Category Archives: Author Influences

Author Influences with Richard Rippon

Today I’m delighted to welcome Richard Rippon to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books for this week’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I used to read a lot of Enid Blyton stuff when I was very young. Not so much Famous Five, but The Secret Seven, which was obviously better because there were two more of them. I’d also read Roald Dahl. The Twits was a favourite. Then when I was a little bit older, I remember reading Grinny by Nicholas Fisk, which might have been where my fascination with darker stories began.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Yeah, I was pretty good at it. In middle school I won a story writing competition, where they gave you the start of the story, and you had to finish it. In my ending, everyone died of course. I won a nasty-looking lime green Parker pen.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I don’t read much crime fiction, with the exception of Thomas Harris and a bit of Val McDermid. I like to read stuff like Chuck Palahniuk, Irvine Welsh and Cormac McCarthy. I like the irreverence of Welsh and the economy of McCarthy, so that might come over in my work.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I think I’d like to make a Dario Argento-style leap from serial killer novels to more supernatural stories. Or maybe a dark sci-fi novel, like Under the Skin.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I can’t think of anyone specifically. It’s always been an ambition, but I never thought I could be any kind of success. I always thought it was too fanciful to pursue as a career, so I went off and became a scientist instead. It took me a long time to realise I was more suited to writing. Maybe Roger Hargreaves. It goes that far back. I wrote a book when I was very young called ‘Mr Lick-a-Lolly’.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
The truth is, I don’t read a huge amount at the minute, if it’s not for research. That said, I always buy the latest Brett Easton Ellis. The same used to be said for Palahniuk, but I’ve missed a few now.

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 can remember reading High Fidelity and loving the natural style it has. I was going through a break up and I thought I could have written something similar at the time. I loved About a Boy too. I like a lot of Nick Horby’s stuff, but he loses me whenever he writes about football.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not so much plots, but I do steal bits of people, certain characteristics, traits or little scenarios. It makes things easier, because you’re drawing from real life and it makes everything feel more authentic. It’s not always the best idea though, because people recognize something and assume the entire character is based on them. Then you have to explain it’s a composite character, to their disappointment or relief, depending on the case.

Thanks for taking part, Richard. The Twits is my favourite  Roald Dahl book too!

Richard’s latest novel, Lord Of The Dead, is out now. Here is what it’s about:

A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as ‘Son of Geb.’

You can grab your copy HERE. Check out my thoughts on Lord Of The Dead HERE.

About Richard Rippon

Richard Rippon has been writing since 2007, when his short story, Full Tilt, was long-listed for a Criminal Shorts Award. In 2009, he won a New Writing North Award for his first novel, The Kebab King. Since then he’s had a number of short stories published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2012, he was commissioned to write a short story (The Other One), which appears in the Platform anthology. He lives on the North East coast with his wife and two children, and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Richard was also a social media phenomenon in 2016, as one of the men behind the twitter sensation #DrummondPuddleWatch.

Follow Richard on Twitter @RichRippon and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/richard.rippon.3.

 

 

Author Influences with Sandy Day

Welcome to this week’s Author Influences. Today I welcome Sandy Day to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books to talk about her favourite books and authors. Sandy has been on my radar for a while as I have read loads of great reviews of her book, Fred’s Funeral. It is a book that I will be reviewing later this year and I will tell you more about it towards the end of this post.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I read all the Anne books- that is, Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery. I read all the Misty books- the horsey ones by Marguerite Henry. And I read all the Jalna books- by Mazo de la Roche. I was into series.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Without even trying, I was a teacher’s pet in the English class. I could read well before the age of six, and I liked to write stories as soon as I could spell- even before! I loved reading, so English class was a breeze to me. I was always writing, so the analyses of texts interested me on a personal level. Receiving positive feedback from teachers served to reinforce my passion for language.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I have always read literary fiction. Every now and then, I dabble in romance or crime or mystery but I don’t really love them unless they’re written in a literary style, that is, lots of metaphor and subtlety and an original use of words and structure. I aim for that in my own writing.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Probably memoir. I’ve always been a bit of a confessional writer and have kept a journal since age eight. My fiction is usually based on real events so it would not be much of a stretch for me to write memoir.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
In grade 10 (age fourteen), I was introduced to Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. I have never been as blown away by a work as I was by that book. The subject matter (a cowboy outlaw), turned into poetry, turned into a narrative, mesmerized me. I’ve strived to write like that ever since.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Oh yes. Alice Munro- so sad she’s retired. Miriam Toews- I love her 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?
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews would be one of those books. The voice of the narrator, the subject matter (a Mennonite teenager living in Manitoba), the language and similes, the story (her complicated relationship with her father) – it’s still the best novel I’ve ever read. Coming-of-age stories are my favourites.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My novel, Fred’s Funeral is based on the life of my Great Uncle, a shell-shocked WWI veteran. I wrote a disclaimer in the front of it apologizing in advance to my relatives for the poetic license I took with the facts. So far, they’ve all given me positive reviews.

