Daniel Pembrey and Susi Holliday in Conversation…

Hi everyone,

Happy Halloween!!! And do I have a treat (see what I did there?!?!) for you guys!!!

Today, I have not one, but TWO fabulous authors stopping by Bibliophile Book Club to have a chat about Halloween, horror and their books!

So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Daniel and Susi….


Daniel Pembrey and Susi (SJI) Holliday talk Halloween, horror and their book covers

Happy Halloween, everyone. I’m debut novelist Daniel Pembrey, and I’m here with the wonderful Susi Holliday, who just did a fabulous cover reveal for her upcoming novel The Damselfly. Now before we begin, you must all come and see us both (and Amanda Jennings, Thomas Mogford and Sarah Ward) at Waterstones King’s Road tomorrow evening, 1st November, if you’re anywhere near Central London. It’s free (free wine!) and begins at 18:30:

https://www.waterstones.com/events/compass-points-in-crime-panel-event/london-kings-road

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 Click this link to pre-order Susi’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W

    

DP: Okay, your new cover is an absolute stunner, and calls to mind such genre classics as Silence of The Lambs and John Fowles’ The Collector. Were those associations conscious in your mind (or the designer’s mind)? Or would you name other, perhaps quite different titles as key influences on your stories?

SH: Thank you! You’re spot on. I am a huge fan of Silence of The Lambs, and have been weirdly obsessed with the whole insect thing ever since. I knew that one day I would write a book that would lend itself to having an insect on the cover. It’s nicely creepy, isn’t it? Intriguing too. I hope at least one person might wonder about the significance of this particular insect and how it fits into my story.

DP: And for those who haven’t read the first two books, could you briefly explain the names of all three titles in the trilogy?

SH: Well … Black Wood is actually a real ‘wood’ quite near the area where the real town is that my fictional town of Banktoun is based on. I spotted it on a map and thought it was a perfect fit for the story. Willow Walk is a street in the town where my husband grew up. A nice, sleepy street in a picture-postcard town. I have a street called Willow Walk in the book. BAD THINGS happen there! I like that there’s a nature theme running throughout.

DP: I’ve read both and they’re brilliant books … So The Damselfly is available for pre-order now, for release on 2nd February?

SH: Yep, both e-book and print are out on the same day this time, which hasn’t happened before. I’m excited!

DP: So am I. We’re all looking forward to that. Thank you!

SH: Hang on, DP. What about your new book? The Harbour Master … That’s quite a coup getting a quote from Susan Hill. She wrote my favourite ghost story! I’m not going to suggest that you might have paid for it or anything like that, but how exactly did you get such a fabulous author to say such nice things about you?

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Click this link to get your copy of Daniel’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

     

DP: Ha! She generously read my first published novella, a ghost story set in the American South, which she looked kindly upon. This was all arranged via a manuscript assessment organisation called The Literary Consultancy. I was lucky because Susan Hill rarely reads – and blurbs – other books. And it’s a bit of a creepy cover with that body in the water, so I’m very grateful for her name being there, above!

SH: Incredible. I’ve read that ghost story too. It’s excellent, actually. You’re pretty good at this writing lark. This body, though. It’s totally creeping me out. What’s that all about?!

DP: Thank you! Honestly, initially I had reservations about the design, but my publisher got strongly positive feedback from bookshop chains (and one in particular). Importantly for me, it’s highly plausible that someone could end up floating in that part of Amsterdam harbour. The Harbour Master stories grew out of a feature article I wrote about trafficking in the Red Light District. I was invited on an undercover operation there with the Dutch National Crime Squad. The majority of sex workers are from elsewhere; one street, Molensteeg, is known as ‘Little Hungary’. How do they get there? Varying levels of coercion, essentially. A lot of it is psychological, but inevitably some is physical. The woman depicted in the water is called Saskia and, in the story, she got on the wrong side of a violent Hungarian pimp. To know more, you’ll need to read the book!

SH: I’m reading it right now! I do love the way you manage to absorb the reader into the setting. You’ve done that with everything of yours I’ve read. You’re not bad, DP. Not bad at all. You’re pretty good at holding drinks too, as it goes. Anyway, this book of yours … it’s available now as an e-book? At a special introductory price, right?

