Category Archives: Author Influences

Author Influences With Harry Bingham

Author Influences is back with the brilliant Harry Bingham, creator of the Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series. Harry tells us about his favourite books and authors.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Oh, I was a very booksih kid. I used to love anything about ancient Greece, loved Hornblower and Sherlock Holmes, loved some really old-school boys’ stuff (Buchan, Henty, Bulldog Drummond, the Saint, Dornford Yates, and others that few readers will even have heard of.) Then I got onto the classics and just devoured them.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes and yes. It was perhaps my favourite subject. I still have a soft spot for the authors I studied for A-level: Jane Austen, George Herbert (the poet) and Shakespeare’s Macbeth especially. Those things still resonate thirty years on.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I’m fairly eclectic in my reading, but as a crime author now I do make a special effort to keep abreast of my genre, in the UK, the US and in translation.
When I turned to crime writing a few years ago, I was actually a lapsed crime reader – hadn’t read any for years. Then I got obsessed by this character who was very smart, very driven and very strange. There was only one possible job for her – that of detective – so I came back to crime and have adored it ever since.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Well, I’ve written a lot of genres over the years. Adventure Jeffrey Archer-style romps with my first few novels. Historical fiction. Non-fiction covering history, economics and how to write.
I suppose I might dabble in historical fiction again one day. And there’s certainly some non-fiction I’d love to write. But no, mostly, I’m happy with crime. Give me a corpse and a mystery and a splash of violence, and I’m happier than a pathologist in a mortuary.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Not specifically, no. I just knew from really early on that I wanted to be a writer. There’s a snippet of film of me aged about 10 or 11 where someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up. I said ‘Author’ – and I’ve now been a full time pro author for the last twenty years. Lucky me!

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
No, that’s not how reading works for me. I prefer reading widely – lots of different authors – than reading deeply. Very often when I read a new author’s work, I think, ‘Yes, OK, I get the kind of thing you do. That’s different from how I do it, but now I’ve understood your particular approach, I won’t necessarily get that much more from reading more of your books.’
There are exceptions to that, obviously, but I can’t think of any author where I just have to buy the very next book they produce.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
In crime, I’m a big fan of Tana French and Gillian Flynn. They’re proper crime authors but they write deliriously well. There are some American authors – Walter Moseley, George Pelecanos, Elmore Leonard, for example – where I really admire aspects of their style, but they’re just sooo different from me that I can’t quite envy them in the same way.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Oh yes. My Love Story, with Murders had its roots in the (really weird) Matrix Churchill scandal.
My This Thing of Darkness wasn’t directly inspired by Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys, but that book proved that the scam I thought I’d invented was much closer to the truth than you’d have guessed.
And my most recent crime novel, The Dead House, had its roots in a totally genuine and utterly weird medieval practice . . . that I can’t tell you about without ruining the story.
A huge thank you Harry for taking part.

Harry’s latest novel The Dead House is out now!

‘Chilling, atmospheric and so gripping it hurts. The Dead House is a masterpiece. You won’t read a better crime novel this year’ MARK EDWARDS
On a wild October night, the body of a young woman is found in a remote country churchyard. She’s wearing nothing but a thin, white dress. There are no marks of violence and no obvious cause of death.
Who is the victim? Why is she here?
But another young woman went missing from the area a few years back, and DC Fiona Griffiths soon suspects a crime even more chilling than she first imagined.

You can find out more about Harry’s books here: Harry’s crime fiction. You can find out more about his work for other writers via the Writers’ Workshop and Agent Hunter.

Read Harry’s interview with his main character Fiona Griffiths HERE.

