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Books Q&A

Author Q & A with Joanna Schaffhausen

Hi everyone,

Today is the eve of publication for All The Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen and I get to share a little Q&A with the lady herself. I’ll also be sharing my review for this book so make sure to keep an eye out for that this week too. First things first though, here’s all of the important bookish info!

About the author:

Joanna Schaffhausen wields a mean scalpel, skills she developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain―how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked as a scientific editor in the field of drug development. Prior to that, she was an editorial producer for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News TonightGood Morning America, and 20/20. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.

About the book:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer – one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

Click the link below to order your copy:

All The Best Lies (Ellery Hathaway 3) by Joanna Schaffhausen

Author Q & A with Joanna Schaffhausen

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live not far from Boston, Massachusetts with my husband, ten-year-old daughter, and a basset hound named Winston. Most of my days are spent trying to write with a hound on my lap. I have a weird form of dyslexia that messes up the aural to written pathway, making it impossible to read my own work aloud. I can drum my toes on the floor like other people drum their fingers on a table. Once, I drove a car into a house.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Back in grade three, my teacher would give us weekly creative writing assignments. She would provide the first sentence to a story and we had to write the rest. Most kids would turn in a paragraph, but I wrote pages and pages, despite the fact that she made us rewrite the thing once it was corrected for grammar and spelling. I knew then that I loved writing and, most important for making a career of it, that I was willing to endure some personal pain to achieve my storytelling goals. (Those hand cramps!)

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere! There are often elements from true crime stories in my books, but I also read widely in various genres. I read newspapers and magazines. I travel. I take public transportation, where the people watching is sublime.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

I love a good puzzle, so most of my books include an element of “whodunnit” with clues that play fair with readers. But I also like my crimes to feel crime-y, if you know what I mean. The shock of them should be real. The aftereffects linger in the characters, in some cases for years. However, I don’t especially enjoy prolonged descriptions of gore, so for me, a little of that goes a long way

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely! People can’t read a book they don’t know exists. With so many titles published every month, any extra publicity can help. Furthermore, “recommendations from a trusted source” are the main way that people find new books, and that source can certainly be someone on social media whom you follow and trust.

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

Feeling like I’m part of the storytelling community. I love words and books and libraries and bookshops, and now I have a place there not just as a reader but as a contributor. It’s thrilling!

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

The business end of things is always a bit of a drag. Authors look at their books as something like children, and then someone else puts a price on our babies.

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

I hope to still be writing and publishing books!

What’s next for you?

My next book is unrelated to the Ellery Hathaway series. Called Gone for Good, it’s about an amateur sleuth who pursued a cold case serial murderer only to end up dead in the same fashion as his victims. Now detectives have to figure out if she unearthed a killer or if someone else in her life used her weird hobby to kill her.

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read across a broad spectrum of mystery, thriller, general fiction, literary fiction, romance and non-fiction.

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

I sincerely do not have a favorite book because I have hundreds that I love. One non-fiction book that informs a lot of my crime fiction is Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. I think all women should read it.

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

No. I’ve deeply admired many other books and learned from reading them, but my pleasure in writing comes from putting my own ideas down on the page.

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

Supervising a lot of grade-five math homework and walking the dog. I also travel a fair bit, for work and for fun, and I enjoy that as well.

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

I enjoy cooking and like picking out new recipes to try. I also like puzzles and logic games, especially if they’re competitive. Most of my family won’t play Scrabble with me anymore. We spend a fair amount of time hiking around parks in Massachusetts with the hound.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

The fun part for me is trying new places! I did love Hawaii, and I’m looking forward to visiting London and Paris this summer.

Favourite food?

This is a hard one. Maybe chocolate. Runner up is a juicy summer tomato sprinkled with salt.

Favourite drink?

Diet Coke.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Ha! The jokes about tortured writers aren’t far wrong. You have to give birth to a whole universe, moving it out of your head and onto a page all by yourself. Then you have to convince someone else to publish it.  If you don’t love this process, if you don’t close your eyes and see words swirling behind your eyelids at night, you probably should do something else. As for me, the only way to get the voices in my head to shut up is to write down what they say. So, that’s what I do.

Huge thanks to Joanna for answering my questions, and to Sarah at Titan Books for making it all happen!

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Q&A

Q&A with Tom Chatfield, author of This is Gomorrah

Hey guys,

Recently, I had the pleasure of having Tom Chatfield answer some of my burning questions, and I’ll be sharing that with you all today!

Who is Tom Chatfield?

Tom Chatfield

Dr Tom Chatfield (@TomChatfield) is a British writer, broadcaster and tech philosopher. His seven books exploring contemporary culture—most recently Live This Book! (Penguin) and Critical Thinking (SAGE Publishing), researched as a Visiting Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute—are published in over two dozen languages. His debut novel, This is Gomorrah (Hodder), the first in a series set in the world of the dark net, was published worldwide in July 2019 and was a Sunday Times thriller of the month.

Tom is interested in improving our understanding of digital technology, and its uses in policy, education and engagement. He is currently technology and media advisor at Agathos LLP; a Non Executive Director at the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and at the Copyright Licensing Agency; a faculty member at London’s School of Life; a Master’s Committee member at the Economics Research Council; guest faculty member at the Said Business School, Oxford; and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute.

Past collaborators include Google, the BBC, Channel 4 Education, Mind Candy, Shift, Flamingo London, Six to Start, Preloaded, Firefish, Future Lab, Sense Worldwide, SAGE Publications, Sugru and Allianz. Tom took his doctorate and taught at St John’s College, Oxford, and continues to guest lecture at universities across the world.

As a speaker and broadcaster, Tom’s appearances include TED Global and the Cannes Lions Festival; authors@Google; the World Congress on Information Technology; Science Foo Camp; Intelligence Squared; the Houses of Parliament; Aspen Seminars for Leaders; the RSA, Royal Society and Royal Institution; and venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to the Googleplex.

A launch columnist for the BBC’s worldwide technology site, BBC Future, Tom writes and commentate widely in the international media, as well as guest lecturing at universities in the UK and Europe. He is a regular on BBC radio and television, and broadcasts around the world.

He is represented for writing and broadcasting by Jim Gill at United Agents, and for speaking and appearances by Chartwell and VBQ Speakers.

When not working, he plays jazz piano and drinks too much coffee.