DP: I try my best with the drinks-holding! That’s right, the introductory reduced Kindle price lasts until 8th November. The print book launches on November 10th.

SH: Excellent. I hope it flies off the shelves … which would make a pretty good talking point at Waterstones King’s Road, wouldn’t it. See you there. I’ll be the one dressed like a skeleton!

 

DP: Indeed. And I’ll be Dracula – Regency-era! His creator, Bram Stoker, lived two streets from that Waterstones. Thanks Susi, and let’s thanks the lovely Kate as well for having us!

Buy The Harbour Master here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

Pre-order The Damselfly here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W/

And for more about the Halloween event at Waterstones King’s Road in London, please go here: https://www.waterstones.com/events/compass-points-in-crime-panel-event/london-kings-road


Big thanks to both Daniel and Susi for joining me on the blog for this brilliant chat! Make sure to check out the Waterstones event, and definitely check out the books!

Happy Halloween everyone…

Saturday Series Spotlight-Steven Dunne

Hi everyone,

Today, I am joined by none other than Steven Dunne as part of the series spotlight post. I have only read The Reaper (review HERE) which I loved, and I have most of the others on the TBR. Needless to say I was thrilled that Steven agreed to take part in this feature!

About the author:

Steven Dunne was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He went to the University of Kent after A levels and studied as little as possible, yet somehow emerged with a second class honours degree. He began writing articles for quality newspapers on dull subjects before writing the book for the Latchmere Theatre’s award-winning fringe production of Hansel and Gretel in 1989. He co-also co-wrote the revue, It’s Mad Mad World, We’re Plastered performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking the previous year and played the role of Teddy in the same theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming the same year.
In the 1996 he moved up to his adopted home town of Derby. In 2007, he self-published Reaper, a thriller set in the city, featuring the hyper-intelligent but mentally troubled detective, DI Damen Brook. The rights were optioned by Harper Collins and four more critically-acclaimed books followed. He has also published the 6th book in the DI Brook series, entitled Death Do Us Part and the 5th in the series, A Killing Moon, won the coveted literary prize the East Midlands Book Award in 2016.

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Visit Steven’s Amazon UK Author Page here and here’s the DI Damen Brook book series in pictorial order:

And without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself…

GOLDEN AGE DETECTIVE?

 

This year at Crimefest in the beautiful city of Bristol I was on a panel dedicated to ‘Detective Fiction from the Golden Age’ and featured, among others, the award-winning Christopher Fowler, whose Bryant & May series is so highly regarded, and Guy Fraser-Simpson responsible for the Mapp and Lucia series. And sitting on the panel, I admit I was puzzled as to why I’d been selected for it. After all, my detective is DI Damen Brook, a mentally fragile, middle-aged CID officer on the trail of contemporary serial killers in modern day Derby. Yes, the golden age queen of crime, Agatha Christie, is one of my two favourite crime series but I believed my books were more styled on those of my other favourite crime writer, Thomas Harris, writer of The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon and other gritty thrillers featuring Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Will Graham.

 

And although Brook lives in the rural quiet of the Peak District so he can tramp around the hills to sooth his overburdened mind, he travels each day into Derby to hunt down clever and ruthless serial killers in baffling and often bloody cases. And he has done so since the first book of the series, The Reaper, released in 2009.

 

Now onto its sixth instalment – out in kindle and paperback last month – Death Do Us Part has the same high body count as the previous books and, while I’m not a fan of the gratuitous lingering over such violence, the crimes I depict are realistically portrayed. So I admit I was perplexed to be on the golden age panel and felt out of place. It was then that I hit upon something that hadn’t occurred to me before and which showed the panel organisers actually knew more about my series than I did.

