Interview with Occult Horror Author, Sarah England.

Sarah England

Sarah England

Today I’m happy to welcome Sarah England to the blog. Sarah is an author of dark occult horror books that send a chill down your spine. She is currently busy putting the finishing touches to the third book in her trilogy, Magda, which will be available at Halloween – spooky! If you haven’t read Sarah’s previous books, Father of Lies and Tanner’s Dell, then I highly recommend them. Lets find out some more about Sarah:

Hi Mark! Thank you for inviting me onto your blog – I really appreciate it.

What were your favourite childhood books?
I was introduced to reading at a very young age by my mother, who was an English teacher – I can remember reading her cast-off Victoria Holts and Georgette Heyers in the back of our Cortina on rainy English holidays… I actually loved them…guess I started off being unusual way back then. My very first books were the Miffy books – so much so my nickname was Miffy. I also loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Sevens series…showing my age here, whoops!

Was there any interest in the supernatural when you were younger?
I got freaked out so easily and so badly my dad was a bit worried about me. I saw a film on Christmas Eve at the age of five where one of the presents under the tree was a doll, and as the family switched off the light for bed and closed the door, the doll’s eyes snapped open and its head span round on its stem. I hated dolls after that and wouldn’t have them in my room. Also, I was convinced the wardrobe door would open and would watch it on full alert until my parents came to bed in the next room. However, what really tipped me over the edge was my first ever boyfriend taking me to see the Exorcist age 17. I’ve been terrified of the supernatural ever since.

hat-manDuring your career in nursing did you experience anything occult in nature?
There were a lot of stories around in hospitals – mostly when we were staffing a ward at night …great when you had to go into a side ward with a terminally ill patient in the small hours…but the most common was that patients who were about to die would miraculously seem to get better the day before, and then deteriorate rapidly after that. This happened so many times it almost became an omen. But the other thing was – again when someone was about to die – they visibly brightened and stared at a far point no one else could see. Some said the man in the black hat had been to visit. All common stories and personally witnessed. I never saw a ghost though! That came later – a lot later. Continue reading

Interview with bestselling murder mystery author, Peter James

Peter-James-author-photoI’m delighted to be able to welcome Peter James to the blog. Author of the Roy Grace series of detective thriller novels as well as stand alone books such as Alchemist, Perfect People, and Host. Peter has sold millions of copies of his books and has had them translated into 36 different languages. When he’s not writing, Peter enjoys skiing, tennis and motor racing. Thank you for agreeing to take part today Peter, let’s begin the interview.

 

You say that everything changes when you read. What was the first book you read as a child that changed something for you?
When I was 14 I read Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock and this book totally changed my life.  It is quite simply the book that made me realize I wanted to be a writer, the first time I read it, as a teenager. It is also the inspiration behind my setting the Roy Grace series in Brighton. This timeless novel is both a thriller and a crime novel, although police play a small part and the story is almost entirely told through the eyes of the villains and two women who believe they can redeem them. Greene has a way of describing characters, in just a few sentences, that makes you feel you know them inside out and have probably met them, and his sense of “place” is almost palpable. It is for me an almost perfect novel.  It has one of the most grabbing opening lines ever written (Hale knew, within thirty minutes of arriving in Brighton, that they meant to kill him.”), and one of the finest last lines – very clever, very tantalizing and very, very “noir” – yet apt. Green captures so vividly the dark, criminal underbelly of Brighton and Hove, as relevant now as when the book was first written, and the characters are wonderful, deeply human, deeply flawed and tragic.  And yet, far more than being just an incredibly tense thriller, Greene uses the novel to explore big themes of religious faith, love and honour.”  And additionally, a bonus, It is also unique for being one of the few novels where the film adaptation is so good it complements rather than reduces the book. But it is not just Brighton Rock – I learn so much from Green’s writing. I don’t think any writer before or after him has been able to create such vivid characters with so few words and description.

Host - Peter James You were there at the beginning of the digital age of books. What do you think of how the industry has grown since then?
In 1994 my novel Host became the first ever electronic novel and I was pilloried around the world, accused of killing the novel!  I do think that as e-books become cheaper they will become even more popular, but personally, I still love the smell and touch of printed books and they will be around for our lifetimes and way beyond. There has been a lot of fear about ebooks, and there is of course justification in this because of the fear of piracy and the terrible damage done to the record industry, but I think this is different with books and the culture is different. Many people, for the foreseeable future will continue to read printed books. But for others it has opened up huge new potential for reading. For instance one of my fans was a soldier out in Afghanistan.  Thanks to his Kindle he could take dozens of books with him out on operations in the desert, which he could never have done before as he could not have physically carried them. I have many elderly fans who like the fact they can increase the font size on their ebooks. And I have had dozens of emails from fans who have bought my recent novels electronically, but who tell me they have also bought the hardcover version to have on their bookshelves as collector items. Personally, although I have almost all of the e-reader gadgets, in general I much prefer to hold a printed book in my hand.

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Ebook Prices. What would you pay?

Today I thought I’d talk about the cost of ebooks. There have been other discussions on blogs and social media about this topic due to the agreement made between Amazon and 4 of the top 5 publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan). The result of this agreement is that the publishers can set their own prices and keep them set, with no changes ever made by Amazon. The publishers receive financial incentives to keep the prices down, yet many of their books cost much more than those published by smaller publishers and indie authors.

The graphs below show the difference in the cost of ebooks published by different types of publisher. As you can see, the books published by the biggest publishers are the most expensive, in some cases more than double than that of an indie published book. They have also been increasing month on month from the time shown between Feb 2014 and May 2015.

Book prices on Amazon

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Interview with Psychological Suspense author Maggie James

 

 

maggie

 

Today I’d like to welcome psychological suspense author Maggie James to the blog. Maggie is the author of four novels and is about to publish a book helping people to write their first novel. Write Your Novel! will be published on the 1st July.

 

 

 

What piece of advice do you wish you had been told before you began writing?
I wish I’d been aware that being a novelist involves much more than writing books. I hadn’t a clue about marketing, running promotions or maintaining a website and social media presence. Not that I don’t enjoy those things – I do, very much – but I overlooked how much time they take. If only someone had warned me, I’d have been better prepared. It’s easy to be wise after the event!

What was it that you wrote that made you think ‘I could be good at this’?
That thought cropped up after I published my first (and very short!) piece of fanfiction online. For decades I’d not allowed anyone to read anything I’d written, so I was nervous about uploading it. To my delight, by the next morning I’d received a few favourable reviews. The confidence boost they gave me was incredible. I wrote and posted longer fanfiction stories, which continued to attract good reviews. After a few months, I felt confident enough to tackle a novel. I’ll always be grateful to fanfiction for the boost it gave my writing career. Continue reading

Fiction in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is an English county which is full of fiction. It is also where my upcoming novel, The Revelation Room, is set. I’d like to share with you some examples of other authors and fiction based in Oxfordshire:

Authors from Oxfordshire:

Authors-from-Oxforshire-image

– Agatha Christie is famous for Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

– C. S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.

– J. R. R. Tolkien is famous for the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

– Philip Pullman is well known for His Dark Materials.

– Griselda Heppel writes children’s fiction including Ante’s Inferno.

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