Author Spotlight – Simon Farrant and Death Dolls

Today I’m delighted to welcome Simon Farrant to the blog. Please would you introduce yourself Simon, and then we’ll find out more about your most recent book, Death Dolls?

Hello Mark! I’m Simon, and I live in Corby. It’s a town an hour or so north of London by train and one of the fastest growing towns in the country. A bit of trivia, it’s the only town in the country with extensive ancient woodlands in the town.

I’ve been writing for just over a year. A friend of mine asked for short stories to submit to an anthology. That was it – I was hooked! At home I live with my wife, Louise, our three children, our Bengal cat, Missy and Skeddie the pink tongued skink.

So far I have co-authored a anthology of short horror stories, with Mark Nye, and three hard-boiled (gory!) crime stories. There’s a fourth one called Driven to Murder on the horizon.

Next year, I have a trilogy coming out in a much different genre; the limbo island books are low fantasy mixed with a bit of mystery. No dragons, sorry,

In the past I’ve gained a degree, driven 18 wheel trucks and been a special constable. In 2011 I became ill with the swine flu and this developed into fibromyalgia, and I also suffer with psoriatic arthritis. It eventually meant losing the jobs, and I now use a mobility scooter to help with getting around. Writing has given me a great new outlook on life, and I love it.

 

Death Dolls book description:

Will your skin become a handbag after you die?

Benjamin sees himself as a great guy who employs various misfits at his remote family farm, but when his mother dies during a house fire, grief takes its toll on his mind. Strapped for cash, Benjamin starts a new, gruesomely profitable leather business with Tilly, an expert craft worker.  The only hitch – where will they get the bodies from? Can they find people willing to sell their dead relatives’ skin or will they need to take matters into their own hands?

If you like fantastic, gritty, dark crime that’s not for the faint of heart then you will love Death Dolls. It is the third book in the hard boiled crime series, Newdon Killers, by Simon Farrant.

‘Absolutely fabulous story, Simon Farrant is an excellent author who keeps you pinned to the edge of your seat.’ – 5* Amazon Review.

Pick up Death Dolls to discover this exciting new book today!

You can find Death Dolls on Amazon by clicking on the book cover.

 

 

Did something you heard/saw inspire the plot for the book, or did the idea appear in your imagination out of the blue?
Last year I had a tattoo done, and I started to outline a story called Dr Tattoo. I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out, but it had the scene of Benjamin McGuinness building up his tattoo business in the countryside. I for some reason wondered if it was possible to make leather goods from human skin, and looked it up on the internet. To my surprise, it is possible and you can buy it. So, this was in the back of my mind, and the story came together. After introducing the next tattooist, the idea of a community of misfits seemed like a great plot.

The story started life as a short story in the book I mentioned earlier, the anthology, called Anathema. I was very pleased with the short story but knew that there was a much longer book bursting to be born. The ending is a little different too, which is fun as I wanted people who may have read the short to be surprised by the change.

 

Why did you decide to set the series in the same town, and do any characters feature in more than one book?
It feels right to have a fictional town, as it gives me a lot of scope to drop ‘Easter Eggs’ in stories that people who have read different books would notice. For example, in my upcoming book Driven to Murder, one character buys a pregnancy kit from a shop that features in the first book of the trilogy. Although they are quite different genres, it helps me to build a more multi dimensional world.

Sgt Laura Love features in Famously Ordinary, Death Dolls and much more so in Driven to Murder. She become DS Love in that book, and I plan to write some more mainstream crime books next year with Laura as the main police officer. The readers will have seen her try to tackle James Dean in Famously Ordinary, and then Benjamin McGuinness and his crew in Death Dolls and on to the murders in DtM, so I feel that readers will be rooting for her.

In Driven to Murder, a couple of high profile characters come back to the pages. I can’t reveal who yet, but I think that readers who have been fans of Newdon Killers will be happy….

 

Which character was the most fun to write – good or bad, and why?
This is a joint one, between the brother and sister Benjamin and Lisa McGuinness. Seeing the moral dilemma that Lisa feels along with her boss at the undertakers was interesting to write. Without giving away too much, it seems like a perfect money making opportunity for them. Benjamin was really fun to write, the cringe was strong writing the murder scene when Benjamin had to dispose of one of his original employees who was intent on blowing the whistle to the authorities.

I very much enjoyed writing the comic scenes of him flying a small aircraft with customers to dispose of their loved one’s ashes over the sea. I imagine that some readers will laugh at this, and it might be a bit more emotional to other readers.

 

In a few words could you tell us why we would enjoy reading Death Dolls?
Yes! Death Dolls is a short novel, so a fairly easy book to read in one great reading sitting if you have the time to do so. It’s been called unique, as in a bit of horror a bit of crime and a bit of suspense. One reviewer went so far as to call it ‘Brilliant’, although I am far too modest to say that myself! The characters are mis-fits, and the setting is quite unusual too.