What you need to know about This Is Gomorrah:

This is Gomorrah: the dark web threatens one innocent man by [Chatfield, Tom]

What he knows could kill him. . .

‘Gripping, intelligent and stylish’ Sophie Hannah

At the darkest heart of the internet lies Gomorrah. 
An exclusive online market place where anything and everything is for sale: guns and porn, identities and elections, lives and deaths.

Azi Bello is nobody’s idea of a hero. 
From a shed in his mum’s back garden in East Croydon, he spins webs in the darknet to lure evil from the shadows. Until evil comes knocking at his door in the real world, taking everything he has, sending him on the run, risking his life, offering him redemption. But at a price he never expected to pay . . .

The gates of Gomorrah have been opened. All hell is about to break loose.

Click the link below to grab your copy:

This Is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield

Here’s what Tom had to say with my questions…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a geek in his late thirties who has written half a dozen non-fiction books about bits and pieces of digital culture—video games, online language, critical thinking and disinformation—and who has finally managed to turn some of those fascinations into what I hope is a darkly satirical thriller about the underbelly of global tech. 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve wanted to write for a living pretty much since I learned how to write. I wrote poetry and short stories at school from the age of six or seven, I studied literature at university, then went on to do a masters and doctorate looking at contemporary literature and the world of ideas. I’ve always believed that writing matters: that finding ways to talk about what it means to be alive, to wrestle with the human condition through words, is one of the most wonderful things you can do. I worked in magazines after finishing my doctorate, having decided that academia wasn’t for me, then managed to become a full-time writer thanks to a lot of luck and a passion for pouring my obsessions into prose.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The world, and other writers! Technology and its human contexts fascinate me, because I think technology is implicated in so much of what it means to be human, and so much of what makes humans unique amongst life on Earth: our development of mental technologies like art and mathematics and written words, that convert our inner lives into shared cultures able to outlive us; the machines with which we vastly amplify our power and impacts; the appalling and amazing ongoing consequences of all this. And of course our current ambitions to build machines that, in some sense at least, are able to think and recreate our own mental achievements. 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Jason Bourne meets Edward Snowden: a fast-paced fiction digging into the dark purposes technology is put to in the modern world while, I hope, telling a twisting tale that’s ultimately more interested in human consequences than shiny gadgets.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely, although it does so in enigmatic ways that it’s foolish to pretend you can control. It’s easy to go a little crazy and watch every flicker of interest or engagement online. I’m guilty of this, sometimes, but I’m trying hard not to descend into total digital solipsism.

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

Having readers! To be read, whether by a small or a large number of people, is just such a spectacular privilege.

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

The profound uncertainty around what, if anything, the world makes of your work – and trying to manage the emotional impacts of this. You can’t help caring. For me, at least, one of the biggest parts of the whole writing process is simply trying to control the emotional turmoil around whether what I’m doing is any good, deserves to be read, does something interesting, and so on.

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

The wonderful thing is that I really have no idea. Things will come up, or won’t, as a result of what I put out into the world – and the most exciting thing is to be able to respond to circumstances, to react and learn and improve, to keep on discovering and grasping fresh opportunities.

What’s next for you?

I’m already embarked on the sequel to This Is Gomorrah, and hope to have it largely finished by the end of the year. I also have a little textbook out in September, called Think Critically, and will probably write another short and accessible textbook next year diving more deeply into what it means to think well. There are also a couple of books of non-fiction I’d like to write, and some more fiction, but we’ll have to see about those…

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I’m constantly reading, as I think most people have to in order to write – although I often prefer to read outside the genre I’m writing in at the time. Somehow, it makes it easier for me to hear my own voice. I love philosophical non-fiction and books of ideas: I’m reading a wonderful book about the history of calculus at the moment, Infinite Powers by Steveen Strogatz; a couple of Cormac McCarthys—Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men—for the sheer brilliance and force of his prose; a few books of non-fiction directly related to the dark net; Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson; and a selection of other short stories and works of philosophy. I really do love ideas-driven genre fiction, and those authors that bend and break the barriers between genres—and I tend to have the softest spot for thrillers that are witty as well as action-packed, like Mick Herron’s or Chris Brookmyre’s.

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

Pretty much impossible. But Bryan Magee’s book on the philosopher Karl Popper, simply called Popper, is one of my models for truly intelligent clarity and economy in non-fiction; Neal Stephenson has I think done some of modern fiction’s finest explanations of complex ideas and slices of history in books like Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle; the poetry of WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, WH Auden and Philip Larkin is on a shelf near my desk in always-easy reach; and what Tolstoy and Dickens and, before them, Austen did to the novel continues to knock my socks off every time I go back and re-read them.

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

Apart from the whole eating and sleeping thing, I spend most of my time with my children (aged three and five) playing or reading or picking up or dropping off or trying not to get utterly exasperated. Being a parent is utterly amazing, and exhausting, and the joy/challenge of working largely from home is just how much you’re able to be involved in their lives. I’m also a rather keen pianist, and have been known to share my exploits on social media. I find it therapeutic: the total focus on making music is a far better break than just sitting around.

Huge thanks to Tom for answering these questions, and make sure you check out This Is Gomorrah and add it to your TBR!

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Books Q&A

Q&A with Jacqueline Chadwick @jackiechaddy @fahrenheitpress

Hi everyone,

To celebrate Briefly Maiden’s release on Thursday, the second Ali Dalglish book, by Jacqueline Chadwick, I’m re-sharing my Q&A today, and tomorrow I’ll be resharing my review for her debut, In The Still!

About the author:


Jacqueline Chadwick is probably best known for her work in British soap operas.

Jackie appeared in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, as Tina Dingle from 1994–1996. For this role she was nominated for Most Popular Actress at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Jackie next appeared in Coronation Street in 1998 as factory machinist Linda Sykes. The storyline involving her character’s relationship with Mike Baldwin won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2001. She left Coronation Street in 2001.

In 2002 she relocated to Canada with her husband and family.

In The Still is her first novel.

You can follow her on twitter @JackieChaddy

About the book:

Jackie C

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist.

Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness.