 

It suddenly became clear that, without realising it, my thrillers combined elements of BOTH modern and golden age schools of crime. How? Well, fans of my work will recognise that Damen Brook is an old school copper who believes in the classic method of detection deployed by Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple and many others from an earlier time – use of the brain to sift through clues and find the unknown killer. And, unlike many contemporary detectives, Brook has other claims to be from a different era. He is rarely, if ever, violent, has a fondness for well-spoken English and, most unusually, he never swears because to do so would betray, in Brook’s own words, ‘a mind that is not under control. And control is what they pay us for.’ In every case he solves, Brook prefers to use what Poirot called ‘the little grey cells’ in the search for justice.

 

Not only that. At the heart of each of my serial killer thrillers is a baffling mystery in the Agatha Christie tradition and one that most readers will fail to solve before Brook, using his brilliantly analytical brain, has laid out the solution for them – you have my personal guarantee on this but if you’re sceptical, please check my reviews.

 

Thus, Brook leads his squad of detectives, pitting his wits against the Deity killer, the Pied Piper and of course the Reaper, amongst others. In Death Do Us Part, Brook is on the hunt for a killer who targets married couples as well as dipping into an unfathomable cold case which has come to his attention. To find the culprits, Brook must use his intelligence in the tried and tested golden age tradition. And thank you to Crimefest for making me realise this.


What a fab post! Huge thanks to the lovely Steven for taking part!

Also, I have to mention that Steven is signing books today at Chesterfield Waterstones from 10am if you are in the area and fancy meeting him! 🙂

You can also find Steven online;

Twitter @ReaperSteven

Facebook- Steven Dunne

Website- http://www.the-reaper.com

 

Q&A With Jackie Baldwin

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to be joined by Jackie Baldwin for a Q&A in the week that her novel, Dead Man’s Prayer has been published as part of the blog tour!

About the book:

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood fifteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inextricably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when twin boys go missing. One twin is recovered in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?

As Farrell investigates the two cases he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.

Dead Man's Prayer

About the author:

Jackie Baldwin practiced as a solicitor in a rural town for twenty years specialising in family and criminal law. She then trained as a hypnotherapist and now works from home. She is married with two grown up children and loves to walk with her two dogs in local forests. She is an active member of her local crime writing group. Jackie is on Twitter @JackieMBaldwin1 and also has a Facebook page at Jackie Baldwin Author.

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And now without further ado, onto the fun part…

 

First of all Kate, I’d like to thank you for inviting me on to your lovely blog.

(My pleasure Jackie!)

 

Can you tell me a little about your journey to publication?

 

To be honest, it was long and frustrating. I was tempted to give up so many times but I’m really glad now that I persevered. I started the book back in 2005 and submitted it to some agents a few years later. A few requested the full MS and gave me some favourable feedback but none took me on. I stopped writing for a few years then got a shot in the arm from a weekend of crime writing masterclasses in Gretna and embarked on a major re-write. This annual event, called ‘Crime and Publishment,’ developed into a supportive community of crime writers with an active Facebook group. Towards the end of February this year, someone posted that Killer Reads were open to submissions. Not really thinking anything of it I sent off my book expecting the inevitable rejection to follow. Two weeks later I was holding a publishing contract. I was completely shocked!

 

What made you choose to write a crime thriller?

At the time I embarked on this insanity, I had a demanding job and two young children. I thought it would be easier to write about what I know. What did I know about? Not a great deal, seeing as how I was living a low key, fairly rural life. I had attended the local convent school, was a solicitor practicing criminal and family law and lived in Dumfries. A crime novel, utilizing that background seemed the obvious choice. Also, faced with that initial scary expanse of white paper to fill, I felt that a crime novel could supply me with the scaffolding to hang my story on.

 

How would you describe Dead Man’s Prayer to readers who have yet to pick it up?

It is a police procedural featuring former RC priest, DI Frank Farrell, who returns to his home down in Dumfries to find a local priest has been murdered. That priest had forced him out of the priesthood years ago and he must delve into the life he had left behind to catch his killer. Twin boys are abducted and Farrell starts to see recurring patterns. Is someone messing with his head or is he losing his grip on reality? He must push himself to his limit and beyond to try and prevent any more deaths.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Well, as I have only been published for 3 days, I’m not quite sure yet. I love the idea of people engaging with my characters and caring about what happens to them the way that I do. If that happens then that will be my favourite thing.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I am not an extrovert so having to be a bit more visible has been challenging. At times I feel I have left my comfort zone in another country. It is gradually getting easier though. Eventually you might see me dancing on the table at Harrogate. Seriously, nobody put money on that. Never going to happen!