 

Do you have a favourite part of the story? Would you like to share an extract?That’s a tough question, Mark!

I really like how Benjamin wants to provide a secure home for his employees; I wouldn’t be surprised if some readers could see themselves living there too.

The extract that I have chosen is from Chapter Five. I have picked this as it is a pivotal moment in the book. Earlier in the story, Tilly asked if she could fulfil an ambition of running a leather works business. Benjamin said yes, on the condition that she and her two sisters first made a success of an organic piggery that he had established…

 

Nine months to the day after the piggery came under the stewardship of the triplets, Skunkworks Leather opened for business.

Tilly stood with great pride when Benjamin gathered the workers in the yard and placed the ribbon that he had affixed across the door to celebrate his new business opening between the blades of a pair of scissors. He said, ‘Thank you all for coming.’ That generated some laughter from the crowd, all of who lived in the accommodation on site, so it wasn’t hard for them to be there.

He grinned and continued, ‘I am honoured Zack brought you women into my life. The business couldn’t have prospered without you. I declare the Skunkworks… open!’

A round of applause rippled around the workers, and a real ambiance of celebration settled over the group. Tilly hugged Benjamin tightly and whispered into his ear, ‘Thanks a million, you won’t regret this. I promise.’

‘You’re welcome, you three have been a total pleasure to have on board,’ said Benjamin.

Tilly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and looked up at Benjamin, ‘You know, it has been so hard in the past. No-one has wanted to give all three of us a chance together in a job, but we can’t cope with being apart. This is so great, and I have more plans for the business.’

‘Oh, what’s that?’ Benjamin said, an eyebrow lifted in surprise.

Tilly looked over his shoulder into the distance and said, ‘Oh never mind for now, we’ll talk about it another time. Let’s not run before we can walk.’

Benjamin shrugged, ‘No worries, you can talk to me at any time you know.’

Tilly hugged him again and kissed him on the cheek, ‘You’re the best boss ever. Benjamin McGuiness.’

He blushed a deep shade of red, which was something that he never normally did. Zack and the other two sisters smirked.

Tilly laughed the awful laugh that the trio seemed to enjoy as if they knew they sounded like a coven of witches. Zack lit up a cigarette and puffed out a huge plume of smoke into the sky. Tilly pointed at him, ‘Don’t even think of smoking anywhere near this place Zack. There’s loads of chemicals and I don’t wish to risk a fire, mate! Anyway, see you lot in a bit, I have work to do.’ She went into her new workshops and got on with preparing ready for hides to arrive. Zack and Benjamin returned to the tattoo studio, and the two remaining women made their way back to the Piggery.

 

Thank you Mark for inviting me on to your blog, I very much appreciate the opportunity!
Best wishes and happy reading.

You can find and follow Simon on Amazon and across social media:
Simon’s Amazon author page.
Facebook: SimonFarrantOfficial.
Twitter: @asfarrant.

 

Thank you for your continued support,

Best wishes,

Mark.

 

Tilbury Talks To… Kate Noble

Today on Tilbury Talks To…I’m delighted to welcome Kate Noble. Thank you for agreeing to take part today Kate. Would you let everyone know a little bit about you?

 I’m a mum, wife and proofreader as well as book blogger and have managed to amass a wonderful collection of books that I wouldn’t want to part with. Rather proud to say that my daughter is also turning into quite the little bookworm. I try to juggle reading and knitting by using a kindle wedged between cushions but occasionally this leads to dropped stitches or me completely abandoning the wool and needles in favour of my book. My go to reads are usually crime and historical thrillers but I do like to challenge myself with something different now and again.

 

What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
It was a way to give my time some shape whilst my baby napped initially. I’ve always been a reader and shared my thoughts on books with family and friends, but a book blog seemed like a good way to keep track of my thoughts on books in one place. Initially, it was just for me, but soon I found out that other people were interested in “hearing” my thoughts on books and so I began posting my reviews on to social media for others to read too.

What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
Best would probably be the connections you can make through the book blogging community. There are a whole raft of people out there who love books and aren’t afraid to shout about books. The friendships I’ve made through blogging are wonderful, bloggers are a great bunch who put their hearts and souls into what they do and in turn, offer advice, friendship and comradery.

Worst would probably be learning the hard way that I cannot read every book that I want to, no matter how much sleep I lose. I hate to let people down and feel awful when I have to turn down a review request, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Continue reading

Tilbury Talks To… Sue Ward

 

Today, Tilbury Talks To… Sue Ward. Thank you for taking part Sue. Please would you introduce yourself?