Thank you for taking part, Sandy. My TBR pile has just got bigger!

Sandy’s novel Fred’s Funeral is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Only at his funeral, does a family come to know and love a long neglected and shell-shocked soldier from WWI. Based on a true story. Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to war, and his ghost hovers near the ceiling of the dismal nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish and disparaging sister-in-law. As Viola dominates the remembrance of Fred, his ghost agonizes over his inability to set the record straight. Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he shut away for most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Why didn’t his family help him more? Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.

You can buy a copy HERE.

About Sandy Day

Sandy Day is the author of Poems from the Chatterbox. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy spends her summers in Jackson’s Point, Ontario on the shore of Lake Simcoe. She winters nearby in Sutton by the Black River. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.

www.sandyday.ca
www.facebook.com/SandyDayWriter/
@sandeetweets
amazon.com/author/sandyday
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5103092.Sandy_Day

Author Influences with Mary Grand

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Mary Grand to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today for this week’s instalment of Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
It was only as I started compiling a list of favourite reads as a child that I realised there is a theme running though them.
Initially there was ‘Tinker the Kitten’ by Lucienne Erville, the story of a black and white kitten that climbs over the garden wall and finds himself in a new scary world. I moved on to the “My Naughty Little Sister” stories by Dorothy Edwards, the very innocent exploits of a little girl which seemed to me very daring at the time. Finally there was of course Enid Blyton and the series I loved was called ‘The Naughtiest Girl in the School’
So I appear to have liked reading about children (and cats!) that enjoyed breaking the rules, being a bit rebellious. As an extremely conforming child I guess, like many children, I found in reading a safe way to escape the mundane, to know the thrill of going to new places and ways of living.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
All through my childhood I went to the library every Saturday, firstly taken by my dad and then on the bus with my friend. I can still remember asking my dad what books I was allowed to borrow and he said ‘Anything Mary, you can read whatever you want.’ I couldn’t believe that I really could read any book I wanted!
However I didn’t really get into my stride with English in school until I went into the sixth form. Here I had the most wonderful English teacher, Miss Duffield. I remember her as being the only teacher in a large comprehensive that still had the class stand when she entered, and she would hang her Jaeger jacket on a coat hanger at the beginning of each lesson. She brought books alive to me; I loved everything she taught me from Orwell, to Chaucer, Shakespeare and Jane Austin.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the
genre you write?
I like reading all sorts, depending on my mood. I think becoming a writer has made me more adventurous and I have been introduced to all kinds of genres by people I have met online and on courses. My main stays would be Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction and Crime. Although I write Women’s Fiction I am sure I have been influenced by the amount of crime I have read and all my books have strong element of mystery to be solved.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would love to write a murder mystery one day. I love reading them and working out all the different twists and turns. I would also love to write a historical novel: I really enjoy research and escaping back in time.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write?
And if so who, what and why?
I wouldn’t say it was one particular writer. However I had been reading a number of writers such as Jodi Picoult and Amanda Prowse who showed me you could write about difficult subject matter in a gripping and accessible way. In one novel, ‘Hidden Chapters’, I wrote about adoption, living with Deafness and also about addiction. The story was set in wonderful Rhossili Bay, and there are elements of romance and mystery added in. I think it makes sense to combine all these elements. Life isn’t just one thing; tragedy and heartbreak sit next to joy, wonder, and new life. There is also, of course all the stuff in between; the shopping, the picking the children up from school, it’s a rich tapestry.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Sarah Dunant is one of my favourite authors. She manages to combine great characters with gripping plot and seamlessly interweaves into this her extensive knowledge of renaissance Italy.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I
had written that’ and what was it about the book?
There are a quite a few books like that but I think I would plump for ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. I love her development of character, plot, and her incredible skill in description and creating atmosphere. This is one of many quotes I love:
“When the leaves rustle, they sound very much like the stealthy movement of a woman in evening dress, and when they shiver suddenly, and fall, and scatter away along the ground, they might be the patter of a woman’s hurrying footsteps, and the mark in the gravel the imprint of a high-heeled shoe.”

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My first novel ‘Free to Be Tegan’ is partly based on my upbringing in a religious cult. To create the main antagonist, Daniel, the cult leader, I used my own experiences of a number of teachers within my sect combined with a lot of research into the whole subject of cult leaders. One of the things that struck me was how often the fear I had known was used as a weapon of control. I also read that, like some of the people I had encountered, many cult leaders had charm and charisma I used all these elements in creating the character of Daniel. It was important to me that my protagonist Tegan not only left the cult but developed an understanding of what had happened to her. Her confrontation with Daniel is a pivotal point in her story.