In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

You can get your copy bu clicking the link below:

In The Still (Ali Dalglish Book 1) by Jacqueline Chadwick


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

At the risk of boring you to death: I am forty-two, Scottish, I have two children and too many dogs. I have a fabulous husband who is a firefighter. I grew up in Birmingham where I became an actress at the age of 11 and continued in that field until I was 26. I left acting to focus on motherhood and to homeschool my kids. I moved to Canada in 2009 were I work as a writer and miss the U.K. every day.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I have always loved writing. During my years as an actress, writing was my ‘dirty little secret’ and I would sneak off to my dressing room and write plays and TV scripts and screenplays. Nowadays I like to write novels, especially ones that are just a little bit twisted.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my first novel, ‘In The Still’, was a combination of  two things: a secluded nature trail near my house and my husband’s job as a first responder. I wanted to know, if a murder victim was discovered in the sleepy municipality where I now live, how would it be handled? Who would be first on scene? Would they bring in specialists? Then, once I started to describe the setting, it became clear to me that a killer could operate undetected for a long time, perhaps forever, in such a place as long as he chose his victims carefully and didn’t get clumsy.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

I am fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I love to explore the notion of evil. I get excited writing things that are grim and sometimes uncomfortable. I’m happy with certain chapters only when I have to take a break after writing to have a drink of water and let my nausea subside. My central character is a brilliant woman called Ali Dalglish but what I especially like about her is that she isn’t perfect, she is flawed and about as far away from sorted as you can get.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Since ‘In The Still’ is my debut, I am green to the industry and to social media. Although I’ve become totally addicted, I am a Twitter newbie and so you’ll have to ask me that one in the future.

 

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

Writing every day. It is my idea of heaven on earth. I love every moment of it from the first chapter to the very last.

 

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

Well, as I said before, I’m learning as I go but I have noticed that, once your work is out there, you have frequent moments of self-doubt and sheer panic. However, thus far it’s been nothing a glass of wine can’t fix.

 

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

I’d like to have written another five books.

 

What’s next for you?

‘Briefly Maiden’ and ‘Silent Sisters’ (books two and three in the Ali Dalglish series) are being published by Fahrenheit Press later this year and I’m currently working on a fourth that’s set in Britain because I’m just so damn homesick.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read every day. At the moment I’m working my way through the works of the Fahrenheit Press family and I’m thoroughly enjoying them all. Crime fiction is my favourite genre and always has been since I was little but I like to read a mix of styles and genres, both modern and classic.

 

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

There are many books I love but one in particular stands out as my favourite: ‘Hannibal’ by Thomas Harris. I remember reading it on the train and my face getting hot as Harris introduces Mason Verger, it was the first time I had to shut a book just to steel myself for more.

 

 

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

Hannibal.

 

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

I have always homeschooled my kids. My daughter is twenty and so she’s all done but I still work with my son, Jamie. There’s always crap to do around the house (especially with four dogs) but nowadays I can slip off to my desk, dive into a new chapter and leave it for tomorrow.

 

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

Oil painting and furniture restoration although, since Ali Dalglish took up residence in my skull, I haven’t done either for a while.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

My husband and I have always taken the kids to Disney but right now, given the chance, I’d go to Britain – I’m dying for a proper fish supper, some tattie scones and as much Irn Bru as I can take.

 

Favourite food?

As above!!!

 

Favourite drink?

I love beer but it’s too fattening (I’m five foot and so every pound just takes me closer to that barrel-shape I’m genetically destined for) so I stick to vodka and cranberry and the odd glass (bottle) of red.

 

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Whenever I don’t write, even if for just a few days, I go more than a little bit crazy. It’s something I am compelled to do. I bloody love it!


Huge thanks to Jackie for answering my questions! 🙂

Check back tomorrow for my refresher of In The Still…

Categories
Books Q&A

Author Q&A~ Steve Brewer

Hi everyone,

I’ve got another author q&a to share with you all today and its the turn of Steve Brewer, whose latest book Side Eye was published in May 2017.

About the author:

Steve  B.jpg

STEVE BREWER is the author of 20-plus books about crooks, including the recent crime novels PARTY DOLL, LOST VEGAS, THE BIG WINK and CALABAMA.

His first novel, LONELY STREET, was made into a Hollywood comedy starring Robert Patrick, Jay Mohr and Joe Mantegna. BOOST currently is under film/TV option.

Brewer’s short fiction appeared in the anthologies DAMN NEAR DEAD, THE LAST NOEL, CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT and WEST COAST CRIME WAVE, and he’s published articles in Mystery Scene, Crimespree and Mystery Readers’ Journal.

A former journalist and syndicated humor columnist, Brewer now works as a writing coach, book doctor and University of New Mexico lecturer. A frequent speaker at mystery conventions, he was toastmaster at Left Coast Crime in 2011.

Married and the father of two adult sons, Brewer lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Check out Steve’s Amazon page HERE.

About Side Eye:

Side Eye.jpg

Josh Nieto celebrates his 18th birthday by walking out of Juvenile Detention and into a sweet job as the driver for an elderly loan shark named Malcolm Hunt. But when Hunt’s Dixie Mafia past catches up to him, Josh finds himself in the middle of a blood feud.

“Steve Brewer’s latest is a bare-bones tale of murder, deceit, and betrayal. A prison-hardened member of the Dixie Mafia has tracked down the man he blames for his incarceration, and he intends to get his pound of flesh. The only person who can save the man’s life is a kid just released from juvenile detention, but he’ll have to risk his freedom to do it.” — Bill Fitzhugh, award-winning author of HUMAN RESOURCES

“Fast-paced, fun, and funny, this caper is another must-read from the master.” — Edgar Award-winning author Charlie Price


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I grew up in Arkansas, but have spent most of my adult life in Albuquerque, NM, and in Northern California. Most of my 30 books are set in those locations. I worked as a journalist through my twenties and thirties. Started trying to write fiction on the side when I was 30. Quit full-time journalism at 40, but started writing a weekly humor column that ran nationwide for 10 years. Do you see a pattern with these round numbers? I turned 60 recently; no telling what will happen next.

