Blog Tour Spotlight~ Needle Song by Russell Day

Hi all,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Needle Song by Russell Day and I’m sharing some info on the author and the book as part of a spotlight for the tour!

About the author:

Russell Day.jpg

Russell Day was born in 1966 and grew up in Harlesden, NW10 – a geographic region searching for an alibi. From an early age it was clear the only things he cared about were motorcycles, tattoos and writing. At a later stage he added family life to his list of interests and now lives with his wife and two children. He’s still in London, but has moved south of the river for the milder climate.

Although he only writes crime fiction Russ doesn’t consider his work restricted. ‘As long as there have been people there has been crime, as long as there are people there will be crime.’ That attitude leaves a lot of scope for settings and characters. One of the first short stories he had published, The Second Rat and the Automatic Nun, was a double-cross story set in a world where the church had taken over policing. In his first novel, Needle Song, an amateur detective employs logic, psychology and a loaded pack of tarot cards to investigate a death.

Russ often tells people he seldom smiles due to nerve damage, sustained when his jaw was broken. In fact, this is a total fabrication and his family will tell you he’s has always been a miserable bastard.

Russell’s Social Media Links:

About the publisher (via Fahrenheit Press):

The brains behind Fahrenheit Press have worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years and we figured it was time we created the publishing company we always dreamed of. We shoot from the lip and we call it like we see it – if that rubs people up the wrong way we can live with that.

Fahrenheit Press are a brand new publishing house founded by international publishing veteran Chris McVeigh.

“We’re intent on doing things differently and we’re building a publishing company that’s heavy on curation and deadly serious about marketing.”

After many years helping the world’s biggest publishers build authors and create best-selling titles we’ve decided the time is right to step out from behind the curtain, set up our own publishing house and do things the way we think they should be done. We definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s just the way we like it. If we’re not ruffling some feathers, we reckon we’re doing something wrong.

“It’s fair to say I’ve never looked much like a traditional publisher. I’m not suited, I’m not booted, and the nearest I’ve come to tweed is the Jean Paul Gaultier kilt I wore for a few years back in the nineties.”

For sure our punk ethos runs through everything we do but don’t mistake our tone for unprofessionalism – over the years we’ve helped shift literally millions of books for some of the biggest publishers in the world.

We’ve only just started out on this journey and we really appreciate all the support you’ve given us so far – it’s been a real blast – we have no idea where this will take us but we promise you the ride will never be boring.


About the book:

needle song.jpg

Spending the night with a beautiful woman would be a good alibi, if the body in the next room wasn’t her husband.

Doc Slidesmith has a habit of knowing things he shouldn’t. He knows the woman Chris Rudjer meets online is married. He knows the adult fun she’s looking for is likely to be short lived. And when her husband’s killed, he knows Chris Rudjer didn’t do it.

Only trouble is the police disagree and no one wants to waste time investigating an open and shut case.

No one except Doc.

Using lies, blackmail and a loaded pack of Tarot cards, Doc sets about looking for the truth – but the more truth he finds, the less he thinks his friend is going to like it.

Purchase Links for Needle Song:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Fahrenheit Press

Check out the blog tour:

Needle song banner.jpg

First Monday Crime (April 9th) Spotlight: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Hi everyone,

It’s nearly time for the April First Monday Crime event and I’m sharing my review for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

On April 9th, some amazing crime writers will be doing the First Monday Crime night and you can reserve your free seat by clicking the link below to be taken to the First Monday website:

First Monday Crime- Reserve your place here!

Check out who is taking part in this event:

(Info from

John Connolly- ‘The Woman in the Woods’

John Connolly was born in Dublin in 1968. His debut novel, Every Dead Thing, immediately launched him into the front rank of mystery thriller writers, and each of his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. His crime anthology, Books to Die For, edited with Declan Burke was the winner of the 2013 Anthony, Agatha and the Macavity Awards for Best Non-fiction. He was the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award, the first Irish writer to be awarded the Edgar by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2016 he won the CWA Short Story Dagger with history; ‘On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier’ from Night Music: Nocturnes Vol 2.