Thank you for taking part, Mary. I really enjoyed reading your answers. 

Mary’s latest novel ‘Behind the Smile’ is out now and available to buy HERE. Here’s what it’s about:

An emotionally charged, totally gripping story that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. Lowri is pregnant, looking forward to a new life with her lover, Simon. But her plans are shattered. She finds herself alone, her face scarred, her future uncertain. Her estranged husband, Jack, proposes they “settle” for each other, and raise Lowri’s unborn child on the Isle of Wight, in the idyllic village of Elmstone. Lowri is befriended by Carina, the beautiful Italian woman living in Elmstone Manor, and Heather, the popular local café proprietor. However, she soon discovers that no-one is the person they appear. What dark secrets is Heather hiding from her family and from the village? Why is Carina desperate for Lowri to fail in her new life and prepared to go to increasingly desperate lengths to destroy her? As she confronts her own insecurities, and faces another devastating loss, will Lowri find the courage to be proud of the person she is hiding behind the smile? Will she find true love amid the confusion and intrigue?

About Mary Grand

I was born in Cardiff and have retained a deep love for my Welsh roots. I worked as a nursery teacher in London and later taught Deaf children in Croydon and Hastings.
I now live on the beautiful Isle of Wight with my husband, where I walk my cocker spaniel Pepper and write. I have two grown up children.
‘Free to Be Tegan’ was my debut novel. The second ‘Hidden Chapters’ is set on the spectacular Gower Peninsula. I have also published two short books of short stories ‘Catching the Light’ and ‘Making Changes’. ‘Catching the Light’ is also available as an audio book, narrated by Petrina Kingham.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Mary-Grand-1584393925166154
Twitter: @authormaryg
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Grand/e/B00UEHEXMK
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Email: marygrand90@yahoo.co.uk
Website: marygrand.net

Author Influences with Catherine Kullmann

Welcome to another edition of Author Influences. This week my guest is the lovely Catherine Kullman, author of Perception and Illusion and The Murmur of Masks.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I read voraciously as a child. I had tickets for two libraries and went to both at least twice a week. Authors I remember include Susan Coolidge (What Katy Did and sequels), Louisa M Alcott (Little Women and sequels) Enid Blyton (Everything, but my favourites were the Adventure series), Rex Dixon (Pocomoto series—about an orphan boy brought up two old prospectors in the ‘wild west’), Elinor M Brent-Dyer (Chalet School series). I also read a lot of non-fiction, in particular biography. In my teens, I moved on to Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Dickens, Trollope, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L Sayers, and Irish authors such as Frank O’Connor. I also read a lot of poetry and essays. I loved the romantic poets and the metaphysical ones such as John Donne and essayists such as Charles Lamb and Joseph Addison. Looking back, it is easy to see that I was laying the foundations for writing historical fiction set in the early nineteenth century.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved it and was very good at it. We had anthologies of prose and poetry at school and each year would study a different selection but I read them cover to cover. I also loved writing essays, whether relating to the texts we studied or on more general themes.

What genres do you like to read?
I love reading historical fiction but when reading for pleasure tend to look for eras and/or locations outside my own. I also like historical crime, especially set pre WWII. I would read more contemporary crime but find a lot of what is written today bleak and very violent. Favourite authors still writing include Sara Donati (historical), Susanna Kearsley (historical– dual timeline) Barbara Cleverly (Historical mystery) Margaret Maron, Wendy Hornsby ( both contemporary mystery). I also love Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, and Nalini Singh, all of whom write urban fantasy/paranormal romance.

Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
All of the above writers are excellent story-tellers and I am sure that I have learnt a lot from them.

I also read a lot of nineteenth century writing – novels, poetry, memoirs, autobiography, journals, magazines, children’s books etc. etc. Reading works that are contemporary to my period gives me an excellent insight into it and inspires me in so many ways.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I am very happy where I am at present. If anything, I might experiment with a different form, such as a short story, or even poetry.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Every author who has gripped me and taken me into their world has encouraged me. Specifically, Jane Austen who transformed the English novel, bringing a deceptive lightness and ironic comedy to what previously had been overly sensational, moralistic or both, and Georgette Heyer who was the creator of the Regency novel as historical fiction.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
All the ones mentioned in No. 3 above.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Susanna Kearsley’s A Desperate Fortune. The two stories, those of Jacobite Mary who keeps a secret journal in the eighteenth century and modern-day Sara who is trying to decode it, are gripping, thrilling and touching. Mary and Sara are so different and so real, the characterization is wonderful and the treatment of Sara, in particular, very moving.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not consciously, but as they all emerge from my subconscious, I am sure they have.

