Monthly Archives: August 2017

Author Influences With Tony J Forder

After a break last week (mainly due to me being disorganised!) Author Influences is back this week and I’m really pleased to be joined by Tony J Forder!

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton and Anthony Buckeridge were early favourites, soon followed by both Alan Garner and Paul Gallico as I got a little older.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Other than art it was my favourite subject, and it was also my best subject – especially composition.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read crime, thrillers, espionage. I also still enjoy fantasy. The crime/thriller genre has had a massive influence as it is what I now choose to write. All of my potential storylines reflect this genre.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Fantasy – I began writing in that genre, but feel I am now experienced enough to pull it off rather than be derivative. I’d like the freedom it provides, allowing me to make up anything I like and know that readers can’t pick it apart for authenticity.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Alan Garner – The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was the first fantasy novel I ever read, and it both captivated me and freed my imagination. I started writing almost immediately after finishing that book. Although I have strayed from the genre, it opened doors inside my head – doors I hadn’t even known existed.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Michael Connelly – in my view simply the best crime novelist on the planet. Also people like Robert Crais, Lee Child, Mark Greaney and, in recent years, Mason Cross.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
The Silence of the Lambs for its razor-sharp prose and characterisation; A Christmas Carol for the author’s ability to find something majestic in minutiae; The Poet for its plotting.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Something I have just started writing is somewhat influenced by two old murder cases I was reading about – unsolved murders at that. I can’t say more than that, but suffice to say either would have been a fine plot, but throwing the two together into the same pot intrigues the hell out of me. My characters are often an amalgalm of people I know or have met, and one of them is more than a little autobiographical.

A huge thank you for taking part and for the great answers.
An equally huge thank you for allowing me to – it is greatly appreciated.

Tony’s current novel Bad to the Bone is out now. Here’s what it is about:

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

About Tony J Forder

Long ago, back in the mists of time, when I was filled with ambition and brimming with ideas, I wrote a short story for a national competition. The competition was judged by an editor from Pan Books, who liked it enough to choose it as the winner, and to also publish my work in the forthcoming Dark Voices series, which had replaced the famous Pan Book of Horror Stories. And so it was that Gino’s Bar and Grille became my first published piece, in Dark Voices II.

Over a short period, three more stories of mine were published: Character Role, in Fear magazine; A Grim Story, in Rattler’s Tales; and then Book End, my second story for Pan in Dark Voices IV.

Following a conversation with author Brian Lumley, at a book signing for Dark Voices II, I began to feel as if I belonged amongst the writing fraternity. I also started to think that maybe, just maybe, I had a novel in me.

What followed were two horror/dark fantasy novels of moderate quality. But, I told myself, I am learning my craft. The first book of mine I even came close to liking was Degrees of Darkness, and I delighted in scaring the crap out of friends and family who read it. A follow-up never really saw the light of day.

On 1st February 2017, Bloodhound Books announced they had signed me to their stable of writers. On Saturday 29 April they will release Bad to the Bone. Bloodhound have also signed me to write a second title in the series.

With Degrees of Darkness also due to be published later in 2017, I am currently busy working on two more novels.

Links

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Bone-Tony-J-Forder-ebook/dp/B071KTJJBH

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyjforder

Cover Reveal – Bad Sister by Sam Carrington

I loved Sam Carrington’s debut thriller Saving Sophie (you can read my review HERE) and having been eagerly anticipating Sam’s second book. I’m extremely excited by the news that her next novel Bad Sister is due for publication by Avon on eBook on 9 October 2017 and paperback on  14 December 2017. Hurrah! Today I’m able to share the blurb with you and the cover … and what a cover it is, but first the all-important blurb.

Bad Sister

The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Saving Sophie.
Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.
And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.
When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.
Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?
Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page.

Oh my God how good does that sound? And now for the cover which will blow you away. Ta-dah…

Wow! I love this cover. What do you think? Are you looking forward to Bad Sister as much as I am? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Books Revisited – A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell

There are so many books that have had an impact on me over the years, and I have decided to re-read some of them and see if they have the same effect on me now. I’m curious as to whether or not my views on them have changed as I have grown and matured (allegedly!). The first is A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell.