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I would hope to have written between 5 and 8 new books. I was terribly slow off the starter’s block with this one but I have really got the bit between my teeth now.

 

What’s next for you?

I am working on the next DI Farrell novel. I am also writing notes for 3 other different books that I am burning to write.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

There is one that, for me, stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ by Jane Austen. I rarely reread books but I have been back to that one many times.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Plenty. I could go on all day. I will content myself with three. These are, ‘The Shut Eye’ by Belinda Bauer, ‘Perfect People,’ by Peter James and ‘Missing Presumed,’ by Susie Steiner.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I work from home as a hypnotherapist, which I love. I also enjoy walking my dogs in one of the local forests.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

I have a very unlikely gym habit. Having been resolutely unsporty for all my life I joined a gym 7 years ago and got addicted to the classes there. Not that you’d think it to look at me. I particularly love, spin, body combat and body pump. From being a total weakling I now nearly burst a blood vessel lifting weights. Who’d have thought? My ambition is to beat my son and husband in an arm wrestling competition. Recently, my son pretended I had him. I really thought it was going to happen and got really excited until he suddenly started trying and crushed me once more. I also love going to the cinema and watching sci-fi on the telly.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I just love to go on holiday so that’s a tough one. I would have to say Mexico because the wildlife is so amazing there and I am passionately in love with iguanas. Watching iguanas doing their thing just lights me up. The Galapagos Islands are on my bucket list.

 

Favourite food?

My husband’s chilli con carne.

 

Favourite drink?

I would like to say water but it’s actually red wine.

 


Huge thanks to Jackie Baldwin for joining me on the blog and for answering my questions! Dead Man’s Prayer is out now and you can get a copy by clicking here.

Happy reading! 🙂

Saturday Series Spotlight: Mary-Jane Riley

Hi everyone,

Today, I am thrilled to have the lovely Mary-Jane Riley joining me on the blog to take part in my series feature. I haven’t read Mary-Jane’s books YET, but I have them both to calling out to be read on my kindle!

About Mary-Jane Riley:

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. AFTER SHE FELL is her second crime thriller. Her first, THE BAD THINGS, was an Amazon Kindle top 40 seller in the UK and US.

mary-jane riley copy

About the books:

The Bad Things

Alex Devlin’s life changed forever fifteen years ago when her sister Sasha’s two small children were snatched in broad daylight. Little Harry’s body was found a few days later, but Millie’s remains were never discovered.

Now Jackie Wood, jailed as an accessory to the twins’ murder, has been released, her conviction quashed by the Appeal Court. Convinced Jackie can reveal where Millie is buried, Alex goes to meet her.

But the unexpected information Wood reveals shocks Alex to the core and threatens to uncover the dark secret she has managed to keep under wraps for the past fifteen years. Because in the end, can we ever really know what is in the hearts of those closest to us?

Buy The Bad Things by clicking here.

After She Fell

There are so many ways to fall…

Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.

When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.

Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall…

Buy After She Fell by clicking here.

Read on for Mary-Jane’s fab guest post…

 

‘Oh no,’ says The Fearsome One (aka my agent), ‘you have absolutely got to write another Alex Devlin novel. She’s a series character.’

‘She is?’ I say, thinking of the outline and several thousand words I had written about a woman who   – well, it doesn’t matter now.

‘Yes. We haven’t come this far for you to throw her out,’ she says, firmly.

‘Right. A series character.’

‘Send me your outline.’

‘Right.’

I scurry away to write something, anything.

 

And I suppose this was the first time I had realised I was writing a series. Really.

