~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:

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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:


The Detriment Publication Day Q&A with David Videcette

Hey everyone,

Today I’m delighted to have a Q&A with David Videcette, author of The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment. I read and loved The Theseus Paradox (review HERE) and I was thrilled to be able to read The Detriment pre-release. My review for that will be up soon too!

About David:

David Videcette, former detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch.

“I went out to work one day and came home two weeks later wearing the same clothes and with fifty-six people dead.”

A former Scotland Yard investigator with the Metropolitan Police, David has worked on a wealth of infamous cases. He’s chased numerous dangerous criminals, entered and searched hundreds of properties and interviewed thousands of witnesses.

With twenty years’ police experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, David was a detective on the Anti-Terrorist Branch during the 7/7 London bombings in July 2005.

Today he uses his police experience in his writing, as the author of a series of detective novels starring DI Jake Flannagan. ‘The Theseus Paradox’ is the first novel in the series. The truth behind the fiction was investigated by The Sunday Telegraph and ITV News.
DI Jake Flannagan returns in ‘The Detriment’.

David lives in London. He currently consults on security operations for high-net-worth individuals and is a key media commentator on crime, terrorism and policing for many broadcasters and newspapers, both nationally and internationally.

You can find out more about him here:

Visit his website at: www.DavidVidecette.com/about-david
Chat to him on Twitter: @DavidVidecette
Say hello via Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidVidecette

About The Detriment:

The Detriment.jpg

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

Click HERE to get your copy of The Detriment!


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a crime fighter turned crime writer. I spent twenty years as a detective with Scotland Yard. Now I write thrillers based around true events.

 

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

Much of my police career was spent in specialist operations and counter-terror units. I experienced some incredible things during my service, along with the darkest sides of humanity and pure evil. The Official Secrets Act forbids me from writing an autobiography – so I use my detective experiences in my crime fiction writing instead. I leave it up to the reader to decide how much is fiction and how much is fact…

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My books are based on real-life crimes and many real-life investigations I’ve been involved with. I like to give readers new insights into infamous cases that they will have seen on the news. It’s all about providing a different perspective on things we all thought we understood. I want to change the way we look back on things because all is not always as it seems.

 

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

My writing is as close to crime fact as crime fiction ever gets. You see the world through the eyes of Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan. You get the evidence in the same way and the same order that a real officer working on a case would. You get to experience first-hand the frustrations, the hard work and determination that it often takes to solve some of the most infamous crimes of our times. And Jake will give you new theories on the cases, as told from an insider’s perspective  

 

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

Social media can certainly be a positive force in terms of book promotion and building a platform as an author. Working with the book-blogging community, you can definitely see how well-received books take off. A new release can soar if enough influencers recommend it on social media and subsequent readers also go on to really enjoy it. It’s like word of mouth but in the virtual world!

 

 

What’s your favourite thing about being an author?

There’s nothing better than hearing a complete stranger say you’ve opened their eyes to a brand new perspective on events they’d taken for granted. I’ve had some fantastic feedback from all corners of the globe. Hearing a reader in Australia rave about the book you’ve just released, or speaking to a radio interviewer in Canada who wants to know if you did that chase scene in real life. Those experiences are truly an amazing feeling – to think that you’ve given someone pleasure, entertainment and shared some new knowledge with them. Those are things I never foresaw when I started to write my first novel.

 

I’m also delighted to be working with a charity called the Police Dependants’ Trust. Sales and downloads of my crime thrillers are supporting the mental health of police officers and their families following traumatic events. Highlighting the issue of mental wellbeing in the emergency services is really important to me. If my books can do that, whilst raising money for charity at the same time, that’s an amazing bonus. I’ve also been lucky enough to speak as an ambassador for the 7/7 Tavistock Square Memorial Trust alongside families and other emergency services personnel who were affected by the 7/7 London bombings. Giving something back and sharing the benefit of my experiences are something that I wouldn’t swap for the world.

