Category Archives: Author Influences

Author Influences with Chris Thomas

It’s Wednesday! It’s time for Author Influences! Today I’m joined by Chris Thomas to talk books.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
To be honest, I didn’t really read much as a child, but if anyone remembers them, I was massively into the Choose Your Own Adventure series. As I got older, I started to get into the Star Wars expanded universe books.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
No, I utterly detested it. I disliked the books they forced us to read (Shakespeare mainly), couldn’t get to grips with analysing poetry and was fairly awful at creative writing. It was only once I found myself writing complaint letters to companies (it’s always good to complain, you never know what free stuff they might send you!) that I started to become creative and tried to inject humour into what I wrote. That, and writing official business emails made me realise that, actually, putting words down on paper about what I want to write about, not what I’m told to write about was actually quite fun.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Thrillers obviously, but something with an edge. A lot of my reading, and my degree course, was non-fiction based around criminal psychology and serial killers so I try to include as much ‘real-life’ into my writing as I can.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Children’s books. Sounds weird and the complete opposite end of the spectrum to gruesome, dark, disturbing writing, but I’ve had a go at writing a children’s book for a writing competition and it was a lot of fun. I could think like a big kid and basically be as silly and outlandish as possible.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
In all honesty, not particularly. It may seem strange for an author, but I actually struggle to sit down and read novels for any great length of time. I can happily sit at a computer and type away at a story for 2-3 hours, but my attention span doesn’t seem to work for reading novels. I have authors whose books I have read more than others (Dan Brown, Brett Easton Ellis, Mark Billingham). Although having recently started to read Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris’ writing style and story-telling did encourage me to try to ‘write better’- it’s very intelligently written.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Dan Brown. Probably not the book purist’s choice, but I just enjoy all his stories. There’s something about having Wikipedia open at the same time as reading a book, so that you can look up his references to buildings, works-of-art etc, just in order to know what the hell he is talking about, that makes them quite satisfying.

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’m going to base this answer on the fact that, as it is one of my all-time favourite films, I will assume I wish I had written the book for it. I’ve not read it yet, it’s there waiting, but Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lector is just about the perfect villain: intelligent, evil, violent but in a sophisticated way.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Absolutely. I’ve only written one so far, and the main protagonist is based on me, a lot of it is set in the exact place where I work and my house. It made it easier to write from a point of view I knew well, my own (of course, the other things that happen to him never happened to me thankfully!). In terms of other people, most of the bad guys who end up as victims on the dark web show, are based on real people that have committed horrific crimes in real life (I won’t say who, but readers might have an inkling).

Thanks Chris for taking part. I really enjoyed reading your responses. Chris’ debut novel Enter The Dark is out now and published by Bloodhound Books.

A chilling Dark Web thriller

An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s life is changed forever.

‘The Red Room’ is the only place where the failings of a weak justice system are righted and where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When the lights go up, viewers bid, criminals are punished, and the Brotherhood of the Righteous broadcasts a show like no other.

The room has remained hidden until now, when a video arrives in the inbox of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit. But outclassed, outplayed, and torn apart by corruption, is there anything Detective Pete Harris andhis team can do except watch?

Their only lead may be the room’s latest bidder, Joe Henderson. Because when Joe found the Red Room, it found him too, and now the Brotherhood are watching through the wires, willing to do wrong for a righteous cause.

As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy or a way out? And could he be the Red Room’s next volunteer?

Find out more about Chris Thomas by visiting his author page at Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/chris-thomas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christhomasauthor/
Twitter: @cthomasauthor1
Website: www.christhomasauthor.com

Author Influences with Carol Warham

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for another Author Influences and this week I’m delighted to welcome Carol Warham. Carol’s debut novel Resolutions is out now and I will tell you more about it a little bit later. 

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
My first love as a child was Enid Blyton. I never read The Famous Five, I preferred The Secret Seven. As I grew older I loved all her school books – Mallory Towers, Naughtiest Girl and St Clares. I was lucky enough to go to a school which encouraged reading and gave us reading lists for the school holidays. One memorable author, from these lists, that I grew to enjoy, was John Buchan.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was reasonably good at English. I was never a child that ‘stood out’ in any subject. However I had an excellent teacher for English and Literature, and I learned a lot from her and a love of classic authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
History is my first love, both fiction and non-fiction. This has not had an impact on my writing so far. However my second novel will feature some historical links. I do have an idea for an historical novel, which is a constant itch – I will have to scratch it one day!