 

Let me take you back…

 

I was a journalist who used to write stories for BBC News Online, and a lot of them were fairly grim – murders, mercy killings, serial killers – but I knew I could draw on my experience for a novel. One day I thought: what if I had to interview someone who had torn my family apart years before? What if I needed to ask that person what had really happened that day fifteen years ago? What if? What if? And Alex Devlin, my journalist protagonist was born. She is, I hope, a mix of vulnerability and steel as she goes about investigating what had happened the day her sister’s two children were snatched from her garden. Oh, yes, she carries a lot of guilt! Mix into that an undercover police officer she falls for, a son who has the potential to go off the rails and a sister who is flaky to say the least, and THE BAD THINGS, set in my beloved East Anglia, was born. It went to auction in Germany and Harper Collins bought it and then –

 

‘I hope you’re writing the next,’ The Fearsome One says.

‘Er…yes…’ I say. ‘Of course…’

I scurry away to write something, anything.

 

I went away and pondered (looked out of the window a lot). I liked Alex – I had lived with her for quite a while – and I thought her story wasn’t finished. I wanted to send her somewhere else, a boarding school, perhaps (I always fancied going to boarding school with its stories of midnight feasts and giggling friends, though the one I have invented is nothing like that!). I wanted her undercover police officer to make another appearance and I wanted her son to have a bit of a story…. So I wrote AFTER SHE FELL where Alex looks into the circumstances surrounding the death of a student from a boarding school. (And in case that sounds as though it just appeared on the page with little effort, can I say a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. Many was the time I moaned to friends that the only thing my characters were doing was drinking wine at home, coffee in the cafe or wine in the pub. But it did come together, honestly…)

 

And before the ink was dry on the contract with Harper Collins for that one came the conversation with The Fearsome One, and the realisation that yes, I was writing a series….so I set to scribbling notes for the next.

 

So you see, I didn’t plan it as a series, I didn’t plan an overriding character arc (isn’t that what the books tell you to do?), but Alex still has plenty more to say – and plenty more to do to try and assuage that ever-present guilt. And I want to see where her relationship with the undercover police officer takes her.

 

And now, I can’t see why I didn’t think I was writing a series, after all, what is better than returning to favourite characters, see how they’re messing up their lives and what they’re beating themselves up about now?

 

When I think back, so many of my favourite authors wrote series. I can remember my Dad reading Enid Blyton’s The Twins at St Clare’s to me night after night as I lay recovering from a severe bout of measles. I devoured all of Enid Blyton’s series’ – Mallory Towers, Famous Five, The Faraway Tree, The Secret Seven and all the ones I can’t remember. As I grew up, I adored PD James’ detective Adam Dalgleish (particularly as he wrote poetry – that was catnip to my troubled teenage soul!), Inspector Wexford from Ruth Rendell, Inspector Maigret from Georges Simenon. There were Louis L’Amour westerns – the Sackett series for starters (I read anything I could get hold of from my local library) and science fiction series’ from the great Robert Heinlein.

 

These days I look out for new ones from Kate Rhodes (forensic psychologist Alice Quentin) and VM Giambanco (Seattle detective Alice Madison). Then there is David Raker who looks for missing people from author Tim Weaver, David Mark’s Hector McAvoy, a family man who just wants to be a decent cop…. Ben Hope the troubled SAS man from Scott Mariani…I’m just beginning to read Fred Vargas and her Commissaire Adamsberg books – what a treat…And that’s just for starters.

 

But.

But.

 

The one I always go for is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Ever since I bought The Killing Floor in Waterstone’s for 99p (it was on offer as ‘a new author to try’!) I have read every single one as they have come out. I am, like many, a little in love with Jack Reacher…. (As an aside, if you haven’t read Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and The Making of  Make Me by Andy Martin, about Child’s writing process then go get it now!!) And the new Lee Child usually comes out just before I go on holiday in September, and to misquote another (film) series character … It makes my day!