Author Influences with Joyce Schneider

I’m thrilled to be joined by Joyce Schneider today to talk about her author influences. Joyce’s latest thriller Watching You is published on 25 April 2017 and she will be joining me again on the 28 April as part of the Watching You blog tour with a great guest post. Anyhoo it’s time to get on with finding out about her author influences…

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Nancy Drew – all of ‘em, over & over. Also Treasure Island, which I also read again & again. There are parts of Treasure Island I used to know by heart.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes, I loved it. My English teacher, Miss Sullivan (at Classical High School in Worcester, Massachusetts), used to rebuke me for “making speeches” when asked a question. Other times, she’d ask the class questions (meaning of theme, language, tone, etc) and say, “Put your hand down, Joyce. We KNOW you know.” Ha! The rest of the class thought it was funny. Miss Sullivan was on the mean/austere side, so I used to enjoy annoying the hell out of her. She looked like a crabby old frog.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Mysteries & thrillers. Yes, totally.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Yes. First, I majored in French Literature in college (that’s American for University). Then I worked at Newsweek Magazine where they all wrote, dreamed out loud of quitting “just spewing the news” and writing the Great American Novel. Some of them did succeed, & would come back to visit, encourage, and poke, “why are you still here? Start writing nights, weekends.”

But most of all, Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby which I finally caught up to had the biggest impact. Ditto his other great books: The Stepford Wives & The Boys from Brazil. I still read them, over & over.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not really. What I love is re-reading my old favorites, paperbacks now falling apart. Besides Ira Levin they include Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile and Marathon Man, a book so high adrenalin, heart-breaking, & stunning in concept that I can’t think of any contemporaries that come even close. Its author is William Goldman, who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride, etc.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Rosemary’s Baby. Written way before the term “psychological thriller,” and, I think, better than all of them. No one shows the banality of evil as subtly – & with such ingenious brevity – as Ira Levin.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Somewhat. Mostly, bits & pieces of movies or TV cop shows including Criminal Minds, Dexter, etc seem to collect, uncatalogued, in my mind, and then reorganize, come out in a whole new idea.

A huge thank you Joyce for taking part.

Thanks right back for including me, Abbie! The pleasure is mine! 🙂

Look out for Joyce’s next novel Watching You on 20 April 2017

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn’t convinced.

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

Fans of Karin Slaughter, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Abbott will be gripped by this nonstop serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

About Joyce Schneider

J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine. She is the author of the Embryo medical thriller series, and of the Detective Kerri Blasco Police/Psychological Thrillers Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You.

Connect with Joyce

Website: http://jaschneiderauthor.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceSchneider1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JASchneiderAuthor?skip_nax_wizard=true

 

Author Influences with Jake Parent

The past couple of months have been ridiculously busy here at Bloomin’ Brilliant Books and resulted in a two week break from my regular Author Influences feature. I’m pleased to say that it is back today and I have the pleasure of being joined by Jake Parent. Jake has written two novels – Only The Devil Tells The Truth and Cristina – and I will  be reading and reviewing Cristina in the future. Anyway, enough of me blabbering on, I will hand you over to Jake to tell you about the books and authors who have influenced him.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
My favorite author as a kid was Roald Dahl. I also read a lot of Hardy Boys books. Oh, and fantasy. And Stephen King. I just loved books!
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I definitely liked the reading and writing part. I’ve never been one for rules, so when it came to the nit-picky grammar stuff I was a little turned off. That being said, you have to know the rules to break them.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read a wide variety of books, and I think all have a lot to teach a writer. I’m definitely a fan of fast paced narratives though, especially in recent years. And that has been a huge influence on my writing style.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Well, so far I’ve written a coming of age novel (Only the Devil Tells the Truth), and a psychological thriller (Cristina). Although their subject matter is different, I think the style and storytelling is similar enough that readers have connected with both in similar ways. So I’m interested in stretching that a bit. My next project is a crime fiction thriller series starring a female detective.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
There are too many to mention them all, but a couple who are great inspirations for me are Charles Bukowski and Maya Angelou. Two totally different writers with two totally different styles. Yet, I think at the heart of each is an ability to dig through pain and suffering and the ugliness of the world in order to ultimately highlight the sparks of beauty that make life worth living.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not really. My approach to reading is really to follow my instincts and intellectual curiosity, usually onto whatever is available at the library when I finish the book I’m currently reading.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Plenty of classics fit that mold – Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn. And lots of new books, articles, movies, too. I’m constantly amazed by how many great writers there are out there.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
As the father of a new daughter, I wanted to celebrate the strength and courage I’ve seen in so many women throughout my life. The book is dedicated to single moms, of which Cristina is one. It was a challenge to write a female main character, but my hope is I did women everywhere some justice.

A huge thank you Jake for taking part!

Jake’s psychological thriller Cristina is out now and  here is what it is about:

Driven by a desperate need to escape her past, Cristina Rodriguez moves into a picturesque hilltop home with an ocean view. The same place where, four years earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and murdered.

At first, both the house and the scenic California beach town seem perfect. Fresh air. Fresh faces. And the ocean is just ten minutes away. But as Cristina and her daughter set about rebuilding their lives, they soon discover that the past is not about to let go so easily.

A gripping psychological thriller by a #1 Amazon bestselling author, Cristina will grab you from the first page and keep you guessing until the very end.

About Jake

Jake Parent is the author of Cristina, a new psychological suspense novel. His first book, Only the Devil Tells the Truth, was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. His influences include Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, Honoré de Balzac, Ella Fitzgerald, John Sanford, Jimi Hendrix, Ernest Hemingway, Greg Graffin, Pablo Picasso, Rickey Henderson, and Mac Dre. He grew up in San Jose, CA but now lives in the Washington, DC area. Sign up to receive alerts about new releases from Jake Parent (and that’s the only thing that ever gets sent to this list): http://eepurl.com/bXzepr

Connect with Jake

Cristina on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cRqQX9
Jake Parent website: http://www.jakedparent.com
Jake Parent on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jakedparent
Jake Parent on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakedparentwrites/
Jake Parent on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/JakeParentBooks

 

Author Influences with Helen Bridgett

I am delighted to be welcoming Helen Bridgett to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today. Helen’s debut novel The Mercury Travel Club is published tomorrow so a huge happy book birthday for tomorrow. Helen has kindly answered my questions about the books and authors who have influenced her and her writing.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As a very young child I read Enid Blyton – practically everything she’d written. I loved the fantasy worlds of The Wishing Chair and The Faraway Tree but it was the characters and camaraderie of Mallory Towers and St. Clare’s that really caught my imagination.

Later I was influenced by the texts I had to read for English and French literature. I really enjoyed poetry and still do. I wasn’t particularly fond of Austen or Hardy but I loved Emile Zola. L’Assomoir is still my favourite novel of all time as it was the first that actually made me cry.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes – I was good at it and I absolutely loved it! I’ve always loved reading and the very act of writing – no matter what it is. They are my passions.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read quite a variety from the thrillers of Nicci French and PD James to the comedy of Carl Hiassen and Sue Townsend and the gothic of Erin Kelly. Often I’ll have a lighter and darker novel on the go at the same time – picking up the one that suits my mood at the time.

My debut novel falls into a new genre – “mid-lit” – a term coined by Helen Lederer. It’s a comedy about fresh starts and friendships so rather different to my darker reading material!

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve actually started penning a thriller. I have the basic concept but the reveal takes a lot of planning. I didn’t really choose the genre – it just came to me; I had pictured a scenario and the question “what if?” came to mind. After that I had to start writing.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I’ve always loved writing and have kept a diary since my early teens. I guess I was encouraged by Sue Townsend – she showed that you could convey a message and have a good laugh along the way.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Erin Kelly at the moment.

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 Tales of the City series – because I simply loved the characters and followed their stories throughout the years. I’m still convinced they’re real people!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Oh yes! Let’s just say that many of my family and friends have inspired either scenes or characters! In particular, at one work karaoke event, I was forced with two other colleagues to get on stage dressed as Bananarama! The worst rendition of “Venus” you have ever heard!

A huge thank you Helen for taking part and I hope you have a fantastic publication day!

Helen’s debut novel The Mercury Travel Club is out on eBook and paperback on 16 March 2017, published by RedDoor Publishing and is a laugh-out-loud, feel-good book about second chances.

About Helen

Helen Bridgett has always loved books and always loved writing. One year she decided her New Year’s resolution would be “Write a novel to give as a Christmas present”. She spent the year writing and The Mercury Travel Club was born. Helen hails from the North East but now lives in Manchester with her Husband and their Chocolate Labrador Angus. When not writing, Helen can usually be found walking or drinking wine – not usually at the same time.
Helen is currently working on the sequel to The Mercury Travel Club.