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would love to write a paranormal or a fantasy novel. I enjoy reading this genre and watching these type of films. It would be wonderful to create your own world and settings, however, I’m not sure I have the imagination to do it.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I think one of the authors which I would love to emulate is Dorothy Dunnett. I love her Lymond series. When I get stuck, these are the books I turn to. I also have a friend, Paula Martin, who is a great writer, and has a number of published books. She has encouraged me every inch of the way.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I buy all of Paula’s books as soon as they are released. There are a number of authors that I enjoy and wait for their latest offering. At the moment I’m waiting (and have been for some years!) for the latest book from Hilary Mantel, on the Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Dorothy Dunnett has always made me feel like that when reading her books. The intricacy of her plots and the depths of her characters are amazing. If I could have a tiny fraction of her genius, in my writing, I would be thrilled.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not really. I have used my dog’s names in the story and I have a character mentioned, who lives in Houston, Texas, which is where my brother lives. These were put in for my own enjoyment.

A huge thank you, Carol, for taking part.
Thank you very much for the invitation. I’ve enjoyed coming along and, particularly, discussing my favourite authors.

Carol’s debut novel, Resolutions, is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

A few days before the New Year, Carly Mitchell returns home to the small town on the Yorkshire moors. Her intention for the short visit is to make her apologies and offer an explanation for her action. A year earlier, she fled, leaving her bridegroom and friends bewildered.

She’s met with mixed reactions, ranging from curiosity to open hostility. However, when an emergency arises, Carly agrees to change her plans and stay a little longer. Falling in love with the new local doctor, Ben Thornton, was not part of her original plan either. Especially when it appears his past is shrouded in mystery.

Complications and tensions increase during the town’s New Year celebrations and she begins to doubt whether she has done the right thing by coming home.

Can she find the resolution she needs to overcome the challenges facing her, or will she run away again?

About the Author

Writing has been Carol’s love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up she settled down to writing and having published short stories, poems and holiday articles.

In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.

Earlier this year, she represented her book group on BBC Radio Leeds, talking about books and the work on her novel.

Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.

Website: https://carolwarham.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carol_warham

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolwarhamauthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Author Influences with Lesley Downer

I am absolutely delighted to welcome the wonderful Lesley Downer to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today for this weeks Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The book that springs to mind immediately is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I also loved Roger Lancelyn Green’s versions of the Greek and Roman myths and Norse myths. Also The Wind in the Willows, the Pooh books, Alice in Wonderland. I was a traditional child! There was a great little library near my house and I was always there discovering treasures.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was lucky enough to have two amazing English teachers at school, which is probably why I did English at university and went on to write. I also had an amazing history teacher who told history as stories and had us all totally entranced – the little princes in the tower drowning in a butt of malmsey, Charles I having his head cut off …

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
For quite a long time I’ve been reading books and novels set in the period and place I write about – nineteenth century Japan. When I have a breather and can read anything I like, I love to read fiction. I also like to read history. And when I read fiction I like to learn something, so I’m not so interested in contemporary fiction but more in stories with a historical setting.
When I’m writing I like to keep myself engrossed in the genre of book I’m writing and the period and place I’m writing about. I started off writing travel books and had travel books on the floor all around my desk. Then I wrote non fiction and had books on my subject – geisha, Madame Sadayakko – all around. Now I write fiction and am surrounded by books on my subject (nineteenth century Japan) and by historical novels.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I don’t really think in genre. I’ve written travel, biography (Madame Sadayakko), an indefinable ‘book’ (Geisha), and now write fiction. My subject as an author (though not as a journalist) has always been Japan. Now I’m thinking not in terms of another genre but another subject …

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 a reader and I’ve always been a writer. I love the great classics – Dickens, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Dostoevsky. I’d like to write great sweeping dramas like those myself that take you away to somewhere entirely different and make you see the world through new eyes.
I’m also really steeped in Japanese literature, which is by turns profoundly moving and achingly romantic (Tale of Genji), encapsulating the world in a few words (Basho), strange and subversive (Tanizaki), and has entirely transformed the way I see the world.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Peter Carey! I adored Oscar and Lucinda and went to Cheltenham Literature Festival a couple of years ago just to see him receive the Lifetime Award for Literature.