 

All the important links and details again:

 

The Bad Things UK http://amzn.to/1NyATk2

The Bad Things US http://amzn.to/23Xnunz

 

After She Fell UK http://amzn.to/206Pp3u

After She Fell US After She Fell

 

Social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryjanerileyauthor/

Twitter: @mrsmjriley

Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor


Huge thanks to Mary-Jane for joining me today, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! 🙂

First Monday Crime- Spotlight on Jane Corry

Hi everyone,

In anticipation of the forthcoming First Monday Crime night on September 5th, I’m thrilled to have a Q&A with one of it’s panel members today. Jane Corry is the author of My Husband’s Wife, an excellent debut that was released earlier this year. I read and really enjoyed it and you can read my review by clicking the link below:

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Click the link below to learn more about Goldsboro Books First Monday Crime and purchase a ticket:

First Monday Crime September 5th 2016

About Jane Corry:

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has written regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph Weekend section, the Mail on Sunday and Woman. She has spent time working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men – an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her début thriller. ‘I love twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end! My husband says I’m a nightmare to watch dramas with as I love to work out who did it before the final revelation!’

You can find Jane on Twitter at @JaneCorryAuthor and on Facebook at JaneCorryAuthor.

Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world, including The Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. Until her recent move to Devon, she was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University. She is also an associate member of the Royal Literary Fund.

Many of Jane’s ideas come during her morning dog-jog along the beach followed by a dip in her wetsuit. (She’s an all-year-round swimmer provided the sea isn’t dangerous.) Jane also loves tennis, walking, reading, yoga, the ‘Quiet’ train carriage (a great ‘office’ for writing) and her family. She’s still coming to terms with being an empty-nester but makes up for it with lots of long-distance nagging! Jane’s second husband was a bachelor family friend who is also Godfather to her children. He makes her laugh every day although they can’t agree on how to load the dishwasher!

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About the book:

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’

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You can purchase a copy of My Husband’s Wife by clicking here.
Q&A with Jane…

 

1.Can you tell me a little about your journey to publication?
I started to write stories from a very early age. During my teens I wrote poetry and won a big competition when I was 17. I read English at university and then got a place as a graduate trainee on a major newspaper scheme. I worked for various women’s magazines and then turned freelance when my children were born. During that time I wrote a regular column for Woman magazine and the Daily Telegraph. Then I started to write novels. But it took a time to find my voice.

2.What made you choose to write a psychological thriller?
I’ve always loved twists and turns in plots After my first marriage ended, I took a job as a writer in residence at a high security male prison. It was a completely new world for me. Then I got married again. Both marriage and my experience in prison helped me come up with the idea for My Husband’s Wife.

3. How would you describe My Husband’s Wife to readers who have yet to pick it up?
It’s about marriage, murder  and prison. When I tell people that, they often say ‘What’s  the difference!’

4. What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

My favourite thing about being a writer is that you get to go into your own world every day. No one else can enter. It’s yours. After a morning swim in the sea followed by breakfast with my second husband, I go up to the top floor where I have a study and a sea view. My dog sits on the sofa and I write. Bliss. Then I go for a midday walk along the beach and come back to revise my chapter and check emails.

5. What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?
My least favourite thing about being a writer, is that some people don’t realise it’s actually full-time work. I’m often at my desk until midnight. My husband is brilliant at understanding.

6. What’s next for you?

I am currently writing my second book for Penguin.  It’s called Blood Sisters and is about three girls who set off to school one day. Only one makes it.

7. Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?
Our Island Story by HE Marshall
Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence
Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

8. Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

I wish I’d written ‘After You’d Gone’ by Maggie O’Farrell. It’s been a while since I read it but it haunts me still. Also The Life  and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon, an inspiration and a friend

9. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I like to swim in the sea, walk the dog with my husband, play tennis and be with my new granddaughter. I’m a youngish grannie which is great. I’m sure she’s going to be a writer as she’s been looking at books since she was a week old.

10. Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?
See above. However I always get ideas while doing any of these.

11. What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I don’t have one favourite holiday destination. I’m lucky enough to have travelled to some amazing places when I wrote for The Daily Telegraph. We now live by the sea in Devon and I have to say that’s my favourite holiday destination.

13. Favourite food?

I haven’t eaten meat since 1997. However I do eat fish. My favourite food is my own fish pie. It’s one of my six dishes! And it never comes out the same way.  This isn’t always a good thing.