 

My wife and I live in Albuquerque, not far from the University of New Mexico, where I teach in the Honors College. We have two adult sons who make us proud.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I started in newspapers, but around age 30, when I was working for the Associated Press in San Francisco, I caught the fiction bug.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Real-life news stories provide a lot of the jumping-off points. Then it’s a matter of asking “what if” until I’ve got a plot.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

 

I write books about crooks, often with a comic twist. I wrote nine tales featuring bumbling private eye Bubba Mabry; the first one, LONELY STREET, was made into a 2009 Hollywood comedy starring Jay Mohr and Robert Patrick. I recently published three crime novels under the pen name Max Austin for Penguin Random House’s Alibi imprint. My new book, SIDE EYE, is about an 18-year-old orphan who gets hired to be the driver for an Albuquerque loan shark who’s losing his eyesight.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

Yes, but not enough. We’re all flailing in an ocean.

 

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

 

Dreaming up the story and writing the first draft. The rest of it is work.

 

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

 

The vagaries of the publishing industry. I’ve had a roller-coaster career.

 

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

 

I’m not sure, frankly. I’ve certainly slowed down lately.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’ve been thinking about doing more short stories.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

Like most people these days, I spend too much time staring at news reports on my phone. But I have always loved to read, especially crime fiction. Right now, I’m reading Don DeLillo and Sam Wiebe.

 

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

 

“The Hunter” by Richard Stark

 

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

 

Pretty much everything by Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake/Richard Stark

 

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

 

Teaching and grading papers. Overseeing the rehab of a 70-year-old house that we bought a few years ago.

 

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

 

I love to listen to music – jazz, blues, rock – and I’m a big fan of basketball and football.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

These days, we mostly stay home or visit relatives. But I do love the California coast.

 

Favourite food?

 

Fried okra. You can take the boy out of the South …

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee with too much sugar in it.

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I’ve spent my entire life writing; I’m not sure I can do anything else. Nothing else gives me the same creative charge. But I do love teaching, and I recently doubled my teaching load to two classes per semester. I teach an Honors writing workshop every semester as well as upper-level courses on the creative process and American crime fiction. Great fun.

 


 

Many thanks to Steve for taking the time out to answer my questions! 🙂

Connect with Steve:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Categories
Books Q&A

Author Q&A with Peter Robinson

Hi everyone,

Today I’m pleased to be able to share another Q&A with you all. Today’s one is with the creator of DCI Banks, Peter Robinson.

Peter Robinson’s latest book featuring DCI Banks, Sleeping In The Ground, was published just last week!

About the book:

9781444786910.jpg

A shocking mass murder occurs at a wedding in a small Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course.

But Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day, and why. Struggling with the death of his first serious girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller into his life, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders, and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to the past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for.

When the surprising truth becomes clear, it is almost too late.

SLEEPING IN THE GROUND by Peter Robinson is published by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback now.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

Peter Robinson pic USE.jpg

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter has written twenty-two books in the bestselling DCI Banks series as well as two collections of short stories and three standalone novels, the most recent of which is Number One bestseller BEFORE THE POISON. The critically acclaimed crime novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.

Peter’s DCI Banks is now a major ITV1 drama by Left Bank productions. Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart, Ballykissangel) plays Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe (The Bill, Murphy’s Law) plays DI Annie Cabbot. The first series aired in Autumn 2011 with an adaptation of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, the second in Autumn 2012, and the third in February 2014.

Peter’s standalone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA’s 2013 Dilys Award as well as the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. This was Peter’s sixth Arthur Ellis award.

Find out more from Peter’s website, http://www.inspectorbanks.com, or visit his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/peterrobinsonauthor.


Who I am …  

I am a writer who likes to write my DCI Alan Banks crime thrillers, but also one who likes to take a break and try other things too… short stories stand-alone novels, that sort of thing.   I split my time between Canada and England… I met my wife in Canada and her family is there, so Canada is part of our lives.    Books take up most of my time – whether reading, talking about, writing or promoting.   And I travel a LOT.

 

Writing …

is something I’ve always done – and I honestly can’t remember when I started, but I do know that from very young I had a big ledger type book in which I’d write and illustrated my stories.   Back then they would be my own versions of heroic and exciting stories like Ivanhoe, Robin Hood or William Tell.  Then I started reading science fiction and so I wrote it too … then this progressed into crime and thriller stories.   At about 16 years old I became interested in poetry, and I wrote almost nothing else for the next 15 or 16 years.    At that point I was bitten by the crime bug!

Inspiration …

I can never find an answer for this because I simply don’t know what it is!

 

My books …

They are more or less straight crime novels – featuring the policeman Alan Banks.  He started life with the Force in London, and then migrated north to Yorkshire – where he works with a small team.   He rather expected life to be more peaceful out of the big city – but he soon found out it wasn’t!

 

Social media …

I am quite sure it is important, and I am happy that I have a Facebook page and a website.  And having people chatter on social media does help a lot.  I worry about maintaining Twitter though, and I know that some authors are much more active on all forms of social media than others!

 

Fave thing about being an author: 

I think just being lucky enough to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and to be able to make a living out of it.   I see many people unhappy at work, and I thank my stars that I am able to do this job.

 

Least fave: 

I’d like to have more time to set aside for poetry.  Sometimes a writer realises they are spending too much time in their own heads as well… and we need to get out an meet people (which is why promotion tours are a good thing!).  So less of the hermit would be a good, if not productive, thing too.

 

Reading:

I always read and always have.  When I was a boy, people would say that I always had my head buried in a book.  I read a lot of crime and thrillers – although never when I am writing my own.    Also general novels as well as a lot of biographies and non-fiction.

 

Top books: 

I am always cautious with this question, because there are so many answers!    But a general sweep would bring up mostly classics, I guess.   Let’s see … Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, I’d had a Sherlock Holmes, so The Hound of the Baskervilles, the one for Yorkshire, so it would have to be Wuthering Heights and I love The Go-Between, so that would be up there too.

 

Leisure time …

Clearly reading is leisurely too!  Then there is listening to music and travel.  Sitting outdoors watching and listening to nature is big on the list, both in the Dales and in the Canadian lakes.

 

I don’t really have any hobbies – only interests like music, travel and books

 

Top destination

Each place I visit is the new favourite!   But I am going back to Japan next year, so that must be the real favourite.  I find the mix of old and new there utterly fascinating and they have a wonderful flare for art and design.

 

Food –

Steak, frites and something chocolate for pudding

 

Drink –

A nice southern hemisphere red wine – or that is what I drink most!