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 Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. David Mitchell is simply another league. His use of language, the way he writes dialogue, takes you so deeply into another era.
I also adored Oscar and Lucinda which entirely breaks all the rules of fiction writing – so baroque, so many loose ends. Wonderful stuff!
The Sheltering Sky had me gripped from sentence one. I like dense, thought-provoking novels.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My plots are all based on true historical stories and many of my characters really existed. My most recent novel is almost entirely based on historical fact. But when I imagine a character, yes, I do also think of real people I know and of how they would behave in particular situations.

Thank you for taking part Lesley and for the wonderful answers. Like you, I am a fan of the classics too and adore Thomas Hardy in particular. I have never read Oscar and Lucinda and have now added it to my TBR list.

Lesley’s latest book The Shogun’s Queen is out now and I can highly recommend it (you can read my review HERE). Here is what it is about:

The year is 1853, and a young Japanese girl’s world is about to be turned upside down.

When black ships carrying barbarians arrive on the shores of Japan, the Satsuma clan’s way of life is threatened. But it’s not just the samurai who must come together to fight: the beautiful, headstrong Okatsu is also given a new destiny by her feudal lord – to save the realm.

Armed only with a new name, Princess Atsu, as she is now known, journeys to the women’s palace of Edo Castle, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. Behind the palace’s immaculate façade, amid rumours of murder and whispers of ghosts, Atsu must uncover the secret of the man whose fate, it seems, is irrevocably linked to hers – the shogun himself – if she is to rescue her people . . .

About Lesley Downer

Lesley Downer lived in Japan for many years. She tramped around Basho’s Narrow Road the Deep North, lived among geisha, interviewed sumo wrestlers and enjoyed the glitzy life of Tokyo. She is the author of many books on Japan, including Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World, Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West and The Last Concubine, short listed for Romantic Novel of the Year. Her most recent novel, The Shogun’s Queen, is a prequel, chronologically the first in the Shogun Quartet, and takes place largely in the Women’s Palace, a kind of harem in Edo Castle in what is now modern day Tokyo..

Twitter: @Lesley Downer
Facebook: AuthorLesleyDowner
www.lesleydowner.com
Lesley blogs on the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk on the 14th of each month.

 

 

Author Influences with JA Baker

Today I’m joined by the lovely JA Baker to talk books and writing in this week’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was completely hooked on Enid Blyton’s The Wishing Chair and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I adored English at school from starting Primary right through to College and beyond. It was definitely my favourite subject. I was fairly good at it and loved writing stories.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like reading most genres but my favourite without a doubt is psychological suspense/domestic noir. Reading them has had a huge impact on my own writing, helping me to sharpen my skills and use the element of suspense in the best way possible in my stories.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I would love to have a go at writing something with a supernatural theme. I think I would fail miserably at writing romance and will therefore stick to thrillers!

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
It was Penny Hancock’s thriller, Tideline that finally set me on the path to becoming an author. I had always wanted to write but lacked the know how and the drive to do it even though I had completed a writing course a few years previously. I just thought it was so brilliantly written and was such an unusual theme that I felt compelled to have a go, and so here I am!

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I generally don’t rush out to buy a book as soon as it comes out but so far have loved reading anything by Sabine Durrant as I think her style of writing is poetic.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Again, anything by Sabine Durrant and also Tideline. I also wish I had written both of the Paula Hawkins books as she is gifted at writing.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
I steer clear of using real life characters as inspiration for that very reason but in Undercurrent the location where I live was my inspiration for the book. A river runs at the bottom of my garden which at night can be pretty eerie so thought it would provide a perfect setting for a thriller.

A huge thank you for taking part. Thank you so much for inviting me to take part Abbie. It’s been a pleasure.

JA Baker’s second novel Her Dark Retreat was published on 17 October 2017 by Bloodhound Books. 

The Blurb

The coastguard’s residence Chamber Cottage, which sits high up on the North Yorkshire cliffs, overlooking The North Sea, holds many dark secrets.