14. Favourite drink?

I used to love a gin and tonic. But I had to have an operation a few years ago and  the anaesthetic changed my tastebuds . As a result I can’t drink tea, coffee or anything alcoholic. I drink a lot of water. Sounds boring but it’s lovely.


Huge thanks to Jane Corry for joining me on the blog today! 🙂

Saturday Series Feature- Carys Jones

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the week where it’s all about the series and today’s post comes from author Carys Jones!

About the author:

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion, Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.
To Carys, there is no greater feeling than when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

For more information about Carys please visit www.carys-jones.com or follow her on Twitter; @tiny_dancer85

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Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Carys…

From Avalon to Bon Temps

 

I’ve always loved the intensity of small town life. How everyone knows everyone else’s business and it is all just one big boiling pot of secrets.

 

My crime series follows the story of lawyer, Aiden Connelly, as he moves his family to the fictional small town of Avalon. Exploring the town along with Aiden was so much fun, especially when he inevitably becomes drawn into Avalon’s dark past…

 

Along with developing the claustrophobic atmosphere of Avalon I loved creating a cast of characters who were able to aide and hinder Aiden in equal measure. I’m equally as attached to the ensemble cast in the series as I am to Aiden which is why it was nice to be able to expand on their stories in later books in the series.

 

Avalon is a place of searing heat and violent storms which sweep in across the town, with the locals seizing the opportunity to let the rains wash away the worst of their sins. But whilst cultivating a secretive nature Avalon is also a town full of friendly, loyal characters, people with hearts as big as their sprawling homes – people like Edmond, Aiden’s kind boss who becomes a friend.

 

Not everyone is welcoming of Aiden. There’s the local Sherriff, Buck Fern, whose sour disposition is reserved for anyone he considers an ‘outsider.’ And wealthy local businessman, Clyde White, is equally distrusting of Aiden’s presence since Aiden is representing the woman who killed his son – local football hero Brandon White.

 

On the surface Avalon looks idyllic. The sun shines on white picket fences and people leave homemade apple pies to cool in open windows. But beneath this sickly sweet façade lies dark secrets which not only bind the town together, they also have the power to tear it apart…

 

Another small town I love to visit via the pages of a book is Bon Temps. It gained notoriety after being the setting for Charlaine Harris’ beloved vampire series, True Blood.

 

True Blood is about so much more than vampires. And werewolves. And faeries. It’s about the close knit community of the town and the trials they are faced to weather together. And everyone has secrets. From sassy waitress Sookie Stackhouse who can hear people’s thoughts to her manage, Sam, who harbours more than just a secret crush on her.

 

Like Avalon, the atmosphere in Bon Temp is hot, sticky, and bubbling with tension. I love how the author chose this backdrop for her vampire series. In the blistering heat it’s the least likely place you’d expect to find sunlight fearing creatures of the night. But they are there. And they test the close minded nature of some of the Bon Temps residents and also liberate those who have always felt oppressed by their small town.

 

With ten books and a successful HBO television series there’s many stories about Sookie and her adventures in Bon Temps to immerse yourself in and I highly suggest you do. The books are fun, utterly engrossing and a refreshing spin on the regular vampire mythology.

 

You can find my Avalon series online – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B011M8U0GM/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

Also the boxset of the True Blood books –

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sookie-Stackhouse-Novels-Boxset/dp/B005R5JSWY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468239374&sr=1-2&keywords=true+blood

 

To find out more about me and my other books follow me on Twitter – @tiny_dancer85 or on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CarysJonesWriter/?fref=nf


Huge thanks to Carys for taking part in my Saturday Series Spotlight feature! 🙂

 

Spotlight on Holly Seddon

Today I’m thrilled to have a brilliant guest post from the lovely Holly Seddon. Holly is the author of Try Not To Breathe, which I read and loved!!!

About Holly:

Holly Seddon is a freelance journalist and editor. As a mother of four, Holly divides her time between writing, walking her miniature schnauzer and chasing homework-evaders around the room. And then doing some more writing when night falls.

TRY NOT TO BREATHE is her first novel, published to great acclaim in the UK, US, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Poland and Taiwan.

