Interview with Booklover Catlady, Maxine Groves.

Maxine Photo 1Today I’m delighted to welcome Amazon and Goodreads top book reviewer, Maxine Groves, to the blog. Possibly better known by her reviewing name, Booklover Catlady, Maxine devours vast quantities of books whilst also offering publicity and reviewing services to authors. She’s also taking the first steps towards writing her first book. Without further ado, lets begin the interview.

 

 

After working for so long in recruitment and advertising, what made you decide to focus on books?
After a successful career in advertising, copywriting then recruitment, and human resources at senior management level, I injured my lower back very badly in the workplace. Despite extensive treatments and physiotherapy unfortunately my condition cannot be rectified nor is surgery an option. I tried working part time for a year with my back injury as a Job Coach to young adults with disabilities, which I loved, however it got too much for me as other serious health conditions impacted me and I had to resign from the job. I was facing never working again.

During an extended period of bedrest after the first of five surgeries I have had in the last 2.5 years, I started reading avidly to help get me through. This led to reviewing after discovering Goodreads and then on to Amazon reviews. To my surprise, I quickly started to rank highly as a Top Reviewer and Most Popular Reviewer on Goodreads, then Amazon and authors and publishers were contacting me with books to read and review. This was like a dream come true for a bookworm like myself.

A successful horror author contacted me (after another horror author recommended that I review his book) stating that he felt I would be really good at book publicity and could I do some for him? I took this on and it was really successful, at this point I realised that all the work experience and business knowledge I had plus my copywriting and advertising skills meant I could do this for other authors also. I saw a gap in the market for a quality book review service which is what I kicked off with. I am passionate about helping authors achieve their goals.

 

What has been your biggest:
(a) life achievement
(b) book/reviewing achievement?
Oh wow! That is a hard one. I think my greatest life achievement has been consistently rising from the ashes after a lot of very difficult situations in my life and somehow turning difficult times into opportunity. Having physical disabilities, then being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 42 plus chronic pain, was not going to stop me from doing something meaningful with my life. I think of myself as a tenacious survivor.

I am also super proud of my 16 year old son who has Aspergers and ADHD and how far he has come and the self-belief he has instilled in himself. He also believes nothing is a barrier to doing what you love. I run groups on Facebook for adult women with Aspergers and want to leave a legacy of making a difference in the lives of these women as well as all the other Autistic people out there who think they have nothing to offer. They do!

My greatest book related achievement has to be making it into the Top Ten Top Reviewers and Most Popular Reviewers in the UK on a regular basis as well as having some of my reviews featured in the Top 50 most popular reviews on Goodreads. Recently I hit number 94 in the Top 100 globally on Goodreads which just blew me away! I am also extremely proud of being a Top Ranked Reviewer on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk especially as my first book reviews usually read something like “I really loved this book! Highly recommended!”  Continue reading

Book Review of Bloodwalker by L. X. Cain

 

bloodwalkerBook Description:
Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he’s determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer’s trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

 

Book Extract:
On nearby streets, people left their offices and entered parked cars or waited at the bus stop. If any glance up at the peculiar form crouched on the church parapet, they’d betray no curiosity. That would be impolite – a violation of the keep-to-yourself code that held the country of radically diverse ancestries and cultures together. He’d be written off as trick of the light of maybe an extra gargoyle. The stone monsters sat atop the old facades in Budapest any way. Being mistaken for a monster was nothing new. Rurik was used to it.

The police presence and general alarm would be greater if they knew it was actually four children missing, not just one.

A little girl taken from a park in Northern Italy. A boy taken from a playground in Slovenia. A girl taken from an abandoned Slovenian train station a week later. And now a girl from Budapest. Continue reading

Interview with Crime Fiction Author, Matt Hilton.

