Blog Tour Books

Ngaio Marsh Awards Blog Tour – CJ Carver Q&A

Hi everyone,

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the Ngaio Marsh Awards, and I’m super excited to have the lovely CJ Carver answering some questions. Caroline’s book, Spare Me The Truth is up for Best Crime Novel!

The Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel (popularly called the Ngaio) is a literary award presented annually in New Zealand to recognise excellence in crime fiction, mystery, and thriller writing. The Award was established by journalist and crime fiction reviewer Craig Sisterson in 2010, and is named after Dame Ngaio Marsh, one of the four Queens for Crime of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The Award has traditionally been presented each year in Christchurch, the hometown of Dame Ngaio.

About CJ Carver:

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail. Since then she has written nine novels which have been published in the UK, USA and translated throughout Europe. CJ’s first novel Blood Junction, won the CWA Debut Dagger Award. CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.


Spare Me The Truth
THE SPY. In the grip of amnesia, Dan Forrester believes he’s just an ordinary man. Until a stranger approaches him with a startling revelation – and an explosive request . . .

THE COP. Banished from the Met in disgrace, Lucy Davies’ life is falling apart. But when a serial killer strikes in her new provincial posting, might it be her chance of redemption?

THE DAUGHTER. Stunned by her mother’s sudden death, Grace Reavey’s grief is interrupted by a staggering act of blackmail – one that challenges everything she knew about her mother.

Three Strangers. Countless secrets.

One deadly truth.

CJ Carver.jpg

Ngaio Marsh Awards judges comments about Spare Me The Truth

“A fast paced high-end thriller that doesn’t let up from the start. Intriguing characters, twists that keep you guessing and at the heart a complex tale of betrayal and deception. A brilliant read and page-turner.”

“The three main characters, Dan, Dr Grace and Lucy are each unique and intriguing, provided with plausible depth so that they come across as credible. The book has thriller aspects that the author uses quite masterfully and the coming together of the strands is very well done indeed. The author’s writing style suits the fast paced narrative and while reading one increasingly urgently wants to know the secret behind it all.”

“This is one of those un-put-downable crime novels which hook you in from the first pages. Slick, clever and totally engaging.”




Can you tell us a little about yourself, outside of being an author?


I’m an obsessive traveller, not just because I love exploring new places, but I find other people and cultures fascinating.  Since I got a campervan last year, however, I’ve been exploring closer to home – Wales, Suffolk, Scotland, the Jurassic Coast – and have fallen in love with the UK all over again.  I can’t believe I live somewhere so incredibly rich in history or tradition.


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


I’d always kept a diary but It didn’t cross my mind to write anything for publication until I’d returned from a long-distance car rally London to Saigon, and Car magazine asked me to write an article for them.  I went to my local Waterstones and bought a book called “How to write and sell Travel Articles” as I hadn’t a clue how to go about it!  The article was published, and since I enjoyed writing it so much (and the money was pretty good too!) I approached other outlets with my story, which is how I ended up becoming a travel writer.


Where do you get your inspiration from?


Anywhere, everywhere.  At the moment, I’m looking for a storyline for the next Dan Forrester book and am scouring newspapers and magazines, and also personal experiences.  With Spare Me The Truth, it was reading an article by the Telegraph’s science correspondent Richard Gray, that inspired the book.  Gray stated, ‘Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact.’  Brilliant! I thought.  A memory-erasing drug!  But when I looked closer it wasn’t quite as clear-cut, but who am I to split hairs when creating a story?


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


Exciting, page-turning thrillers with heart.


What are your favourite and least favourite things about being an author?


I love creating a story.  I love starting a book and watching it take shape, growing in complexity as the characters come alive, the twists and turns that end up coming thick and fast, surprising even myself.


Least favourite?  Hmmm.  I think it’s the copy edit.  It’s picky and feels miniscule, irritating, especially after the broad brush strokes of a sweeping story.


What are you working on right now, and where do you see your writing career five years from now?


I’m working on the final edit of KNOW ME NOW, the third in the Dan Forrester series.  I’ve started writing the fourth, but am also working on finding ideas for a stand-alone story too.  Lots of creative plates are spinning in the air at the moment!


