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.

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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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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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Book Review of Guilt by Joan Ellis

Guilt‘You died a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.’

In the 60s, seven-year-old Susan is left alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose. The guilt informs the rest of her life. When it threatens to destroy not only her but also her relationship with her new baby, she sets out to discover the truth. What she uncovers is as disturbing as it is hopeful.

 

 

Extract:

From that day, I loved school. Well I wasn’t much good at maths, but I loved English. Writing was a great way of getting rid of all the words and feelings that upset me. Dumping down my thoughts was my way of dealing with them and moving on. I could write whatever I wanted, lie if it made me feel better. Only it’s not called lying when you write, it’s called using your imagination. I did a lot of that. Made up all sorts. I was very good at it. Sometimes I’d re-read the story and even I couldn’t tell which bits were true and which parts were imaginary. Y’see, Mark, the trouble with writing is it doesn’t help you forget, it forces you to remember every last detail. But writing does allow you to forgive yourself absolutely anything.

At first writing was hard work, going over and over stuff, deciding what to put in and what to leave out but before long, my essays were the best in the class. They were so good the teacher read them out in the lesson. All the other kids couldn’t believe I had turned into a brainbox overnight. Even Paul Brown developed a grudging respect for me and found someone else to bully. Like I said I loved school. I would’ve slept there if I could. Home was too big cold and big without you. Dad was in his own world, a crazy place that I couldn’t and didn’t want to enter. I remember showing him my English book once. Obviously, I didn’t let him read any of my essays but he saw all the ticks, stars and full marks. I thought he’d be pleased, proud even but all he said was ‘Is that it?’ I never showed him anything after that.

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Self-Publishing Trends 2016

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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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