 

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

I’m not a massive fan of red-tape, admin and paperwork and that probably lends itself to my lead character Jake, as well.  As a detective, Jake doesn’t like to stick to the rules and can sometimes cross the line. I always say that to catch a bad guy, you have to think like a bad guy, and that’s why the best detectives always have a dark side. Therefore, I do have some readers who take an instant dislike to him and/or believe he’s a made-up cliché of a troubled detective – and they will vehemently say so! Mind you, because I write based on my own policing experiences, I know exactly what it takes to get results and just how much of my books are the truth. And they don’t…

 

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

I want to continue building on the fan base and audience and increase the number of Detective Jake Flanagan books in the series. I’ve got many more adventures to share with readers, so there’s a lot more to come from him.  

 

 

What’s next for you?

I’m working on the third DI Jake Flannagan book, which currently sees Jake working abroad, investigating infamous events you will have seen on the TV. I’m also working on another top secret project which may turn into a non-fiction book, and/or possibly a TV documentary.  And I’m appearing at the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in September.

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

I’m definitely a voracious reader. I read every spare moment I get, but the majority of it is non-fiction – white papers, court documents, public inquiries, news reports, police statements, witness evidence, post mortems, I could go on… All work related and/or research for the next twenty books!

 

If I have to relax, I will sometimes grab an Ian Rankin or Patricia Cornwell. To really switch off though, I much prefer to go to the cinema, sit in a dark, air-conditioned movie theatre and allow myself to completely suspend disbelief for a couple of hours, uninterrupted. There’s not much I haven’t seen, or won’t watch. I find films a great way of breaking writer’s block.

 

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

Andy McNab’s Bravo Two Zero – that really put the fact/fiction blend on the map.  The book is a partially fictionalised account of an SAS patrol behind enemy lines in Iraq, in 1991. The controversy surrounding it led to a whole host of other books being written about what was and wasn’t the truth.

 

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

A lot of my time involves working with the media, commentating on crime and terrorism for news outlets such as the BBC, Sky and ITV. I also provide a consultancy service for fellow authors who want help with the policing elements of their books.

 

When I’m not doing that, I enjoy spending time with my two girls, doing the usual dad stuff such as shopping and taxi driving.  On a rare day off from all of the above, I will try and catch the latest exhibition at one of London’s art galleries or museums. I’m also known to enjoy a bit of photography. I like to document what I see when I’m out and about on my Instagram feed.

 

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I’ve visited some amazing in the places in the world, but I’d still come back to my domestic favourite. It takes some beating because of the happy childhood memories it evokes – St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.  

 

Favourite food?

Depends what time and day you ask me this question! Today it would be sushi, perhaps Thai or a simple burger and chips.

 

Favourite drink?

I’m partial to a bit of Jameson Irish whiskey – but I’m just as happy trying out new wines, cocktails or the latest craft beer. When I’m writing, it has to be black tea, no sugar.

 

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

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work in TV – reconstructing crimes with ‘Crimewatch’, consulting on ‘The Bill’ and working on documentaries for the BBC. So I guess that writing was a natural extension of that crossover between crime fact and crime fiction.  But at heart, I’ll always be a detective. Policing is what my father did. It’s in my blood. Writing for me is just a way of solving more cases, albeit in book format.

 

Find out more about David here or take a look at all his books on Amazon. Chat to him on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram. And if you’d like the chance to win a signed paperback copy of his next book, you can enter your email address here to go into the hat each time he has a new release out.

 

The Theseus Paradox is available to buy worldwide on Kindle or in paperback at Amazon, or for those down under – via The Book Depository with free international delivery.

The Detriment is out TODAY and can be ordered on Kindle or at The Book Depository.


My thanks to David for answering my questions. Make sure to keep an eye out for my review of The Detriment in July!

Q&A with Louise Hutcheson

Hi guys,

Today I’m delighted to bring you another author Q&A, this time with Louise Hutcheson. Louise is the author of The Paper Cell, which is published by Contraband.

About the book:

TPC.jpg

From the publisher of Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project, the first in a new series of distinctive, standalone crime stories, each with a literary bent. In 1950s London, a literary agent finds fame when he secretly steals a young woman’s brilliant novel manuscript and publishes it under his own name, Lewis Carson. Two days after their meeting, the woman is found strangled on Peckham Rye Common: did Lewis purloin the manuscript as an act of callous opportunism, or as the spoils of a calculated murder?

The Paper Cell by Louise Hutcheson

About the author:

Louise Hutcheson has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow. She works in broadcast and digital media and is a freelance editor who has edited a number of crime novels and other fiction. Louise also created and runs a highly respected review site for new fiction.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a Glasgow-based crime fiction editor who’s hopped the fence to start writing my own novels. For years, championing other people’s books was my bread and butter: I’ve worked in libraries, as a literary researcher, in publishing and in media, so it’s exhilarating to experience things from the author’s side for the first time.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I didn’t gain the confidence to actually pursue my writing more seriously until my late twenties, and in lots of ways, I’m glad. I don’t think I was ready before that.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my debut novel came from my own life: I was working at a publishing house, where one of my duties was to assess manuscript submissions. Upon coming across one I really rated, I joked to a colleague that I might steal it. Instead, I wrote my own novel about a publishing assistant who (you got it) steals a young woman’s literary manuscript.

Aside from that, I read a lot. I have no compunction in telling you that I draw inspiration from the writers I’m reading, particularly the likes of Muriel Spark and Patricia Highsmith.

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

Waspish, feminist, literary crime with a retro feel.

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

Absolutely. Social media allows readers and writers to engage on a personal level that marketing campaigns just can’t match. Most of the books I buy, I buy based on the blogs and conversations I see on Twitter, not because I saw an ad on the subway.

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

As I’m just about to publish my debut novel, I haven’t yet experienced all the hoopla that comes with being an author. For now, I’ll say the writing process itself. I love world-building and getting to know a character, drinking tea and writing into the small hours. I’m just a bit in love with the act of storytelling.

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

Anxiety. I worry constantly that readers won’t find anything of value in the book, and that would be thoroughly heartbreaking for me.

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

It took me four years to write my first book, so…factoring in contract negotiation, editing and general procrastination, here’s hoping I’ll have book 2 under my belt!

What’s next for you?

The Paper Cell is launched on 23 June and I’ll be devoting all my time and passion to that. I’m not quite ready to think about writing the next book, but I’m sure the mania will take hold of me soon enough.

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

 

God, yes. I read on the subway, on my lunch breaks, in bed, in cafes and pubs – basically whenever/wherever I can. I read a lot of crime and some fantasy, and I have favourite authors who I return to often, such as Ian McEwan, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark and Kate Atkinson.

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

 

My all-time favourite book is A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé. It’s a French novel, a beautiful love letter to books and how essential they are to our lives.

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

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet is a criminally underrated novel, and I desperately wish I had written it. It’s all wine and coffee and a very French detective, and it’s utterly compelling. Graeme went on to be shortlisted for the Booker for his second novel, but I’ll always be jealous of Adèle Bedeau.

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

 

I have a day job in tech, which I love, and I’ve been spending a lot of time recently learning how to code. I’m not very good, but it’s challenging and fun.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book related?

I love to cook. My favourite way to spend a Sunday is to devote the entire afternoon to cooking something special. Preferably with a nice bottle of red to accompany the whole endeavour!

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Islay, for its beautiful surroundings, delicious seafood and peaty whisky.

Favourite food?

I’m anyone’s for a bowl of pasta.

Favourite drink?

Either a dram of Lagavulin or a glass of red.

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

 

I’m going to cheat here and end on a quote from my favourite novel. As mentioned above, this is from A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé, and it’s a more eloquent answer than I could ever provide:

“Novels don’t contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched. There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It’s a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who would say no, that literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature performs, instructs, it prepares you for life.”


Huge thanks to Louise for answering my questions 🙂

Q&A with Chris Ewan

Hi all,

Today I’m delighted to share a Q&A I did with Chris Ewan recently to coincide with the release of The Good Thief’s Guide books. Here’s the all-important bookish information for you guys to have a look!

About the author:

Chris Ewan.jpg

Chris Ewan is the author of the popular GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO … series of mysteries about globetrotting crime writer and thief-for-hire, Charlie Howard. The series has been praised as “crime writing at its best” (Sydney Morning Herald) and a “delightful series” (The Seattle Times) and comprises THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM (winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Award), THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO PARIS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VEGAS, THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VENICE and THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO BERLIN.

Chris’s critically acclaimed standalone thrillers include the major bestseller SAFE HOUSE (which has sold more than 500,000 copies in the UK and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award), DEAD LINE (which is optioned for film), DARK TIDES (an Observer “Thriller of the Month”) and LONG TIME LOST (a “masterful thriller” The Independent). He is also the author of the Kindle Single story SCARLETT POINT which, like many of Chris’s thrillers, is set on the Isle of Man.

In 2011, Chris was voted one of America’s favourite British authors by a Huffington Post poll and in 2017 he was longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library.

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in American Studies with a minor in Canadian Literature, and later trained as a lawyer. After an eleven-year spell living on the Isle of Man, he now lives in Somerset, England with his wife, children and labrador, where he writes full time.

Chris loves to hear from his readers and always responds to every email he receives. You can find out more at http://www.chrisewan.com, where you can also sign up to Chris’s newsletter to receive advance information about new books, enter competitions and giveaways and be sent a FREE Good Thief’s Guide short story.

Come say hello to Chris on Twitter @chrisewan or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chrisewanauthor

About the books:
TGTG.jpg

Meet Charlie Howard. He doesn’t just write books about a career thief, he also happens to be one.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam

In Amsterdam working on his latest novel, Charlie Howard is approached by a mysterious American who asks him to steal two apparently worthless monkey figurines from two separate addresses on the same night. At first he says no. Then he changes his mind. Only later, kidnapped and bound to a chair, the American very dead and a spell in police custody behind him, does Charlie begin to realise how costly a mistake he might have made.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris

Charlie is flush with the success of his Paris book reading when he agrees to show a complete novice how to break into an apartment. The next day, Charlie’s fence hires him to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting – from the same address. Mere coincidence? Charlie figures there’s no harm in finding out – until a dead body turns up in his living room.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas

Charlie is in for a tough vacation in Las Vegas. Losing heavily at poker is one thing, but to find his literary agent, Victoria, being charmed by the Fifty-Fifty casino resort’s star magician, Josh Masters, is another irritation entirely. Still, Charlie’s not one to hold a grudge, least of all when he could be holding Masters’ wallet. With access to the magician’s deluxe suite now tantalizingly at hand, a spot of burglary seems to be in order and Charlie’s only too happy to oblige. Problem is, everything’s bigger in Sin City – including the fall-out from petty crimes.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice

Charlie has gone straight. But holing himself up in a crumbling palazzo in Venice in an attempt to concentrate on his next novel hasn’t got rid of the itch in his fingers. And to make matters worse, a striking Italian beauty has just broken into his apartment and made off with his most prized possession, leaving a puzzling calling card in its place. Sneaking out into Venice’s maze of murky canals, Charlie’s attempts to tame a cat burglar embroil him in a plot that is far bigger and more explosive than he could ever have imagined.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin

Charlie is back in the saddle, robbing the people of Berlin blind. But his larcenous binge is about to be interrupted by a call to duty – on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government. A sensitive item has been stolen from inside the British embassy in Berlin. Four employees are suspected of the theft and Charlie is hired to discreetly break into each of their homes, identify the guilty culprit and steal the item back. There’s just one problem: the item is so sensitive that Charlie can’t be told what it is. But how do you find something when you don’t know what you’re searching for? And what do you do if you witness a murder during your first break in?

*The books are currently available in a box set, which you can see here, or you can pop over to Chris’s Amazon Page to see them individually. 
* The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam (book 1) is currently only 99p, click here to check out the book!

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Sure. I’m the author of nine crime and thriller novels. My Good Thief’s Guide To … series of mystery novels about globetrotting crime writer and burglar-for-hire Charlie Howard have been published in thirteen countries and optioned for television three times. My first standalone thriller, Safe House, was set on the Isle of Man where I lived for 11 years. To date, it’s sold more than 500,000 copies in the UK and was shortlisted for the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. My other standalone thrillers include Dead Line, Dark Tides and Long Time Lost. Nowadays I write full-time and live in Somerset with my wife and two kids where I’m hard at work at my next book.

 

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

 

I always loved writing and reading but I had no idea how to go about becoming a writer or if it was even possible to get published. That only changed when I read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road at university and decided to have a go at writing my first novel. It only took me ten years and three more books to get my break!

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Everywhere, really. Stories in the news, things I read about or see on TV, rumours I’ve heard or myths I’m aware of. Usually I start out by deciding broadly what kind of story I’d like to tell and then I try to think of a fresh and inventive way of telling it.

 

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

 

I always find that a hard question to answer but I guess I’d hope that readers would find my books to be punchy and fast paced, filled with twists and reveals and stuffed with colourful characters. I’d like to think there’s some sly humour in there, too.

 

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

 

It definitely can’t hurt but the main benefit to me is interacting with other people who happen to be real (rather than the imaginary characters in my head). That said, I think the most important thing any writer can do is concentrate on their writing and the stories they want to tell.

 

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

 

Tragically, it’s the writing itself – when it’s going well. There’s nothing better.

 

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

 

I really don’t have any complaints. There are always more things I’d like to write – the only problem, really, is finding the time to get to everything.

 

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

 

If the past ten years have taught me anything, it’s that the future of any writing career is impossible to predict. I’d like to think I’ll be publishing more books and more readers will want to read them. I hope so, anyway.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I am just now finishing a new book that will be off on submission before long. After that … another book! And possibly this time it will be a new Good Thief’s Guide mystery. I really want to move the Good Thief on to a new city and a new adventure.

 

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

 

I read as much as I can and much of what I read is crime fiction and thrillers. These days, with two young children and lots of writing to do, I don’t read quite as much as I used to but I still read every day and miss it if I don’t.

 

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

 

My all time favourite is and will probably always be Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye.

 

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

 

Yes. Lots! But probably the reason I wish I’d written them is that I know they’re books I could never have written in the first place.

 

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

 

Driving the people around me a bit nuts because I’m not writing …

 

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

 

I like to travel (which is a fancy way of saying I like to go on holiday). I love watching movies and catching up with the latest TV shows. And I realize I should put some form of exercise here – I must start to exercise!

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

Ooh, tricky. California, maybe. No, Toronto. No, Amsterdam. I can’t decide!

 

Favourite food?

 

Shepherd’s Pie.

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee.

 

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

 

Oh, I ask myself this pretty much every day. Believe me!


 

Huge thanks to the lovely Chris Ewan for answering my questions! 🙂

Q&A with David Jackson #HopeToDie

Hi everyone,

So, Hope To Die has been on my TBR and I am working my way to it, but I didn’t reach it in time for publication. But I do get to have David Jackson answer some questions for you guys today! 🙂

About the book:

Hope to Die

On a bitterly cold winter’s night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city’s Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage.

Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic – no-one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder.

And Cody has other things on his mind too. The ghosts of his past are coming ever closer, and – still bearing the physical and mental scars – it’s all he can do to hold onto his sanity.

And then the killer strikes again . . .

Buy the book:

Hope To Die by David Jackson

 

Q&A with David Jackson:

Jackson, Dave

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I think I have a split personality, and both halves of me may sound a little unsettling. By day I play the mad scientist, where I breed, evolve and mutate computer programs. By night I play God, populating fantasy worlds with people who are forced to do my bidding (mwahahaa!)

 

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

No, it never crossed my mind to be a writer until a few years ago. I’ve always loved reading, though, and writers’ lives fascinate me. One day, feeling bored, I thought I’d give it a whirl. I began with short stories, and that’s when the bug took hold and refused to let go.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere and everyone. There are certain writers I admire, and they influence my style, but the inspiration for stories is all around. I think it’s a question of looking at the world in a certain distorted way. You take life as it is, and then you knead it and twist it and stretch it until it becomes the stuff of a story.

 

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

Fast paced, but with the focus on character. I do my utmost to make my characters feel real to the reader, and that goes for minor characters too. I have also been told that my writing is very cinematic and visual. (That’s a hint to any TV companies reading this).

 

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

Yes, I think it can. There is only so much a lone author can do, but the right push from a publisher can really help to spread the word. Especially important these days are the book bloggers and reviewers, whose enthusiasm can create quite a buzz.

 

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

I think it has to be the enthusiasm of fans. There aren’t many things we do in life that stirs up fascination in others, but being an author is one of them. There is nothing nicer than receiving an email or a comment from someone who has read and loved one of my books.

 

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

Idiotic reviews.

 

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

I try not to have unrealistic expectations. I don’t expect to be rich or famous, but I’d like to see a steady progression. I’ll be more than happy if people are still enjoying my books and I still enjoy writing them.

 

What’s next for you?

You’re the first to ask, so you get the scoop! I’ve just signed a contract with Bonnier to produce two more Cody books. ‘Hope to Die’ is only just coming out, but I’m already really excited about book 3 (more to the point, so is Bonnier!)

*EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!* I am so excited!!!!

 

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

I don’t think you can be a half-decent writer unless you read a lot. I read all kinds of things, fact and fiction. To give you an idea, I’m currently reading ‘Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough, but I’ve also recently read a history of World War II, a biography, a book on Shakespeare, and a James Bond novel.

 

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

I think it would have to be ‘Cop Hater’ by Ed McBain. McBain’s 87th Precinct novels were a huge influence on me, and the whole series occupies pride of place on my shelves. ‘Cop Hater’ is not the best in the series, but it was the first, and so deserves singling out for that reason.

 

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

There are so many, but perhaps ‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler. The writing is superb, of course, but what I really love about the Marlowe books is the humour, which can be a tricky thing to pull off. A wonderful example is at the start of the novel, where Carmen says to Marlowe, ‘Tall, aren’t you?’ and he replies, ‘I didn’t mean to be.’

 

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

As I mentioned above, I have a day job, so with that and the writing, very little of my time is spare. What there is of it, I devote to my family.

 

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

I love a good walk, a good meal, and a good movie. A perfect day for me is one that contains all three.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Again, so many, for very different reasons. I think I’d have to plump for Canada, which seems to have everything and does it in a civilized way.

 

Favourite food?

Fish, particularly shellfish. I make a mean prawn curry.

 

Favourite drink?

A nice silky-smooth pint of bitter.


Big thanks to Dave for answering my questions today. It’s always great having you on the blog!

A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson

 

*Blog Tour* Dog Fight by Michael J. Malone

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Dog Fight by Michael J. Malone and I get to share a guest q&a with you all today. First though, here’s all of the bookish info!

About the book:

Dog  Fight.jpg

Kenny O’Neill, a villain with a conscience, returns in a hard-hitting thriller of exploitation, corruption and criminal gangs. When Kenny’s cousin, Ian, comes to the aid of a fellow ex-squaddie in a heap of trouble, he gets caught up in the vicious underground fight scene, where callous criminals prey on the vulnerable, damaged and homeless. With Ian in too deep to escape, Kenny has no option other than to infiltrate the gang for the sake of his family. Kenny is an experienced MMA fighter, as tough as they come, but has he found himself in the one fight he can never win?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

Michael J Malone.jpg

Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don’t ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com and his blog, May Contain Nuts can be found at http://mickmal1.blogspot.com/

He can be found on twitter – @michaelJmalone1

Q&A:

We never start on a question – this is your chance to introduce yourself and tell us about Dog Fight.

Cool. The blurb runs thusly – Kenny O’Neill, a villain with a conscience, returns in a hard-hitting thriller of exploitation, corruption and criminal gangs. When Kenny’s cousin, Ian, comes to the aid of a fellow ex-squaddie in a heap of trouble, he gets caught up in the vicious underground fight scene, where callous criminals prey on the vulnerable, damaged and homeless. With Ian in too deep to escape, Kenny has no option other than to infiltrate the gang for the sake of his family. Kenny is an experienced MMA fighter, as tough as they come, but has he found himself in the one fight he can never win?

 

What do we need to know about Kenny O’Neill?  Dog Fight is not his first appearance, does he have baggage?

Our Kenny first appeared in Blood Tears alongside his bezzie-mate, Ray McBain and he has appeared in every one of those novels. He took centre stage in Beyond the Rage and does so again in Dog Fight.

As the blurb says, he’s a villain with a conscience. Kenny is a lot of fun to write, he says and does things I wouldn’t dream of, nor would I (mostly) want to.

As for baggage? A shit-load. That’s an official psychological term by the way. You just have to read the books to get the detail.

 

It gets a bit “punchy” in Dog Fight, have you a history of getting into scrapes and scuffles which helped with your research? Rumour has it that Ayrshire is the Dodge City of Scotland.

Hell, no. I’m the biggest wimp you’re ever going to meet. I did karate for about 6 months as a teenager and learned all about “control”: striking without contact. And I practised this assiduously, while other people were actually hitting me, the bastards, so I gave it up. For research I read some books on MMA fighting, watched some clips of fighting techniques on Youtube, and I also watched some actual fights on satellite TV – through my fingers. These guys are brutal.

As for Ayrshire being the Dodge City of Scotland? My lawyer says I should reply with No Comment. There are restraining orders in process.

 

If you could pick one highlight from your writing career to date which memory brings the biggest smile to your face?

Aww, man – so many, and you want me to pick one? I will say that each time I get the first copy of one of my books, fresh off the press, that makes me smile bigly (to paraphrase a certain orange-tinged fellow).

 

Which book has made the best transition to film or a tv series?

Too many to choose from, and on a different day my answer would change, but today I’ll go with the first four series of Game of Thrones. After that the pacing went to shit. It’s still way ahead of most of the stuff that makes it onto our screens, but the more recent series could have been edited with more care.

 

And the obvious follow up – which of your books would you want to see make its way into film? You get to pick one and explain why that was your choice.

The Guillotine Choice. It’s set in the 1930’s and 40’s and is based on a remarkable true story about a hugely inspiring man from Algeria called Mohand Kaci Saoudi who submitted to a 40 year sentence on Devil’s Island rather than have his cousin guillotined by the colonialial French power. It would make great viewing – it has resonance with the state of the world today and is a demonstration of the power and strength of the human spirit when faced with potentially overwhelming adversity.

 

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

Logan. It was excellent – and a lesson to all the other superhero film-makers that having a few exciting set-pieces isn’t enough. You need an actual story if you really want to engage the viewers.

 

Lots of discussion on whether the next James Bond and also the next Doctor Who should be a woman.  Do you agree (and if you do – who should get the roles)?

I’m not a big fan of either of these franchises so I haven’t spent much time thinking about it. However, I do think it’s important that we have a wider representation of humanity in our popular media – and Tilda Swinton would make an awesome Doctor Who.

 

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

I just started an advance copy of Dennis Lehane’s next book, Since We Fell – out in May. He’s edging into psychological thriller territory here and I can’t wait to see what he does with it. I’m a huge fan of his work.

And nestling in my kindle is an advance of Lucy Cameron’s debut novel, Night is Watching. I’ve heard big things about this book and can’t wait to get stuck in.

 

You’ve hit your daily word target and saved some seriously good content into the WIP. How do you clear your head and unwind?

Walk the dog, go to the gym, binge-watch something on Netflix, eat too many sugary snacks. Not necessarily in that order.

 

What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?

Where to start? I was SO self-conscious and it was such a waste of energy. People look at you for like a second, dismiss you and then go back to inhabiting a world with their ego at its centre. Mostly, you don’t mean shit to them.

When in company and struggling for something to say ask the other person a question about them. If you are interested you become interesting.

You won’t always be this skinny. The cakes will catch up with you.

The things that come easy? Work harder at them, then you get a career you enjoy.

Embrace your love of cinnamon. Add it to everything. Especially porridge.

Brussel Sprouts. The curse of your childhood. You’ll never get over it. Not even garlic will make them palatable. You will continue to barf at the sight of them for the rest of your life.