Rachel Abbott- ‘Come A Little Closer’

Rachel Abbott, born and raised in Manchester, founded her own

interactive media company in the 1980s, before selling it and retiring

in 2005. She then moved to Italy where she worked on the

renovation of a 15th century Italian monastery, and it was here that,

one day, she found herself snowed in and decided to begin writing

for pleasure. This became her debut novel Only The Innocent, which

she went on to publish via Kindle Direct Publishing, topping their

chart for 4 weeks.


Stuart Turton- ‘The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. TV rights have been optioned by House Productions. Stuart is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. He lives in West London with his wife. @Stu_Turton


Leigh Russell- ‘Class Murder’

Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.


Barry Forshaw- Moderator

Our Moderator for the evening will be Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on crime fiction and film. Barry’s ooks include Brit Noir, Nordic Noir,Detective: Crime Uncovered, Sex and Film and The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction. Other work: Death in a Cold Climate, British Gothic Cinema, Euro Noir and the Keating Award-winning British Crime Writing encyclopedia. He broadcasts, and edits Crime Time (

About the book:


‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Click HERE to order your copy now!

My thoughts:

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book to review, and even luckier to buddy read it with some friends. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the perfect book to do that with, as you can share your thoughts and theories and its fun to see who can figure out some stuff along the way.

I enjoyed reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It is a time-travelling murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Its concept is very well-thought out and it is unlike anything I have ever read. There is an interesting mix of characters as well, some are brutish and divisive, and others you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them at times.

This book has been likened to Cluedo, Inception and many more mind-bending things, ad I can definitely see why. My own mind was melted trying to figure out who was who and what was going on. But that was part of the fun, because nothing is what it seems with this one. Just when I thought I had something unravelled, the author tied my brain in knots again!

Clever, innovative and immersive, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a very complex debut.

Recommended for sure!

If you want to see Stuart Turton, along with the other fab authors in this line-up, make sure to click the link below to reserve your place! 

Reserve your seat here!

First Monday Crime Spotlight on: Julia Crouch

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 Q&A with one of the panelists, Julia Crouch. 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 Julia Crouch:

Julia Crouch grew up in Cambridge and studied Drama at Bristol University. She spent ten years working as a theatre director and playwright, then, after a spell of teaching, she somehow became a successful graphic and website designer, a career she followed for another decade while raising her three children. An MA in sequential illustration re-awoke her love of narrative and a couple of Open University creative writing courses brought it to the fore.

Cuckoo, her first novel, emerged as a very rough draft during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. A year’s editing got it ready for submission to an agent and within a couple of months she had a book deal with Headline and had given up the day job.

Every Vow You Break, her second novel, was published in March 2012, Tarnished, her third, came out in 2013, followed by Every Vow You Break in 2014 and Her Husband’s Lover in 2017. She is also published in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Brazil and China.

Unable to find a sub-genre of crime writing that neatly described her work, she came up with the term Domestic Noir, which is now widely accepted as the label for one of the most popular crime genres today. She has even written a foreword to a book of academic essays on the subject.

She works in a shed at the bottom of the Brighton house she shares with her husband, the actor and playwright Tim Crouch, their three children, two cats called Keith and Sandra, and about twelve guitars (you can find #Keith, who has his own hashtag, on twitter). She is a self-confessed geek and fights a daily battle to resist tinkering with the code on her website, which can be found at


Q&A with Julia Crouch:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Brighton with my husband and seventeen-year-old son, Joey. Owen, our twenty-five-year-old musician son spends about half the week with us, and Nel, our twenty-seven-year-old theatre director daughter lives in Cambridge (which is, weirdly, where I grew up). We have two cats – Keith and Sandra – who provide comfort to me as my nest empties. I have a degree in Drama and an MA in Sequential Illustration. I was once on MasterChef.

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

I always rather fancied the idea of being a writer, but I didn’t really think I had it in me to actually write. In my twenties I wrote plays, but these were mostly devised in rehearsal with actors – I was more a director/editor, really. When I had the children, I retrained and worked as a graphic/website designer for many years, until my youngest started school and I had a bit more free time. Just out of interest, I took on a couple of OU creative writing courses, and it just sort of grew from there. When I got my first book deal, I was the first published novelist I knew.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It takes a while! I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for odd stories, events, characters and places. So many details go into a novel – everything is useful. When I’m getting more specific about pinning a project down, I start with a ‘what if?’ question, then turn it over for a while. If I decide it has legs, a setting and characters will emerge, and then I’ll start thinking the story over

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

Dark, twisted and twisting, with a strong sense of place.