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


Reading is one of my favourite pastimes.  I like nothing more than parking the camper somewhere quiet with a view, and picking up one of my books from my mobile library.  I love thrillers, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Chris Pavone, but I also love real-life adventure stories like “Lost in the Jungle” by Yossi Ghinsberg, a harrowing true story of survival in Bolivia.  Unless I’m in the middle of writing a book, you’ll always find me with my nose buried in one.


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


Yikes!  How can you do this to me?!  I guess I’d have to say Tracks by Robyn Davidson – a woman’s solo trek across 1700 miles of Australian desert to the sea with just four camels and a dog for company.  She helped inspire me to travel far more adventurously and she writes like a dream.  She’s fantastic.


When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? What are your non-book hobbies?


Campervanning!  Seriously, I love hitting the road and heading off somewhere new.  It’s exciting as well as inspiring.  I’ve never met so many brilliant people or found so many amazing places and I don’t even have to go abroad.


What’s your favourite holiday destination?


Oooer.  That’s a tricky one.  If I’m after kicking back and relaxing, then it would have to be a beach somewhere delicious like Thailand or Mexico.  Otherwise, I’d head to Scotland and go fishing (I love fishing).


What is your favourite food, and your favourite drink?


Anything with chilli in it.  I love caipirinhas (a Brazilian cocktail of sugar lime and Cachaça) but it’s far too exotic to have daily, so I’ll say a really good glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.


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


I’ve been a farmer, a secretary, a book keeper.  I’ve worked in the KFC’s complaints department, in hospitals, in every kind of office you can imagine, and writing comes out tops.  I get to meet incredible people in the name of research, from Alaskan State Troopers to members of the SAS, and I learn so much fascinating stuff that some days, my mind feels as though it might pop.


Huge thanks to Craig Sisterson for letting me be a part of this blog tour and to CJ Carver for answering my questions!

Make sure to check out these fab blogs for more on the Ngaio Marsh Awards and its finalists:

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Blog Tour Books

*Blog Tour* Tell Me A Lie by CJ Carver

Hi everyone,

Today I’m delighted to welcome CJ Carver back to my blog for my stop on the Tell Me A Lie blog tour today! I have a great guest post to share with you guys but I’ll give you the all important bookish info first!

About the book:


A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun.

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he’s innocent

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It’s Dan’s wife.

Click HERE  to get your copy!

About the author:

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail.

Since then she has written nine novels which have been published in the UK, USA and translated throughout Europe. CJ’s first novel Blood Junction, won the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.

CJ loves hearing from her fans. Drop her a line at

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And now I’ll hand you over to CJ Carver…

How to Take a Slice of Life and Weave it into your Story Structure


I have a friend who’s bipolar.  A close friend.  One of the best.


She suffers extreme mood swings.  Some days she can’t get out of bed, others she’s in the grip of hypomania.  She has psychotic episodes.  She’s been close to suicide numerous times.  Her GP has sectioned her to hospital on several occasions, for her own safety.


She kept her condition secret from everyone, including me, for years.  She was terrified we’d think of her differently.  That she’d lose her job as well as her friends.


One day, I was allowed to know the truth.  I stayed with her for a week on “suicide watch” rather than have her sent to psychiatric hospital (which she hated).  When she’s not in the grip of one of her “moods” she’s brilliant and fun, generous and endlessly kind, and I love her to bits.


This slice of life is, when you know it, glaringly obvious when you read Spare Me the Truth.  My character, PC Lucy Davies is terrified she’s bipolar, and will do anything to prevent anyone finding out.  Her fear is woven through the story and drives Lucy to make decisions she wouldn’t normally.


Writers take inspiration from other people as well as the society they live inside and I’m no exception.  We’re parasites of sorts, and even when I went to say goodbye to my dad, who’d died twelve hours earlier, although I was devastated the writer in me couldn’t help looking at the colour of his skin and thinking, how weird, it’s sort of green and it’s got a really strange sheen too, like wax.