The Blurb

Four members of the Coverdale family – George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles – died in the space of fifteen minutes on the 14th February, St Valentine’s Day. Eunice Parchman, the housekeeper, shot them down on a Sunday evening while they were watching opera on television. Two weeks later she was arrested for the crime. But the tragedy neither began nor ended there…

My Thoughts

I first read my mum’s copy of this book when I was a teenager and it made a real impression on me. I guess it was the first psychological thriller I ever read and it opened up for me a whole new perspective on the crime novel. I initially read this at a time when I was just becoming interested in human nature and what makes people tick and A Judgement in Stone had a pretty profound effect on me. It has been a book I have never forgotten and I wanted to see if, twenty-odd years later, it would still have the same impact on me.

‘Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.’

This first line blew me away when I first read A Judgement in Stone and it blew me away again. You really can’t beat a killer first line and Rendell pretty much nails it here. This was the first opening line I fell in love with and it made me realise what an impact the initial line of a book can have. It raises so many questions – why would being unable to read and write result in the murder of a whole family being one of them – and it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the novel. This was the first time I had ever read a crime novel in which the perpetrator is known from the outset. From the very start we know who committed the crime, how the murders were carried out and when Eunice was arrested. This book is all about the why and it makes for a fascinating read as, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to know the motivations and thought processes behind those who commit murder?

A Judgement in Stone is very much a character study. We get to know Eunice Parchman in a way that those around her don’t as we are privy to her secrets, thoughts and feelings. She is a character that has little to no redeeming features. I love a character I dislike and quite often I do find something in them with which I sympathise, however, I’m not sure I do in Eunice.

Eunice isn’t the only dislikeable character. Her one and only friend Joan Smith is, quite frankly, unhinged and the Coverdale family are snobbish and assured of what they consider to be their elevated status. The only character I had any real positive feelings towards was Melinda Coverdale. This melting pot of difficult, disagreeable characters is one of the things that makes A Judgement in Stone such a great read for me.

While the characters are central to the story, Rendell also uses the decisions we make and the actions we take as a central theme. There is the overriding sense of ‘if only’ throughout the book and it gets you questioning how much control we have over our own destiny. Every action each character takes results in a trajectory that will end in their eventual downfall.

‘In that moment … an invisible thread lassoed each of them, bound them one to another, related them more closely than blood.’

Rendell also fully considers the impact of illiteracy on the psyche and self-esteem of a person along with the views that others have of them. I remember how A Judgement in Stone made me re-think about my ability to read and I found myself considering this ability all over again while reading it for the second time. How we take reading for granted and use it without even thinking about it, how books and the written word open us up to experiences and emotions we have never had and how it can make us rounded individuals by aiding us in considering things from a different perspective. Rendell also made me really consider how those who are unable to read and write navigate a world in which the written word is so dominant;

‘The advantage of being illiterate is that one achieves an excellent visual memory and almost total recall.’

Rendell’s prose is considered and stunning and had me underlining so many sections of text. She has a real way with words as she manages to perfectly craft sentences that set the dark and catastrophic tone and you find yourself re-reading sentences more than once in order to fully appreciate their beauty and meaning. First published in 1977, there are some expressions and words that are quite shocking and offensive to our modern sensibilities but they clearly give a feel for the time and the less politically correct world we live in.

A Judgement in Stone is one hell of a book and I enjoyed it as much, years later, the second time around. It stands the test of time and, in my very humble opinion, is a classic. If you enjoy psychological thrillers and haven’t read this book get it on your bookshelf as soon as possible.

First published on 2 May 1977. This is a review of my own copy which was published on 23 February 2010 by Cornerstone digital.

Author Interview With Kate Dunn – The Challenges of Writing The Dragonfly

I am thrilled to be joined by Kate Dunn today who tells us the challenges involved in writing her latest novel The Dragonfly. We will begin by telling you about Kate’s latest book and then hand over to the lovely lady herself.

The Blurb

Awarded a Kirkus Blue Star and shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction.