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

Most definitely. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are great at getting stuff out there; if you are one of those writers who refuse to engage, then you will lose out. But you won’t get far if you only use the platforms to sell your books. People suss that one out very quickly and turn off. The key is to engage and connect with others, let your personality out a bit. Loads of writers do this very well – we sit on our own most of the time, and words are our chosen form of communication, so it kind of follows. Social media can also be a great source of support. I’m a member of a couple of closed writers’ groups, where we can let off steam, share concerns, knowledge, contacts and networks. Of course, it’s entirely possible to spend far too much time on the online engaging and connecting, so I do employ an internet blocker when I need to actually get some proper work done.

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


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


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

I don’t want to sound churlish, but I truly believe in just concentrating on making the book I’m working on the best it possibly can be. Who knows what the future holds? If I can still be making a reasonable living from writing, I’ll be really, really happy. Of course, a massive blockbuster and a Hollywood movie wouldn’t go amiss…

What’s next for you?

I’m have several projects in various stages of development: a Young Adult trilogy about a young woman looking for goodness in a fractured world, an international thriller with a kick-ass 45-year-old mother looking for her disappeared grown up son, and two domestic noir novels – one, about a group of friends renovating an old building in Puglia, Italy that may or may not be haunted, the other about an online community network page that gets out of hand and spills over into real life.

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

I read all the time. I don’t think you can be any kind of writer unless you do so. Apart from writing, the best thing about being an author is all the free books that are sent to me. I am seriously considering building some more walls in my house because I have run out of shelf space. I love psychological thrillers by people like Erin Kelly, Sabine Durrant, Alex Marwood; modern American novels by people like A M Homes, Anita Shreve, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Franzen. I have read great swathes through the Victorians like the Brontes, Hardy, Dickens and George Eliot

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

It really depends what mood I’m in, and what I’m thinking about for my current work in progress, but my top five right now are:

The Secret History (Donna Tartt),

Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller)

Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

The Prodigal Summer (Barbara Kingsolver)

Station Eleven (Emily St John Mandel

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

Loads! Most recently, Lie with Me by Sabine Durrant. I read Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson a long time ago, before I wrote Cuckoo, and I remember feeling really strongly that I wanted to write a book just like it – that was what me really going as a writer, I think.

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

Reading, cooking, running Brighton Half Marathon next weekend – eek!), walking, mountain biking and yoga. Hanging out with friends and family – my favourite thing is wine and Doritos round the kitchen table with my husband and kids.  I love the cinema and theatre – I go quite a lot because of it being, almost disease-like, in the family.

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

Apart from the above, I love to travel. My husband is a playwright and actor who tours his work all over the world. Due to the children growing up, I increasingly get chances to go with him. Wife on tour is the most fantastic job in the world, particularly as I can combine it with my day job, and write while he is on stage/doing interviews etc.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Greece. If the blockbuster ever happened, I’d buy a little house by the sea on a quiet island and spend as much time there as possible, with everyone coming to visit. I have family there, and my middle son’s girlfriend is Greek, so it’s not an entirely impossible ambition.

Favourite food?

A really good plate of spicy Mexican taquitos including fresh and zingy guacamole. Or, when I need comfort, a really good pizza, ideally eaten in Naples.

Favourite drink?

Our corner shop does this amazing organic Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like chocolate (we live in Brighton, so corner shops are like that). That, please. Or, before 6pm, my constant companion is a giant Sports Direct mug full of tea. I’m dead classy, me.

About Her Husband’s Lover:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.
And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.
Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?


Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch is out now and you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

Huge thanks to Julia Crouch for answering my questions! 🙂

*First Monday Crime* Spotlight on Alex Marwood

Hi everyone,

Next Monday (December 5th), Goldsboro Books First Monday Crime *Christmas Cracker* is taking place in Browns – The Judges Court from 6.30 to 8.30 in the evening. The line up includes Mark “Dasher” Billingham, Yrsa “Dancer” Sigurdardottir, Alex “Prancer” Marwood, Paula “Vixen” Daly, Daniel “Donner” Pembrey and Corrie “Blitzen” Jackson are going to be in harness and event chair, Barry “Bad Santa” Forshaw at the helm of this sleighful of authors!

