Interview with Crime Book Junkie, Noelle Holten

Noelle with BusterToday I’m delighted to welcome Crime Book Junkie, Noelle Holten (and her chocolate lab, Buster) to the blog. When I asked Noelle if I could ask her some questions, she asked why I’d want to. Noelle is one of the biggest book bloggers around, with a huge audience of review readers that I’m sure would like to get to know her better. I rest my case! So Noelle, I’d best start the interview.

 

You have traveled the world quite a bit (Ireland, Canada and now the UK.) Which part of the world is your favourite and why?
I wish I could say I was well traveled, but those are places where I have lived or where my family are! My favourite? Well, I absolutely love Canada ~ my home ~ as nothing beats a Canadian winter. Snow up to your knees, snowflakes falling on your face or the glistening sight from a fresh snowfall under the streetlights, a proper snowball fight, tobogganing. *Sigh* -Good times! But I recently had the chance to visit Scotland and absolutely fell in love. In fact, the scenery and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Canada and I would not be surprised if one day, Buster and I just picked up sticks and ended up moving there! Never say never!

narniaWhat was the first book of your childhood that made you realise that from that point on you’d never be without one?
My dad bought me The Chronicles Of Narnia box set. I fell in love. I have been reading ever since. Though my taste in books have changed, Narnia is still one of my favourites. It was the first time I ever felt a story come alive. I must have been about 6 or 7. And I was always checking wardrobes in the hopes that I might find my Narnia too!

Do you think your love of crime books influenced your career choice, or does working in the probation service reinforce what books you choose to read?
Good question! Honest answer…I don’t know…though if my choice of books influenced my career, I would have ended up a serial killer as I started reading horror and true crime when I was 12 years old and moved on to crime fiction probably around my early 20’s!

I try to separate my work head from my reading head as I think I would be too overly critical of plot lines or characters otherwise. You know, like how some Police Officers get hung up on incorrect use of procedure or protocol or how a Doctor might think a surgical scene is all wrong. Literary licence is a wonderful tool and I don’t ever want to become too hung up on what would or would not happen…so I try to leave work…at work!

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Self-Publishing Trends 2016

Screen-Shot-2015-12-30-at-9.46.14-AM-700x140-4 blog

I’ve been reading many articles and blog posts in which predictions have been made about what will happen this year in the self-publishing industry, from how books will be sold, to a growing number of self-publishing authors called artisanal authors. Could you be selling your books to a wider market? Will Barnes and Noble have to close down? See what leading experts (in the above image)  think will happen in 2016 in this article from BookWorks.com. 

On The Self Made Writer, Deb Vanasse discusses trends after having a look back on 2015. At the end of the year, print books had a growth in sales due to the appearance of adult colouring books. Big publishers were also charging high prices for kindle versions of their books that led to higher sales of print copies. This year, Debs believes there will be more of a balance between print and digital books, and there’ll be less concern about which format sells the most. You can read more of Deb’s expected trends in the writing and publishing industry here.

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My Top 10 Reads of 2015

As this is my last post of 2015, I thought I’d use it to share my top ten reads of the year. I’ve chosen one to receive a Special Mention and one is my Top Recommended Book of the Year. So, in no particular order:

 

1 CCooksonTo Be a Lady: The Story of Catherine Cookson
by Cliff Goodwin.

Book Description:
A biography of the bestselling author and northern cultural icon, Catherine Cookson. Following her story from her birth as illegitimate daughter of a South Shields woman who became an alcoholic in later life, through her career as a laundry worker, to her current star status, this work features interviews with the subject and original research, and reveals a great deal of fresh information.

Catherine Cookson is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read many of her books and own many of the film adaptations on DVD. The depth of detail in the research is amazing and it was nice to have snippets of interviews with Catherine throughout this book. I read it in April and you can find my 5* review here on Goodreads.

 

his kidnappers shoesHis Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James

Book Description:
Daniel Bateman is one angry man. He’s just discovered a devastating truth; the woman who calls herself his mother is really his kidnapper. Snatched from his birth family when he was four years old, Daniel’s always been tormented with vague memories from his former life. When he is confronted with a second shattering revelation, his life falls apart; booze and casual sex help numb the pain.