When Colin discovers his son is on a murder charge in France, he trails his small boat, The Dragonfly , across the channel to stay in Paris to try and help him. There he meets his grand-daughter the irrepressible Delphine for the first time. They embark on an exciting boat journey through the picturesque French canals, heading south through Burgundy, until the butter melts. Along the way, they catch up with Tyler, a spirited American, and through various mishaps and misunderstandings, they land big fish, cultivate new loves and uncover a burning secret. But can Colin finally help his son get off the hook?

Shortlisted for the 4th Virginia Prize for Fiction, The Dragonfly is the new novel by Kate Dunn: ‘a charming family drama set on the waterways (and in the prisons!) of France.’ (Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow and Everything Love Is). A beautifully written and expertly plotted adventure: ‘Quirky and warm-hearted, with darker undertones that keep you gripped. Kate Dunn is a fine storyteller.’ (Ben Elton)

What were the main challenges in writing The Dragonfly?
The Dragonfly is set in France, on the canals and rivers south of Paris and my husband and I are lucky enough to own a small boat, so much of the action is based on our own (mis)adventures and the places described we have visited ourselves. I wanted to make sure that I was being as accurate as possible without falling into the trap of over-using my research (I did once make my husband retrace our route along the canal for many miles in order to check whether the trees fringing a particular lock were limes or chestnuts, as he reminded me quite pointedly the other day!) I suppose it’s a question of balance, including enough factual information to anchor the story in reality, but allowing yourself the creative license to add atmosphere and emotional resonance to what you are describing, because in the end that’s what brings it to life.

How difficult was it to write about life inside a French prison?
This is where the subplot of the novel takes place. Colin’s son Michael is on remand for killing Delphine’s mum. I’m making the story sound rather dark, but it isn’t, and the scenes in the prison provide some of the humour in the book. Just as Colin and Delphine are dealing with the limitations of managing together on a tiny boat, Michael and his French cellmate Laroche are up against the constraints of living in really close proximity together. Most of the scenes take place within the four walls of their cell – the wider prison life is slightly out of focus at the periphery of this, so it’s mainly about the relationship between them. Laroche is quite a striking guy: dyslexic, brutalized, perceptive and ultimately humane. So I guess with both the setting and the characters it’s what’s happening on the inside that is interesting and important, that’s where my creative energies are focused.

Your main character is a man – Colin. As a woman did you find it difficult to write from a male point of view?
To be honest, I didn’t think of him as a man. I thought of him as a person. He was very vivid in my mind’s eye as I was writing, but what interested me about him was not his gender, but his flaws. He’s quite a complex character – as the result of a bitter divorce he has become estranged from his only son and he has some responsibility for this. I saw him as a fundamentally decent and well meaning person who made one or two dreadful mistakes – something all of us are capable of. The thrust of the story is his attempt to make up for what were quite catastrophic errors of judgment in the past. It’s not just a journey through the meltingly lovely heart of France, for Colin it’s a journey to self knowledge and reconciliation. Interestingly, some of the other characters in the story were just as challenging – it was also to quite a leap of the imagination to get inside the head of a nine year old girl and Delphine has emerged as quite a feisty child: funny, unpredictable and incredibly vulnerable. I love them all. They are like family to me.

Were there any other challenges?
It took a long time to find a publisher. The literary world is a highly competitive place. I started writing The Dragonfly at the end of 2009 and it wasn’t until 2016 that it was short-listed for the Virginia Prize for Fiction to encourage emerging women writers, which is run by my small but perfectly-formed independent publisher Aurora Metro, who picked it up. In the meantime, I had put it in a metaphorical drawer and written a whole other novel (The Line Between Us). I’m only sharing this to show that you should never give up: if you are asking me about challenges, then perhaps the greatest challenge for a writer is to keep on writing, no matter how discouraged you may sometimes feel.

About Kate Dunn

Kate Dunn has had five books published, two novels: Rebecca’s Children and The Line Between Us as well as three works of non fiction, Always and Always — The Wartime Letters of Hugh and Margaret Williams, Exit through the Fireplace and Do Not Adjust Your Set. She has written travel articles for various national newspapers and has broadcast on Radios Two, Three and Four including regular contributions to Front Row. She worked for ten years as an actress and has a PhD in Drama from Manchester University. Her third novel The Dragonfly, published by Aurora Metro, is out now.