Holly is currently writing her second novel. You can ask her about it @HollySeddon.

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About Try Not To Breathe:

Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen years old, Amy disappeared walking home from school one day and was found in a coma three days later. Her attacker was never identified and her angelic face was plastered across every paper and nightly news segment.

Fifteen years later, Amy lies in the hospital, surrounded by 90’s Britpop posters, forgotten by the world until reporter Alex Dale stumbles across her while researching a routine story on vegetative patients.

Remembering Amy’s story like it was yesterday, she feels compelled to solve the long-cold case.

The only problem is, Alex is just as lost as Amy—her alcoholism has cost her everything including her marriage and her professional reputation.

In the hopes that finding Amy’s attacker will be her own salvation as well, Alex embarks on a dangerous investigation, suspecting someone close to Amy.

Told in the present by an increasingly fragile Alex and in dream-like flashbacks by Amy as she floats in a fog of memories, dreams, and music from 1995, Try Not to Breathe unfolds layer by layer to a breathtaking conclusion.

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

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Where it all began

 

Try Not to Breathe originally began over a roasting tin bubbling with hot oil and scented with rosemary and garlic. I was only half-listening to a health programme about persistent vegetative states on Radio 4 while I cooked Sunday dinner, and I was just tipping the par-boiled spuds into the big tray when I heard a phrase that stopped me in my tracks. “It’s like a kind of living death,” someone said.

 

As much as my heart broke for the patients and their loved ones, that moment was the start of a journey that took six years. From shaking the roasting tray to getting to know my character Amy, a girl cut down in her prime, to seeing my book in shops.

 

It was a rough six years, in many ways. Their were some deep losses along the way that saw the work in progress put to one side because other people needed me more than my characters did, but I always went back to it.

 

Eventually, I was ready to submit to agents. The book was in perfect shape and needed no work whatsoever. (I’m joking, obviously). But I felt proud of it. It had a proper story, characters I loved and an interesting premise.  I didn’t exactly feel confident – does any newbie writer – but I felt like it was time to go for it.  

 

I made a shortlist of agents whose work – and whose clients’ work – I admired. This sounds like a lie but I promise it’s the truth, top of that list was Nicola Barr. She’d worked with Colette McBeth on her debut Precious Thing, which I’d recently read. I’d also read about Colette’s own journey to publication and how Nicola had worked with her to hone the manuscript. This is what I really needed.

 

I sent my synopsis and three sample chapters and made a cup of tea.

 

I was off work at the time, recovering from a nasty operation and infection. It was early afternoon but I was still in my nightie. I shuffled into the kitchen to make another cup of tea, checked my phone and nearly collapsed: Nicola had replied. Better yet, she asked to see the rest. Still sore, riddled with stitches, in my nightie, I sprinted around and around the house, my dog in pursuit, because I had no idea how to handle the excitement. I stayed up all night re-editing a book that just that morning had seemed ready…

 

Signing with my agent the real beginning of the publication process. The second half of the book needed some work – I’d tried to write what I thought I had to, for the genre, and not what I wanted to – and Nicola helped me immensely and gave me confidence in my own intuition. It’s been a lot quicker the second time around – but that’s a story for another day.

 

In October 2014 Try Not to Breathe was sold to Atlantic/Corvus in the UK, where an incredibly passionate team have done a wonderful job of getting it out there, in the best possible shape. It’s since sold to publishers across the world.

 

The last two years have been incredible. Better than I ever could have dreamt when I first said, as a precocious toddler, that I wanted to write books.

 

I flew to New York to meet my US editor last November, and I’ve held copies of my book published in Turkish and German, I’ve been a bestseller (I still feel like a show off saying this) in several countries. But nothing will compare to the moment my mum sent a picture to me of my proud dad holding my book in Waterstones near my home town in Devon. For me, that was the absolute peak. The happy ending to a story that started with some ordinary roast potatoes and changed my life along the way.

 


 

Huge thanks to Holly for joining me on the blog today! Catch the next post on Steph’s blog tomorrow:

Stephs Book Blog