Alec and Peggy are struggling to overcome their marital problems. Both damaged by issues from their childhoods, they are trying to get on with their lives. But this is hard for them to do when they both believe they are being watched. As a result, Peggy, who has terrible scars on her face, becomes more agoraphobic.

To make matters worse, Peggy discovers her estranged mother is stalking both she and Alec, claiming she has a dark secret that is putting Peggy in danger.

What caused the scars on Peggy’s face? Is Alec really the monster Peggy’s mother believes him to be? And what secrets does Chamber Cottage hold?

About the Author

I live in the North East of England and am married with four grown up children, a grandson and a crazy dog called Theo. My first book, Undercurrent is available on Amazon and my next novel entitled Her Dark Retreat was released on October 17th.

My website is www.jabakerauthor.com and you can follow me on Twitter @thewriterjude or on Facebook by clicking on J A Baker Author. Please feel free to visit and contact me with any question about my writing!

Author Influences with Nathan O’ Hagan

I am delighted to be joined by Nathan O’Hagan for today’s Author Influences. Nathan is an author and one half of new publishers Obliterati Press (I love that name!) and today he is telling us about the books and authors that inspired him.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was pretty badly dyslexic as a child, so reading was a big struggle, but I managed to read a collection of abridged Sherlock Holmes stories when I was about nine or ten, which I absolutely loved, and then went on to read the originals. Reading Conan Doyle’s stories definitely helped me overcome my dyslexia, so I’ll always have a soft spot for them.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Along with history, English was one of the few subjects I did ok in. I enjoyed the reading part, not so much the comprehension and all that. I also found the syllabus pretty uninspiring. I enjoyed it more as I got older when we allowed to choose our own books to read. I was choosing stuff like American Psycho, Silence Of The Lambs and Philip K. Dick, some of which was probably pretty unsuitable for a thirteen year old.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I know it’s a bit vague, but I like literary fiction. I’m mostly inspired by books that reflect reality, either mine or someone else’s. I like social realism, so I’m not a huge fan of ‘genre’ fiction like fantasy, but I’m certainly fond of a bit of crime or even sci-fi in small doses.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Probably crime. I had a sort of stab at it with my second novel Out Of The City, but that was much closer to psychological thriller than full on crime. I’d love write a balls-out crime thriller at some point, it’s a great genre and I’d love to see if I was able to write the police procedural aspect, as I think that takes a patience and skill that I don’t currently posses.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Definitely James Ellroy. After leaving uni and spending some time on the dole, I devoured his entire back catalogue in the space of a few weeks. For weeks afterwards I was just mentally stuck in 50’s L.A. I’d written music and started a screenplay before that, but then I knew writing fiction was something I had to do.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Ellroy still. His last couple of books have been pretty disappointing, but he’s still the master. I’m just hoping he writes something as powerful as American Tabloid or The Big Nowhere again soon. New Russ Litten, Kevin Sampson and Chuck Palahniuk books are always reasons to get excited too.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Fight Club. It was just so powerful, like a punch to the gut. It captured the mood of a generation. It’s one of the defining novels of the decade, as was the film. Every writer would kill to capture the imagination like Palahniuk did with that book.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Oh God yes. ‘Write what you know’ is the oldest adage, and it’s absolutely true. I’ve based many events and characters either on specifics or amalgamations. But beyond that, listening to how people talk in real life is incredibly important. I always want my dialogue to sound like a conversation you might overhear in a pub, workplace coffee room or on a bus, so in that sense, everything I do is influenced by real people.

Nathan’s current novel Out of the City is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

The new novel by Birkenhead-born Nathan O’Hagan, author of The World is (Not) a Cold Dead Place, turns the temperature down to absolute zero in a thriller that stalks the darkest corners of the male psyche.

The new novel by Birkenhead-born Nathan O’Hagan, author of The World is (Not) a Cold Dead Place, turns the temperature down to absolute zero in a thriller that stalks the darkest corners of the male psyche.

This noir journey through bars, gyms, retirement homes, gay clubs and footballers’ mansions leaves a trail of suffocating guilt and psychosexual violence that seems all too real. In exploring ‘crises of masculinity’, O’Hagan trenches psychological depths with a worldly cynicism worthy of Camus, Jim Thompson or Bret Easton Ellis – and transcends the limits of the crime genre as we know it.

