experiencing it again in the future.

Thank you for taking part in my Questionnaire, can I please ask one final question?

Do you read other crime fiction books, if so who is your favourite author and why?


Michael Connelly is, for me, the best modern crime writer. Harry Bosch is just such a wonderful creation, but I also rate Micky Haller very highly. He is about to present us with a brand new lead character, and I am so eager to read that. His style is so fluid, and he makes even the most complex plots so easy to read. Bosch is a deceptive character, who observes the rules when he has to but is equally happy to break them if it gets his man.

TJF05.jpg

An Interview With Graham Smith

Today's interview is with Graham Smith, who just happens to have his first book release with Bloodhound books out today.

When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner. As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time?


I tend to only have the start, what the finish should be and a couple of waypoints in mind when I start a story. After that, I sit down and start writing. This allows me the freedom to listen to what the characters are telling me about the story.

 

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?

I think they are crucial to a book’s success and I’m very lucky that both my publishers involve me in the process of designing and selecting a cover.

 

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

Read and review several books in the genre you want to write in. I firmly believe that you see more as a reader when you know you have to write a review.

 

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.

Kira Niemeyer took control of large sections of Watching the Bodies despite being dead from the first line.

 

Graham, you are a manager of a Hotel and Wedding Venue, what is the strangest occurrence that has happened? Would you use any mishaps from guests in your books?

A Gentleman never tells, but if he did, it would be a bloody good story about a millionaire and a porn star.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Graham.

An Interview with Dale Hyde

Today I am joined by Dale Hyde, who has just realeased his book The Ink Run, click the book cover to be taken to purchase.

If you could co-write with anyone who would it be?


It's certainly a tough question, with so many amazing unique writers in the world. I would have to say Steven King, just for his sheer presence and longevity in the field of writing. He has churned out so many classics it would be near impossible to not adjust your writing to its highest levels just to work & compete along side him.

Do you read other novels while I write? & what's my preferred genre?


Yes I do, I'm a prolific reader since an early age & while working on my novel I have researched many books for the asylum parts. I also like to read the current books shortlisted for prizes like the man booker etc, to see how good the completion is out there. My favourite genres are crime & horror.
 

 Are there characters in my book based on people I know? & did they recognise themselves?
 

Me & my father have often joked about one of the main characters in my book. Stan is a horrible sadistic character and while I did take some character traits from my own father, it was only in reference to light hearted stuff. Thank fully I wasn't raised by Stan, but my Dad does now and again text me and sign off using the name Stan. So yeah I think he sees something of himself in the story.


 What writing advice would I give to someone just starting out?


It's taken me many, many years to complete my debut novel. I have written little contribution parts to a few other books & written magazine articles. But as far as novel writing goes, my advice is get it all down in pen first. Really go old school and get back to the true writing ways. You will spend enough time on lap tops typing it up neat & editing etc. I hand wrote my manuscript then sorted it into rough chapters, continuing on until I had broken it up into more detailed structure. My debut was 156 thousand words. 704 pages at the finished hardback. For me I enjoyed the freedom of a note book, going out writing, leaping out of bed to scribble stuff down. Use the pen, we are not typist's we are writers!

 

Could you please tell us of your writing routine?


Well I mentioned briefly in the previous question a little of my methods. A day to day structure became towards the end when typing the handwritten manuscript would be, up at 7, read through the previous day & nights work. Edit until satisfied and carry on through to 6/7 pm. Save. Shut down. I have an office so it was nice to close the door, run a bath, cook some food, watch some tv. Just switch off basically, then repeat day after day. Week after week. Month after month.


 was do you have any special places to write?


I'm a little bit like how a method actor would study for specific parts. For example when I wrote the majority of the scenes for the middle of my book in the asylum. I visited weekly my local lunatic asylum. It's no longer the old dark place you can read about in the history books, yet it does have a museum detailing the olden day methods of curing the mad. Over time the curator became interested in what notes I was taking. Gradually allowing me more access than the general public. I actually shut myself inside the only surviving padded cell from Stanley royd & happily submerged myself into the atmosphere I was looking to create.
 

Thank you for your time in answering the questions Dale.
 

Useful links:


Face book page link: https://www.facebook.com/dalehydeinkrun/

Twitter link: https://twitter.com/theinkrun

Promo vid: https://youtu.be/yGWB5H52Wns

Purchase links:

Warcrypress link: https://www.warcrypress.co.uk/products/the-ink-run-a-novel-vigilante


Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XRZGX3P/

 

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-ink-run/dale-brendan-hyde/9780995531239


Barnes & noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ink-run-a-novel-vigilante-dale-brendan-hyde/1126186757


 


 



 

An Interview with Lily Luchesi

Lily writes in a few genres, paranormal/horror, and erotica. In keeping with my blog the answers are to my questions are reflected with the paranormal side of Lily's writing.

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?


My latest story is Right To Silence, which was released in January and is the fourth novel in my Paranormal Detectives Series. I can’t say I was really “inspired” to write it, more than I had no choice.

When I originally began the series with Stake-Out (which was published in 2015), it was supposed to be a short, bloody standalone, but once I finished the book, I started thinking about the epilogue I’d written and immediately a further adventure for poor Detective Danny Mancini came to my mind and it all just kind of snowballed.