 

What else would I do –

I would probably teach English lit at some level.   I do occasional workshops still – and I have taught some classes at the University of Toronto … but the timing of promotional tours nixed those!   The thing about teaching is that you constantly learn in a way that just reading books doesn’t lead to.  You need to challenge students with ideas and angles – which makes you explore the subject.   I do miss that to some extent.


 

Many thanks to Peter and to Kerry for facilitating this Q&A! 🙂

Categories
Books Q&A

Author Q&A- Mary Turner Thomson

Hey guys,

I’ve got another author q&a for you all today. Mary Turner Thomson kindly agreed to answer my questions for this one!

About the author:

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Mary Turner Thomson was born and grew up in Edinburgh, she got a BA Hons degree from Newcastle in Creative and Performing Arts in 1987, and a Marketing Diploma from Napier University in 1992.
She has worked as a business adviser, marketing consultant and motivational trainer before writing her first book – THE OTHER MRS JORDAN – IN 2006. That autobiography was then updated and reprinted as THE BIGAMIST in 2007. In 2009 Mary worked on another biography with Natalie Hutchison about overcoming adversity – TRADING PLACES – which was published in 2009.
Mary is currently working on her first novel – a psychological thriller.

www.maryturnerthomson.com

maryt@maryturnerthomson.com

Twitter         @TheBigamistBook

FaceBook    Mary Turner Thomson

 

About The Bigamist:

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In April 2006, Mary Turner Thomson received a call that blew her life apart. The woman on the other end of the line told her that Will Jordan, Mary’s husband and the father of her two younger children, had been married to her for fourteen years and they had five children together.

The Bigamist is the shocking true story of how one man manipulated an intelligent, independent woman, conning her out of £200,000 and leaving her to bring up the children he claimed he could never have.

It’s a story we all think could never happen to us, but this shameless con man has been doing the same thing to various other women for at least 27 years, spinning a tangled web of lies and deceit to cover his tracks.

How far would you go to help the man you love? How far would he go to deceive you? And what would you do when you found out it was all a lie?

 


Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Mary Turner Thomson and I am an author (of international best-selling book ‘The Bigamist’), trainer, and motivational speaker.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
If someone had asked me as a child what my dream job would be it would have been to be an author – but I never in a million years even articulated that dream because I never thought it remotely possible. It was only when the most extraordinary thing happened to me that I realized I had a story that simply had to be told. In 2006 I found out that my ‘husband’ – with whom I had been in a relationship for 6 years – was a bigamist and a con man who actively impregnates women to rip them off for money. So I investigated further and discovered a pattern of behavior which involved sometimes 5-6 relationships at once, 13 children by 6 different women, numerous businesses that he had defrauded and criminal convictions ranging back 23 years. All this from the seemingly mild-mannered, charming, kind man whom I had initially met (which had dissolved in our later relationship to my living in constant fear for my and our children’s lives from people he swore he was keeping us safe from). The book wrote itself in relating my relationship with this man, my discovery and understanding of sociopaths/psychopaths, as well as all the information I discovered including the other women’s and businesses stories.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
True life.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?
I have been told that it is ‘like watching a train crash in slow motion’. You know what is happening and scream ‘no!’ but can’t stop it. The most common response I get is that people ‘can’t put it down’.

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?
Absolutely!

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?
Being able to change perceptions about this type of crime, to raise awareness of psychopaths and how they function, and to change the social culture of ‘victim-shaming’ when this type of thing happens. 100 years ago women who were raped were branded ‘loose’ or must have ‘asked for it’ if they had worn the wrong clothes or smiled at the wrong man. Nowadays we ALL know that is wrong. When someone lies to you to get money it is called ‘fraud’ and illegal, and yet when a person lies to us to get sex (or create babies to manipulate someone) it is not even seen as a crime – unless money is also involved. That is fundamentally wrong.

People today are looking for love and when find a partner it is natural to trust them. Psychopaths use that, and quickly manipulate their victims into a position where they don’t question or doubt their partner. It is brainwashing and the psychopaths are cripplingly good at it! More so because the victim is branded ‘stupid’ if they admit what has happened. I had thought it more likely for me to win the lottery than be caught in the sights of a psychopath. I have since learnt that they make up about 1% of the population – that is 1 in 100 people! FAR more common that you would think!

I get letters a couple of times a week from people all over the world who have read my book thanking me for standing up and talking about this, because something similar happened to then and no-one has understood. Often they have remained silent on the subject and not told even close friends of the manipulation and emotional abuse because they are worried about being branded ‘stupid’, or ‘gullable,’ or ‘desperate’. In some cases my book has even woken victims up to what is happening so that they can get free of their psychopathic relationships. On several occasions victims of the same man have read my book and come to understand what has happed to them as well, contacting me afterwards to share stories and experiences.

Knowing I have helped those people, and made a difference is the best thing about being a published author.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?
Nothing – I love it all. I have always revered authors and to be classed amongst their ranks is an honour.

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?
I have several more books I want to write including a couple of novels (psychological thrillers of course). So watch this space!

What’s next for you?
More writing, more reading, more publishing, more life.

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?
I read a lot (every night) and don’t really stick to one genre.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?
Lucky by Alice Sebold
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Belgariad series by David Eddings
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?
Yes, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I swear that woman has a time machine and visits the places she writes about. I admire her style so much!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a single mum and run a business as well so time is a very precious commodity!

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?
I got my black belt in Taekwon Do in 2010. I started in 2006 – having put Will Jordan in jail and going public with the story I wanted to be sure I could defend myself if he should come seeking me out when he was released. So I do that to keep fit and strong. My kids do it as well and my two younger children have been selected to represent Scotland in the Pan-European ITS championships in July this year. So I spend a lot of a time as a TKD mum ferrying them to training sessions etc.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
A cottage in Arisaig on West Coast of Scotland. Family around, no electronics, the most stunning sunsets, not-too-freezing sea, card games and a fire to roast marshmallows on. Lush!

Favourite food?
My mother’s cooking – sadly not tasted for 10 years.

Favourite drink?
Wine

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?
Because there is magic in the written word, an immortality which transcends all other mediums. When we read a book we are not aware we are reading words printed on a page. We are transported into the story far more vividly than a dream so that it has a reality all of its own. It is timeless and revered and being part of that is a tremendous honour.


 

Huge thanks to Mary for this super-interesting Q&A! 🙂

Categories
Books Q&A

Author Q&A with Taryn Leigh

Hey guys,

I’ve got another author Q&A for you all today and it’s the turn of Taryn Leigh!

