Category Archives: Author Influences

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

Author Influences With Ross Greenwood

Welcome to another Author Influences, I’m delighted to be joined by Ross Greenwood this week.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Anything and everything. All my dad’s books, even some of my mum’s. Worryingly I’m still a bit partial to the odd romantic saga set in Liverpool now.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was one of the fastest to learn to read but then wasn’t particularly interested in reading Shakespeare and The Classics. I wanted action and easily accessible gore, not the colours of the drapes in pre-renaissance England.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I can read anything and like to mix it up. I like the odd bit of fantasy and science fiction but it’s quite hard to find fantastic books, whereas I think there are loads of great crime and thriller writers out there.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Science Fiction. I love Star Wars and Alien, and would love to do something in that style.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Orson Scott Card’s twist in Ender’s Game got me going. I also loved the way Wilbur Smith transported you to a different time and place.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I followed the Clan of the Cave Bear until the end but not generally in the past. Since signing with Bloodhound I’ve read more crime series books so I do now, and I also enjoy their thriller writers’ latest efforts.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Oddly short books tend to stick in my memory. Some of Paolo Cuehlo’s are fantastic in their simplicity. I loved Of Mice and Men when I got round to it. I also like to read the odd life enhancing book such as The Power of Now and The Celestine Prophecy again to keep me grounded.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yeah, loads of my first book and plenty in others. I tend to be able to write quickly and more profoundly when drawing on past memories. Then they can be tweaked so they are more emphatic. This will hopefully stop them recognizing themselves and issuing the afore mentioned writ!

Thanks for taking part, Ross. 

Ross’s latest book Fifty Years Of Fear is out now. Here’s what it’s about:

Could you forgive murder? What if it was something worse? A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family. After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past. Who was his mother? What kind of a man is his brother, Frank? And why does death surround them? Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem. Perhaps he should have stayed at home.

About Ross Greenwood

I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I’m still a little stunned by the pace of it now.

Lazy Blood was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours.

The Boy Inside followed and my latest book, Fifty Years of Fear, came out in October. Each book has different themes; Loyalty, Choices, and Forgiveness. The odd character crosses over but they can be read in any order.

Please feel free to get in touch:

www.rossgreenwoodauthor.com
https://www.facebook.com/RossGreenwoodAuthor

Author Influences with N.M. Brown

Grab yourself a cuppa, relax and enjoy this week’s Author Influences with N. M. Brown.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The first children’s book I remember reading was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I still find it magical and engaging even now. To me, that strange wardrobe serves very much like books. You open it in the ordinary world and then you vanish into somewhere extraordinary.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I honestly didn’t always attend class. I was always too much of a daydreamer to cope with school – tending to sneak off to slump on a beanbag in the school library. But when I did attend class – if reading or composing fiction was involved- I generally enjoyed it. I always found composition fairly effortless, and couldn’t understand how my classmates would often struggle to write stories. To me, being given the chance to create a story was always like being given an opportunity to slip out the confines of school for a while.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read everything from crime fiction to magical realism. As a teenager I loved getting lost in Clive Barker’s worlds, but I grew to appreciate the rich storytelling of writers such as John Irving and Joyce Carol Oates. However, I generally enjoy most novels that featured an aspect of mystery, and this is reflected in my own writing. I think that a good story will hook the reader with an engaging character who has a discovery they want or need to make. That way, the reader can accompany them on their journey.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Some type of Gothic Horror possibly. I like the freedom it presents to establish the everyday and then create another world below it.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
More than anyone else, Ray Bradbury inspired me to write. He was not only a clever writer, he also invested real affection and warmth in his writing. If my protagonist- Leighton Jones – elicits any love from the reader at all it is probably thanks to Ray.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not so much authors now as particular books. However, new titles by masters like John Irving and Bill Bryson still excite me, and although I don’t catch every novel he writes, I thought Stephen King’s Joyland was exceptional and pulled me back in time with both the style and content.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind it was practically dripping with description. It felt like such a rich evocation of place and time, that every time I read a few pages, I felt like I was somewhere else. If I could write something like that, I would be very proud of my work.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!).
The basic premise of The Girl on the Bus is based upon a genuine trip I once made. I was travelling from Inverness to Stirling by coach when I fell asleep, and awoke later to find that I and the few strangers on the bus were in the middle of a desolate landscape. Like most crime authors, I began to imagine countless scary possibilities – and the novel was born.