When I was travelling in Alaska, I met Shirley Liss, one of the first women to undertake the Yukon Quest 1,000-mile Sled Dog Race.  She introduced me to her pack of huskies and showed me a slice of her Alaskan life that became the inspiration for Beneath the Snow.


Shirley knew how to fix an engine, fish for trout, shoot rabbits, skin a moose, build a fire in a snowstorm, deal with a grizzly bear.  She was a female Bear Grylls and the stories she told me are woven into my novel along with the ski-plane ride I took north of the Arctic Circle, with three Inuit people and their huskies.  That particular experience opens the book nicely.


As writers’ we have to dig deep to produce a work that pulls at a reader’s emotions.  We have to put ourselves into our character’s shoes and really feel what they’re feeling.  I call on a multitude of life experiences in my writing and get weaving.  Not only is it fun, but it makes the story more authentic to the reader.
©CJ Carver 2017

Huge thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre and to CJ Carver for having me on the blog tour!

Make sure to keep up with the tour:


Blog Tour Books

C.J. Carver Spare Me The Truth Blog Tour

Hi everyone,

Today its my stop on the Spare Me The Truth blog tour, C.J. Carver’s new book! I’m thrilled to have a guest post from the author herself further on in the post.

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About the book (via Goodreads):

Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life – and his son – is a lie.

Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother’s funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything.

Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she’s on the hunt for a killer – but this is no small town criminal.

Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.


About the author:

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail.

Since then she has written seven novels which have been published in the UK, USA and translated throughout Europe. CJ’s first novel Blood Junction, won the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.


Guest Post from C.J. Carver

Five things I can’t write without:

1) Music

I always have music playing when I write.  Radio, Spotify or a CD, something in the background.  I’m not sure if it’s to keep me company – writing is so solitary – or if it’s the stimulation I need, but one thing I do know is that I have to be careful when I’m writing a particularly tense scene not to let the music have an effect.  I was writing a heated discourse between two adversaries in Spare Me The Truth who were supposed to come to blows but thanks to a run of dreamy music tracks they ended up shaking hands!

  1. Bath (the city, not my tub)

Even if I’m in the middle of writing a book I still need inspiration.  People say I must find the bucolic country view from my office inspiring, but the reverse is true – it sends me to sleep!  So I head into Bath instead, which is always bustling, always busy, and I meander aimlessly for a bit before settling in a favourite café.  Here I people watch, doodle a bit, watch a bit more, and let the energy of the place seep into my consciousness and fire me up for the next few chapters.

  1. My desk

I may be the only person to get excited about this, but this is no normal desk, it’s an electric Sit Stand Desk.  I believe Oscar Wilde, among other authors, used to write at a lectern and stride about while he thought, and although my body loves standing while I write I was somewhat taken aback when a medical friend of mine told me that research has shown that concentration levels fall by 25% when you stand.  Not quite what I wanted to hear.

  1. My kettle

It sounds trite, but it’s incredibly important that I get a break from time to time, not just to re-energise my brain but get my body moving.  Since my office is upstairs, I get to jog all the way to the kitchen, which may not be far but on the way I’ll get distracted by the mail, the fact the bird feeder needs topping up, the front path could do with a sweep.  By the time I’ve made my tea, I’ve usually had a decent 10-15 minute break doing other stuff and I return to my desk with my tea pretty refreshed.

  1. The train

I haven’t found anywhere better for coming up with ideas, whether it’s for a new book or the next chapter of the book I’m writing.  I make sure I’m at the window and gaze outside, notepad at the ready, and the rush of countryside flashing past triggers the right side of my brain – the creative side – and my notepad is invariably full of really good ideas at the journey’s end.

Driving can also have a good effect – it’s the movement against the eye that I find does the trick – so I could have made my car my fifth choice but I’d much rather go on a train.

© CJ Carver 2016

Fab post from C.J Carver! You can follow the blog tour and/or catch up with the brilliant blogs that are also on the tour!

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My thanks to C.J. Carver for taking the time to write a post for my blog, and to Emily at Zaffre for all her hard work! 🙂

Spare Me The Truth is out TODAY! You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below!

Spare Me The Truth by C.J. Carver

Happy reading! 🙂