My name is Sue. Most know me in the book world as “read along with Sue” I’m married and have 2 grown up children. I’m from the UK, born and bred Bristolian!

 

 

What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I was getting more and more into reviews and wanted somewhere I could direct others who I follow and who follow me to one single place on the net. Somewhere I could direct an author if they would like to read it. But also for other book lovers to see what type of genres I read.

What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
My best things, hmm there are lots. I’ll choose a couple. I get to meet and interact with other book bloggers online. No matter where in the world we live, what we look like, where we come from we have something in common. Books! And the love of books. And the interaction we can have with authors online.

I get to speak about BOOKS!

The worst things? There are a few. The temptation of book after book that I NEED and then finding myself buried under a heap of books that I NEEDED to read months and months ago but still haven’t. And the guilty feelings it gives me.

Hauling books is another one. It’s like being in a sweetshop and you “all” of your most favourite sweets are being offered to you at a reduced price. How can you refuse??!

Lastly, writing a review that’s honest, tactful but low markings. I agonised over it for days. But I push myself to stay true to how a book makes me feel or react. Otherwise there’s no point in reviewing. Continue reading

Tilbury Talks To… John R. Cowton

Today, Tilbury Talks To… John R. Cowton. Welcome John. Please would you introduce yourself?

 

I’m retired from my career working in Mental Health as a registered nurse, but even during my busiest times, I have always managed to find time to read a book. I love the crime genre, but also enjoy historical fiction. I’m also an aspiring writer and am known to write the odd story or two when not reading, which isn’t very often.

 

 

What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I have been reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads for some time whilst struggling to keep a ‘writer’s’ blog going. I say struggling, because I had reached a point where I believed I had nothing more of value to say. I don’t think anyone can read a book and not have an opinion about it, so there was always something to say. It became clear that it was time to start again, so I started a new blog with a new name. There is a button on my new blog which links to my old blog for those rare occasions that I have something else to say. But, essentially, I have evolved into a book blogger.

 

What are the best and worst things about being a book blogger?
The best thing is I feel I am making a connection with the author of the book I have just read. I then try to let them know through social media or email that there is a review out there. The reaction is usually good. When a writer has given me great pleasure from what has been written, I would hope I have reciprocated by giving the writer pleasure with my positive feedback. If I didn’t like it there would be no review at all, because I don’t make claims to be a professional book critic. Just because I didn’t like what I have read, somebody else probably loves it, so who am I to assume the position of judge and jury. I’m just a reader who likes to give back.

The worst thing is when I doubt myself that anyone could be the remotest bit interested in what I have to say. I don’t mean the author, but other readers. Continue reading

Tilbury Talks To… Llainy Swanson

Today, Tilbury Talks To… Llainy Swanson. Thank you for agreeing to take part today Llainy. Would you please let everyone know a little bit about yourself?

Llainy with ‘This is Going to Hurt’ by Adam Kay.

Hey, thanks for having me.  So, I am a Scottish book worm with a habit of calling everyone Betty (boy, girl, animal – doesn’t matter).  I have loved reading since I was a kid and you can find me, most days, curled up somewhere with Princess Trixie (cat) and a book.

 

What went through your head when you first decided to start your book blog?
I kept buying books I had already read and of course only finding out once I was a decent bit in.  So I started the blog to keep tabs and eventually authors, publishers and PR folk reached out ask asked if I would read/review a book for them.  It was so out of the blue, I was so touched as there are so many amazing bloggers who are really eloquent in their thoughts/writing.  Mine is peppered with some of my daft catchphrases, OMG, Whaaaaaat, ooft etc but readers seem to react well to it.

Have you met any fellow book bloggers in ‘real life’ and what were they like?
Yeah, I met Sharon from “Chapter in my Life” fellow weegie, she is hilarious and lovely.  Sadly the few times I have met her I have had to rush off but online and offline she is lovely and now we are boot twins (she broke her foot today, I broke mine a few weeks back, wee pies lol.)  Shell Baker from Chelles book reviews, OMG she is a crackpot but in the nicest possible way.  If you could bottle her personality and sell it, would be the richest person alive.  She is larger than life, funny, genuine and so sweet.  We finally met at Horrorcon (yeah really) and I can’t wait to have a proper meet up and drink with that crazy cat (and her selfie stick obvs).  Noelle Holten from Crime Book Junkie, she is one of the sweetest wee chops <3  again the twice I have met her I have been away swiftly but the small chats offline and the many online, actually love her.  She is the other half of Twinnie (Sharon is the other one) and she has written a book and it has been given the thumbs up from THEEEEE Martina Cole, ooft – bigger and better things for this wee gem!  I have met others but it has just been a brief hello, or brief gab before a book event. Continue reading