About Nathan O’Hagan

Nathan grew up on Merseyside, and now lives in the Midlands with his wife and two children and works full time for the NHS. After spending most of his teens and twenties in various unsuccessful bands, Nathan eventually turned his hand to writing. In 2013, he self published a short fiction collection, Purge.

The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place was his first completed novel, published through Leeds based “punk publishers” Armley Press in 2015, and was described by author Russ Litten as “a beautiful bruise of a novel.” It is currently in development for a potential UK TV series.

This was followed up by Out Of The City in 2017, which Nick Quantrill called “a scuzzy piece of swirling Scouse neo-noir”.

In 2017 Nathan co-founded Obliterati Press with writer M.W. Leeming. Their first novel is Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon, which is published 3rd November 2017.

He regularly writes features and reviews for God Is In The TV, Sabotage Times and Clash Music.

Website: nathanohagan.weebly.com

Twitter: @NathanOHagan

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nathan+o%27hagan

Obliterati Press:

Website: obliteratipress.com
Twitter: @ObliteratiPress

Facebook: @ObliteratiPress

A huge thank you Nathan for taking part and for the brilliant answers. I WILL get my copy of The World is (not) a Cold Dead Place read and reviewed soon, I promise! Wishing Obliterati Press every success. I love the premise behind what you guys are doing.

 

Author Influences with Barbara Copperthwaite

I am delighted to be welcoming Barbara Copperthwaite to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today, as she joins me to talk about her favourite books and authors.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, and many others were read voraciously by me. I always – and I mean always – had my head stuck in a book. I even had favourite trees to climb, and then sit reading undisturbed on a branch.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I absolutely loved English as a child, and into my teens, but I do admit to feeling bored of the books we were made to read at GCSE and A-level. I simply didn’t connect with them.
For two years solid I actively avoided Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, despite writing numerous essays on it for GCSE English Lit. Imagine my dismay when I took A-level English Lit and was given Great Expectations again! Finally, I read it – and fell in love. It’s one of my all-time favourite books, being both tragic, funny, and incredible emotional. The character arc Pip goes through is beautifully drawn.
I hated John Clare’s poetry, too, at A-level. Only the other week I bought myself a book of his poems, as I now adore them. Funny how life goes.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read loads of crime, it goes without saying, and I recommend great books on my website, but I love reading all genres. I really enjoy historical non-fiction, especially but not exclusively the late medieval period. I keep threatening to write historical fiction one of these days!
John Lewis Stempel’s writing about nature is simply stunning, and books on the environment are another non-fiction genre I read a lot of. My love of nature definitely filters through to my writing, and helps to create atmosphere. Much of my imagery is often base around wildlife, too, I’ve noticed.
I will read pretty much any genre, though: science fiction, contemporary literature, horror, modern fairytales, the occasional bit of chick lit… Why limit yourself to one genre when there are so many fabulous tales to enjoy? Everything I read almost certainly subtly influences my writing.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
As I mentioned, I’d like to try my hand at writing a historical fiction novel one day, though I’m not sure I’ll ever find the time. Also, I think it would be fun to write a non-fiction book about nature, simply to share my passion and try to encourage others to engage with the environment around them.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
There was no bolt from the blue that urged me to write a novel, it was more a desire that built slowly. For years I read fabulous books and never even contemplated trying to create one myself. But I had an idea for a book, and the more I ignored it, the more it jumped up and down shouting: ‘Look at me, look at me!’
Then one day I read Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, and it took my breath away. The fact that it concentrated solely on one very quirky character and built so slowly, but so inexorably, was like nothing I’d experienced before. I can’t explain why, but something inside me clicked, and I suddenly felt inspired to start my own, very shabby, attempt at a novel. It eventually (after a lot of work and rewrites) became the first book I published, Invisible.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Peter Swanson, without a doubt. It’s no secret that I love his work, as I never shut up about it! All his books are twisted tales featuring brilliant characters. He’s so different from anyone else out there 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?
Pretty much every book I read makes me think that!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not specifically. I’ve been a journalist for twenty-plus years, and in many ways my books are all inspired by every single woman I’ve interviewed whose partners were having affairs but they didn’t realise; by those who were conned by emotionally manipulative men into believing they were part of a loving relationship that then turned abusive and they lived in fear of being killed by their own partner; and by those who discovered their partner had killed someone (and yes, I’ve interviewed plenty of those. One poor woman even walked in on her husband dismembering someone).
Some people fight back, some people fall apart, others plot slow, cold revenge; there is no way of telling how anyone will react. Of course, it also made me question how well any of us ever know anyone, particularly as I’ve also worked briefly in a men’s prison and met a number of charming men who were rapists and killers. Let me tell you now: you cannot tell someone is capable of evil.
I think that’s why I love exploring emotions so much, and discovering through my storylines what makes ordinary people do extraordinary things, and how far someone can be pushed before they bend and break.