Connect With Helen

Website: www.helenbridgett.com

Twitter: @Helen_Bridgett

Author Influences with Izzy Bayliss

I am pleased to welcome Izzy Bayliss, author of The Girl I Was Before, to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to talk about her influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Like a lot of people Enid Blyton kept me enthralled with the Wishing Chair series, Twelve Silver Cups, The Faraway Tree and then Mallory Towers and the Famous Five. I fell in love with the magic of fiction with Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce; it weaved a spell over me. Under the Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon McKenna, a story about the plight of 3 children during the Irish potato famine, was the first time a book made me cry. As I got a little older I moved onto horror novels by Christopher Pike. As a teenager I devoured Viriginia Andrews’ books, reading them always felt like I was doing something illicit and Stephen King novels too.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I wouldn’t say I was particularly outstanding at English but looking back, I was good at essay writing. I was the girl punching the air whenever we got an essay title for homework. I can remember being asked to read some of my essays aloud to the class so they must have been okay.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love women’s fiction, which is obviously the genre I love to write in. I love an emotional hook in a book and I try to connect with readers in this way in my own writing.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d love to try historical fiction. I’m not a big TV person but I enjoy a good period drama. I’m addicted to Victoria at the moment. I’d love to try and write in this genre but the level of research required is daunting.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
This is a really hard question because I’ve been inspired by so many talented authors. Perhaps Marian Keyes, her books showed me that it was okay to write the way people talk.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Maggie O’Farrell or Marian Keyes would be two authors that I always rush out to buy as soon as they release a book.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes. I read it on honeymoon. I laughed and cried and despaired and then laughed again. I adored it and it is my favourite of all Marian’s books. As an author, Marian brings the reader through every emotion.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
No, I’m glad to say I’ve never walked in to find my husband in bed with another woman (phew…) but I think writers inevitably absorb characteristics of people they know and put them into their writing without even realizing, like the way your friend might flare their nostrils. Sometimes a story you hear on TV or read in a magazine might inspire the seed of a story but basing your story on somebody you know in real life would be risky plus as authors, our job is it make it up – that’s the fun bit!
A huge thank you Izzy for taking part.

When Lily McDermott walks in to find Marc, her husband of just three months in bed with actress Nadia, life as she knows it is over. Lily thinks things can’t get any worse when she sees photos of her husband and his new lover splashed across the glossy magazine pages, but when she loses her job too, she is at her lowest ebb and turns to baking to soothe her soul. Wounded and broken she has to try and pick herself up again with the help of her best friend Frankie and with her encouragement, Lily decides to turn her hobby into a business and sets up Baked With Love. However whatever Lily does, it seems disaster soon ensues and when handsome stranger Sam comes to her rescue, Lily isn’t quite ready to turn her back on her marriage.
Can Lily risk opening her heart again or is she destined to allow Marc to shadow her life forever?

Izzy’s novel The Girl I Was Before is out now!

About Izzy Bayliss

Izzy Bayliss lives in Ireland with her husband, children and their dog. A romantic at heart, she loves nothing more than cosying up in front of the fire with a good book. Her motto is that reality is over-rated and she is happiest staring into space and day-dreaming.

Connect with Izzy

Website: www.izzybayliss.com

Facebook: @izzybaylissauthor

Twitter: @izzybayliss

Author Influences with Owen Mullen

I’m really pleased to be joined by crime writer Owen Mullen today. The first two novels in his Charlie Cameron series are out now. So which authors have had an influence on Owen’s life? Read on to find out…

 

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As a child I read all the usual; Tom Sawyer, Huck’ Finn {what a great name} and Treasure Island.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Good at English – yes, good at passing English exams – no! It was very much my favourite subject; still is. I am fascinated by words and what they can convey.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I most often read crime fiction, not surprisingly this is the genre I write in. Raymond Chandler, Conan Doyle all the way through to Ian Rankin have all had a hand in shaping the writer within.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I have written in a different genre; a thriller set in Pakistan. I like both my reading and writing to have plenty of twists and turns.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
No one author in particular but all of them in some small way.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I used to feel that way about Stephen King. Today I tend to read very old books or very new books by authors I am not familiar with.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Sherlock Holmes for sure – the characters are so clearly defined, and I can easily suspend my belief; even when the plot is far-fetched.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yes, I never realised that beneath this handsome (yes, you read that correctly) exterior lurks a magpie. I realise that I have been storing images and events my whole life.

A huge thanks Owen for taking part.

Owen’s novels Games People Play and Old Friends and New Enemies (you can read my review HERE) are out now.

About Owen Mullen

When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands.

Connect With Owen

Facebook: @OwenMullenAuthor

Twitter: @OwenMullen6

 

Author Influences With Jennifer Gilmour

Joining me today to talk about her author influences is Jennifer Gilmour. Her debut novel, Isolation Junction, is a fictional account of one woman’s escape from her abusive relationship but draws on real-life experiences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I loved the Goosebumps books by R.L.Stine especially the ones in which you could alter the plot line and ending, I used to re read them and change the way it would flow. As I went into high school I then became a fan of JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series and still thoroughly enjoy them now. My love for fiction then came in my teens when I started with Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison and continued to love the series.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yes English was one of my strong subjects at school, both literacy and language and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Other strong subjects were art and drama and I think that flourishes through me as a creative person and it is where I am most happy as well.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
As you may tell already I like fantasy and fiction. My love for fiction came in my teens and this certainly had an impact and is where I started to write.  I have three fictional novels which are unfinished from my teens and two fantasy novels. I found fantasy more challenging but fun to play with even more with my vivid imagination.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would like to write fantasy but I think this would be a very committed challenge to take and I admire those who have written in this genre. I do like to lose myself in my own world and I have a very active imagination, I guess for me it’s where to start- I have actually written for years but Isolation Junction got finished because it has more of a passionate purpose for me.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
When I decided to start writing my debut novel and I was determined to finish this one, I watched a dramatised documentary about J K Rowling and how she was determined to get her novel published.  A few months later I watched the biographical film Miss Potter about Beatrix Potter. Both of these had an influence on me and that’s because they didn’t give up, JK Rowling because of finance and other personal factors and Beatrix for carrying on despite what others thought.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
JK Rowling because I have followed her Harry Potter series as I have mentioned before. I’m also eager to get any books by Sháá Wasmund MBE who is an inspiration with her knowledge and motivation, this shows through in her self- help books for small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as her passionate online presence.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
I really enjoyed The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and I read it and wondered how on earth she handled the time changes within it and the response from the characters along with not confusing the reader. My novel has dabbled with the time frames and I felt more confident in going down this path because I had read this particular novel a few times over.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/ people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My debut novel is in fact based on true events of my own personal experiences and other women’s. In this case it was highly influenced with my own emotions and feelings and I believe my frustration also comes through of this hidden behaviour.
A huge thank you Jennifer for taking part.

Jennifer’s debut novel Isolation Junction is out now!

About Jennifer Gilmour

Born in the North East, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. She is  an entrepreneur, running a family business from home and has a large readership of other young mums in business for her blog posts.

From an early age Jennifer has had a passion for writing and has been gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside her own to write her first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again. She hopes that in reading her debut novel, she will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.

Connect With Jennifer

Twitter – @JenLGilmour

Facebook – @IsolationJunctionBook

Website – jennifergilmour.com

Author Influences with Caimh McDonnell

I am super excited today (and I must be as I never say ‘super’ anything!) to be joined by Caimh McDonnell, author of the fantastically funny Dublin Trilogy, today. Caimh has allowed me to pester him with questions about the authors and books that have influenced him and his writing. Enjoy!

caimh_press_pic2[2686]

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?

The first author whose work I absolutely fell in love with was Terry Pratchett. While his early works were really an affectionate pastiche of the fantasy genre, the Discworld series developed into so much more than that. I’ve been looking forward to the moment when my nephew is old enough and I get to give him his very first Terry Pratchett book.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?

My handwriting has always been so phenomenally bad that as a child I was repeatedly tested for dyslexia and other forms of learning difficulties. I didn’t have anything but educators still kept putting me in the ‘pass stream’ as every time I got given an essay question to complete, nobody could read the answer. Essentially, the ‘pass stream’ in Ireland at the time meant you didn’t go to university. Thankfully, my mother is a formidable woman and she constantly battled to get me put back into the top stream. I ended up getting a degree in electronic engineering as there was no essay questions involved in it. While at university, I got to sit down in front of a PC with a word processing facility for the first time and suddenly people were able to read what I was writing.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?