Website: http://www.katedunn.co.uk

Twitter: @katedunnwriter 

Publisher: http://www.aurorametro.com

A huge thank you Kate for taking in the Q&A and for the brilliant answers!

A Wedding in Cornwall Series by Laura Briggs – One Year Anniversary Celebration

Laura Briggs’s gorgeous Wedding in Cornwall series celebrates its first anniversary this month and I’m delighted to welcome Laura to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to tell you more about her books.

Thanks so much to Abbie for letting me share about my Cornish-themed romance series with the lovely readers at Bloomin’ Brilliant Books!

It’s hard to believe that my short romance read, A Wedding in Cornwall, celebrated its one year anniversary this month. When I first penned the story of American event planner Julianne and her exciting new job at a Cornish estate, I never dreamed it would become part of a best-selling series. But readers have been more than kind, their enthusiasm making the first book a Top 100 seller, even. They have warmly welcomed its sequel stories, and I’m so glad they continue to enjoy the world of Julianne, her co-workers at Cliffs House, and the charming Poldark-esque gardener, Matt. Because of such avid readers, these characters have experienced many unexpected adventures, everything from planning a Christmas Eve Ball, to helping with a baking contest, and even a royal wedding (at a Cornish castle, no less!).

The next installment in the series, A Romance in Cornwall, brings more excitement to the quiet Cornish village in the form of a famous romance novelist searching for their next story. To celebrate its release, along with the first book’s anniversary, readers can download Book 1, A Wedding in Cornwall, for free via Amazon and other major eBook retailers for a limited time beginning August 23rd. I’m also thrilled to announce that readers will now be able to purchase the first six novellas in one volume—paperback and digital formats available this month!

I’m thrilled with the success you have had with the Wedding in Cornwall series Laura and I am sure it will continue to delight readers.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the series be sure to download A Wedding in Cornwall for free while you can!

You can read my review of A Wedding in Cornwall  HERE, A Christmas in Cornwall HERE and an excerpt of A Manor in Cornwall HERE.

Author Bio

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and admires novelty scarf designs as well. Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Sense and Sensibility, and she enjoys reading everything from women’s fiction to modern day mystery novels. She loves spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, trying new restaurants, and dreams of traveling around the UK and Europe someday.

Twitter Account: http://bit.ly/1ME9ivJ
Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JjeMoI
Author Website: http://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour – Kill Me Twice by Simon Booker *Review and Author Influences*

After really enjoying Simon Booker’s debut thriller Without Trace (read my review HERE), the first in the Morgan Vine series, I was eager to read the next book in the series. I’m really chuffed, therefore, to be on the blog tour for this much anticipated second novel, Kill Me Twice. Not only do I have my review but Simon has also taken part in my Author Influences feature for today’s blog tour post.

The Blurb

Karl Savage is dead.
He must be. His ex, Anjelica, is in prison for murdering him in an arson attack. Multiple forensic experts testified to finding his charred remains.
So when Anjelica begs investigative journalist Morgan Vine to prove her innocence, it seems an impossible task. It doesn’t matter that Karl was abusive. That Anjelica has a baby to care for. That she’s petrified of fire. The whole world knows Karl is dead.
Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window . . .

My Thoughts

Kill Me Twice is the second in the Morgan Vine series following on from Booker’s debut thriller Without Trace. I really enjoyed the first book and really looked forward to this one. While I have the benefit of having read the previous book in the series, Kill Me Twice stands up as a novel that can be read on its own.

What really appealed to me about this series is the fact that Morgan is an investigative journalist rather than a detective which gives this series a different slant and it, therefore, comes from a different perspective. In Kill Me Twice we meet with Morgan following the success of her book Trial and Error: A History of Miscarriages of Justice as she is setting herself up to help those who have been wrongfully convicted. This leads her to assist in the case of Anjelica Fry, a mother currently in prison for the murder of her partner and baby’s father Karl Savage. But is Karl Savage actually dead?