Thank you for taking part. N. M. Brown’s latest book The Girl on the Bus is out now and can be purchased HERE.

The Blurb

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her old friend, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up.
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter.
Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods they track down the answers across the dusty freeways of North America. Soon Vicki and Leighton will find themselves in grave danger.
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?
And can they both escape with their lives?

About N. M. Brown

Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always considered a combination of decent fiction and good coffee as providing the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.
Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.
More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jones at least two more outings.
Aside from his family, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his stories.

Connect with N. M. Brown

www.nmbrownfiction.com
www.facebook.com/nmbrown

Author Influences With Mark Tilbury

Chase away those mid-week blues with some bookish chat. Mark Tilbury joins me for this week’s Author Influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I loved Enid Blyton, particularly the Famous Five. I used to devour the adventures of the four children and their dog, Timmy, then write my own stories. I can’t really remember much about them, but I can guess they were probably in a very similar vein, and the plots were more than likely nothing short of plagiarism.
I also loved Agatha Christie as I got a bit older. She used to live about a mile away from me on the edge of town. We’d sometimes go carol singing at her house at Christmas hoping to see her and have untold riches bestowed upon us. No such luck!

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English. I was naturally good and didn’t really have to work too hard to get good marks. To be honest, there’s quite a gulf between being good at English and creative writing, as I’m learning on a daily basis.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love horror, dark humour and psychological thrillers. I think my novels are a combination of all three, although they are predominantly psychological thrillers.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d like to have a go at children’s books one day. I have an idea for a series, so you never know. The birth of my first grandson in January seems like an excellent reason to seriously think about doing so.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Without doubt Stephen King’s Misery. Annie Wilkes was the first antagonist I’d ever read who made me think wow! This is someone who really inspires me. Her contradictions. The way she hated profanity, yet could chop a man’s foot off and make him suffer. Annie had the lot for me.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Stephen King is the usual, but there are so many great authors out there. Shani Struthers, Mel Comley, Mark Wilson, Sarah England, Tony Forder and David MacCaffery.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
As I said earlier, Misery by Stephen King. Also The Green Mile because of the way King ties the whole book up with the characters in the prison. I could probably list at least half a dozen of his books. But my favourite is From the Corner of his Eye by Dean Koontz. The antagonist, Junior Caine, made me laugh and scream in equal measure. This book has everything, and I urge anyone who hasn’t yet read it to do so.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
The Abattoir of Dreams was influenced by some bigwig being named as an abuser by a guy who used to be in a children’s home. Then, the guy said he’d made a mistake and got the wrong man. As far as I was concerned, the abused guy was leaned on and forced to retract his accusation. It got me to thinking how these disgusting bastards get away with it just by virtue of their standing in society. It made me so angry, The Abattoir of Dreams poured out of me in less than three months as a result.

All my other stories have been purely a product of my imagination, but I’m sure there have been many influences on a subconscious level.

Thank you for taking part, Mark. 

Mark’s latest book, The Liar’s Promise, is out now. You can grab a copy HERE.

The Blurb

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?
During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.
At her wit’s end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.
Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?
The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment.

About Mark Tilbury

I grew up in a small town in Oxfordshire, but moved to the beautiful county of Cumbria two years ago with my girlfriend. I have two daughters and a beautiful grandson, George who is nine months old.
I’ve had a love of writing from an early age, but it was only a few years ago, with the introduction of Amazon kindle, that I started to seriously attempt to get published. I self-published my first two novels, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused, and then Bloodhound Books published my third book, The Abattoir of Dreams and republished the first two. My fourth novel, The Liar’s Promise was published by Bloodhound on 28th November.