Typically most of the novels I like to read either fall into the crime or sci-fi genres. Having said that, quite a lot of the ‘reading’ I do is actually audiobooks. I can often spend 16 or so hours in a week driving to gigs and I fill that time by devouring audiobooks. I think the influence of that can be seen very clearly in my writing. I write to be read out loud and I believe dialogue is usually the best way of conveying information. I have also read hundreds of TV and film scripts as I’m completely self-taught as a TV writer. People have said that dialogue is my biggest strength as a writer and I guess if you’ve spent as much time as I have forensically examining the work
of Aaron Sorkin, that’s no great surprise – not that I’m anywhere close to his level.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?

Almost certainly sci-fi. I’ve written quite a few short stories and I think that form works brilliantly for the sci-fi genre. I like taking a weird idea and having fun with it. I do have a couple of very odd sci-fi concepts that I do intend to try and turn into novels somewhere down the line but probably not for a couple of years.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?

As I mentioned, Terry Pratchett was a massive influence on me. I also remember reading Michael Marshall Smith’s classic ‘Only Forward’ and it completely blowing my socks off. As soon as I discovered the work of Christopher Brookmyre, I rocketed through everything he had ever written and I’ve been a devout fan ever since. I think you can see the massive influence he has had on my work. Some reviewers have been kind enough to compare my debut novel to him and that has been really humbling as he is a big hero of mine.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?

Christopher Brookmyre obviously and until his tragic passing, Terry Pratchett. To be honest, I’ve not read Sir Terry’s last book yet – I think a part of me doesn’t want there to be no more Terry Pratchett books left in the world that I haven’t read. I’ve oddly met quite a few people who have done the same. It might be the most beloved unread book on the planet.

Mark Billingham is a firm favourite and I would also add Dennis Lehane to that list. I saw the film ‘The Drop’, which is based on his short story of the same name a couple of years ago. I was breaking up a long drive to a gig and I only went to it as I’d missed the film I meant to go and see, best traffic jam ever! I was so impressed I googled the author and I couldn’t believe that he’d written so many other books that Hollywood had already turned into films. The only thing that surprises me about the genius of Dennis Lehane is that more people don’t know who he is.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?

Dennis Lehane’s ‘Gone Baby Gone’ pulls off an incredible ending that I think is one of the very best in the history of crime fiction. It is a great book all the way up until that point but, without giving any spoilers, I remember being caught wonderfully off-guard by the ending.

Also, Don Winslow’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ is a tremendous read in general but there is a scene in it describing someone being trapped in a skyscraper in an earthquake that is the most visceral piece of writing I think I’ve ever read. My last flat was on the 14th floor, if we hadn’t moved already, we would have to move now. Incredible writing.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be
careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)

There is a character in my debut novel called Bunny McGarry who kind of steals the show. Several people have asked me if he is based on Brendan Gleeson, the very fine Irish actor. Oddly, while Brendan would be incredible in the role for the movie (and please somebody, make the movie!) the truth is that the only reason the character of Bunny is a big broad shouldered man as described, is because it was changed very late in the process as I was worried the person who provided the inspiration for the character was far to recognisable to people who knew him.

I will also admit that the character of Phil Nellis in my books is heavily based on my friend and fellow comedian Phil Ellis. In fact, I did it specifically to annoy him.

A huge thank you Caimh for taking part.

A Man With One Of those FacesThe Day That Never Comes cover[2685]

The first two books in The Dublin Trilogy are out now. If you haven’t read them yet, you are missing out! You can read my review of A Man With One Of Those Faces HERE and The Day That Never Comes HERE.

About Caimh McDonnell

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Connect with Caimh

Website: www.whitehairedirishman.com

Twitter: @Caimh

Facebook: @CaimhMcD

Author Influences with TM Logan

I love to discover new authors and recently I read and reviewed the debut novel Lies by TM Logan and thoroughly enjoyed it (you can read my review HERE) I’m delighted to have him join me today to talk about his author influences.