Tickets to see Bad Santa and his criminally good reindeer are available, as always, from Goldsboro Books for £7. At the time of writing this, the tickets are sold out but you can click HERE to find all the relevant information!

I’m shining the spotlight in “Prancer” aka Alex Marwood today and re-sharing my review for The Darkest Secret which I reviewed way back in January!

About the book:
When three-year-old identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.
But what really happened to Coco during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?

Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…

Click HERE


About the author:

Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press. She is the author of the word-of-mouth sensation The Wicked Girls, which won a prestigious Edgar Award and The Killer Next Door, which won the coveted Macavity Award. She has also been shortlisted for numerous other crime writing awards and her first two novels have been optioned for the screen. Alex lives in south London.


My thoughts:

I don’t know where to start with this review. First off, I read this book in about four sittings over two days, which in itself is a good sign. I just feel a little unsure about it though.

It took me a while to get into the authors style of writing, as well as the chronology as it switched between characters and years which was confusing to me for the first quarter of the book.

The characters in The Darkest Secret are some of the most hate-inducing people I’ve read about in a while. Egotistical, narcissistic and scathing are just some of the words I would use to describe them. The only characters I actually felt any emotion for were Camilla and Ruby, two of Sean’s daughters. Sean being Coco’s dad and Ruby being her twin sister. Mila is one of his daughters from a previous marriage.

By telling the story of Coco’s disappearance, and Sean’s death years later, in alternating chapters, the reader gets to see the characters better and gauge how they have changed over the years.

This review is a bit disjointed as I don’t want to go into any detail about the plot. It’s hard to get some of my points across without revealing things the author skilfully reveals in the course of the novel.

The way Marwood has written this book, it unfurls slowly, like an animal stalking prey. It is definitely a great book, there’s no denying that fact. It left me feeling uncomfortable, angry, shocked and saddened in equal measure. Not many books evoke these sorts of feelings in me, I think that’s why I find this review hard to write. There’s a lot I want to say, but I can’t without spoiling some of the twists and turns.

Sufficed to say, Alex Marwood has the perfectly crafted novel, despicable characters written alongside innocent children, and the events that bring their worlds crumbling down around them.


Weekly Wrap Up August 7th

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again, the weeks are going by far too fast!😱

This week I managed to read a grand total of ONE book which brings my total read for the year up to 108 books! I’m on course to finish another one tonight though so it’s not too bad! 😂

I got to read an early copy of All Fall Down by Tom Bale and it was, as expected, a rollercoaster! All the stars for that one!

This week I got to post my favourite post, the monthly book haul! I just love seeing lists of books if I’m honest! You can catch up with that post by clicking the link below:

July Book Haul

Following on from that, I was on the blog tour for Hanna Winter’s forthcoming novel! Time-permitting, I’ll get to read and review it soon because it sounds really good!

Blog Tour- Sacrifice by Hanna Winter

I got to have a brilliant guest post from Ava Marsh this week too. Ava is lovely and it was a real pleasure having her on the blog!

Spotlight on Ava Marsh

Last but by no means least, I had the usual Triple S post with Conrad Jones yesterday!

Saturday Series Spotlight- Conrad Jones

That’s been my week here! Next week will be much the same, although I will actually have a couple of reviews as well. First up is my review of Dark Water by Sara Bailey on Tuesday, and on Thursday I get to close the blog tour of Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds!

For the Triple S post on Saturday, I get to have one of my fellow Blogsquad members, Sarah Hardy from By The Letter Book Reviews talking about book series that she loves! 😊

Also, I’m going to a book event tomorrow evening where I get to meet bestselling Irish author Liz Nugent (Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait!) and there’s drinks and a blind book swap afterwards so I’ll be doing a separate post (with pics hopefully 😊) for that too!

How was your week? Any books I need to add to my TBR mountain?? 🤔

Kate x

p.s Thank you for all the various shares and RTs during the week! I didn’t get a chance to thank you all individually but I’m really grateful for the support! ❤️

Saturday Series Spotlight- Conrad Jones

Hi all,

Today I’m joined by Conrad Jones as part of the Series Spotlight feature! He has pretty much done all the work for me so I’ll hand you straight over..


I am Conrad Jones a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

On March 20th 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’ ; You can see them here;


I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 15 novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here;

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.       