Thank you for taking part, Catherine. I really enjoyed reading your responses to my questions.

 

Catherine’s latest book, Perception and Illusion, is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Does a fairy-tale ending always guarantee Happy Ever After?

England 1814: Brought up by her late grandparents after the death of her mother, Lallie Grey is unaware that she is their heiress. When her father realises that he will soon lose control of his daughter’s income, he conspires to marry her off to his crony, Frederick Malvin in exchange for a share of her capital. But Lallie has fallen in love with Hugo Tamrisk, heir to one of the oldest titles in England. When Hugo not only comes to her aid as she flees the arranged marriage, but later proposes to her, all Lallie’s dreams have come true. She readily agrees to marry him at once.

But past events casts long shadows. Hugo resents the interest his three elder sisters take in his new wife and thinks they have turned her against him. And then there is his former mistress, Sabina, Lady Albright. As Lallie finds her feet in the ton, the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. She begins to wonder if he has regrets and he cannot understand her new reserve. A perfect storm of confusion and misunderstanding leads to a final rupture when Lallie feels she has no choice but to leave. Can Hugo win her back? Will there be a second, real happy end for them?

You can get your copy HERE.

About Catherine

Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. She is married and has three adult sons and two grandchildren.

Catherine has always been interested in the extended Regency period, a time when the foundations of our modern world were laid. She loves writing and is particularly interested in what happens after the first happy end—how life goes on for the protagonists and sometimes catches up with them. She is the author of The Murmur of Masks and Perception & Illusion. Both books are set against a background of the offstage, Napoleonic wars and consider in particular the situation of women trapped in a patriarchal society.

You can find out more about Catherine and her books at her website www.catherinekullmann.com where she also blogs about historical facts and trivia in her Scrap Album. Her Facebook author page is fb.me/catherinekullmannauthor

 

Author Influences with Iain Rowan

Today I give a huge welcome to Iain Rowan as he joins me for this week’s Author Influences. Iain is a local-to-me author, so I’m thrilled to have him ‘visiting’ the blog.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Everything I could lay my hands on. Children’s fiction, adult fiction, you name it. I can still remain the day I got my adult tickets for the library, when I was 13. Was like the keys to the kingdom. I loved Alan Garner, still do as an adult, and his books made me see the world as a haunted, mythic place. Not fiction, but when my dad died and my mum asked me to take anything of his I wanted, the first thing was a book I loved more than anything as a child: Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain, a massive reader’s digest thing crammed full of potent and strange legends from all around the country, alternately fascinating and terrifying.

Although I don’t write sf or read much of it now, I crammed in as much as I could as a child, people like Andre Norton, and Jack Vance. Fantasy by people like Tolkien, Moorcock and Lieber because as that kind of bookish kid you do, don’t you. And the Moomin books because they were just much weirdness.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I have mixed views on English education. There was more emphasis in primary school on creativity, and in particular one teacher encouraged me to write (a long series of interlinked spy stories, if I remember right) and I loved it to bits. Then came secondary school, and: read Mayor of Casterbridge and Sons and Lovers. Now read it again. And again. And let’s discuss some really laboured points about imagery. To death. I did well enough, especially at A Level, but I can’t help thinking it’s like taking Art and finding out it’s all just theory and art history. There should be room in the syllabus for creativity, and creatively responding to what you have read via your own fiction, poetry, whatever. Maybe it’s changed since the 80s and there is now, but given the onslaught on creativity across the rest of the curriculum, I doubt it.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I’ll read most things – I tend to look out for reviews or descriptions of a book that for some reason push a particular button in me, and then read that, rather than pick by genre. I read a fair amount of crime fiction, because that’s what I write and I need to soak up what’s out there, but tend to steer clear of it when I’m really in the thick of writing my own. Am a sucker for a classic ghost story, and novels that make me feel like Alan Garner’s did – Michael Hurley’s The Loney and Devil’s Day are two great examples of that, as is the novel I’m in the middle of reading: Folk by Zoe Gilbert. Also, if your novel’s set in a run-down out of season coastal town, that’s me sold in an instant.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
As my answers to the previous questions probably show, I’d love to write a classic spooky, weird, mythic YA novel – a haunting folk fantasy that makes the reader shiver at the thought that there are huge and important and ancient things happening just out of sight, but that sometimes we catch an unsettling glimpse of them creeping out from around the edges of the real world.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
A couple of writers in particular made me determined to write, while also putting me off writing because they were so good, what’s the point. Rupert Thomson is an amazing writer, who writes better prose than anyone else around. I thought: if I could be one tenth of the prose stylist he is, I’d be a good writer. The other is Michael Marshall Smith, for a long time a successful novelist, but I discovered him early on through his short stories which were weird sometimes-horror sometimes fabulist things, and they made me feel: I want to try and do this.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Donna Tartt, Rupert Thomson, Emily St. John Mandel and now Mick Herron.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Hmmm. I think I’ve probably answered bits of this one already. Every one of Thomson’s novels for the sheer brilliance of style. The Secret History (my favourite novel) for making me think: I never ever want to leave these people. It’s my definition of a brilliant novel that when you finish it, you feel an almost visceral sense of loss. John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meaney for the way that all the plot he’s set up starts rolling out at the end like a machine. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News for the compassion and warmth and the way it made me want to live there. Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night In Montreal for being exactly the kind of novel I’d like to have written, in every way.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
People who die in my books are generally thinly disguised versions of people who stood in front of me on an escalator and then got off and STOPPED right at the top. Also people who talk on their mobiles while someone in a shop is serving them. You’re all in there.

