Author Interview with Graham Downs.

GrahamDowns

 

Today I’d like to welcome author Graham Downs to the blog. Graham has written 5 books in a range of genres including mystery and paranormal flash fiction. Thank you Graham for taking part, lets begin:

 

1. What was the first piece of fiction you wrote and what was it about?

When I was still at school, I “read” (played) a lot of Gamebooks. My favourite by far was the Lone Wolf series by Joe Dever.

At the age of about eleven or twelve, I wrote one of my own, on my father’s computer, in an old version of WordPerfect. This would’ve been around 1991 or 1992.

I can’t remember very much about it, and it’s unfortunately been lost now – no Dropbox back then. What I do know is that you, as the protagonist, played the role of a contemporary secret agent. I distinctly remember one scene where you had to follow a trail of “stompies” (cigarette butts in South African slang) to track someone down.

I’m sure it was very bad, and it’s therefore probably a good thing that it’s been lost to the sands of time!

2. You say in your blog that you published your first book, Petition to Magic, at the age of 32. What led you to write and publish it at that stage of your life?

1Petition to magic I’ve always been interested in storytelling, from those humble beginnings in Primary School, right through High School and beyond. After Gamebooks, I graduated to tabletop roleplaying. My first foray was a game called AmeriCHAOS 1994, and later I discovered Dungeons & Dragons and eventually GURPS. I’ve experimented with many other systems since then as well – far too many to count.

I used to lament the fact that I always ended up being the Game Master in our sessions, but in truth I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it gave me the chance to do what I loved best, which was to tell my stories.

Despite all this, I never ever considered actually pitching a story to an agent and trying to get it published. It just seemed like far too much effort, for very little gain.

In 2012, I happened to meet a man on Twitter, by the name of Ryan Peter. He was (and is still) a Christian, like me, and we hit it off. I discovered that he was in the process of self-publishing his book, When Twins War. Once he was finished, I went out and bought an e-book copy, and really enjoyed it.

The rest, as they say, is history. I mean, what a pleasure! Here was this technology that allowed anyone to tell any story they liked, put it out into the world in a matter of hours, and get instant feedback. No hoops to jump through, and no-one to tell you whether your story is or isn’t good enough to reach readers.

As an added bonus, I realised that the process was a little bit technical (he self-published first on Smashwords, which admittedly isn’t the simplest platform to use). Me being a computer programmer by trade, it seemed the perfect combination of my two great loves.

I was hooked, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.

Continue reading

Top 10 Author Tweets of the Week

twitter

Sorry for the delayed posting of this article. I had some trouble getting back on-line after moving house, but the less said about BT the better! Anyway, all is back to normal now, so it’s all systems go with the blog and the second Ben Whittle mystery – The Eyes of the Accused.

This week I wanted to share with you some of the best tweets by fellow authors on Twitter. They may be informative, funny, or highlight some excellent writing. They’re great for re-tweeting, too. Here are my top tweets of the week:

Rebecca Scarberry @Scarberryfields
love bookworms who post reviews for the books they love. TY for taking the time.

M A Comley ‏@Melcom1
Good news for KOBO owners you can pick up my novel Hostile Justice at a reduced price using this code OCT30 @

Mike Billington ‏@Billington_Book
Fossil fuel industry could be blindsided by falling global demand: report via @

Maggie James Fiction @mjamesfiction
Why readers should support indie authors: guest post by @

Graham Downs ‏@GrahamDowns
They say word of mouth is the single best form of advertising. Help me use it: if you read and enjoyed one of my books, tell someone

Ninie (9e) Hammon ‏@niniehammon
You can invite the author of book you’re studying into your club meeting with Skype! Just ask.

C T Mitchell ‏@ctmitchellbooks
Want to write but too afraid to start? 5 tips to harness fear

Heather Weidner ‏@HeatherWeidner1
8 Things I Learned from Stephen King’s ON WRITING:

Emma Salisbury ‏@emmasauthor
Dare you take the Psychopath Test? via

Anne R. Allen @annerallen
: Need to cut your word count? Here are 43 words you should cut from your writing & how to do it.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

All the best,

Mark.

 

Author Interview with Karen Long

 

Karen Long

 

Today I’d like welcome crime fiction author, Karen Long, to the blog. Karen is the author of the Eleanor Raven series. The Safe Word and The Vault are both available on Amazon. When she’s not writing, Karen is kept busy caring for birds including crows, ravens and rooks.

 

 

 

What was the first thing you wrote that made you think ‘I could be good at this’?
My first novel was titled, ‘Zinnia Buckle and the Queen’s Conjuror’. It is set in 1888 and is a YA novel about a girl who discovers she has the ability to slip through time and across death’s threshold.  When manipulated by her employer’s spiritual guide to enter Limbo she accidentally releases an ancient creature that spreads pestilence and death in Victorian England. The book sits on my shelf gathering dust, as it has done for the past ten years. I’m not sure that it’s any good, as I’ve never had it read by anyone but myself but it did prove to me that I could structure and execute a story. If I hadn’t written ‘Zinnia’ I couldn’t have written the Eleanor Raven books.

Karen Long Book 1What do you wish you had been told about writing/publishing before you started?That the buck stops with you! Don’t expect anyone else to pick up typos or bad grammar. I was slack on ‘The Safe Word’ but learned to be much tighter on ‘The Vault’. Also, don’t assume anyone is going to be promoting your work. Get on Twitter and Facebook, do the talks, buy and distribute the flyers and the advertising space. It’s your job. I really did think naively that a mysterious ‘someone’ would do it all.

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration to your writing?
Mainly the enormous discrepancy between my earnings and my husband’s. That sounds flippant but writing gives me substance as an individual. In terms of inspiration on the writing front I find newspaper articles the biggest supplier of ideas and ‘what ifs?’. Continue reading

This week in the blogs – Changes to the Amazon review system

amazon-reviews

Amazon have recently put in place some changes to it’s review system on Amazon.com. A variety of blog posts discussing what the changes mean to both readers and authors have caught my eye. I thought I’d share them with you.

The Bowes Library Corner
Author K. T. Bowes says in her recent post “Well, poor Christoph Fischer can testify he still doesn’t know why his 1700 legitimate reviews of other people’s work were removed, or why he was banned from reviewing on Amazon again. The only thing it can be, is that he was deemed to ‘know’ all 1700 authors. He looks like a social, fun kinda guy but really? One of the reviews they removed was for my novel and much as I’d like to, I’ve never met him, had coffee with him or even private messaged with him. There’s a whole lot of ocean between him and me, which presumably Amazon don’t deem to be a significant obstacle.”
     Her post raises many important questions and highlights how authors are having reviews of their published works removed and being banned from leaving reviews because Amazon believe they know the other authors whose books they are reviewing. But what do they deem as ‘knowing’ someone? They don’t give any explanations. Continue reading

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