Huge thanks to Conrad for taking part in this series feature! If you want to get in touch, you can find him on TwitterFacebook or via his Website.

Happy reading! 🙂

Spotlight on Ava Marsh

Today, I am thrilled to have the lovely Ava Marsh joining me on the blog with a brilliant guest post!

About Ava:

Ava Marsh grew up in Margate, Kent. A former broadsheet journalist, she now works as a freelancer in the charity sector and writes novels.

Ava lives in Battersea, London. Her hobbies include running, kayaking and photography.

Ava Marsh Silhouette

About the books:


They know who she is. She knows too much.

Stella is an escort, immersed in a world of desire, betrayal and secrets. It’s exactly where she wants to be. Stella used to be someone else: respectable, loved, safe.

When a fellow call girl is murdered, Stella has a choice: forget what she’s seen, or risk everything to get justice for her friend. In her line of work, she’s never far from the edge, but pursuing the truth could take Stella past the point of no return.

Untouchable cover


Kitty Sweet is in prison, charged with double murder. She’s as damaged as she is charismatic, as dangerous as she is charming. And now she’s been invited to tell her story, to explain how on earth it came to this.

Hers is a story of heartbreak and desperation, of adulation and glamour. Of ruin. She’s descended to an underworld that most people can only imagine and she’s lived to tell the tale…

Meet Kitty.




Researching Taboo Topics

One of the questions I can pretty much guarantee readers will ask at some point is, how did you go about researching your books? I don’t mind. It’s natural, given the main character in Untouchable is a high-class escort, and in my recent novel Exposure, she’s a porn star. Prostitutes and porn girls are a little like celebrities – we know they exist and live in our midst, but they don’t seem quite real. They inhabit a world most of us know nothing about.

So how did I get into the heads of Grace and Kitty? How did I research what it was like to walk in their vertiginously heeled shoes? In the main, the answer to that is a bit dull – I did my homework. For Exposure, for instance, I read half a dozen memoirs by porn stars – most of them women, but one bloke too – and I scoured through everything I could get my hands on via the internet: blogs, articles, and so on.

No, I didn’t watch much actual porn – to be honest, I find it boring. As Kitty describes it in Exposure, there’s ‘nothing duller than a porn flick after the first screw or two. No plot… no context, or emotion. Just the same old story, with only one possible outcome. Where’s the fun in that?’ However, I did watch and read anything I could find about porn, especially what it was like to be on a shoot, under the gaze of the cameras and crew. How porn affected your life and your relationships. What it did to your psyche.  


To be honest, the trickiest area to research in Exposure was the prison scenes – there’s surprisingly little written from the perspective of female inmates. I found just one non-fiction book by a woman describing what it was like to be inside a UK prison, the rest I had to try and glean from the web – prison service information, sites supporting those convicted and their families. Yes, ideally I’d have loved to visit an actual porn shoot or a woman’s prison, but that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re writing to a tight deadline. So I had to make do with personal accounts, and photos – I can’t speak for other writers, but I spend a lot of time googling images and studying them, so I can describe scenes more accurately.

Untouchable, on the other hand, was easier to research. It so happens I know a couple of women who’ve done some escorting on the side, so I had a much clearer feel for what that kind of life must be like, plus the internet is littered with blogs by call girls – they’re a very loquacious bunch on the whole. Those I spoke to in person were generally happy to relate their experiences, many of which were very amusing – it was tempting to put them into the book verbatim, but I didn’t want to attract a libel case, so made stuff up with a similar bent.

Gathering information was only part of the process, however. I had to decide how to present it. One of the things I wanted to counter is the myth that women working in the sex industry are different to everyone else. I wanted to break down the assumption that there’s a huge gulf between someone like Grace or Kitty, and the rest of us. I didn’t want to perpetuate the idea that there was something inherently immoral in what they do, or that it was somehow ‘dirty’.

That said, I did want to show how those careers or lifestyle could be hard on the heart and soul. Grace comes out of her ‘dark period’ more or less unscathed, but sadly the same isn’t true for Kitty – her choice of career comes to define her, and plunges her on a collision course with disaster.


Huge thanks to Ava for joining me today! Catch her tomorrow over on Vicki’s blog Off-The-Shelf Books.

Ava is on Twitter and has a website too! You can see her books on Amazon too!

Happy reading! 🙂