Booker has created great characters for this series. Morgan is an independent, tenacious single mother who will not give up on what she believes to be the truth even when those around her doubt her. Lissa her twenty-year-old daughter again plays a large part in this book. I’m not keen on Lissa, she is not particularly likeable and comes across as a bit of a spoilt brat although I sense a vulnerability about her that I don’t yet fully understand. This adds to the series in that it gives you a contrast of characters and Lissa, while I don’t like her, would be a miss as she adds to the trouble that Morgan faces and I feel that there is more to learn about her.

I always like it when we gain an insight into the antagonist and the writer gives them depth making them a fully rounded character. Booker has written the character of Karl Savage in such a way that while he is utterly despicable you understand why and how he ended up being this way and at points I did feel a degree of sympathy for him. This adds an additional layer to Kill Me Twice.

Kill Me Twice took me on a journey I really wasn’t expecting, I had read the blurb (and actually remembered what the synopsis of the book was, which is pretty amazing for me!) and, I guess, I was expecting a certain plot direction. Kill Me Twice’s trajectory ended up being far, far removed from the average storyline. While Morgan expects to be assisting in a miscarriage of justice case her relationship with Anjelica ends up in her discovering a seedy underground business that relies on vulnerable women to propel it forward and, ultimately, becomes very personal.

Booker’s use of short, punchy sentences in the first chapter are incredibly effective in building up tension, a sense of unease and ensures that the atmosphere and tone of the book is set. You just know that Booker is going to take you to some dark places.

A complex story that is well written and well plotted, Kill Me Twice takes you on one hell of a ride. The ending shocked me and had me muttering ‘oh my God’ to the book. A deliciously dark read that has me eagerly awaiting the third in the series.

Published on 24 August 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre.

Simon now takes over to tell you about his author influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was hooked on Sherlock Holmes from the age of 10.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
My ‘best’ subject. I wrote and performed plays too, which gave me my first taste of applause. Been hooked ever since.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read a lot of crime but it can become a busman’s holiday.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve written rom coms for TV (as well as crime), including Perfect Strangers starring Rob Lowe and Anna Friel. A good rom com is a work of genius, but they’re few and far between, eg, When Harry Met Sally and The Apartment.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Conan Doyle, for the reason above.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Sarah Waters is unmissable.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
More films than books (see above). If I could have written When Harry Met Sally, Little Miss Sunshine or Sideways I would die a happy man.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My heroine Morgan Vine is obsessed by miscarriages of justice, and so am I. True story: my ex wife is now married to a man who spend 26 years in a US prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

Thank you for taking part Simon!

You can get a FREE Morgan Vine short story and find out more about my books Kill Me Twice and Without Trace at simonbooker.com

Follow me on Twitter @simonbooker

A huge thank you to Simon Booker and Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for the advance copy and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the rest of the tour…

 

Author Influences with Anita Waller

Psychological thriller writer Anita Waller joins me today to talk about the books and authors that have influenced her life and writing.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Enid Blyton. I am currently re-reading her ‘Adventure’ series – Sea of Adventure, Circus of Adventure etc. I loved all her books.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Loved it, and always top marks. It started in my primary school, and continued all my life. I eventually took my A level in English when I was 42!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Psychological thrillers, horror, supernatural. I write psychological thrillers as a rule, but I have written one supernatural, Winterscroft.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I don’t think I could because murder would creep into it, whatever it may have started out as!

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
No, the need to write has been there for always. I clearly remember attempting to write novels when I was only eight years old. I did attempt to write romance, and I actually have six romance novels already written, but I was always looking for a way to bring crime into them, and that’s when I realised I was writing in the wrong genre. Now I am happy!

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
J D Robb, Camilla Lackberg, and, until his death, Henning Mankell. And Stephen King, of course (that goes without saying).

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
The Hidden Island, by Angela Corner. The descriptive passages are superb, and the location sounds awesome. I loved this book. The plotline, although brilliant, was almost secondary to the quality of the writing, and as I finished it I immediately thought, I wish I had written that.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My current WIP is based on a true-life story told to me. I am changing things to protect the innocents (me) but it’s a fantastic storyline.