The only part of Right To Silence that was really inspired by anything was part one, which focuses on my characters Brighton and Mark and their two lifetimes in love. I’m a member of the LGBT+ community, and I thought it was important to show an everlasting love between these two male characters while remaining true to my storyline. Otherwise, I can’t cite any inspiration: it was all just a blur as the characters grew and the Underworld of Chicago expanded.
 

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?


I have nearly complete control over my covers at Vamptasy Publishing.

Rue Volley does the art, and every time I need a cover I get to choose the stock photo (or I could hire an artist if I wanted to draw something original) and I send it to her with specific things I want on there. Most of the time, though, I tell her to take the photo and do whatever she wants with it. She’s a brilliant graphic designer, and I’m glad to work with her.


Covers are so important. Just like with food, we read with our eyes. If a book looks appealing, there’s a much better chance of a reader wanting to buy it.

I have bought books solely because I like the covers before (that’s how I started reading Darren Shan’s work as a kid, and Stephen King as well!), so I know the importance of a good cover. If you take time to make the outside appealing, then nine times out of ten you’ll have a better interior as well (editing, story content, etc.).

 

If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?


I never researched until my latest project, which was set in World War Two (Never Again, releasing December 2017), and yeah it was hard not to overload the book with facts, because the facts of the Nazi regime were what was so important to the narrative and the adventure the main character goes on,


But for me, when I’m writing my Paranormal Detectives Series, I set it in my hometown of Chicago, so even without research, I still have to remove needless facts about the city when I have my characters go hunt monsters in some of my favourite locations.

(Like book three, Life Sentence, saw them fight off a horde of demons inside Wrigley Field!)
 

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?


My very next book will be book five of the Paranormal Detectives Series, called Last Rites.

It’s going to be released on June 14th from Vamptasy, and will see the current story arc wrap up completely before book six releases a year after that. It’s going to be very emotional and darker than my other work for a myriad of reasons that I can't talk about because of spoilers. I’m really excited about it, as it has been one of my favourites to write, and it also introduces the character of Sean Wireman, a male siren who will star in my December release, Never Again. The blurb is below.


Power is the deadliest desire.


With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.
When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.


But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny's biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica's reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?

 

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.


Man, you have no idea! They do it constantly. In Last Rites, my female lead, Angelica, demanded a very particular ending. I mean she was vehement, and I wrote it. Then I re-read it and decided to defy her for the very first time and wrote a different ending. It felt good but extremely odd!


With Never Again, I had all these characters pop up and want cameos, in a story where they didn’t belong! It was like a free-for-all in my head. And then in the last few chapters, one character decided to speak up and say they wanted to change the whole ending and means for getting there.

And “no” was not an option! It’s so crazy when that happens, and it feels like I might be losing my mind when it happens. It’s almost like automatic writing, where I’m not even the one writing the story. I love it!

 

Lily, thank you for taking the time to answer the questions for my blog, just one more…you write across genres, do you write the stories separately, or at times do you hear characters calling and write both genres at the same time?


Normally I stick to one story and genre at a time, but I have a release in the adult genre coming on April 27th, and I wrote the story (it’s a short novelette) right in the middle of writing my paranormal war novel, so it can happen that I mix what I’m writing. It really is just based on what characters call me (unless I have a deadline!) and demand my attention.

An Interview with Eileen Wharton

If you haven't read Eileen's books, you really should. Two different genres, Shit Happens, which is a brilliant read and I read it before I had my blog, that is one funny, but great read...and Blanket of Blood, which is a police procedure/crime book. Which I am hoping there is a follow up to.

Here is a bit more about Eileen.

Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves?

My novels are works of fiction but sometimes I might base a character on someone I know. It’s handy for killing off annoying people. Someone once recognised their grandfather. I have some horrible parents in my novels and I always worry that people will think I’m writing about my own when in fact I’ve had the best three parents anyone could wish for. The dysfunctional families bear no resemblance to mine. I like to explore the things that I fear the most when writing crime. Hence the missing children, sadistic killers, rape and violence.

If your personality was described as a book cover, what would it show?

Ooh I’ve never been asked this one before.

Good question.

It would be on the top shelf with a brown paper bag covering it. You’ve made me think what other people would say about my personality. They’d probably say I’m a bit mad and a bit funny (so maybe there’d be clowns on the cover); a bit naughty (hence the top shelf and brown paper bag); disorganised (so maybe the title would be jumbled); loving and caring (so maybe a photo of a nurse, wearing a red heart. There would probably be wine in a drip too.)

 Not sure I’d buy this book!

Do you read your own book reviews - what has been your favourite and the worst?

Oh I absolutely do.

I don’t know a writer who doesn’t.

It would be like not turning up to parents’ night at your kids’ school. You know you might hear something terrible (and I often did) but it’s your duty to go. One of my favourites is a 1 star review for ‘Shit Happens.’ The review said it was the worst thing they’d ever read and went on to give a commode 5 stars. That gave me a giggle. I’ve had some amazing reviews where I have to smack myself around the head (I’m not a pinching kind of girl) to ensure I’m not dreaming. I’m always grateful when people take the time to say something good about my work. You’re always going to get people who don’t like it and that’s ok (they have no taste haha.) There are some great reviews here: http://eileenwhartonwrite.wixsite.com/eileenwharton/reviews

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.