The novel I’m working on now is influenced by the undercover policing scandal which saw police going undercover for years – often in largely harmless parts of the environmental protest movement – forming relationships, fathering children, and then one day disappearing as if they never existed.

Years ago I kicked around a few ideas for a novel which I never really took forward. Was set amongst a (then) fictional group of people who were working hacking phones and reading bins for tabloid newspapers. I didn’t follow it through, and then a couple of years later…dear reader, if you are a writer and have a really interesting idea: write it now. Don’t be like Iain.

Thanks for taking part, Iain. I really enjoyed reading your answers and I’m pleased to have found another Finn Family Moomintroll fan. And The Secret History is one of my all time favourite books too.

Iain’s latest book, Sea Change, is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

“You owe it to yourself to discover Rowan’s fiction if you haven’t already had the pleasure.” (Jeff Vandermeer, two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award)

When John is sent to stay with his sister in a small fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast, his parents thought that it would give him a chance to get over the tragedy that happened at school.

But when John arrives in Saltcliff, he is threatened by a strange old man who has waited years for him to appear, he is followed by a mysterious black dog, and he learns that he has a part to play in an ancient legend that is older than the village itself.

Can John leave the tragedies of his past behind and find the courage to save the village? And most important of all, can he stay out of the mist…

Sea Change is a Young Adult novel.

Check out Iain’s Amazon author page for details of his other books HERE.

About Iain Rowan

Iain Rowan is author of the Bath Novel Award and CWA Debut Dagger shortlisted novel One of Us, as well as over thirty published short stories, and is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. He is Creative Director for the Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing, and runs Sunderland writers’ group Holmeside Writers. Like a bad 80s metal band, he found himself unexpectedly big in Mexico.

website: iainrowan.com
twitter: @iainrowan

Author Influences with Beatrice Fishback

Welcome to this week’s Author Influences. Joining me for today’s bookish chatter is Beatrice Fishback, author of Bethel Manor and Bethel Manor Reborn among others.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I loved to read Victoria Holt and her gothic romance novels set in England. It was at that precise time that I fell in love with all things English.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
No. I was dreadful with sentence structure and nearly failed my junior high class. Which makes the fact that I am now an author quite humorous.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love to read cozy mysteries and have always been a fan of Agatha Christie. However, I generally prefer male authors such as James Patterson and Lee Child. With preference to crime novels and cozies, I guess it’s no wonder that I am drawn to writing that type of story. Dying to Eat at the Pub, a cozy that takes place in Great Britain was my first attempt at a full-length novel.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Hmm. That’s a good question. I was challenged by an agent to write an inspirational, historic romance. I wasn’t particularly fond of that type of novel but I took up the dare and wrote two books: Bethel Manor and Bethel Manor Reborn. Through that experience I learned to enjoy historic romances and a totally different genre.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I’m very fond of Max Lucado who writes non-fiction and children’s books. He has an amazing way with words and has always inspired my own creativity. I also enjoy Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. Once again, his magic with a story stirs my own desire to try and write something as imaginative and original.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I certainly keep my eyes open for anything by Alan Bradley.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Mr. Bradley’s books always leave me with that impression. His stories flow with humor, a bit of suspense, a murder that his young sleuth must solve, and a great amount of detail about her interest in science and chemistry. It’s the rolling together of all these things that make such a great tale. Although they are probably intended for a younger audience, I appreciate the descriptions, sentence structure and his main character—Flavia de Luce comes alive and the reader is caught up in the every day drama she goes through.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!).
Dying to Eat at the Pub was influenced by my husband and our relationship; the challenges and great fun we have as a mature couple who have had the privilege of living in Great Britain a total of twenty years. The basis of this book is about an American couple who retire to a small village in East Anglia, U.K., and the cultural and marital challenges that can create humor and misunderstandings.

Thank you, Beatrice, for taking part. I really enjoyed reading your answers. 