A huge thank you Anita for taking part. 

Anita’s latest book Strategy was published on 31 July 2017 by Bloodhound Books. Here is what it’s about…

How much can one family take? 

Jenny Carbrook murdered three people to make it look as though there was a serial killer at work in Lincoln, when the only person she wanted to kill was Ray Carbrook, her father-in-law, who had raped her the week before her marriage to Mark, Ray’s son.

Jenny wrote letters detailing her crimes in order to protect everyone she loved, but was forced to go into hiding before retrieving the evidence against her.  Not only did she leave the letters behind but also her young daughter, Grace.

Now Jenny has a plan, a strategy, to get the letters back. But it’s not only the letters that Jenny has in her sights…

About Anita Waller

My name is Anita Waller, and I was born in Sheffield, UK, way back in 1946. I have been married for just over fifty years to Dave, and we have produced three amazing children, all now grown up and flown.
I have always written and my first published book, Beautiful, was taken on by Bloodhound Books and launched in August, 2015. It soon became apparent that I needed to write a sequel, and so Angel was launched in May, 2016. I had already started writing 34 Days immediately after Beautiful, but put it to one side until I completed Angel. I then resurrected it, and 34 Days launched in October 2016. This was a massive seller, particularly in the United States. In the UK it reached 26 in the top 100 paid charts.
By this time, I was already re-writing a lost manuscript I wrote back in 1990 or thereabouts, so I completed Winterscroft and Bloodhound launched it in February 2017. Number five is now about to be launched, and it is the much-requested sequel to 34 Days, called Strategy. This will be released on 10 August 2017. It has been an amazing two years with the publication of five books.
I have now started my sixth book, as yet unnamed, and still in the psychological thriller genre.
I write about murder, necessary murder.

Website: www.anitamayw.wixsite.com/anitawaller

Twitter: @anitamayw

Facebook: @anitawaller2015

Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Waller/e/B014RQFCRS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1496767924&sr=8-2-ent

 

The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lilly Bartlett – Launch Giveaway!

I am delighted to be taking part in the launch celebrations of The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lilly Bartlett today and have a brilliant giveaway for you! Lilly’s new book is out on the 18th August 2017 and published by HarperImpulse. What’s the book about? I hear you ask … here is the all important blurb:

A heartwarming, cosy romance from Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman, now writing as Lilly Bartlett.

This is a brand new standalone novel from the author of the Carlton Square series with a whole new cast of characters to fall in love with!

Wriggle your toes in the sand and feel the warm breeze on your face when you check into the hotel that’s full of dreams…

Three years after ditching her career in New York City, Rosie never thought she’d still be managing the quaint faded Victorian hotel in her seaside hometown.

What’s worse, the hotel’s new owners are turning it into a copy of their Florida properties. Flamingos and all. Cultures are clashing and the hotel’s residents stand in the way of the developers’ plans. The hotel is both their home and their family.

That’s going to make Rory’s job difficult when he arrives to enforce the changes. And Rosie isn’t exactly on his side, even though it’s the chance to finally restart her career. Rory might be charming, but he’s still there to evict her friends.

How can she follow her dreams if it means ending everyone else’s?

To celebrate Lilly is giving away a personally inscribed edition of The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square. Here’s the details…

You’re warmly invited to the Wedding of the Century with all your favourite friends. It’s the most vintage fun you’ll have this year!

To WIN a personally inscribed paperback of this gorgeous book, simply sign up here:

http://eepurl.com/b96-Yz

Winners will be randomly selected and notified on August 18th via the email used to sign up.

Good luck everybody!

Author Influences with Jack Steele

Joining me for this week’s Author Influences is crime thriller novelist Jack Steele. Grab a cuppa and be prepared for your TBR list to grow as Jack tells us about his favourite authors and books.

Hi Abbie, thanks for the invite, it’s great to be here! 