Daniel knows one thing for sure. He’ll never be able to forgive his kidnapper. Never. Because of her, he’s been denied his dream of becoming an artist. More importantly, he’d have grown up with a mother he could love instead of one he can barely tolerate. And the shadow of his controlling stepfather wouldn’t have darkened his life.

Furious, his life in pieces, Daniel needs the answer to just one question. Why did Laura Bateman kidnap him?

He’s not sure he’ll ever find out. The woman now under arrest for his kidnap twenty-two years ago isn’t talking. Laura Bateman doesn’t believe a crime has been committed; to her, stealing Daniel seemed her only option at the time. Until she receives Daniel’s forgiveness, something he’s sworn she’ll never get, Laura’s staying silent as to what really happened all those years ago.

There’s a saying that you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before judging them. Will Daniel ever be ready to step into Laura Bateman’s shoes?

A tense novel of psychological suspense, His Kidnapper’s Shoes weaves one man’s quest for his identity with one woman’s need to heal her troubled past.

This is the first of four stand alone full length novels written by Maggie James. I read it in early April and then went on to read Maggie’s other three novels. If you are a fan of tense psychological suspense and complex characters, then I’d recommend this book. It got 5* from me and you can read my review of it on Goodreads

 

1faithpeterjamesFaith by Peter James

Book Description:
Ross Ransome is at the top of his profession; one of the most successful, and certainly one of the richest, plastic surgeons in the business. Such a man would expect his wife to be perfect – and why not? After all, he has spent enough hours in surgery to get her that way.

But when his wife falls ill she turns her back on conventional medicine, and her arid marriage, and seeks help from the world of alternative medicine and a charismatic therapist who promises not just medical salvation.

For Ransome, this is the ultimate betrayal. It defies logic, and Ross Ransome is a profoundly logical man. Logically, he can see no reason why any man should have his wife when he can’t. It’s all completely rational…

I am a fan of Peter James novels and this one didn’t disappoint. If you like your antagonist to have a little back story where you can find out why he’s like he is, then you’ll enjoy unraveling the ‘logic’ of Ross in this book. I read Faith in May and my 5* review is here.

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Interview with psychological thriller author, John Nicholl

John NichollToday I am really pleased to welcome psychological thriller author, John Nicholl, to the blog. John has previously worked in the police force and child protective social services. His debut novel, White is the Coldest Colour, has become an Amazon Top Ten bestseller. Whilst fictional, it is influenced by what John has witnessed during his work in child protection and features predatory pedophile Dr Galbraith.

Lets begin:

How do you start your writing day and motivate yourself?
It varies from day to day. Some days I feel driven to write for hours, while others are less productive. If I’m not in the mood to write then I do something else instead.

What is it about writing fiction that you enjoy the most?
I like the creative process. Being in control of events is also a positive. Real life is far less predictable as God laughs at our plans.

White

In a previous interview you say that thinking of the title ‘White is the Coldest Colour’ was almost as hard as writing the novel, and that a song helped you. How long were you working on the title and what was the song?
I came up with and rejected at least a dozen titles over an eighteen month period before stumbling upon one I liked enough to keep. ‘White is the Coldest Colour’ came to me when listening to ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ on Radio 2. I hope readers will agree that it’s a good fit. Continue reading

My Top 5 Films Adapted from Books

This week I thought I’d talk about the best film adaptations from books. My top 5 are all books that I’ve read and enjoyed, and films that I think have have done justice to those books. I’ve chosen a range of genres and age ranges. Have you read the same books and watched the same films as me? Here are my choices:

Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Shawshank cover

The Shawshank Redemption was published in a collection of novellas by Stephen King called Different Seasons. Titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, it was made into a film in 1994 staring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as two prisoners trying to survive the corrupt prison system whilst planning to escape against all the odds.

Although a novella, the film is one of the longest adaptations of a King story. It is one of my favourite films because of how well suited the actors are to their roles and how it doesn’t stray away from the original, utterly compelling story.

 

 

Tilly Trotter by Catherine Cookson

Tilly Trotter dvd

Tilly Trotter is the first in a series of books about the life and struggles of Tilly. She has been brought up by her grandparents and is thought to be a witch by the village locals. This first book focuses on her early life and is what the film is based on.

Catherine Cookson is one of my favourite authors, and this adaption of the book was superb. I enjoyed watching the story come to life and was really pleased that it stayed true to the book and didn’t add any extras for a more ‘dramatic effect’.  Continue reading