A huge thank you Barbara for taking part. Great answers. Engleby has been on my TBR list for ages and I really must get round to reading it.

Barbara’s latest book Her Last Secret is published on 13th October 2017. Here’s what it’s about…

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse.

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant.

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.

About Barbara Copperthwaite

Barbara Copperthwaite is the international best-selling author of psychological crime thrillers Invisible, Flowers For The Dead, and The Darkest Lies. Her new novel, Her Last Secret, will be published on Friday 13th October, and is available for pre-order now.

She credits much of her success to her twenty-plus years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are gritty, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions. It’s what has made her a USA Today bestseller.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

WEBSITE: www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
TWITTER: @BCopperthwait https://twitter.com/BCopperthwait
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite/
AMAZON UK http://amzn.eu/5Kup5kw
AMAZON US http://a.co/hOQdqJn

 

Author Influences with A.B. Morgan

A huge welcome to today’s Author Influences with Alison Morgan. Alison’s debut thriller A Justifiable Madness was published on 10 September 2017. More about the book a little later, as I hand you over to Alison to talk books.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
As a young child, Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton’s ‘The Five Find Outers’, then classics such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Thursday’s Child’, and ‘Moonfleet’, and as a young teenager anything by S E Hinton, and ‘Run Baby Run’. I read Papillon and Banco as an older teenager, several times.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
At school I wanted to be good at English, but my imagination was better than my grammar, so my results were average. I loved to understand the derivation of words and still do.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Thrillers, adventure stories, mysteries, autobiographies, true crime… and yes, all have had influence.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Children’s adventure stories. Why? As a personal challenge to encourage young people to read more, and because they would be tricky to write.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Probably who I read as a very young adult, Dick Francis, Alistair Maclean, Wilbur Smith and more recently R D Wingfield, M R Hall and Mark Billingham. There is always a mystery or problem to solve, and the character driven stories with humour have influenced my writing the most. None of them are pretentious.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not so much these days. There are so many good books to read by a variety of authors.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
All the ones I couldn’t put down. Mostly because of the attachment to the characters in the book and the predicaments they are in.

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 inspired by true events and by my life as a psychiatric nurse. The characters I write tend to be amalgams of several people I either know or have come across in life. Parts of me end up in at least two main characters.

Thank you Alison for taking part and for the brilliant answers.

Alison’s debut novel A Justifiable Madness is out now and here is what it’s about…

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?

Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?

When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.

Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life goes from bad to worse.

Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it sounds…

About A.B. Morgan

Alison lives in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. Married to an overgrown child with a beard, she has grown-up children who have flown, and a dog who has replaced the children in the nest. Last year a dodgy heart forced her to sit down for more than five minutes. She sat at a computer keyboard and a story came out of her head, which had been lurking there for several years while she was working as a mental health nurse. Debut novel A Justifiable Madness was published by Bloodhound Books in September. Other novels are forming an orderly queue, with the second, Divine Poison, nearing completion.

Facebook: @ABMorganwriter

 

Author Influences with Erik Therme

I am delighted to welcome Erik Therme to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today. Erik tells us all about the books and authors who have influenced him and I have news about how his latest book Roam.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Harold and the Purple Crayon—a fantastical tale about a child who “draws things into existence” with his crayon—was one of my all-time favorite books growing up. When I grew older and graduated to chapter books, I devoured mystery series like Encyclopedia Brown and The Three Investigators.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was a terrible student in general. I daydreamed, fidgeted, and spent the majority of class time watching the clock. I always scored low on my tests, and the only reason I passed any of my classes was because I got high marks on papers and assignments (i.e.: anything “writing” related).