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Roald Dahl was a favourite author of mine. The two books I really loved were James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I would read these over and over again.
I enjoyed the ‘Peanuts’ collection of books by Charles M Shultz eager to read every one of the cartoon stories involving Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang.
The frequent visits to the library meant that other books that were temporary occupants on my shelf were The Cat in the Hat by Dr Suess, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, The Railway Children by E.Nesbit and The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes, I loved it. I have a vivid imagination probably due to growing up as an only child. I would read all the time and make up my own stories. If only I hadn’t lost them! Just to be able to reminisce on my thoughts back then.
My English Teacher, Bernard Phillips, was able to add drama to the readings in his class. He would encourage us to emphasis the sentences especially those written by Shakespeare. That’s why The Merchant of Venice is such a favourite of mine and had such an impact on my writing. Through the eyes of Shylock, what he wanted was justified, but to everyone else it was an outrage.
The final scene of my crime thriller Long Shot has the perpetrator of the crimes justifying their actions to Detective Joe Stone who is trying to come to terms with the events and the person who did them.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I enjoy most genres – comedy, science fiction, horror, dystopian, supernatural, dark fantasy but crime thrillers are my favourite. I started to read the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and found them an easy read with short chapters and this style of writing had an impact on my style. Fast – paced page turners with cliff hangers, moral dilemmas and believable characters.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I have a few unfinished stories which are dystopian. Set in modern day but with events about to turn for the worst. It was mainly about fending for oneself when all about you is falling to pieces.
I have always had dreams/nightmares about being chased or I am doing the chasing! Probably watching too many movies/ TV programmes like The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, Divergent, Mad Max and I am Legend.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Definitely James Patterson focused my attention to writing crime thrillers. I had the stories rattling around in my head for what seemed an age but I never found the time to sit down and write! When I watched a few TV programmes that were vaguely similar to my stories it was then that I decided to write not one but a series of books, providing the response was there! Thankfully I was encouraged to write the sequel and now I have the first draft of book 3 down!

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
James Patterson obviously but I have also started to read his Women’s Murder Club stories as well.
I have the good fortune to meet up with other authors at events like Harrogate’s Crime Festival and other local get-togethers. I really enjoy reading Barbara Copperthwaite, Tara Lyons, K.L.Slater and Shalini Boland books.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
That has to be Brighton Rock by Grahame Greene. I loved the gangster element and all the characters in the book. When the ending had a twist that was the moment I thought Wow!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Thankfully no Abbie!
I had sent ARC’s to my reading group and readers who enjoyed my debut novel Loose Cannon. A few weeks later as the great reviews were coming in, I read in a Sunday Newspaper article that the government was considering forming a new anti-terrorist unit. This was one of the themes in Long Shot and despite being a work of fiction, parts of it could actually become fact.

A huge thank you Jack for taking part. I really enjoyed reading your responses!

 

The first two Detective Joe Stone novels Loose Cannon and Long Shot are out now! Here’s what they are about …

Loose Cannon

Detective Joe Stone has worked hard to reduce crime in and around London’s East End. The London Mafia had been instrumental in the operation; but is now being targeted by a serial killer. Stone is in a race against time to find and stop the psychopath before a gangland civil war breaks out.

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

Long Shot

Detective Joe Stone and his team investigate a major terrorist attack on one of London’s most iconic buildings. They soon draw up a list of suspects who are highly respected members of the community and government. When most of his team is attacked, it soon develops into a war of nerves and a race against time before a deadly weapon is unleashed with horrific consequences.

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

About Jack Steele

I was born in Hackney, London and grew up on the Bannister House Housing Estate in Hommerton. I now live in Nottinghamshire and married with two grown up children who now have lives of their own, leaving me time to indulge in my favourite passions, reading and writing. I still work full-time in the printing industry which is where I have been for the past 40 years. On many occasions it interferes with my writing, working extra hours or weekends, so it can be a balancing act but one I seem to manage along with an understanding wife of course.

I spent five years researching books, magazines, documentaries, movies and internet articles on various subjects as well as completing a creative writing course and attending workshops run by the Nottingham Writers Studio.

It was a great achievement in 2016 when I published my first Crime Thriller novel Loose Cannon with great reviews. It was the first in the Detective Joe Stone series and I was encouraged to write the sequel Long Shot which is due for publication on July 29th 2017.

My writing style is a fast-paced page turner with cliff hangers, moral dilemmas and believable characters.