In my first novel, ‘Shit Happens,’ Rose was supposed to become a prostitute to help make ends meet but when it came to it she just wouldn’t do it. (Not that I blame her, I wouldn’t fancy wanking off old men for a living.) So she had an asthma attack and was rushed to hospital instead. She did work topless in a bar, smuggled drugs from Amsterdam and shagged a Catholic priest so it’s not all bad.

Eileen, you always look so glamorous please tell me you slob out at home …

For a moment I thought you said amorous. I was just about to admit this is true, always amorous. Have you seen my gorgeous man? That’s the third time this week I’ve been called glamorous!

Do I slob out at home? I have been known to fling on a Chanel tracksuit, plonk my Jimmy Choos on the coffee table and let the diamond tiara slip an inch to the left while the hired help whisks up smoked salmon and eggs Benedict.

Seriously, I’m sitting typing in an egg-stained dressing gown, my hair in a pillow perm, face still in a jar on the table, munching on last night’s kebab. Slobbing is one of my favourite pastimes. That and being amorous.

Thanks for having me, Alexina.

Thanks for the great and entertaining answers Eileen,

To find out even more about Eileen, please click the links, thanks

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eileen-Wharton/e/B00QQT2IKE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491901316&sr=8-1

http://eileenwhartonwrite.wixsite.com/eileenwharton

https://www.facebook.com/eileen.whartonwriter

An Interview with Peter Best

Today I have an interview with Peter Best, I have not long read his book The Burden of Truth, see here for a full review. You will need to scroll down.

click the cover to be taken to Amazon.  

click the cover to be taken to Amazon.

 

If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?

There are really many things I would have loved to have done when I was younger. One of them would be a downhill racer. Skiing is a great passion of mine. Saying that, I don’t think I would have anywhere near the skill these guys have. Another one would have been acting. A few years ago I managed to talk my way into working as an extra on a film. It really was great fun, and a lot harder than what it looks like.

Unfortunately the film got panned, even though they were expecting it to do very well. Hope it had nothing to do with me being in it, even though if you blinked you would have missed the parts I’m in.

 

If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?

When I was working on The Burden of Truth, I carried out an immense amount of research, interviews etc. All in all, I learnt some very interesting stuff, especially when it came to the subject of Karma, as well as other Buddhist teachings. Really I was stunned to see just how deep and complicated this subject of Buddhism can be. In a way it’s such a shame I was unable to use most of it in the book. If I did, then as you said, the reader would have been overloaded with it all. I’m not saying the reader would not understand it. It’s just most of it wouldn’t have fitted well into the story. All the same I had some great discussions, and so pleased I did because when I look back, what I had learnt has made a very big impression on my own life and how I live it.

 

Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves?

I’m sure somewhere in the book there’s a little disclaimer saying something like all the characters are fictitious. However, if you promise not to tell anyone, there are many characters in this book who are based on real people I have come across over the years. Perhaps not on how they look, but on how they act, and moreover, how they think. Also there is a person in there, who I have actually named. She has been a rock to me and helped me a great deal, and it was just a little way to say thank you. By the way, she absolutely loved it and told the whole world about it.

 

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career.

Aim high; set your targets and aim as high as you possibly can. Pick the genre you wish to write in and then think of the best author in that genre. Then, set out you work to be better than that author.

Okay perhaps this may well be a very tall order, especially for first time authors, but at least try. That is the advice I gave myself when I first started. Now I’m not saying my work is anywhere near those authors around me, as a matter of fact it many would say it falls short of the mark and they’re probably right. But with this in the back of my mind, it forced me to work harder, to make the story better and better. Even if it meant re-writhing thousands of words, it had to be done, and I think it’s a policy every author should have.

 

Is it strange reading your own words at a book launch, and with this in mind has it ever made you change the prologue of a book because you wouldn’t want to read it out loud?

Not so much a book launch, but every so often I go up to the Ipswich Literary Festival. Really it’s great there with a wonderful atmosphere. One of the events is an open mike set up. What happens is you put your name in the hat and if it’s pulled out, then you can read whatever you want. Luckily for me my name was pulled out. By the way, I was ever so nervous, bearing in mind there were quite a few talented authors in the audience.

However, I still got up there, and I read the prologue to, The Burden of Truth. At a guess this lasted something like ten minutes or so, possible less. Anyway at the end, I received a wondrous applause; much to my relief. Also the feedback afterwards was amazing.

I now go regularly to a spin off event, which is a reader/writer café. This takes place every few months or so. It’s been a great practice, even though I’m still as nervous.  Now getting back to the question; is it strange reading my own words? Yes it was very strange indeed. Somehow the whole piece was completely new to me, even though I’ve read it countless times. Oh, and as for, would I change a prologue because I wouldn’t want to read it out loud? Thinking ahead, I might just do that

 

Peter, Did you plan from the start of Burden of Truth for it to be a Trilogy?

At the very beginning I only had plans to write, one stand-alone book. Even when I had the plot all worked out, I still had the idea of only the one book. However, as I started to get into the flow of the writing, many new ideas came into my head. At one time I did think of incorporating them into the story but I was concerned the word count would go sky high. At the time I was trying to get the count down anyhow. When I had finished the first draft, I wanted to leave the manuscript for a few months or so, then go back to it with fresh eyes so to speak. It was during these few months when I started to look at the ideas again, and as luck would have it, I came up with a very basic raw idea on how I could push the story along to a second book. Fortunately for me more ideas have crept into my head, and now I have made a start on building the plot for the third and final instalment. The second book is coming along great, but I must say the third has still quite a bit to go yet. But I’ll get there. 