My blog: www.marktilbury.com
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/
Twitter: @MTilburyAuthor

Author Influences With Liz Mistry

It’s Wednesday which can mean only one thing … it’s time for this week’s Author Influences. I am delighted to be joined by Liz Mistry for today’s book chat.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys fan or if you go earlier than that I loved Mr Pinkwhistle followed by The Famous Five and the Secret Seven. In my teens I loved Agatha Christie and Alastair MacLean.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
Loved it and was good at it. Did Catcher in The Rye for my sixth-year study dissertation (Scottish after Higher qualification). Loved EM Forster and Jane Austen.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read mainly crime fiction but I read a wide selection of Crime Fiction genres sub genres. I love YA crime and I love futuristic and paranormal crime. My favourite though are noir police procedurals.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Eek! Maybe try my hand at futuristic crime…. Maybe not.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Every author I loved over the years contributed to my writing bug. Nowadays Northern noir writers like Stuart MacBride and Val McDermid or US writers like Michael Connolly or Harlen Coben or Canadian Linwood Barclay.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Stuart MacBride definitely. Also, JD Robb who writes futuristic police procedurals with a dose of romance. MJ Arlidge too and Val McDermid and James Carol and Graham smith and…. The list is endless. Too many really great books and too few hours.

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 recently read Mark Billingham’s Love Like Blood and was ‘Wow that is so good’. It wasn’t just the book itself that got me. It was the message from the book about Honour Killings and FGM. A brilliant book full of rage and passion!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Everything I write is influenced to a greater or lesser extent by people I meet, conversations I over hear and things I’ve done. Hopefully my creative juices make them unique enough to not be obvious.

Massive thanks for taking part, Liz. I have a copy of Love Like Blood and will have to push it up the TBR pile after hearing this.

Liz’s latest book, Untainted Blood, is out now and you can grab a copy HERE.

The Blurb

In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election.
However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.
Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and delivers his own form of torture.
As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.
Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?
DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.

About Liz Mistry

I am an author from Bradford but originally from Scotland. My gritty crime novels draw on the richness of Bradford’s diverse cultures. My writing is influenced by Tartan Noir writers like Stuart MacBride and Val McDermid.
I completed an MA in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University. My three novels are Unquiet Souls, Uncoiled Lies and Untainted Blood.
Twitter: @LizCrimeWarp
FB : @LizMistrybooks Website: https://lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.com/

Author Influences With Jan Harvey

Welcome, welcome to another Author Influences. This week we are joined by Jan Harvey for the mid-week book talk.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was eight when I read The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe. I very quickly read the whole set of Narnia books and then read them over again. I loved them and still do.

At the end of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe C.S.Lewis says he hopes one day I will pick up my copy again, blow the dust off it and read it to my own children. I was so looking forward to that but my son sadly didn’t like the Narnia books at all and I can’t express how disappointed I was, because Harry Potter had won the day!

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved it. I was hopeless at maths and science (I still am) but I adored English and Art. I have always loved all things cultural. When I was twelve the school took us to see Twelfth Night, it was my first Shakespeare play. I was completed hooked and knew my life would be about art, theatre, music and literature. As for science? Well I married a physicist who tells me maths is beautiful so we can cover all bases between us, it’s very handy for Trivial Pursuit.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love mystery novels, a good thriller and any book that is beautifully written. I just picked up The Loney, I have absolutely no idea what it’s about but I loved the cover and when I started reading it I was hooked, because the writing is exquisite.

All the books I have read have impacted on my own novel. I think a writer takes a lot in subconsciously, which then comes out in her work. Good books will do that to a person.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d write a thriller. I have no idea if I’d be good at it, but people have commented that my novel, The Seven Letters, is ‘unputdownable’ and that’s because each chapter leaves you in suspense. Put it this way, I would enjoy giving it a go.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Daphne du Maurier. Her writing is so beautiful I often go back and re-read a paragraph to enjoy it again. When my friend Myra told me that she had done that with The Seven Letters I thought, ‘I’ve done it. I’ve achieved the highest praise possible.’

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Barbara Erskine, queen of the time-split novel. Also Kate Morton who is a masterful writer and plotter. The House at Riverton is in my top ten. However, the contemporary author I simply ‘can’t wait to read’ is Patrick Gale, he is awesome.

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 History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Nicole uses language so creatively that she is a true master. I buy spare copies of the book from second hand shops to give to people who need a good read.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Oh, that would be telling! One of my characters has elements of a well-known actor who I have admired since childhood and another, Madame Odile, was written for a famous actress who kept coming into my mind. I know she would play her so perfectly.