I would like to thank all my readers, editors, bloggers and Crime book club friends who like you Abbie have been so supportive through this process. Your encouragement drives me on to write the next book in the series.

Aww Jack, it’s a pleasure!

Website: http://www.jacksteeleauthor.com/
Social Media sites:
Facebook: Jack.steele.31508
Twitter: JackSteele1961
Instagram: Jack_steele1

Cover Reveal and Prologue – Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

I am beyond excited tonight to be able to reveal to you the cover for the next DI Kim Stone novel by Angela Marsons and … wait for it … I also have a teaser for you as I am able to share the prologue! EEEEEKKKK!!!!!

So, what’s Broken Bones all about?

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

A gripping new crime thriller from the Number One bestseller – you will be hooked until the final jaw-dropping twist.

Oh my God, how good does that sound??? And the cover for Broken Bones looks pretty damn good too…

You can pre-order Broken Bones now and get it sent straight to your Kindle on publication day by following these links:

UK: http://amzn.to/2wwkvci
US: http://amzn.to/2vDLPsP

And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, here’s a sneaky peek at the prologue…

Black Country
Christmas Day

Elaine Goddard sat on the roof of the thirteen storey block of flats. The winter sun shone a grid on to her bare feet dangling over the edge.

The protective grate had been erected some years ago after a father of seven had thrown himself over.

By the time she was eleven she had stolen a pair of wire cutters and fashioned herself an access point to the narrow ledge that was her place of reflection.

From this vantage point she could look to the beauty of the Clent Hills in the distance, block out the dank, grubby reality of below.

Hollytree was the place you were sent if Hell was having a spring clean.

Problem families from the entire West Midlands were evicted from other estates and placed in Hollytree. It was displacement capital. Communities around the borough breathed sighs of relief as families were evicted. No-one cared where they went. It was enough that they were gone and one more ingredient was added to the melting pot.

There was a clear perimeter around the estate over which the police rarely crossed. It was a place where the rapists, child molesters, thieves and ASBO families were put together in one major arena. And then guarded by police from the outside.

But today a peace settled around the estate giving the illusion that the normal activities of robbing, raping and molesting were on pause because it was Christmas Day. That was bollocks. It was all still going on but to the backdrop of the Queens speech.

Her mother was still slurring her way around the cheerless flat with a bottle of Gin in her hand.

But at least Elaine had this. Her one piece of heaven. Always her safe place. Her escape.

She had disappeared unnoticed up here when she was seven years old and her mother had been falling all over the flat pissed as a fart.

How lucky was she to have been the only one of the four kids her mother had been allowed to keep?

She had escaped up here when her mother’s drinking partner, Roddy, had started pawing at her groin and slobbering into her hair. Her mother had pulled him off, angrily, shouting something about ruining her retirement plan. She hadn’t understood it when she was nine years old but she had come to understand it now.

She had cried up here on her sixteenth birthday when her mother had introduced her to the family business and to their pimp, Kai Lord.

She’d been up here two months earlier when he had finally found her.

And she’d been up here when she’d told him to fuck right off.

She didn’t want to be saved. It was too late.

Sixteen years of age and already it was too damn late.

Many times she had fantasised about how it would feel to lurch forward onto the wind. She had envisioned herself floating to and fro gently making the journey like a stray pigeon feather all the way to the ground. Had imagined the feeling of weightlessness of both her body and her mind.

Elaine took a deep breath and exhaled.

In just a few minutes it would be time to go to work. Heavy rain, sleet, snow, Christmas – nothing kept the punters away. Trade might be slow but it would still be there. It always was.

She didn’t hear the roof door open or the footsteps that slowly strode towards her.

She didn’t see the hand that pushed her forward.

She only saw the ground as it hurtled towards her.

Sounds like it’s going to be another absolute belter!

About Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the author of the Amazon Bestselling DI Kim Stone series – Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and now Broken Bones. Her books have sold more than 2 million in 2 years.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her last two books – Blood Lines and Dead Souls – reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.

https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMarsonsAuthor/
@WriteAngie https://twitter.com/WriteAngie

http://angelamarsons-books.com/