TM Logan

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Some of the first books I can remember include The Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (which I’ve since read to my own children), the seven-book Narnia series by CS Lewis, countless Enid Blyton stories, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books, The Rats of Nimh by Robert C O’Brien and Watership Down by Richard Adams.
From there I moved onto The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien, lots of other fantasy books and also science-fiction – novels like The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I was in my early teens when I discovered Stephen King – starting off with It, Carrie, The Dead Zone, Misery and Pet Sematary – and I’m still reading his books today.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English at school and took it to A-level. I wasn’t a natural at maths or science and had to work harder in those subjects. But with English, things just seemed to click and I enjoyed it a lot more, including the creative writing side. We had some great books on the syllabus like Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, which is a fantastic, taut, old-school thriller about a lone sniper on a mission to rid the world of a warmongering dictator. I hoped to read English at university but couldn’t get a place (I made a bit of a hash of my A-levels) so I switched to history. Fortunately I ended up really enjoying that too.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I get a lot of recommendations from my wife, Sally, who reads faster than me and has a good eye for a great story. I tend to read thrillers, crime, historical, horror, the occasional sci-fi novel, chicklit and non-fiction books too. But the dominant genre for me is crime and thrillers, and I think it’s inevitable that this is an influence on my writing in terms of plotting, and pace, and character dynamics. I’m always trying to learn from other authors, to appreciate what they do well and how they do it.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d like to have a go at historical fiction. I love Bernard Cornwell – he’s managed to write so many good books in many different historical periods and places, creating some memorable characters along the way. I’m a history graduate and retain a fascination for the subject. I guess the challenge would be finding that niche, a time and place that you can make your own. David Young has managed to do this recently with the brilliant Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf, set in the former East Germany when it was still a divided nation.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I’ve wanted to be a published author for a lot of years but there were certain books during that time that have helped show me the way. I remember being bowled over by Harlan Coben’s Tell No One: it was the first time that I’d read one of his thrillers and it featured his trademark combination of a gripping story, great dialogue, compelling bad guys and a protagonist you’re rooting for from page one. Before that, there was A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, which showed me how much power a good thriller can exert over the reader. It grabbed hold of me in such a way that it became like an addiction – I would read on the bus on the way to the office and then carry on reading it under the desk when I was supposed to be starting work. That got me into trouble a few times. But that was when I decided I’d love to write stories that had the same effect on people – I hope LIES does that.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I’ve tried to resist this urge recently as I’m halfway through writing my second standalone thriller (deadline looming), and my TBR pile is already starting to block the light from the window… But I’m always tempted when there’s a new book out by Michael Connolly, Gillian Flynn, Harlan Coben, Tana French, CJ Carver or Sophie Hannah. I find it really hard to walk into Waterstones and walk out again without buying something.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – one of many great recommendations from my wife. I loved this book. The slow unravelling of the truth about Amy Dunne takes the story in ways you can’t predict, and the plot is brilliantly constructed. Is she alive or dead? Is her husband involved in her disappearance? Is the truth simply what we tell ourselves? The blurring of fact and fiction, the creation of different versions of the truth is one of the themes of LIES.
Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – it goes without saying this is an absolute classic in crime thriller terms. The depiction of Hannibal Lecter is perfect, and it’s no wonder many regard this as the daddy of the serial killer genre. It blazed a trail for many, many books by other authors that followed, but it still stands the test of time. Lecter remains one of the most memorable bad guys ever written – I would have loved it if he was one of mine. I re-watched the film again recently and that’s still great, too.
In the Woods by Tana French – demonstrated that beautiful, evocative writing can go hand-in-hand with a cracking crime story. The only problem is that Tana French is so good, reading her work can be a double-edged sword for the aspiring writer. On the one hand, her prose is such a pleasure to read. On the other, it can be a bit dispiriting – in that you wonder how you’re ever going to match her.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
One of the core ideas for LIES was inspired by a story about some friends who were fundraising for charity, and how they used Facebook in a particular way to help them publicise what they were doing. I don’t want to give too much away here as it could be a bit of a spoiler for the plot! But I certainly take inspiration from real life events. Often it’s a case of looking at a real event and saying ‘What if…?’ Then building it out from there, seeing where it takes you.