Film companies have already shown interest so you never know what might happen. I have learnt one thing about writing a book, you have no idea what will happen next, it is tremendously exciting.

Thank you for taking part, Jan. I am the same as you in that I loved English but am hopeless at maths and science. Great choices with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Du Maurier.

Jan’s debut novel, The Seven Letters, is out now. You can grab a copy HERE

The Blurb

Claudette Bourvil is a shy country girl recruited by the Resistance to work in Paris. Claudette must quickly learn to survive in a city ravaged by war as she works undercover in a bordello for the cold, calculating Madame Odile. Claudette falls in love with one of the visitors to the bordello. Fritz Keber is a Nazi officer. He is complicated, sophisticated, powerful and, at the same time, a lost soul. He does not tell Claudette that he is linked to Madame Odile and when she finds out his dark secret she is horrified. It is she who is forced to pick up the pieces. Claudette falls foul of timing, betrayal and the need to do what is right. She is wrongly punished and pays a heavy price. In England, 2014, Connie Webber witnesses her friend the playwright, Freddie March, commit suicide. A kind stranger, Matt Verney, comforts her and becomes her friend. Together they sort out Freddy’s belongings and uncover the mystery of his mother. They find seven letters which lead them to Paris and one of the former prostitutes who tells them she remembers a maid who was with the French Resistance. Connie and Matt trace Freddy’s mother to the quiet village in Normandy where they find out the terrible truth of how she died…

 

About Jan Harvey

Jan Harvey was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1961. After a career as a magazine editor/designer working on various business publications she became an author five years ago. The Seven Letters is her debut novel and her fans will be pleased to hear that her second novel is underway. The two books are linked by Paris, the city that inspires her work.
www.janharveyauthor.com

Author Influences with Nick Quantrill

Hello and welcome to another Author Influences. I’m chuffed to be joined today by crime writer and fellow Hullian (is that what you call people from Hull?) Nick Quantrill to talk books.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was a big reader as a child and would make my mum take me to the local library every week. I loved the Famous Five, devoured them all, and couldn’t be more delighted that my six-year-old daughter is discovering them and their brilliance. From there I moved on to Sherlock Holmes, so I guess crime stories are in my blood…

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
There’s a loaded question! I don’t recall massively enjoying English at school, but like a lot of teenage boys, I simply stopped reading for pleasure, unable to find books that appealed to me at the time. Maybe it was the sense of enforced reading and other things in life becoming more interesting, but I guess the reading bug was always there, even if it was dormant for a few years.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I’m proud to say I’m a crime writer and love reading around the genre. The beauty of it is that it’s so varied. One week it might be a Lee Child thriller, the next it might be a psychological novel or a police procedural. The choice is endless. It was always going to be crime when I started to write. I see the reading I did in my twenties as my apprenticeship.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’ve dabbled with writing for children and it was definitely fun. I’d also really like to try to write a non-fiction book. I’ve lived with Nick Triplow’s Getting Carter project for a decade, so have seen the effort that goes into such a thing. It clearly needs to be a subject you’re passionate about, but I keep looking around…

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
In many ways it was Ian Rankin. I love the way he blends together razor sharp views on society with such a strong sense of place. His work sets the bar, in my opinion. Maybe the actual prompt was reading a really bad crime novel and thinking I could do better, that it couldn’t be that hard … turns out it is incredibly hard…

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I have so many favourites! From the big hitters, Rankin, Child and Connelly are must buys. I’m also a huge fan of Graham Hurley and will buy anything he writes. Lesser well-known, but Ray Banks is a brilliant modern noir writer. He keeps a low profile, but a new book from him is an event in my world.

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 think it’s largely as above, but a recently blagged a copy of Eva Dolan’s new one, This Is How It Ends. It’s so sharp and astute. Her eye for what’s happening in the world and what needs exploring in crime fiction is exceptional. On a wider note, Grapes of Wrath and To Kill A Mocking Bird still resonate with their power and anger. Who wouldn’t want to leave a legacy like that behind?