About Taryn:

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Taryn writes novels that have a mixture of Love, Mystery, Adventure and overcoming adversity.
Her influences include writers such as Karen Swan, Sidney Sheldon & Enid Blyton.

Taryn lives in South Africa with her husband, son and two Cocker Spaniels .

About Perfect Imperfections:

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Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa.
Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach.
Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence.

Click HERE to order your copy!


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I am born and raised in South Africa and currently live here with my husband, son and two cocker spaniels named Rocky and Cuddles. My book has been published in the UK and the plot is based in London and Durban, South Africa. Durban is the city I grew up in where my love for books began. I spent my school days with my nose buried in books in the library being transported to the magical places the Author took me to.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Writing is something I have always dreamt of, but wasn’t sure I could do. One evening while falling asleep the plot of Perfect Imperfections came to me in my dreams and I woke up and began working on the book. I fell in love with the Characters and they practically wrote themselves into the pages of the book.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Mainly from places I visit and people I meet. I love hearing people’s stories, and going to beautiful places. I also love having meaningful motivational conversations with people. It inspires me to be the best version of myself I can be.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

 

I write very descriptively as I want the reader to connect with the characters. As they read, each character needs to feel like an actual person that they have met. I include everyday things in the book to make the characters relatable and I also weave an element of mystery throughout the pages to make the reader turn for more. I try to transport each person on their own journey through the book, and let them feel as if they are in another world as they escape through the pages

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

It definitely does as we are a digital generation. We also take cues from what our peers are reading and most times do things based on their recommendations

 

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

 

I love hearing from people who have read my book and loved it. I love when they can relate to the characters, as that was my main intention as I wrote. I also get so excited when they send me pictures of them with the book as I feel as if I’m opening my very own present each time I see it.

 

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

 

So far there is nothing that is my least favorite thing.

 

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

 

I would love to be writing and having published two books per year by then. It would be wonderful

 

What’s next for you?

 

I am working on my next novel. Trying to get it finished so I can share it with the world.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I love to read. I love books that are adventurous, filled with strong characters and leave me feeling happy once I’m done. There are books I struggle to read, like Sci-fi and fantasy, but otherwise I will read pretty much anything.

 

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

 

My all time favorite books throughout my life have been:

Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

If tomorrow comes by Sidney Sheldon

The faraway tree by Enid Blyton

 

Recently I read The Secret Wife by Gill Paul and absolutely loved it. She had me convinced it was real. I even googled the events. Stunning book.

 

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

 

Christmas at Tiffany’s would definitely be that book for me. Karen Swan is such a brilliant writer, it astounds me.

 

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

 

Reading or relaxing in the park with my family. I also have a day job where I work in Procurement in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

 

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

 

To be honest, no. Books have always been my one and only hobby.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

My dream is to go to London, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland. Hopefully someday soon I could do that. Second to that would be to sit on the beach in Zanzibar

 

Favourite food?

 

My mother’s home cooked roast lamb with macaroni and cheese.

 

Favourite drink?

 

I love a good cup of tea or a quality cappuccino

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I think once I smelt the first pages of the first book I borrowed in the local library I knew I had found home. My two loves in life were books and interior design. Can’t imagine anything else. I’m grateful I get to do one of the things I love.


 

*Huge thanks to Taryn for taking part in my author Q&A! 🙂

Categories
Books Q&A

~Blog Tour Part 1~ Q&A with Jacqueline Chadwick

Hi everyone,

Today I’m doing something a little different to celebrate publication day for In The Still by Jacqueline Chadwick, the brilliant crime book published today by Fahrenheit Press. In this first post, I’ll be sharing a Q&A that I got to do with Jackie, and then later in the day, I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:


Jacqueline Chadwick is probably best known for her work in British soap operas.

Jackie appeared in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, as Tina Dingle from 1994–1996. For this role she was nominated for Most Popular Actress at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Jackie next appeared in Coronation Street in 1998 as factory machinist Linda Sykes. The storyline involving her character’s relationship with Mike Baldwin won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2001. She left Coronation Street in 2001.

In 2002 she relocated to Canada with her husband and family.

In The Still is her first novel.

You can follow her on twitter @JackieChaddy

About the book:

Jackie C

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist.

Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness.

In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

You can get your copy bu clicking the link below:

In The Still (Ali Dalglish Book 1) by Jacqueline Chadwick


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

At the risk of boring you to death: I am forty-two, Scottish, I have two children and too many dogs. I have a fabulous husband who is a firefighter. I grew up in Birmingham where I became an actress at the age of 11 and continued in that field until I was 26. I left acting to focus on motherhood and to homeschool my kids. I moved to Canada in 2009 were I work as a writer and miss the U.K. every day.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I have always loved writing. During my years as an actress, writing was my dirty little secretand I would sneak off to my dressing room and write plays and TV scripts and screenplays. Nowadays I like to write novels, especially ones that are just a little bit twisted.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my first novel, In The Still, was a combination of  two things: a secluded nature trail near my house and my husbands job as a first responder. I wanted to know, if a murder victim was discovered in the sleepy municipality where I now live, how would it be handled? Who would be first on scene? Would they bring in specialists? Then, once I started to describe the setting, it became clear to me that a killer could operate undetected for a long time, perhaps forever, in such a place as long as he chose his victims carefully and didnt get clumsy.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

I am fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I love to explore the notion of evil. I get excited writing things that are grim and sometimes uncomfortable. Im happy with certain chapters only when I have to take a break after writing to have a drink of water and let my nausea subside. My central character is a brilliant woman called Ali Dalglish but what I especially like about her is that she isnt perfect, she is flawed and about as far away from sorted as you can get.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Since In The Stillis my debut, I am green to the industry and to social media. Although Ive become totally addicted, I am a Twitter newbie and so youll have to ask me that one in the future.

 

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

Writing every day. It is my idea of heaven on earth. I love every moment of it from the first chapter to the very last.

 

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

Well, as I said before, Im learning as I go but I have noticed that, once your work is out there, you have frequent moments of self-doubt and sheer panic. However, thus far its been nothing a glass of wine cant fix.

 

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

Id like to have written another five books.

 

What’s next for you?