Quite a few of my characters have elements of people I know – sometimes they will be compounds, combinations of two or three individuals. Friends and family who have read LIES say they’ve spotted traits of familiar people. Some of which are my own, some of which belong to other people. For example in LIES, the protagonist’s son William has a fair bit in common with my own son, Tom. My wife is a keen tennis player, like Mel, although she doesn’t have much else in common with her. Ultimately what I try to do is create recognizable, real people who bring the story to life for me – and for the reader.

A huge thank you for taking part.

Thank you for having me!

Lies

TM Logan’s cracking debut thriller Lies is out now! If you haven’t read it yet is definitely needs to go on your TBR pile!

About TM Logan

TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. Lies is his first novel – published on January 17th 2017 (ebook) and May 4th 2017 (paperback).

Connect with TM Logan

Twitter: @TMLoganAuthor

Author Influences with Louise Jensen

I’m very excited to welcome the lovely Louise Jensen to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to talk about her author influences. Want to know which books and authors have had the biggest impact on her? Read on to find out…

Bio Pic 01

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As I child I was a huge fan of mysteries and an avid Enid Blyton reader. I’d read under my covers by torchlight long after I should have been asleep. The Famous Five were my absolute favourites and I spent hours trying to get our dog to bark out yes’s and no’s like Timmy could.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I adored English at school. I did quite well but I love learning, something I used to feel horribly embarrassed about as a teenager. Even now, as an adult I am usually booked in to one workshop or another, or have an on-line course on the go.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read commercial fiction and some literary fiction, stories that make you really feel. Writing The Sister I was in blissful ignorance about the fact my novel would need to be slotted into a genre to be marketed. I thought I was just writing a story, and I was a little surprised to be classed as a crime writer. In essence The Sister is a story about friendship and grief, although it does get quite dark, the thought of it being a psychological thriller never crossed my mind. My book deal was for 3 psychological thrillers, with The Gift being the second, so my next book will be another thriller.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I have loved the two thrillers I have written and am endlessly fascinated by the psychology behind people’s actions but I would also love to write something epic and heart-breaking because ultimately, that’s what I enjoy reading.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
As a child I was obsessed with mysteries and although I wrote my own ‘books’ tacked together with sellotape and illustrated (badly) by me I never really seriously had the burning desire to become a writer until I read Little Women. I was of quite a young age when I found my mum’s old copy in our garage and I devoured it in a day. With Enid Blyton I was used to feeling suspense. Louisa M. Alcott made me feel a whole range of emotions. I laughed, I cried, I rooted for the March sisters and I remember feeling utterly enthralled. After I’d finished it I thought wouldn’t it be amazing to have the gift to make readers really feel the story rather than just reading it, and that’s what I try to do with my books. The Sister and The Gift are both a blend of love, hope, friendship, unease and fear.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
There are so many authors I love, and I buy a ridiculous amount of books but there is nothing quite like reading a debut for me. They are such heart and soul books and the joy of discovering a new author makes me feel all warm and happy inside.
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 book that always springs to mind, although I haven’t read it for many years, is The Stand by Stephen King. It’s probably the heaviest, longest book I have ever read but I so desperately didn’t want the story to end.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people?
In The Gift Jenna is based, in part, on me. I drew upon my own experiences with my health. Although I have never come close to death I had an accident in my 30’s which left me with a disability and I know the bewilderment a change in health can bring, particularly at a young age, where you don’t quite know where you fit anymore. I have felt the guilt Jenna feels when she believes she is letting those around her down, by not being able to do the things she could before. It was quite a healing process for me, in a strange way, writing this story.

A huge thank you Louise for taking part!

FB_IMG_1463587225903The Gift

Louise’s novels The Sister (you can read my review and a Q&A about the book HERE) and The Gift (read my review HERE) are out now.

About Louise Jensen

Louise is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, mad-cap spaniel and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both No.1 Bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to ten countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut for 2016. Louise is currently writing her third psychological thriller.

Connect With Louise

Website: louisejensen.co.uk 

Twitter: @Fab_fiction

Facebook: @fabricatingfiction