Beatrice’s most recent book is Winter Writerland: A Daisy McFarland Mystery and here’s what it is about:

A gruesome murder was inevitable, but how the death would unfold would be anyone’s guess. And the murderer’s identity? That would remain a mystery until the appropriate time…

Meet Daisy McFarland, an American spinster who has retired to England after teaching elementary school for thirty years. An aspiring novelist, Daisy looks forward to attending the Crime Writer’s Conference in Branick for the third year in a row.

The winter gathering provides a great excuse for Daisy to escape being alone and keep holiday blues away. It also gives her a chance to meet new people and reconnect with several British friends. Their lively spirits and enjoyment of a glass of wine spark Daisy’s creative juices—especially after she’s enjoyed a few drinks.

Teachers at the event are regular contributors, all specialists in law enforcement, forensics, crime scene photography, or pharmaceutical drugs. With such an intriguing lineup of classes, Daisy can scarcely choose which ones to attend.

Bitter weather keeps attendees indoors. But after a night of wine, joviality, and juicy gossip, a jaunt outside is exactly what Daisy needs to get her blood flowing. Much to her horror, she soon discovers that blood is also flowing in the lake.

Daisy had come to the conference to write about murder, not discover one. Who was the dead person floating facedown in the murky water, and who among them could have murdered this unfortunate victim?

About Beatrice Fishback

Beatrice Fishback, originally from New York, lived in the East Anglian area of Great Britain for over twenty years and traveled extensively in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. She is the author of Bethel Manor and Bethel Manor Reborn, Dying to Eat at the Pub, Loving Your Military Man by FamilyLife Publishing and, with her husband Jim, is the co-author of Defending the Military Marriage and Defending the Military Family. She has been published in various compilations, magazines and online websites. She and her husband have spoken to audiences worldwide and currently reside in North Carolina where scones are called biscuits and are topped with gravy, and tea that is served over ice.

Beatrice’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2ATzBup

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Beasattitudes

Author Influences with Robert Scragg

After a month long hiatus I’m pleased to be back with Author Influences. This week I’m delighted to be welcoming author Robert Scragg to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books. Robert’s debut novel What Falls Between The Cracks is out now on Kindle (more information on the book later) and Robert will be attending one of the panels at this year’s Newcastle Noir. So, let’s crack on and find out about the books that have impacted on Robert.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I’ve still got the copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that I had as a kid. Lost count of the number of times I’ve read them over the years. I also had a series of kids classics, that I also have in the loft (I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to book!) That includes titles like Treasure Island, Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoe.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was ok I guess – usually top half of the class, but never the star pupil. I enjoyed English Language more than Literature and took that up to A-level.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love crime fiction, and that’s absolutely influenced my choice of genre to write in. Around 90% of what I read is crime, although I’m trying to branch out more. Read a couple of fantasy/sci-fi recently, which is a genre I used to be into in a big way. Also trying to read at least one non-fiction book every month to broaden my horizons a bit!

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve got plans to try my hand at children’s books at some stage. There are a few ideas bubbling around, but I want to get my feet under the table with crime first for the next few years, and then we’ll see. Having been encouraged to read as a kid, and loving books from an early age, I’d love to be able to help inspire those same feelings in the next generation of readers.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
If I look back at who I was reading in the run up to putting pen to paper myself, it’d be the likes of Jeffrey Deaver. He’s still a shoe-in on my TBR pile, but love some of his earlier stuff in particular, like The Devil’s Tear Drop and The Coffin Dancer. As for why, I’m a sucker for a plot that keeps twisting back on itself, keeping me guessing all the way to the end, at which point I still find that I had it pegged wrong. He’s a master at that. Harlan Coben is another. I love how real and vivid his characters are. His books helped me realise that some readers will come back for the character first, and plot second (not that there’s anything wrong with his plotting either!).

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
That’s a list that seems to get longer every year. It’s a mix of homegrown names, and international writers such as Mark Billingham, Mari Hannah, Howard Linskey, David Mark, Pierre LaMaitre, Greg Iles, Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Deaver. There’s more, but I’ll stop there!

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 Natchez Burning trilogy by Greg Iles – an absolutely epic trio of books. The sheer scale of the plot is quiet something to behold; the kind of thing you’d have to take up an entire wall to map out. His characters are so real they practically jump off the page, and when I reached the end of every one of them, there was that amazing mix of ‘what a book’ at the same time as ‘damn, didn’t want it to end.’

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not yet, but I’ve had a few friends request people they’d like to see in a body bag in future books, so you’ll have to wait and see.

Massive thanks, Robert, for taking part. Great answers and I concur with your list of authors you have to buy!

Robert’s debut novel What Falls Between The Cracks was published on eBook and hardcover on 19  April 2018 and is out on paperback on 20 September 2018. Here’s what it’s about:

Did she slip through the cracks, or was she pushed?

When a severed hand is found in an abandoned flat, Detective Jake Porter and his partner Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her? It seems that Natasha’s family are the people who can least be trusted.
Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?

About Robert Scragg

Robert Scragg originally trained as a solicitor, then had a random mix of jobs before taking the dive into crime writing; he’s been a bookseller, pizza deliverer, Karate instructor and Football coach. He lives in Tyne & Wear, is a founding member of the North East Noir crime writers group and is currently editing the second Porter and Styles novel, as well as working on a standalone set in the North East.

Website – www.robertscragg.com
Twitter – @robert_scragg
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robertscragg/

 

Author Influences With Julie Ryan

It’s that time of the week again and I’m delighted to welcome Julie Ryan to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books for today’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I grew up on Enid Blyton. Thanks to her Famous Five series I discovered the love of a good story and the sheer escapism of reading is just as enjoyable today.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was pretty good at English although I struggled a bit with Shakespeare and poetry. I think because I read a lot, grammar and spelling were never a problem but at school my first love was French.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love historical fiction, romance, crime and thrillers. In fact I would say that my writing is a combination of all those genres. Reading most definitely influences me as a writer.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve never written proper historical fiction and I think that’s because I know, despite all the research, some bright spark will spot a bloomer. However, the historical aspect is becoming stronger in my romances so who knows in the future?

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I’ve always been interested in Greece but one day, long before I actually visited the country I came across The Magus by John Fowles. I was blown away by the magic and mystery he managed to convey. Not long afterwards I got a job as a language teacher in Greece. That was the beginning and I had no idea then how important the book and Greece would become in later life.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
There are a few – Victoria Hislop, Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse – all brilliant writers whose next work I always look forward to.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Last summer I read The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. Not only is it well-written but it encompasses many of the themes of my own writing except that she does it so much better. It has time travel, alternative futures, great characters and sense of place. It has quickly become one of my new favourites.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
The story of Jenna in Jenna’s Journey was loosely based on my own experiences. As a writer, no one character is based on a real person but there are many influences that come together to create a new character. I love it once the character comes ‘alive’ and starts telling me as a writer what to do.

Huge thanks for taking part, Julie.

The first in Julie’s Greek Island Series, Jenna’s Journey is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

Heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently obtains an ancient urn that tangles her into a web of a criminal world more sinister then she could ever have imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey in a story that spans 25 years and intertwines the lives of mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters and threatening villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.

About Julie Ryan

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.
Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.

In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a short rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.

Website/blog for book reviews
http://www.allthingsbookie.com/
Blog
http://julieryanbooks.blogspot.co.uk
on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/julie.ryan.3114
and on Twitter @julieryan18

Author Influences With Karl Holton

I’m thrilled to be joined by crime thriller author Karl Holton for this week’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As a small child (going into junior school), everything I read at school at this age is long gone from my memory; mainly because I know that I really didn’t like children’s stories. I had four books at home that I loved; one named Fascinating Facts that covered a huge range of subjects written around 1970. I also had a Greek mythology storybook; an enormous old encyclopedia written around 1930 and a copy of Treasure Island. I still have the originals of the last three in my library today.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I wouldn’t describe myself as good and I really didn’t like the vast majority of what we were forced to read at secondary school. I just didn’t enjoy writers like Hardy, Austen or the Brontës. I struggled with Chaucer and Dickens was just about ok. On the positive side, I have always loved Shakespeare from the moment I was introduced to it, particularly the tragedies.

We read many one-off books and some of these I enjoyed (i.e. Orwell) but we were never allowed to choose what we read. Once I realised there were writers that I wanted to read that school would never introduce me to, I spent most of my time reading them.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Right now, I’m rereading a bunch of great classic books I’ve never had the time to reread. I’m also reading quite a bit of non-fiction, especially if I think it offers something interesting in research terms. So, I do read subjects like true crime, mathematics, science and history.

The two things I love reading are philosophy and poetry. These have had the most impact on me since I started choosing what to read and certainly do impact my writing. If you read what I write and you have an idea what to look for you’ll see it strewn throughout. My characters, particularly Danny Benedict (given elements of his back-story), think in these terms. So his thoughts and dialogue are injected with it.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would really like to try Science Fiction. I was so obsessed with this when I was really young it is something I have locked away in my mind.

History is a subject I’d love to dedicate time to at some point.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I’ve never known anyone who writes so there’s no one that I knew personally.