Briefly Maidenand Silent Sisters(books two and three in the Ali Dalglish series) are being published by Fahrenheit Press later this year and Im currently working on a fourth thats set in Britain because Im just so damn homesick.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read every day. At the moment Im working my way through the works of the Fahrenheit Press family and Im thoroughly enjoying them all. Crime fiction is my favourite genre and always has been since I was little but I like to read a mix of styles and genres, both modern and classic.

 

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

There are many books I love but one in particular stands out as my favourite: Hannibalby Thomas Harris. I remember reading it on the train and my face getting hot as Harris introduces Mason Verger, it was the first time I had to shut a book just to steel myself for more.

 

 

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

Hannibal.

 

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

I have always homeschooled my kids. My daughter is twenty and so shes all done but I still work with my son, Jamie. Theres always crap to do around the house (especially with four dogs) but nowadays I can slip off to my desk, dive into a new chapter and leave it for tomorrow.

 

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

Oil painting and furniture restoration although, since Ali Dalglish took up residence in my skull, I havent done either for a while.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

My husband and I have always taken the kids to Disney but right now, given the chance, Id go to Britain – Im dying for a proper fish supper, some tattie scones and as much Irn Bru as I can take.

 

Favourite food?

As above!!!

 

Favourite drink?

I love beer but its too fattening (Im five foot and so every pound just takes me closer to that barrel-shape Im genetically destined for) so I stick to vodka and cranberry and the odd glass (bottle) of red.

 

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Whenever I dont write, even if for just a few days, I go more than a little bit crazy. Its something I am compelled to do. I bloody love it!


Huge thanks to Jackie for answering my questions! 🙂

Make sure to check back in later to read my review for her brilliant debut, In The Still…

Categories
Books Q&A

Author Q&A~ Daniel Culver

Hi all,

In another of my author Q&A posts, today sees the turn of Daniel Culver. Daniel was recently signed to new publishers, Manatee Books so I’m thrilled that he’s taken the time to answer my questions!

About Daniel:

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Daniel Culver is a writer and editor, currently living and working in east London, having spent his formative years fluttering between the council estates of Essex and the wilds of Asia and the Americas.

He is an alumnus of both Faber Academy and Curtis Brown Creative and his quirky, crime debut will be published in March 2018.


And now read on to find out a bit more about Daniel…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I’m a writer from North London – originally from Essex – and I’m due to publish my debut novel with Manatee Books early next year. I’m a single parent and I also have two cats. I left school when I was fifteen with no qualifications; I didn’t care much for school, though, I always wanted to be a writer. It was around this time I wrote my first book on an old typewriter my mum bought me, but I gave up half-way through (authors DNF too). I’m an editor now (which is ironic considering I couldn’t spell for toffee as a teenager).

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I’ve always loved film and television and, despite being school-averse, I’ve always loved creating things. I used to write song lyrics as a kid and was in a few bands (which were terrible), but I enjoyed the wordplay. Writing novels is just an extension of that (and also a clichéd two fingers up to all of the teachers and peers who thought I’d probably be a crack addict by now).  

 

How did you hear about Manatee Books and can you tell us about your journey with them so far?

 

I started shopping my debut novel – White Midnight – around and I’d just joined Twitter as well. Not long after, I saw a bunch of tweets mentioning this new venture, and everyone had nothing but praise for Lisa and Liz (L2). So I sent them a couple of chapters and they wrote back the following day and asked to see more. Two days after submitting they contacted me and said they’d like to work together, which was amazing, and I was blown away by their efficiency; they had clearly ready the whole manuscript, and despite having interest elsewhere, Manatee felt like the perfect fit for my novel and me – they have been so supportive. (Also, I once met two Manatee Scientists in Guatemala and we bribed the guards of Tikal – the Mayan temple – then spent the night there, where I learned all about Manatee conservation, so I liked the name, too). Plus, I’ve always been drawn to indies and I know my novel is on the quirky side of commercial, so it was great to have someone respond so well to it; there was no doubt either side, which is quite rare in this business.  

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

I’m not actually sure, to be honest. I definitely have an abstract mind and absurd things just come into my head at random times of the day. I usually get told off for saying them out loud, so writing them down gives me the luxury of editing them later. I’m definitely drawn to the seedier side of life (as a writer, I mean). I’ve also lived in some colourful places and have done a lot of travelling, so I have a lot stored mentally and things usually just fall out on their own. Mainly ideas for characters or strange situations that drive the story.

How would you describe your writing?

 

Odd, abstract. Slightly quirky. If I had to place it within the realm of publishing, I’d say I wrote literary thrillers / literary crime with a satirical bent.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

I used to be social media-averse, but after being urged to join Twitter, I see how invaluable it is for writers and the publishing industry, also. Some writers go OTT with self-promotion, which I am not so keen on, but it’s a great platform to share and writer folk seem to be incredibly supportive of one another, which is great. I’ve definitely been won over.

 

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

 

Making stuff up. It’s like a puzzle you create for your own amusement – you spend months creating these obscure vignettes; pieces that don’t seem to fit together, and then you’ll pull something out of the hat – this little strand sprinkled with magic – and suddenly everything fits together and then you sit and feel smug about it for five minutes … until you find another hole that needs plugging.

 

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

 

Definitely waiting. Everything in publishing is so slow and I have limited patience and a short attention span, which means I’m already thinking about the next thing I’m going to write.

 

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

 

I’d like to have a few books under my belt, maybe some teaching, too. I’ve learned so much from being part of the Faber Academy and have had a pretty unique route to becoming published, so think I’ve got a fair bit to share. Also a movie deal. I would absolutely love to force my opinions on a director and make them ‘let me’ write the screenplay.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’ve just finished the first draft of my second book and have (at least) two more up my sleeve, so I’ll just keep going until someone tells me to stop. I’ve also just written my first short story, which was a big challenge, as I do like to go on.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

I tend to read in bouts. When I was younger, I used to read a lot – mainly Tintin, and then everything John Grisham and Ben Elton had written. Now I’m pretty selective and I tend to be drawn toward the literary side of crime: anything from transgressive fiction to Booker winners.   

 

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

 

Favourite book ever is probably The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga; top five would be that, plus No Country for Old Men, Shutter Island, The Silence of the Lambs and The Sisters Brothers.

 

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

 

Fight Club – such a simple idea that became a phenomenon. Or Fifty Shades (for the cash, of course).