 

Thank you to Peter Best for being my guest author today, please contact me if you would like to feature in an interview.

An Interview with Jeffrey G. Roberts

Today I have an interview with Jeffrey G. Roberts, click the links after the interview for more information on his work.

If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?

 I always wanted to be an aerospace engineer with NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I wanted, even as a young boy, to someday be involved with our manned Mars landing. I just never had the head for math that I would have needed, for something that complex. Oh well.

 

Do you read other novels while you’re working? If so, what is your preferred genre?

 I only read other novels while working, in so far as they might provide me with background information. I try to diversify; to dip my literary toe into other genres, to hone my craft. I love science fiction the most, but I’ve written fantasy, horror, comedy, fantasy/comedy, and even one romance story.

 

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

 My advice for aspiring writers is

A – have patience.

B – Develop a thick skin; able to take rejection (something I have to work on daily!)

 and

 C – Persistence

 A writer once said that to be a successful writer, an aspiring author should go out and buy all the books on writing they can, study them all – then throw them in the garbage! Because if you follow their advice to the letter, you know what your book will be? Bloodless, with no soul, no color, no voice. Your voice. Your style. How many writers in the past broke popularly accepted literary rules? Writers like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury, etc. But in so doing, they developed their own voice & style. Learn your craft well, but then develop your own voice!

 Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book?

 My next book which will be available in May 2018, is an urban paranormal fantasy titled In The Shadow of the House of God.

It is a fantasy, concerning a wager made by the devil, with God. The devil bets God that since Man is such a vulgar, bigoted creature – if you put 1 representative of every religion on Earth (and there are 34,000!) in a titanic edifice of God’s own design – in due time their natural hatreds, mistrust, and animosities will force them to kill each other. And God accepts the devil’s wager, as he plucks 3 people on Earth and has them magically appear in his edifice – at a point in their lives of a shattering crisis of faith/conscience. They are from the 4 corners of the Earth and do not know each other. Thus, the fate of existence itself will be determined by who wins and who loses in this cosmic wager – as God and the devil look down, to see how it all unfolds.

 Who inspires you most as an author?

Probably Ray Bradbury and Douglas Adams. And of course, my Dad, who wrote for radio after WW II; a drama called “Duffy’s Tavern”. He was also in the R.A.F., flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain. He was one of the Americans in the Screaming Eagles squadron – Americans flying with the R.A.F.

 Jeffrey, can you tell us more about your writing routine, if you have one?

 I don’t really have a set routine. I try to work on my craft every day; at least some aspect of it – research, promotion, proofing & editing, and, of course, the writing itself. There is no set time of day where I’m at my computer, but I’m at my most productive when the muse hits me. And I have to have peace and quiet to work. No music, TV, or distractions, or else the spigot of inspiration shuts off.

thank you for your time Jeffrey.

http://bit.ly/1NpBvU8 Cherries In Winter, Jeffrey's newest book.

An Interview with Donna Maria MCCarthy

Having fallen in love with The Meddler cover by Donna Maria MCCarthy, I proceeded to read it, and she has a gothic feel to her writing, this isn't an easy book to read in one sitting, it is to be savoured and enjoyed, as she said it is a sort of fairy tale, and those we know are best read out loud to you in the darkness, before going to sleep...dare you?

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?

My inspiration for my latest project, which is a Novella called 'Biddy Trott', came from a tiny teeny market town I was living in.  The houses and streets huddled together in this bustling little place and the people were incredibly welcoming, but I never felt like I belonged. Always that everyone was aware of me (perhaps paranoia, lots of authors suffer, honest!) At night it became so dark and mysterious, I ventured out a few times in the very short time I lived there. Once the streets were empty though I knew eyes were upon me, another time 'The Beggars Bowl Fair' was on and although the spirit was high it felt very pagan, in an uncomfortable way. 

So here came my inspiration for 'Biddy Trott' who in turn inspired me to quit this picturesque but claustrophobic little place, very quickly. 

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time?

When I start a new project I have no idea where it will lead me. I write the beginning, a sentence or a page and build on it gradually throughout the process, I can't plan like some can as I find it restrictive. I will say that the story is always there in my dark foggy realms, just that it reveals itself in a tantalising way to me. 

Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves?

My characters are always based on people I have met or know. I love listening, trying to understand what makes one person a hero or comic or even black...I've met a few of these, when your hair stands on end, when you just know that the person you are talking to or even just passing in the street is something more...I'm sure we all have had those moments, sometimes it even scares me to include them in my books, truth. (I sound so weird right now!) 

And you yourself have a very tidy character in my soon to be released,  Novella, Alexina! 

You were an incredible character to form and is why you became a lead. 

With some characters, I intend people to discover themselves, but as I've stated before, others I would rather were forever in the dark! 

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

To newbie writers, don't get disheartened, it's so easy to and I should take my own advice! Never get caught up in worrying about sales, they will happen when you least expect them to. Never lose that feeling of excitement, when you think anything is possible, it's true! Anything is possible right up until your last breath. 

If your personality was described as a book cover, what would it show?