If I was picking one single author that’s an inspiration it would be Agatha Christie. I know some parts of her writing aren’t that popular given modern taste but when it comes to twisting plot arcs she is the queen.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
No one still writing; the authors I focus on to that level are all dead but there’s so many of them it will take me a lifetime to even get close to reading everything by them to a reasonable depth.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
There really is quite a few that I’ve read and a massive number that I know I haven’t. If I was forced to pick one piece of fiction it would be The Stranger (L’Etranger) by Albert Camus. I first read this at seventeen and I’d already read quite a bit by associated philosophical writers. This was an example of me choosing something school would never let me read. Reading this is life changing when you understand, even at a simple level, what he is saying to you.

I need to add something else … anything by Dylan Thomas.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real-life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yes, I use real events in my plots quite a bit. I’m more than happy to employ the Agatha Christie approach and steal from reality.

I also use very real locations. For example, if someone looked carefully they would spot that I use actual buildings and properties. I find it enhances the authenticity of the moment in the narrative.

Thanks for taking part, Karl. I really enjoyed reading your responses.

Karl Holton is the author of the Shadow Series. Book one, The Weight of Shadows, was published on 26 July 2017. Here’s what it is about:

When you have spent your life in the shadows, what would you do at the dying of the light? Three years ago the best murder detective in London is blamed for the death of his colleague and kicked out of the Met. A man with secrets buried in the past and present returns to London, the city that started the mysterious career which made him a billionaire. The two need each other. But they have no idea how much. A gripping crime thriller mystery with twists from the beginning to end.

Book two, The Wait For Shadows, was published on 28 December 2017. Here’s the blurb:

An assassin wants revenge but doesn’t know who to kill. A drug dealer wants revenge without the muscle to kill. A ‘wild beast’ can help them both. Can anybody stop it? The last six days in ‘The Weight of Shadows’ were just the beginning. Danny Benedict and the whole team must get ready — it’s day seven. The second book in the ‘Shadows Series’. Every morning you can watch the sunbeams glitter, certain you no longer need to wait for shadows.

About Karl Holton

Karl Holton is a crime thriller author. His first book, The Weight of Shadows, came out on Amazon on Kindle and paperback in July 2017. This was the first book in a crime thriller mystery series, known as the ‘Shadows Series’. The second book in the series, The Wait for Shadows, came out in December 2017.

Karl previously worked in financial markets for over thirty years, before deciding that he had to write. He couldn’t leave this dream any longer.

He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.

Website = http://karlholton.com
Twitter = @KarlHolton
Goodreads Author Page
Email = info@thuja.co
Amazon UK – The Weight of Shadows
Amazon UK – The Wait for Shadows

 

 

 

 

 

Author Influences With Barbara Quinn

Hello and welcome to this week’s Author Influences. I’m joined by the lovely Barbara Quinn for today’s book chat.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The Nancy Drew series captivated me. So did Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Alice in Wonderland.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was always a favorite. I loved learning about historical times and delving into fantastical journeys such as Jules Verne’s undersea adventures in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the
genre you write?
I mainly read a lot of fiction. Yes, it does influence my writing! Good stories spur me on to make my own better.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve written in several genres including paranormal, fantasy, chick lit, and women’s fiction. I’m working on a steampunk story which is a new and challenging genre. I tend to go where the muse takes me. A women’s fiction is also brewing.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write
and if so who, what and why?
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland enthralled me as a child and through my teens. The wonderful characters came alive in my mind and made me want to travel down my own rabbit holes.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you
have to get it?
Anne Tyler is always a favorite.

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 Great Gatsby has been a huge influence and always sets the bar for my own writing. The deceptively simple language reminds me to stay away from adjectives, adverbs, and other weakening words. And the story itself shows there can be a fascinating tale in any situation.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life
events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
For sure real life events and people influence me! My latest novel, The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me, is set at the Jersey shore in the heart of Springsteen country. The novel is a tribute to the healing power of music and Springsteen’s songs in particular. You don’t need to love Springsteen to enjoy it! The story is about a woman who finds a way to move forward after suffering losses. Music helps her heal. Each chapter is titled with a Springsteen song and that song is woven into the fabric of the chapter.

Another book, The Speed of Dark, a coming of age tale, opens with a young boy encountering a girl with magical powers as they ride their bikes in the fog spewing behind a DDT truck. It’s hard to believe now, but we used to do that when I was a kid growing up in the NY suburbs! I liked the idea of something special arising from that poisonous cloud.

Massive thanks for taking part, Barbara. You have mentioned some of my much-loved books here.

Barbara’s latest book The Summer Springsteen’s Songs Saved Me is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Arriving home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days.

So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.

Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.

In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

About Barbara Quinn

Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels. With roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester, NY, she currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work. Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.

Website Link: baquinn.wixsite.com/BarbaraQuinn

Instagram: authorbarbaraquinn

Twitter Name: BarbaraQuinn