 

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

 

I work as an editor, so if I’m not writing, usually I’m editing something, or reading. That or playing with my cats.  

 

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

 

I cycle, go to the gym; I used to surf and have travelled a lot, but writing two back-to-back books has left me a veritable hermit for two years.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

NYC all day long (Brooklyn, if we’re being specific, and Coney Island if we’re being really specific).

 

Favourite food?

 

In & Out Burger.

 

Favourite drink?

Root Beer

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I really don’t know. I tried to be an artist once, but gave up because the artworld is run by cretins who know nothing about art. I was never very academic, but I just love how language can be manipulated in a million different ways, to convey a million different things. I think writing a mystery novel is the ultimate puzzle, not just for the reader, but the writer, too. Ultimately, I was just not good enough at anything else, while writing feels comfortable and even when I look over the huge literary fuck-ball of my first vomit draft, I still feel like I’m in complete control.


Huge thanks to Daniel for taking part, and of course to Liz and Lisa at Manatee Books for setting this up! 🙂

Manatee Books info :

Manatee Books was set up in 2017, by best-selling author Lisa Hall in conjunction with blogger turned freelance publishing guru Liz Barnsley.  Their aim is to bring top quality fiction to the digital market. They are a small outfit, intent on publishing only the best of crime and women’s fiction. Their focus is on building the author brand, ensuring that all of their authors receive bestseller treatment through a strong marketing strategy and the knowledge that the Manatee Books team are there to support them through the entire publication journey.

Categories
Blog Tour Books Q&A

~Blog Tour Q&A with Claire MacLeary

Hi everyone,

Today I get to share a Q&A I did with Claire MacLeary. Claire’s debut novel, Cross Purpose, has recently been longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017.

About Claire:

Claire MacLeary.jpg

Claire MacLeary lived for many years in Aberdeen and St Andrews, but describes herself as “a feisty Glaswegian with a full life to draw on”. Following a career in business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the University of Dundee and her short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She has appeared at Granite Noir, Noir at the Bar and other literary events. Claire’s debut novel, Cross Purpose, has been longlisted for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017. She is now working on Burnout, the sequel to Cross Purpose.

About Cross Purpose:

Cross Purpose.jpg

Two Women, One Quest, Grave Consequences When Maggie Laird’s disgraced ex-cop husband suddenly dies, her humdrum suburban life is turned upside down. With the bills mounting, she takes on his struggling detective agency, enlisting the help of neighbour ‘Big Wilma’. And so an unlikely partnership is born. But the discovery of a crudely mutilated body soon raises the stakes… and Maggie and Wilma are drawn into an unknown world of Aberdeen’s sink estates, clandestine childminding and dodgy dealers.
Cross Purpose is surprising, gritty, sometimes darkly humorous – a tale combining police corruption, gangs and murder with a paean to friendship, loyalty and how ‘women of a certain age’ can beat the odds.

Click HERE to get your copy!


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

A native Glaswegian, I’ve lived in Edinburgh, London, Aberdeen and Fife. Married to Alistair with two grown-up children, I now divide my time between Glasgow’s vibrant West End and St Andrews on the east coast.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

English was my first love throughout my schooling, I read English at university, and I’ve always written, be it advertising copy, training manuals or short stories. Raising a family and a business career diverted my attention. It was only when my children were at senior school that I returned to writing, first attending P/T classes then pursuing a MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Dundee.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Life! I’m curious about the world. I read: books, newspapers, adverts. Listen: to snatched conversations on public transport, in cafes and pubs. Observe. It’s amazing what you can pick up.

I ask questions: people are intrigued to talk to a crime writer and generous with their time.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

 

Strong. My debut crime duo, Cross Purpose, is generally described as ‘dark’ both in its subject matter and language.

Spare. My style is pared down. I try to make every word count, and leave a lot unsaid.

Funny. I feel it’s important to lighten the darkness with humour. Wilma, one of my two main protagonists, is larger than life, and has attracted a fan following.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

I’m sure it’s beneficial, especially if employed to the max. Sadly, I’m a bit of a dinosaur. My kids have helped with my website and Facebook author page. I confine myself largely to Twitter, which has been a huge help in connecting with author resources, with other writers and with the network of book bloggers, who do such a great job of getting our books out there.

 

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

 

Spending my days indulging my imagination.

 

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

 

The edit: when my wildest imaginings hit the dust!

 

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

 

Four books in the Harcus & Laird series and a literary novel rescued from the bottom drawer.

No pressure!

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’ve completed the first draft of Burnout, the sequel to Cross Purpose, and am fortunate to have Russel McLean as editor. Burnout is scheduled to launch at the beginning of next year.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I have always read avidly: the classics, literary fiction. These days I tend to read crime at night, mostly Tartan Noir, but also Scandi and European crime. In the morning I try to read a short story -Edith Pearlman, Lorrie Moore – to inspire me to write better.

 

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

 

In my teens, I would have said the book that moved me most was Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant. Now, I’d say The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields.

My top 5 would be for different attributes: Chekov for short stories, Jayne Anne Phillips for dense, lyrical prose, Alice Munro for close observation, William Boyd for the breadth of his vocabulary and his compassion. And for crime, Wiiliam McIlvanney – a giant of a man, his Laidlaw the benchmark for Tartan Noir.

 

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

 

Too many. Think Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, anything by Carol Shields or William Boyd. As to crime, I greatly admire the late PD James, and Louise Welsh’s The Bullet Trick is both cleverly plotted and beautifully written.

 

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

 

Fiddling with words. I like to do crosswords and word games. Bit sad, really!

 

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

 

I love to travel. Over the past few years I’ve visited Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, New Zealand, Cuba and Bhutan.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

India. I’ve visited several times and would go there every year if I could. I love the vibrancy, both of colour and action. Everything is constantly on the move.

 

Favourite food?

 

Anything I don’t have to cook.

 

Favourite drink?

 

Red wine.

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I’ve done lots of other jobs: advertising executive, training consultant, antiques dealer, property developer. I always return to writing. There’s something very satisfying in producing the perfect sentence, even if – annoyingly – my editor later strikes it out!


 

Huge thanks to Claire for taking the time to answer my questions, and heartiest congratulations on being longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award 2017.

 Make sure to catch up with the blog tour: