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!

Me Life Story: Sofa So Good! by Scarlett Moffatt


About the book:

Fact: Did you know, over its lifespan, your sofa will witness roughly 293 arguments and 1,369 cuddles?
Hiya, my name’s Scarlett Moffatt and I love random facts. Almost as much as I love sitting on me sofa. You might know me best from my most famous and celebrated sit thus far on the I’m A Celebrity throne. You might also know me from all sorts of other seats, most especially my Gogglebox sofa. Well this book is my attempt at telling me life story through a whole series of them!
So I’d like you right now to stop what you’re doing and take a seat, whether it be in the comfort of your own home, on the top deck of the bus, on the tube (so you don’t have to make eye contact with anybody) or on the throne of the house (a.k.a. the toilet). I want you to get comfortable and get ready to laugh, cry and maybe even learn a bit, as I chat to you about some of the highs and lows of me life.
So grab a brew, settle down, and let’s start from the very beginning…

Published by Blink Publishing Oct 19th, click HERE to pre-order your copy! 

About the author:

SCARLETT MOFFATT is a beloved television personality and presenter from County Durham, best known for appearing in the Channel 4 series Gogglebox, and as the winner of 2016’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! She is now a presenter on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, as well as the brand-new face of Streetmate. Scarlett is also the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of Scarlett Says, and has a top-selling fitness DVD, Scarlett’s Superslim Me Plan.
Follow her on Instagram: scarlett_moffatt and on Twitter: @ScarlettMoffatt

My thoughts:

I’ve always been a fan of Scarlett’s so I was delighted to be able to read Me Life Story pre-publication. It’s safe to say I’m an even bigger fan now! 😍 This book is hilarious, honest and just so fun to read. I read the whole thing over the course of a day because I genuinely couldn’t put it down. 

Scarlett has a thirst for knowledge, which I can totally appreciate because I’m the exact same way. 🙌🏼 Each chapter is begun with some facts, which I loved, because it gives an insight into the kind of random things that she’s interested in. Plus, she worships at the altar of Proffessor Stephen Hawking! Can’t get much more intelligent than that! 

As well as some genuine laugh out loud moments the book is interspersed with some of the harder times in Scarlett’s life so far. I can empathise with some of it as I’ve gone through it too, and her honesty is really refreshing. Plus her Northern-ness is almost like us Irish, a sense of humour can really help you through some dark times. 

I loved finding out more about Scarlett. I knew she was my kind of person before I began, but this book has made me wish she was one of my friends. She comes across as a really genuine, caring and all round lovely person. Her inability to believe some of the good luck and opportunities she’s had makes her seem really down to earth and just so damn nice! 😊

I honestly loved this book. It felt like a chat with your best mate, like the ones you’d have late at night talking about everything and anything! A real honest and genuinely funny book, it was definitely a brilliant read!

Highly recommended 🙌🏼

~Blog Tour Q&A~ The Other Twin by L V Hay

Hey everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the final stops (along with Tony over at Mumbling About…) on the mammoth blog tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay and I get to share a Q&A I did with Lucy recently, First though, the all-important bookish information!

About the book:

TOT.jpg

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

Published by Orenda Books, The Other Twin is available NOW, and you can get your copy by clicking HERE.

About the author:

Lucy Hay author photo

Lucy is an author and script editor, living in Devon with her husband, three children and six cats. Lucy is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015) both starring Danny Dyer. See Lucy’s IMDB page HERE and other movies and short films she’s been involved in, HERE.

In addition to script reading and writing her own novels, Lucy also blogs about the writing process, screenwriting, genre, careers and movitivation and much more at her blog Bang2write, one of the most-hit writing sites in the UK. Sign up for updates from B2W and receive a free, 28 page ebook (PDF) on how NOT to write female characters, HERE or click the pic on the left.

For more scriptchat, leads and links, join Lucy’s online writing group, Bang2writers. See you there!


 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

Hi! My name is Lucy V Hay (sometimes LV Hay!) and I’m an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers. I’m owner of the writing tips and networking blog www.bang2write.com, which was shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards this year, as well as named Feedspot’s number 1 screenwriting blog in the UK (tenth in the world).

 

As a script editor, I’ve been privileged to work on a number of fab and award-winning British projects, both feature and short film. I’ve written books about screenwriting, plus I’m also a novelist – my crime debut is out now with Orenda Books and is called The Other Twin.

 

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

 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a little girl. I wrote my first ‘book’ in the middle of my Maths homework book when I was about eight. It was called DUSTCART GEORGE and it was about a girl who ran away from home and had her own dustcart sweeping up the streets in London. I did my own illustrations too! Needless to say, my Maths teacher was not very happy though she did say she enjoyed the story, so job done.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Everywhere, both in real life and online. There’s always new perspectives and ideas and thought patterns … This is why I love social media so much. There’s always someone sharing their POV, or a snippet from their lives, or a character from history … Whilst it’s true social media can be an extended whingefest and full of people’s pictures of their dinner, I make sure I follow the ‘right’ people … By ‘right’ I mean anyone who might challenge my little bubble and make me think of something differently, rather than abject trolls!

 

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

 

I would call it ‘dark and lyrical’. Dark, because I am obsessed with the reasons people do and say terrible things to each other; no one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I will be as evil/careless/selfish etc as possible”. I’m also interested in notions of redemption and whether it’ possible to be ‘good’ after being ‘bad’ – and whether society will let you!

 

Lyrical, because I am also obsessed with the craft of writing, right down to what words are chosen. I want my work to be literary, but also accessible. I want to bring forth visual tales like my hero, Doris Lessing who was so skilled at ‘word pictures’. That’s the dream.

 

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

 

Absolutely. Blog tours, tweets, author spotlights, Instagram features, Facebook Q&As, guest posts … they all work in getting a book out there to the readers. The important thing to remember is they are cumulative. In marketing, it’s said the average consumer is exposed to a product like a book four times before they buy it. Also, referrals are so important – people buy your book if they see people they like/follow endorsing it, whether that’s another author or a book blogger (preferably both). This notion you tweet a few times and get an Amazon bestseller simply doesn’t add up!  

 

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

 

Writing. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love as my actual job.

 

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

 

Writing. I hate it so much! (haha). As you might guess, I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on here.

 

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

 

I would love to have had a number of bestselling books and hopefully, a movie or TV adaptation of at least one of them. I’ve also always wanted to write a dystopian series for teenagers. But really, more of what I’m doing now: writing, workshops, blogging, etc!

 

What’s next for you?

 

Book 2 for Orenda. No title yet and still working on the rewrites. Also, my latest writing book this September, WRITING DIVERSE CHARACTERS FOR FICTION, TV AND FILM, which will be published by Oldcastle Books as part of its Creative Essentials range. This will be my third in the series, but my first where I include novel writing too rather than just screenwriting.  

 

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

 

I adore reading; I try to read at least one book a week. I think it’s really important writers read – I would even wager real money that the best writers (in a craft sense) are the most well-read (whatever that means). I also think the best writers are the most open-minded and challenge themselves the most in terms of what they read. It can be tough to read outside of your comfort zone, but very rewarding. For this reason, I try to set myself pledges on what to read.

 

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

 

Argh, I have so many favourites … and so many fave 5s! I suppose the book that changed my life was probably Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

 

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

 

So many. But I wish I had written GONE GIRL, if only to get a naked Ben Affleck in the shower.

 

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

 

Spending time with the kids. Reading. Baking. Going for drive, watching movies, hanging out. Nothing earth shattering but it’ the little things I think.

 

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

 

I like to take pictures, especially of nature and my 5 cats.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

I love Harlyn Bay, in Padstow. The beach is gorgeous and I love standing out on the headland there and watching the tide come in.

 

Favourite food?

 

Depends on the day! But overall, probably chocolate. All of it. Give it to me!

 

Favourite drink?

 

Booze! At the moment, gin. Though it goes through phases … Ale is a favourite, being a Devon gal.

 

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

 

Well I was a teacher for a bit. I’ve also worked in other places like telemarketing, supermarkets,  cafes, waitressing, even marketing via sandwich boards and in a giant bear costume! Writing wins hands down over all of these.


Many thanks to Lucy V Hay, Anne Cater and Orenda Books for having me on the blog tour for The Other Twin!

Catch up on the blog tour with all of these wonderful blogs:

Other twin blog tour poster.jpg

 

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

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:

MTT.png

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:

TB.jpg

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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.