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Ha! I think when you write about a specific, real life location like I do with Hull, you can’t help but be influenced by events and people. I’m fortunate that the city has changed hugely over the last decade – from UK Crap Town to UK City of Culture – so I’ve had plenty of material to go at from regeneration to cigarette smuggling. Follow the money…

A huge thanks for taking part, Nick. I’m also a fan of Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Nick’s latest book The Dead Can’t Talk is out now. Here’s what it’s about…

How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance? Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder twenty-five years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.

About Nick

Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His crime novels are published by Caffeine Nights, the latest being The Dead Can’t Talk. A prolific short story writer, Nick’s work has appeared in various volumes of The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. Nick is also the co-founder of the Hull Noir festival and regularly writes for the official 2017 UK City of Culture website.

Website: www.nickquantrill.co.uk

Twitter: @nickquantrill

Author Influences with Denise Deegan

Happy hump day and welcome to another Author Influences. Today I am delighted to be joined by Denise Deegan who tells us all about the books and authors that have inspired her.

What authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I was obsessed with The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. Feels like I read it every day. Also loved the Happy Prince.

I was also particularly fond of Irish Fairy Tales by Sinead DeValera. There was a lot of mischief in these stories.

I remember adoring the illustrations in The Water Babies.

I loved all the Ladybird classic fairytales. My favourites were: The Elves and the Shoemaker, Rumplestiltskin and the Magic Porridge Pot.

(I am having the best time checking out all these books on Amazon and remembering all the illustrations.)

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was an honours student but didn’t particularly shine; our teacher never read out my work, for example. I loved all of the stories we read: Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, even Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Macbeth. I didn’t like analyzing the stories, though. For me, it got in the way of a good story. I have the sneakiest feeling that the authors just wanted their work loved not analyzed. But maybe that’s just me.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love books for young people – from teenage novels right through middle-grade and down to picture books. I think some of the best writing falls into these categories.

I also love smart, contemporary stories for adults such as The Rosie Project.

I cannot explain my fascination with WWII books, across genre.

Rather than being influenced by what I read, I would say that I am drawn to read the same kinds of stories that I am drawn to write.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I am smiling here because I’ve written for adults, teenagers and children. I’ve also written both contemporary and historical. If anything, I should stick to one genre! But I write the stories that come.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Consciously, no. Subconsciously, I would say, yes. The trauma of watching Bambi’s mum die must have had a big impact! I continually write about loss.

I also think that The Selfish Giant has left its mark. My stories make people feel – as The Selfish Giant did to me, day after day after day.

And look at all those fairy tales I grew up on…. Not such a surprise, maybe, that I’ve written The Prince and the Pea.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Two great Irish, Young Adult authors: Deirdre Sullivan and Claire Hennessy. I’ve also just stumbled on an American writer of teen fiction called Adam Silvera. I will be reading all of his backlist.

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 wish I had written a picture book called Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson because it’s fun and clever and joyous.

I also wish I’d written The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because I loved those characters so incredibly much.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people?
Just one, Through the Barricades. My historical novel is based on a revolution that happened in 1916 in Ireland called The Easter Rising. It is also based on life in the trenches of WW1 in Gallipoli. I researched this story for two years.

Through the Barricades has changed my experience of the city I live in. Every time I go into Dublin now, the old buildings jump out at me and I imagine rebels and soldiers on the streets and on the buildings. I love Dublin even more now and feel so connected to its past. It’s a wonderful feeling.

A huge thank you for taking part.
A huge thank you for having me, Abbie.

Denise’s current novel, Through the Barricades, is out now. Here is what it’s about:

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her.

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. She is still carrying them in her heart, years later, when she signs up to become a freedom fighter.

‘Don’t go getting distracted,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says after seeing Daniel with the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating.

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?

About Denise

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies.
Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…
Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise’s contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

Denise’s most recent novel, Through the Barricades, won the SCBWI Spark Award 2017.
Her writing for Young Adults includes the much-loved contemporary trilogy, The Butterfly Novels: And By The Way, And For Your Information and And Actually.
Denise writes women’s fiction as Aimee Alexander including Pause to Rewind, The Accidental Life of Greg Millar and All We Have Lost.

website: http://denisedeegan.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/denise.deegan.3

twitter: https://twitter.com/denisedeegan

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/denisedeegan/