You will develop a healthy disregard for the celebrity obsessed culture that is coming your way. Try to spread this particular view to as many people as possible. In fact make it your life’s work.

And finally, if my young self is going to pay attention to any of this it should be: ignore everything you’ve just read – the most effective lessons are the ones you learn for yourself.

 

What is the best job you have ever had?

This one. Writer. 100 per cent the best job ever.

Follow the blog tour:

Dog Fight blogtour.png

First Monday Crime Spotlight: Erin Kelly Q&A

Hello fellow crime lovers,

It’s nearly time for the monthly First Monday Crime event run by Goldsboro Books, and I get to share my first First Monday Q&A with one of the panelists, Erin Kelly. You can catch that further down in the post.

Here’s all of the information on website for the panelists for the forthcoming First Monday Crime event taking place on March 6th:

The brilliant Erin Kelly will be telling us all about her belter of a novel He Said/She Said and then former RSPCA officer Daniel Cole – who has well and truly let the dogs out with Ragdoll, a novel so enticing it’s being published in 35 countries – will be revealing all. Did we mention the wonderful Julia Crouch and her chilling new novel: Her Husband’s Lover? She’ll be with us and you won’t want to miss her, nor MJ Arlidge who will be in one of our hot seats, talking about Hide and Seek – the sixth in the awesome DI Helen Grace series. It’s going to be a tough job to keep that lot in line but Barry Forshaw – aka “Mister Noir” – will be making sure our fabulous four sparkle and entertain.

First Monday Crime will be taking place in Browns – The Judges Court (82-84 St Martins Lane London, WC2n 4AG United Kingdom) from 6.30-7.30pm.

Buy your First Monday Crime tickets by clicking HERE!


About Erin Kelly (via author website):

I am the author of the critically acclaimed psychological thrillers The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose and The Burning Air. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama starring MyAnna Buring, Matthew Goode and Ophelia Lovibond. It was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011, and was longlisted for the 2011 CWA John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award. The novel has been translated into eleven languages.

I was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. I read English at Warwick University and have been working as a journalist since 1998, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and The Mirror, and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. I continue to write about health, lifestyle, women’s issues and parenting.

I live in north London with my husband and daughters.

About He Said/ She Said:

ek1

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden… something she never could have guessed.

Out in April, click HERE to pre-order your copy!


Q & A with Erin Kelly

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in London with my husband and two daughters. After I left university I was a journalist for years, writing for women’s magazines. I’ve been writing fiction for a decade now and I also teach creative writing.

 

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

I can’t remember a time I didn’t know this would be my career. I never had a plan B. Being a journalist helped as I was used to earning my living from words.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

If you need to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

 

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

I’ve written six psychological thrillers, and also wrote the novelization of Broadchurch. They’re quite literary and gothic. I love stories about long-buried past incidents that come back and haunt people just when they think they’ve got away with it. My biggest influences are Daphne du Maurier, Barbara Vine, and Patricia Highsmith.

 

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


Up to a point, but you have to be careful not to spend too much time online. It fries your brain.  

 

What’s your favourite thing about being an author?

The work. I genuinely love spending hours on my own in my imagination.

 

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

The RSI. Seven hours a day at a desk is not good for you.

 

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

I’d like to keep writing books I’m proud of, and maybe branch into screenwriting too.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m writing another psychological thriller, about a Victorian asylum.

 

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

Yes! I still read a couple of books a week; fiction in all genres, and I’m increasingly drawn to memoir and non-fiction. I get sent a lot of psychological thrillers but the more I write them, the less inclined I am to read them; it feels too much like work. My favourite recent books have been Instrumental by James Rhodes and The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.

 

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

It would be more like a top 100 but here are a few from that list: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, On Beauty by Zadie Smith.

 

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

All of the above!

 

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

Slumped motionless in front of Netflix.

 

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

I like to go running to clear my head.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Cornwall

 

Favourite food?

Curry

 

Favourite drink?

Gin


Huge thanks to Erin Kelly for taking the time to answer my questions! 🙂