The cover of my book describing me would be Black and Shadowy with a Cheshire Cat grin in there somewhere.

Donna, are you working on any of your books becoming an Audible version, especially The Meddler?

Compulsory question! I would love to and will be turning The a Meddler into an audiobook! Thank you, I agree with you Alexina, would be fab to have it read to the child in every adult! 

Fairytales are just sad or horrific histories made palatable with fine words or magic weaves! 

Great fun though! 

 

Thank you for your time Donna, and I hope to hear more about Biddy and the adventures you are going to create in future books.

An Interview with LJ Ross

Louise Ross, with her highly acclaimed DCI Ryan Mystery series, has taken the time to chat to me, find out more about LJ Ross, and click the picture to take you through to amazon to purchase Angel, the 4th book in the series. High Force, is published on 31st January 2017

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

Be objective and be brave. It is never easy to look critically at your own work, or to accept critique, but it is imperative that you do. Set against that, you need to be able to weed out those comments that are merely criticism and have no real constructive value. Once you’ve mastered the art of discernment, be brave and unleash yourself on the world, don’t let your manuscript sit in a drawer for ten years gathering dust!

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?

While I was writing my most recent book, High Force, I created a character I liked so much that I’ve decided to give him his own brand new series! He is a top notch criminal profiler but not in the usual FBI sense. I have big plans for him – watch this space!

What is the best and hardest thing about being an author?

The best thing about being an author is having the freedom to do the work you are passionate about, at whatever time of day you choose! The hardest thing is not comparing yourself to others, or getting sucked into that self-conscious mentality. I try to remember that everyone has different tastes and styles.

Which of your books have you enjoyed writing to date and why?

I’ve enjoyed writing all my books, but I think there is something very special about the first one. When I was writing Holy Island I had no real expectations and I felt that I was writing mostly for myself, rather than for an audience. It’s very liberating!

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.

Initially when I began writing the DCI Ryan series, the character of ‘The Hacker’ was consigned to the past, as part of my main protagonist’s back story. However, after Holy Island was released I heard from so many readers asking to know more about what had happened between Ryan and the notorious serial killer I’d created to haunt his nightmares. For the past four books, he has been behind bars at a maximum security prison, but in my most recent book High Force he has finally broken free and it was so much fun to explore his character more, in the present. He is, in many ways, the dark side to Ryan’s moon.

Louise what was the inspiration of the setting in your books? Also do you like to snack when writing, if so what is your favourite snack?

Northumberland was a huge inspiration for the settings in my books, starting with the causal island of Lindisfarne, which is cut off from the mainland twice a day by the North Sea. So much of the landscape in the North-East is dramatic and atmospheric, it’s hard not to be inspired by that kind of scenery!

Yes, I certainly do snack while I’m writing. Mostly on Ferrero Rocher…

 

Thank you Louise for taking the time to answer my questions, link below to find out more of Louise’s news and her fantastic series with DCI Ryan.

www.ljrossauthor.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Force-Ryan-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01NCNWPA0

https://twitter.com/ljross_author?lang=en

click here for my reviews on DCI Ryan's books http://www.bookstormer.co.uk/new-blog/

An Interview With Tara Lyons

Tara kindly sharing how she got into the authorsome role of a published Author....

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time?

When I start writing I think I know one twist – the major twist – and I build from there. I don’t like to plan all the twists because I think that seems too rigid; if I’m not surprised, how can the reader be? I killed one of the characters in my first book, In the Shadows, who I had originally planned to have at the ending. The story and character dictated that change mid-way through the book.

If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?

I’d probably still be in the career in I was in before writing (and before motherhood and voluntary redundancy!). I was an assistant editor for an in-house magazine for eight years and loved it. I wasn’t writing fiction, but I was writing! The team consisted of myself and the assistant, so we created the magazine each week, interviewed people and took their photographs, as well as designing the look and feel of the publication. It was creative, and that’s what I enjoyed.

If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?

Sometimes I probably send too much time researching, but it’s because I love finding out about new things. I also think it’s important that I have a clear understanding about whatever it is I’m researching – I have three pages of notes on a single topic and only used about a paragraph of that in my new book… It’s all the reader needed to know so they weren’t overloaded and distracted from the story.

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea                                      

My next book is a book 2 in the DI Hamilton series. In my mind, In the Shadows was a standalone when I began the story in 2015.

However, I really got a taste for the characters and missed Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton and his team. It was also lovely to hear from readers who said they wanted to know more about him. So, book 2 is bringing him back and introduces some of his personal background. But, as before, the book is divided between the police aspect and the “human” aspect as I like to think of it – therefore we follow DI Hamilton and Katy Royal, a single mother running from her dark past.

There’s also been some re-jigging with the MIT and some new characters join the ranks. My work in progress is book 3… but that’s all your getting for now.

 

If your personality was described as a book cover, what would it show? 

 I’ve seen you ask this question before and I love it… I just wish I could answer it easily! But, as it’s a favourite of mine, I’ll give it a try…

My book cover would have an image of the dark Darwin from the X-Men. Sadly, I don’t have the superpowers he does, but I can change my lifestyle and personality depending on the situation I’m in – so, I “adapt to survive.” To some friends I am the listener and confidant, to others I’m the joker and chatterbox.

I’m a mother, a sister and a daughter. A writer, business woman and a homemaker. All those roles require a different personality at different times of the day, week or year… and I can handle that.
*she says and pours another large glass of wine*

Tara, as a new author can you tell us about how it felt to be signed by Bloodhound Books? gushing is allowed.

It was a dream come true! I thoroughly enjoyed self-publishing my debut and co-written novels and have learnt so much in a short space of time. But, I can’t deny the overwhelming excitement of becoming a signed author with Bloodhound Books. I had been watching their incredible momentum for some time, read quite a few of their authors and built up my confidence to approach them. I’m so glad I did. They really listen to my ideas and trust me as a writer, and the confidence they’ve given me has pushed me on these last few months. I love the personal touch they give to their authors and I really hope that together we’ll deliver a DI Hamilton series readers will enjoy.
 

  1. Want to find out more? Here’s the links:

  2. Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tara-Lyons/e/B018CMVA24

  3. www.facebook.com/taralyonsauthor

  4. Twitter: @taralyonsauthor

  5. Instagram: Taralyonsauthor

  6. www.taralyonsauthor.blogspot.co.uk

  7. www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk

Tara Lyons AUG 2016.jpg

Thank you for your answers Tara, and good luck with the writing career, it is off to an exciting start...and please come back and update us...

An Interview With Betsy Reavley

An interview with Betsy her new book Frailty is out now. Click on the link to order, read on to find out more...

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?

 wanted to write a book about what it meant to be a parent. We see tragic cases on the news, like the Madeline McCann story, but I think sometimes people forget what the parents are actually going through. We are so used to looking for suspects that we detach ourselves from the horrific emotional reality, which makes it easier for us to handle. I wanted this book to challenge that and make the readers look at it in all its raw ugliness.

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time

I’m not so sure this book has many twists. I didn’t plan for it to be that kind of novel. As far as I  was concerned, when writing it, it was a study of how people react to a horrible situation and also how the sexes differ in dealing with stress.

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?

I’m a stickler when it comes to cover design. I think it’s really important that the designer has a grip on the story they are going to be selling, which is effectively what the cover should do. Generally I’m really pleased with the results.

 If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be

Actress I think. I’d love to be involved in making films. Writing, in some ways is a bit like acting, especially when you write in the first person. You need to get under the skin of your character, and become them almost, in order to give the story gravitas.

If you could co-write with anyone, who would it be and why?

Really boring answer I wouldn’t want to write with anyone. I think I could work with someone else if I were producing a film script or play but I just wouldn’t be any good at working with anyone when it came to producing a novel. But, for the sake of playing the game properly I will say that I would have liked to have work with James Herbert, because I have a love of good horror. 

Do you read other novels while you're working? If so, what is your preferred genre?

I rarely read anything other than crime, thrillers or horror. I just don’t enjoy other genres as much. I have to read submissions when I am writing but I generally don’t read that much fiction because I don’t want other peoples work to creep into my head when I am trying to produce something of my own.

Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves

Many of the character s in all my books are loosely based on people I know, but they are extreme versions of them usually and not true to life.

You can click here to Betsy's author page on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/BetsyReavleyAuthor

Helen Claire from http://baattyaboutbooks.wordpress.com will be continuing the Q and A on her blog at the end of the month. 30th November,

Click through to purchase The Optician's Wife, Published earlier this year and I highly recommend as one of my top reads in 2016.

Click through to purchase The Optician's Wife, Published earlier this year and I highly recommend as one of my top reads in 2016.

Thank you for your time Betsy, good luck with the launch of Frailty, it is one of my all time favourite reads this year.

An Interview with David Evans

An Interview with David Evans, about his writing and his new novel Talisman, that was published yesterday through Bloodhound Books.

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?

With Talisman, I heard a couple of stories that intrigued me. They were the basis of the story lines of the body in the bath and the secret house of the solicitor. From there I began to develop plot lines around them. I added the third plot line and began to weave them around my main characters. The process wasn’t easy but the end point became clear part way through. For the first time in writing a book, I drafted the last 3 or 4 chapters then went back to lead the action towards them, fine tuning at the end.

 

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?

I think book covers are extremely important. The old story of studies being made of readers’ habits when going into bookshops is true. You wander to the genre you like to read and the first thing to attract your attention (if you’re seeking a new writer) will be the title and book cover. You’ll then turn the book over and read the blurb. If that intrigues you, you’ll open up the book and read the first page. If that grabs you by the lapels, you will probably buy it. If it doesn’t, it will be back on the shelf. Total time for this, probably a couple of minutes.

With Trophies, I was introduced to a local photographer, Dan Tidswell, who was interested in producing an image for the book. I sent him a couple of relevant passages and some indication of what was in my head. The woman is his sister who had been a professional model and he produced a really great image – making her face not quite clear because the face wasn’t important, only that she gave the impression she was frightened someone following her. It was his idea for the back cover to be of a street with no one there.

 

 

Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?

I have completed the draft of a new novel, Disposal, which is not connected with the Wakefield Series. It is set around the north Essex coast towards the end of the long hot summer of 1976. My main protagonist is a uniformed sergeant who witnesses an incident which draws him back into CID to work for a DI who, by his own admission, is obnoxious and arrogant. It is currently with my beta readers and work on the re-draft will begin shortly.

I’m hoping this will be the first in a new series which will give me the choice of picking up one series or the other for future novels.

 

What is the best and hardest thing about being an author?

The best thing is when a reader you have never met and have had no connection with thoroughly enjoys your work and ‘gets’ what you are trying to do.

The hardest thing is writing the synopsis. However, I have developed a formula which works for me to make that process a lot easier. With the first two books, Trophies and Torment, I drafted the novels then struggled with drafting their synopses. With Talisman and this latest project, Disposal, I approached the task more like a screenwriter would. I had the initial ideas and began the manuscript as normal and got to about 5,000 words in. At that point you know if the book ‘has legs’. I stopped and began with a one paragraph statement of what the book would be about. That summary was expanded to one page then two. This gave me a rough framework of the book which I followed loosely but still let the writing take me where it felt best. At various points in the writing process I would tweak the framework to correspond with the story. On completion, the synopsis is virtually there with only some minor editing required. I find this method so much more effective, using my two page treatment as the basis.

 

Which of your books have you enjoyed writing to date and why?

Apart from my current work in progress (which I have had a lot of fun with), of the Wakefield Series, I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘ride’ with Talisman. The ending became apparent quite early on with the strong ‘time lock’ and, for the first time, I wrote the end chapters ahead of the rest of the book. That was an effective way of avoiding ‘writers’ block’ as well as giving me something to aim for. I also changed some aspects of the ending which I hoped would rack the readers’ emotions. Judging from some of the early reactions I’ve had, I think that has been successful. I initially planned to end the book at the penultimate chapter but I felt that would short-change the reader, and so the final chapter was added.

 

Has a character ever surprised you as to where they want to take the story? And if so, tell us about it.

In my current work, Disposal, one of the most satisfying aspects was when I wrote a chapter with my two main characters in a car. The DI was driving with the DS in the passenger seat. It was as if I was sitting in the back seat listening to their conversation. I had no idea what they were going to say until they said it. That was a really satisfying time as a writer.

 

      David, What do you enjoy most about attending book festivals?

I love the opportunity to mix and mingle with readers, other authors and various industry professionals. It keeps you in touch with what others are up to and provides inspiration to keep going.

Through attending these events, I now have a group of close friends from all over (including overseas). We are all writers and we share our work for critical purposes.

Writing is a solitary pursuit but that doesn’t mean it has to be lonely and having people you trust who will give you ‘warts and all’ feedback is so important. We also try and meet up in person at least once a year if not more.

 

Thank you so much for your time, and interesting in depth answers

An Interview with Roz White

I have read both Roz's Sisterhood books and book three is nearly ready to be published...

I was interested in Roz's journey as an author and in life.

Click the book cover to go straight through to order, I have reviewed this book under Women's Fiction Reviews.

 

               

 

             

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?

                Ah, well there's a story! I'd had a vague idea of some interwoven stories around the idea of a group of girls for some time, but I couldn't tease it out into a usable form for ages. Then I went visiting, and for something to read I picked up “It's Raining Men” by Millie Johnson. That book showed me how to do it – it was a revelation! I came home, and having a day off work I sat down and bashed out seven thousand words without even trying!

                As for the inspiration behind the plots and characters, a lot of it is culled from people I know, along with an idea of the sorts of issues I wanted to address – and there was clearly too much for any single character, so the idea of The Sisterhood was born.

How much involvement do you have in the cover design, and how important do you think book covers are?

                Since I was self-publishing on a budget of precisely zero, I did the cover myself – those are all my own shoes! I think covers are hugely important, and it baffles me why so many seem to be so similar these days. I wanted mine to say something about the content – my original idea was a group of portraits of my girls, but I'm not that good an artist – and so the idea of juxtaposing the male and female elements seemed like a good one to me.

If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?

I'm not a full-time author anyway – I have to pay the bills in other ways! I'm an electronics engineer by training and 25 years experience; my current post mixes electronics, low-voltage electrical installation, along with engine maintenance, digital communications and all sorts of other stuff besides! Every day is different...

Do you read other novels while you're working? If so, what is your preferred genre?

I don't read as much as I think I should – I don't have time, it's often a case of read or write! I did my Degree some years (OK, decades) back and that largely knocked the ability to read fiction out of me. Since being invited into The Book Club, I'm glad to say I am reading fiction again, though not enough to have a “preferred genre”! I'm taking it book by book at the moment.

What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career?

                Don't give up the day job! Seriously... I'm getting around £10 a quarter in royalties, I'm married with a mortgage and children. Don't give up the day job! Write for fun, write as a hobby... self-publishing is easy and free, it's no trouble at all to get your work out there, and fairly easy to publicise it to a low level. Then every royalty payment is a lovely surprise and can be spent on treats that will mean something to you, rather than being buried in the stress of paying the bills every month.

 

Do you read your own book reviews - what has been your favourite and the worst?

                Oh I do – I'm such a narcissist in that regard! I want to see what people thought of the book, what they liked, what didn't work for them... I've been very fortunate so far, I've had all four or five star reviews, and I love them all. I think the loveliest individual comment was that one reviewer wished she was in The Sisterhood and felt as if she was. How priceless is that!!

Roz, how has writing about the Sisterhood helped you?

                It helped me accept that I had something worth saying, and that it was worth the effort of actually saying it. My life is moving on – Sisterhood is now about three years old – and I'm following Cathy's path more and more into transition. I think having had such positive reactions to the book, both in and out of the trans “community”, has subliminally encouraged me that I can do this – it's not such a big thing in society as a whole these days, visibility is higher – and though I wasn't consciously jumping on that bandwagon when I wrote it, I felt that the time was right, both for it and for me.

 

Thank you, some great answers Roz.

An Interview with Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes, not only wrote the book that changed my reading, she has an interesting back ground and a joy to listen to... Into the Darkest Corner is my all time favourite book, which MUST be read. My second favourite book and high in my all time favourite chart is Human Remains.

I was lucky enough to be able to go to Felixstowe earlier this year and listen to Elizabeth discuss Domestic Noir, with Julia Crouch and Ruth Dugdall.
Where she mentioned her Launch for her new book Never Alone.

Which was last night at Jarrolds in Norwich.

Click the book cover to go straight through to order Never Alone. 

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest story?

The idea for Never Alone came to me when I was house hunting a couple of years ago. I was browsing a property website and came across a lovely stone farmhouse set into the hillside in the North Yorkshire Moors. It was fabulous, with an annexe that could be converted to a holiday let, perhaps, and wonderful views over the valley below. But then I started to wonder about what it would be like in the depths of winter, and what if you were stuck there on your own, or, worse, with someone who wanted to harm you. The clincher was the picture of the bathroom, with a beautiful rolltop bath next to a picture window – with no curtains or blinds. I had the instant picture of my character taking a bath with someone watching from the hill outside. The plot evolved out of that.

 

Do you think of the twists first then the story, or does this change every time?

 

Everything changes quite dramatically. My first draft is usually me exploring the edges of the story, and then I need to go back and edit many times. Often the story ends up quite different, and the final few edits involve adding layers, clues and misdirection.  Usually in my books the ending changes very late in the process, but in the case of Never Alone the last third of the book is still pretty much as I wrote it in the first draft.

 

If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?

 

I do still miss my last job – as an intelligence analyst working for the police. I think you probably have to be an analyst to see that as exciting, because it involved a lot of spreadsheets and report writing, but aside from that I worked with some brilliant, funny, brave and clever people and it felt like I was doing a job that made a difference. Of course, when you’ve been out of a working environment for a while it’s easy to forget about all the rubbish bits – the meetings where people don’t listen, the pointless charts to satisfy some beaurocratic whim; coming in on a Tuesday morning to find someone’s nicked all the milk out of the fridge.

 

But I’d go back to that, government cuts notwithstanding, if they’d have me.

 

If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?

This is an interesting question and to be honest I’m not sure I know the answer. In general, if something is relevant to the plot, then it can go in. If I’m just adding detail to show I know something, then that is fluff and needs to come out. It’s a little bit different when it comes to police procedural detail though, because this isn’t research but knowledge based on my experiences working for the police. In that instance my judgment is seriously flawed because it’s all fascinating to me. Like many analysts I got very excited by a beautiful spreadsheet – but that’s not something I can expect a reader to share. In my Briarstone crime series I wanted to include police documents (witness statements, intelligence reports, crime reports etc) so that the reader would have access to the same evidence as the investigators, and so be sucked in to the case, almost as a participant. In reality, I think a lot of readers skipped over those parts. In the interests of realism, some of them were irrelevant, and others were deliberately obtuse. That doesn’t really make for a fast-moving storyline. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to skip the documents entirely and not miss anything – they are there for extra seasoning, if you will.

I’m currently working on two historical crime novels, and I genuinely think it’s not possible to research enough for that. I feel woefully underqualified to do this, but I can’t help myself.

 

What is the best and hardest thing about being an author?

 

This is my dream job so it’s quite hard to single out one best thing. Being sent free books for review is fabulous. Meeting people (complete strangers) who tell you they’ve enjoyed reading your book never ceases to feel amazing. The copy edit stage of any book is also the best feeling ever – it means you’re nearly at the end, and you almost fall in love with your book again, having almost begun to hate it. The hardest thing? The structural edits, I think. I’m rubbish at editing, and it feels like starting out to climb a mountain.

 

Do you read your own book reviews - what has been your favourite and the worst?

I read all of them, good and bad. If someone has taken the time to write a review, the least I can do is read it and listen to what they’re saying. My all-time favourite has to be a five star review on Amazon for Into the Darkest Corner: “liked it so much I bought two, a brown one and a pink one.” The worst review was a vitriolic one that suggested all of my five star reviews had been written by my friends and family. That felt like an attack against all the lovely people – strangers to me – who had taken the trouble to write a review. I never respond to reviews because I think it sometimes puts other people off reviewing, but I came very close to answering that one.

 

Elizabeth,  At Felixstowe Festival you said that you write in November, can you tell us more about why, and as it will be here soon do you have ideas for your next book?

I always write in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. All my first drafts have been written in November and I find it very difficult to write at any other time of the year. As soon as autumn begins to bite I get very excited about my next project, which this year will be one of two things. The first is a fictionalised account of a real unsolved murder that took place in November 1843, and the second is a secret. I will probably start with the former, and if I get stuck or finish early, I’ll start working on the second. Would you like to join me? I think you could write an awesome novel. The world needs to hear what you have to say…

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Haynes, Kindly signing my book. Oct 2016


Elizabeth, Thank you for the interview and in depth answers.