Matt HiltonToday I’m pleased to welcome crime fiction/thriller author Matt Hilton to the blog. Author of the popular Joe Hunter series and Tess Grey thriller series, Matt’s fiction is all about thrills and action. Taking a break from writing the third in the Tess Grey series Matt has kindly agreed to answering some questions from me. Thanks for taking part today Matt, lets start the interview:

What inspired you to write in the crime action genre?
Back in my youth I read whatever books came into the house via my father. He was a huge fan of the men’s adventure books of the day, so these were the books I was picking up and reading too. I loved stories full of action and pace, and it didn’t matter to me if the protagonist was a spy (Nick Carter), vigilante (Mack Bolan), gunslinger (Edge) or barbarian swordsman (Conan the Cimmerian), as long as the story was fast and furious and full of hair-raising adventure. So, when it came to start penning my own tales, it was obvious that I’d try to emulate my literary heroes, and from all those genres I found the one that suited me best was crime action – which for me can encompass all the other genres mentioned above, as long as it’s in a relatively contemporary setting. These days when I pick up a book, I still reach for crime action (AKA crime thriller) first, so I suppose I haven’t changed much over the years. The other answer is that I write the kind of books I’d love to read.

On your website you say that you listened to your Dad tell stories when you were younger. What was your favourite, and why?
It’s difficult choosing only one, or even recalling any single story. Often the same story was told on different occasions and each time it took on a different slant, or had a twist, so they were ever changing, so kept on entertaining. If the stories featured action, there’d be a lot of play-acting (or role-playing) going on, with play-fights a must to get most enjoyment from the experience. But, I must say, my dad could tell a good ghost story, and from that I have also developed a lifelong love of a good spooky story. Continue reading

Fiction Author Blogging and Social Media

Social-media-graphic1

In the past week I’ve read some informative and entertaining blog posts that I’d like to share with you. The posts include topics such as author blogging and how to deal with annoying people on social media. I hope you find these articles useful.

 

ARA rose One of my favourite author blogs is Anne R Allen’s. This week she looks at how author blogging, especially fiction author blogging, should be done differently to standard blogging. Anne lists things that fiction author bloggers shouldn’t do, and explains why much of the advice out there is out of date and irrelevant. She then lists 9 elements that make up a successful author blog. You can find them, and the whole article here: Blogging Authors, Ignore the Rules! 9 Tips for a Successful Author Blog

profile-of-Jason-Kong-e1351222381642 On Joel Friedlander’s blog, Jason Kong discusses how fiction writers can build a better e-mail list. He explains who to target with e-mails and why, and what the best methods are to attract new subscribers to your e-mail list. Just like with blogging, Jason suggests that the trick is in giving quality content and offering incentives to encourage people to subscribe. You can read the whole article here: Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better E-mail List.  Continue reading

Interview with paranormal suspense author, Shani Struthers

shaniToday I’m really pleased to be able to welcome paranormal suspense author Shani Struthers to the Blog. Shani is a Brighton based author who has set her Psychic Surveys series in the city, and is working on a new series based in the most haunted cities around the world. Thank you for taking part today Shani, lets begin:

 

You set some of your books in and around Brighton. What makes the city such a great location for fiction?
Well first of all I live in Brighton so I know it very well and secondly, it’s just a great city! It’s diverse, it’s cosmopolitan and it’s very tolerant. Seriously, all of life is in Brighton, the normal, the not so normal, the weird and the wonderful. It’s a great place to base a Psychic Surveys high street consultancy. I actually think if there was such a business in real life it’d be embraced by the locals! Now… there’s a thought…

You go into a lot of detail for the paranormal investigations that Ruby and her team conduct in the Psychic Surveys series. Is the paranormal of interest to you outside of writing about it?
Definitely, my mum had a life-long intellectual interest in it and so paranormal matters would often be discussed in out house. I grew up with it and developed an interest myself. Also, I’ve veered towards that genre in film and literature but I’m not into gore or gratuitous stuff, like the less is more angle and stuff that’s been well researched too.

What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about being an author before you started to write?
So many things but certainly that you’ve got to have a thick skin, not everyone will  like what you are doing and not everyone is afraid to say so! Also, that it’s a marathon not a sprint and to take time delivering a quality product that you can be proud of.

Continue reading