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I’ve always gravitated toward darker stories, and there’s no question it’s fed into my own story-telling. I think it’s because I’m endlessly fascinated by people’s motivations and the choices they make. Life is complicated and messy, and even the best of us have dark moments. Do the ends justify the means? Do two wrongs make a right? These are the types of questions that drive my characters to do what they do.

If you were to write a different genre, what would it be and why?
I think I would enjoy writing comedy. I love books that are infused with fun, quirky characters, and one of my favorite things in life is to try and make people laugh.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
In junior high, I discovered the book Misery (Stephen King), which inspired me to start writing my own stories. They weren’t very good, but I kept at it, worked hard to hone my skills, and eventually developed my own writing style.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I’m always anxiously awaiting a new Joshua Gaylord (pen name Alden Bell) novel, who wrote one of my favorite books of all time: The Reapers Are the Angels. It’s a tasty bit of literary fiction, set in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies. I would happily read this man’s grocery list if he published it. Yes, he’s that good.

Which book have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Catcher in the Rye was the first book that truly spoke to me. It was as if Salinger had peered into my soul, stole my misunderstood youth, and put it on display for the world to see. I’d love to try my own hand at literary fiction, but I don’t think I have the required talent, as my writing is never as elegant as I’d like.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
My latest novel, Roam, was inspired by a long stretch of highway on the outskirts of my hometown. In my younger days, I traveled the isolated road every weekend, and I always wondered what I would do if my car broke down, or if I came across a hitchhiker. Over time, a story began to take shape in my mind, and eventually—years later—Roam came to life.

A huge thank you Erik for the brilliant answers. I still haven’t got round to reading Catcher in the Rye and I’m going to have to rectify that!

Erik’s latest book Roam is out now and until 27th September it is FREE on BookBub so grab your copy while you can!

The Blurb

When three lives intersect in an unsavory hotel with a bloody history, each will struggle to exorcise their personal demons, unaware that a bigger threat is looming . . . and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Like Joshua Gaylord and Daniel Kraus before him, author Erik Therme explores the angst of disconnected youth in his enthralling and powerful Roam. Therme’s darkly tinged novel is an unforgettable tale of three errant souls brutalized by life’s cruel circumstances, and a remarkable night of discovery and violence that will change them forever.

About Erik Therme

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Website
https://www.eriktherme.com

Twitter
https://twitter.com/ErikTherme

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ErikTherme.writer

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/7831573.Erik_Therme

 

Author Influences with KA Richardson

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for another Author Influences and today I’m delighted to welcome crime and thriller writer KA Richardson to the blog. So let’s find out about the books and authors that have inspired her and her work.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Pretty much anything I could devour – I loved Enid Blyton, and moved rapidly onto Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – also the Willard Price adventures. When I turned double figures I enjoyed Point Horror books and in my early teens moved onto adult crime novels.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was one of my top subjects at school – I always got good grades and enjoyed the reading material – even Shakespeare! My favourite book I read whilst at school was Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It was the first book I remember reading that made me cry.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I enjoy a wide diversity of genres however tend to read more crime and romantic suspense than anything else. They probably have impacted on my writing in some ways – but so has the jobs I’ve had – I worked as a CSI for years and still work for the police albeit in an alternate role now. Due to these jobs, I find it easy to focus on the forensic side of an investigation.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve started a supernatural trilogy which I’m loving writing – it frees you of restraints and lets you write what you like without having to be too influenced by ‘is this procedure right’ or ‘would a cop really do that’.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
So many!! I read Stephen King’s book, On Writing and it was honestly one of the best and most refreshing books about writing I’ve ever read. It’s inspiring and from the king of horror and much of it resonated with me. Other’s that have inspired me though are Karen Rose – she’s a fantastic author who writes romantic suspense and I love how her characters bring the book to life. She’s also been disadvantaged through life in some ways with her disability which makes her writing even better and deeper as she often focuses on people with some form of disability.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Karen Rose for sure – and Mo Hayder.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Mo Hayder’s book The Treatment. I absolutely love the wandering man character and would have loved to have written him! Also it’s so deliciously dark and terrifying that it had me checking the doors and windows before I went to bed!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
I think all characters have some elements taken from people you know – or people you see in the street etc. None of my characters are based on actual people but definitely a little of certain people may feature in many of them.

A huge thank you for taking part. I totally agree with you on Mo Hayder, she is fantastic!

KA Richardson’s latest book Watch You Burn is out now and here is what it’s about:

Someone is breaking into Fire Investigator, Edina Blaze’s, home and leaving deadly messages. When Glen Peacock is burned alive, she has to put her own problems aside and attend the location with Crime Scene Manager, Kevin Lang.
As the body count rises, Edina’s sister Heather becomes involved. Is it her setting these gruesome fires? Or is she a target too?
Kevin has seen it all in his years on the force, but when a young girl is found burnt to death, even he is shocked.
Who is taking pleasure in watching people burn? Why are they doing it? And will they be caught?

DI Alistair McKay and the team from North East Police have to work quickly to stop the killer, before they all end up in flames.

About KA Richardson

KA Richardson is the author of the North East Police series – there are four out in the series so far, the most recent of which is Watch You Burn. This was published in May 2017 and features the Fire Investigation Team. KA Richardson finished her Ma Creative Writing in 2011 and has been focusing on publication ever since. She is privileged to have had two publishers – Caffeine Nights (for her first novel) and now Bloodhound Books for the rest in the series.
Website: www.kerryannrichardson.com
Twitter: @kerryann77 or @karichardson77
Facebook: KA Richardson
Instagram: @kerryann77

Author Influences with Alex Walters

For this week’s Author Influences I’m delighted to be joined by crime and thriller writer Alex Walters.

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Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
A lot of Enid Blyton – still think she’s a brilliant writer for children. Then, as a teenager, people like Alan Garner, a lot of science fiction, then discovered Agatha Christie and crime fiction…

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
It was my best and favourite subject – went on to study English Literature at university.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read anything and everything, really, though probably more crime fiction than anything else. There are a few writers I’d cite as direct influences but I think the impact is mostly about trying to learn from the best.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve mainly written various forms of police procedural to date (though often with a twist or two), so I think I’d be most likely to explore other areas of crime fiction or thrillers. I’ve also written some supernatural fiction and would quite like to do more in the area.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
As a teenager, the writers who made me want to write myself were people like Alan Garner and various science fiction writers, like Samuel R Delany. They made me excited about what it was possible to do with words.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
It used to be Reginald Hill, author of the Dalziel and Pascoe series, who’s sadly no longer with us. Now I’m struggling to keep up with the books I’ve already bought!

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Reginald Hill’s The Wood Beyond (and various others) – ingenious plotting, three-dimensional characters, witty writing, and addressing important issues. Various Ruth Rendells for the same reasons.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
The influence is usually indirect – some real life event which sits in the back of my brain until it sprouts into something rather different in a story. One of my books starts with a real life event which I shifted from Stockport to Mongolia. And my current series set in the Scottish Black Isle uses mainly real locations, with the first book, Candles and Roses, featuring a walk-on part from a real person (with his permission!).

A huge thank you Alex for taking part.

Alex’s latest book Dark Corners was published on 9 December 2016 and is the second in the DCI Kenny Murrain novel. Check out all of Alex’s books on his Amazon page HERE.

About Alex Walters

Alex Walters has worked in the oil industry, broadcasting and banking and now works as a consultant mainly in the criminal justice sector including police, prisons and probation. As Michael Walters, he published three crime thrillers set in modern-day Mongolia, which are now being re-published as Alex Walters in new, re-edited versions. As Alex Walters he has written two thrillers set in and around Manchester and featuring the undercover officer, Marie Donovan, Trust No-One and Nowhere to Hide, and two books Late Checkout and Dark Corners featuring, alongside Marie Donovan, the distinctive DCI Kenny Murrain. Alex is also the author of Candles and Roses, the first in a new crime series set in Scotland’s Black Isle. The second in the series will be published in September 2017.

Alex currently lives in Manchester with his wife, occasional sons and too many cats.

He can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mikewalters60
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexwaltersauthor/