Category Archives: Author Influences

Author Inflences With Alex Shaw

I welcome Alex Shaw to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today as he shares his Author Influences with us.Alex is the author of the Aidan Snow SAS Thrillers and I will tell you more about the fisrt in the series later. Now, I will hand you over to Alex.

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

I read Star Wars graphic novels and then Action Man novels, but the main books I liked to read were non-fiction travel books. I’d learn about new countries and note down phrases in foreign languages.

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

I did like English but I think that as I found it a little easy I didn’t try my best. Although I was never the best at spelling.

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

I only really read crime fiction and espionage thrillers, and funnily enough this is what I write. I think it would be difficult to write in a genre you didn’t enjoy reading.

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

I’ve written one military vampire novel and a few horror short stories, so that would be an area that I may like to write in if I stop writing thrillers.

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

I was mainly inspired to write by the Gulf War SAS heroes turned writers – Andy McNab and Chris Ryan (Chris Ryan and I now have the same German publisher). I read their books and saw how they weaved their insider knowledge into commercial stories. When I moved to Kyiv I realised that I too had insider knowledge (of Ukraine) and decided to set my stories there.

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

Yes, quite a few. Steve Kavanagh, Lee Child, Stephen Leather, Jake Needham, Tom Wood, Mark Greaney, Jorn Lier Horst and Kati Hiekkapelto.

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’s not one particular book I wish I’d written, but Steve Cavanagh’s The Defence was a striking debut novel. I loved the character of Eddie Flynn being both lawyer and conman and having to use both skill sets to survive.

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

I have taken some real life events and incorporated them into my stories as I like things to seem believable, and of course political figures appear. Apart from this Aidan Snow shares my initials, height, hometown and we both use to live in the same flat in Kyiv, however I was not in the SAS. A couple of other characters are based on people I know, one I can’t elaborate on but the other is my long term friend and fellow former Kyiv expat Michael Jones, who appears as himself.

Alex’s Aidan Snow SAS Thrillers are out now. The first in the series is called Cold Blood and this is what it’s about:

Aidan Snow thought he could escape his past. But now it’s back, with a vengeance.

Ten years ago, SAS Trooper Aidan Snow was left fighting for his life after a mission went wrong and ever since he has been haunted by the image of the man with green eyes. The man who should have killed him.

Now, Snow is finally living a peaceful life in Ukraine… Until Taurus Pashinsk, the green-eyed man, returns.

As Snow’s past catches up with him he finds himself thrown back into the world of espionage with a vengeance.

About Alex Shaw

Alex Shaw spent the late 1990s in Kyiv, teaching and running his own business consultancy before being head-hunted for a division of Siemens. The next few years saw him doing business for the company across the former USSR, the Middle East, and Africa. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers organisation, the Crime Writers Association and the author of the Aidan Snow SAS thrillers. Alex, his wife and their two sons divide their time between homes in Kyiv – Ukraine, Doha – Qatar and Worthing, England. Alex can be followed on twitter: @alexshawhetman

Alex’s Aidan Snow series can be found in most good bookshops, some odd ones and here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07BH3QQ59

https://twitter.com/alexshawhetman

Thanks for taking part, Alex. I really enjoyed reading your answers.

Author Influences with Ian Skewis

I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Skewis to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today for an Author Influences. I was lucky enough to see Ian at Newcastle Noir earlier this year and I got a copy of his novel  A Murder of Crows. Due to my massive TBR pile I haven’t managed to read it yet but it is on my list so watch this space! Anyhow, I will hand you over to Ian for a brilliant Author Influences.

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

The first book I remember reading and really enjoying was The Treasure Hunters by Enid Blyton, which my grandmother bought me. I loved the whole mystery of the story, and much of it was set outdoors in the country — and this echoed my childhood surroundings. Dinosaur books fascinated me too, and I loved the Doctor Who Target books series.

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

I was good at English, and in particular creative writing. I always had a fertile imagination — and still do! I was also good at art, but dreadful at anything remotely mathematical!

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

I mainly write crime but came at it completely new, in that I had no preconceived ideas of how it should be written. I read a lot of crime now, in order to learn from the best. I used to read horror and science fiction when I was young. I still dabble in those genres too. Then, when I was an actor, I moved to literary fiction, and classical and modern stage plays — Shakespeare, Chekhov, Liz Lochhead etc. The genres I read depend on where I am in life. I’ve just finished reading Ian Rankin’s Rather Be the Devil, which is an example of my trying to learn from the best.

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

As mentioned, I also write horror and science fiction, and this is because of my childhood influences. I am still a big Doctor Who fan, and Quatermass And The Pit is probably my favourite fictional story ever. I would like to return to literary fiction though, and I’m hoping to publish some, probably next year. Watch this space, as they say!

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

I’ve always written stories, and, to be honest, I was more influenced by music and film than by other authors. Sometimes I would hear a song or watch a film and then wonder what would happen if it went a different way. Alan Moore’s comic book series, Swamp Thing, was an early influence on my work. Other writers always inspire me though, simply because the act of writing is such a huge undertaking. No matter how famous or unknown a writer may be, their ability to get to the finish line with their work is always admirable, and I’m fascinated by how they got there and what inspired them to do so.

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

Ian McEwan for one, and Kate Atkinson for another. I had the pleasure of travelling to St Petersburg with Kate many years ago. However, I’ve been so caught up in crime writing that I’ve fallen behind with their latest works — they’re still sitting unopened on my bookshelves! My TBR list seems to grow bigger every day, so it’s increasingly difficult to keep up to speed with what everyone else is writing — but I try.

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

There are so many amazing works out there, but I am happy with what I write and hold no envy for other people’s work. If anything, it would be their ability and not the work itself that I would wish to emulate. The craft is what it’s all about for me. I write what I want to write and hope that it finds an audience. I loved Atonement by Ian McEwan though. And Life Of Pi too. They both centre on the healing process that fiction and storytelling can give, and they both do it in very surprising ways. Brighton Rock is another great piece of work, with both the novel and the film versions giving entirely different but equally amazing endings. The crime genre is such a good broad genre though, that you can tackle pretty much anything and still fit it into the category of crime writing. It was the main reason I chose to be an author instead of an actor — it gave me a much bigger palette to work with. However, it’s beginning to look as if I will be returning to some form of acting in the near future. Again, watch this space!

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 stemmed from a disturbing experience I had as a child, (see my website for more on this) but none of the details are present in the book, though the dark mood of that day is very much prevalent in the narrative and the environs of the story. As for my other works, it really depends on where I am and who I’m with. Some characters are based on real people, others are entirely fictional. Some are an amalgamation of several individuals, or a projection of myself. It’s a wonder I stay sane with all these ‘voices’ in my head!

Ian’s debut novel A Murder Of Crows is out now. Here is what it is about:

The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland. A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine. But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

About Ian Skewis

Ian Skewis was born in Scotland in 1970.

He wrote articles for a local paper and had his first poems published at the age of 19. He trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and became an actor, appearing on film and television, and providing his voice for radio. He performed in numerous stage plays that toured internationally, including Like Thunder, which received a Fringe First Award in 2001. He is the author of several short stories, including Inkling, which was published in an anthology, The Speculative Book, in 2016. His debut novel, a psychological thriller entitled A Murder Of Crows, was published by Unbound in 2017. It went on to become a multiple No.1 Best Seller on Amazon. He is currently working on his second novel, as well as numerous other projects.

He lives and works in Glasgow.

LINKS:

Ian Skewis can be contacted via his website and you can receive exclusive news and previews of his latest works by subscribing to his forthcoming newsletter. The first issue comes on 31 October 2018 with a FREE short story: https://www.ianskewis.com

He also hosts a Facebook page called The Crow’s Beak: https://www.facebook.com/groups/147917556050424/

Follow Ian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IanSkewis

Thank you for taking part, Ian. I really enjoyed reading your responses and look forward to reading A Murder Of Crows soon.

Author Influences with Marilyn Bennett

I am really pleased to be welcoming Marilyn Bennett, author of Granny with Benefits, Mummy with Benefits and soon-to-be published Reap, to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to talk about her author influences.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Judy Blume was my hands down favourite author as a child. She created characters that actually felt like real teens, who had problems and posed questions I could directly relate to.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English at school, but I didn’t really recognise that I was good at it back then. I loved storytelling. I think it was definitely the biggest influence on my reading choices, which then developed outside of school.

It was actually when I started actively job-hunting after leaving school that I recognised I had some form of writing skill. I could write a mean job application! This became a key indicator over the years to come that I could spin a yarn!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read commercial fiction. I think my writing has mostly been impacted by film and television, which I love. There is a really direct focus on character and story in film and television that can cut to the chase of the narrative in a way you can’t in books.

The fantastic thing for me about writing novels has been the patience and attention to detail I am still trying to master when creating characters and stories, something that is a given on screen, but not in a book. It’s been a great discipline for me above and beyond writing. I am acquiring an eye and ear for the little details and thought processes that don’t translate on screen, but can make all the difference in a book.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
If I were to write a different genre it would be a dark thriller. Since writing my novels I have come to realise, quite unwilling mind you, that I’m a little bit twisted as a storyteller. It’s been unnerving and amusing in equal measure! I start off writing a quite straightforward romance and then it just veers off into slightly darker territory.

I’d love to write a straightforward romance, like a cat and a dog running a tea shop in a beautiful coastal town that fall in love. I know that’s got all the hallmarks of being a successful romance book, but without fail by the end of the book the dog would have his paw in the till and the cat would be having sexual assignations with the fox behind the post office. It’s just how my brain works!

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I wasn’t influenced by another author’s work to start writing purely because my intention for all of my novels to date was to write them as scripts. It came as complete surprise to me when I decided that they worked better as novels. I knew nothing about writing novels.

This all started as a means to finding and doing something that meant I could be creative completely on my own terms. It’s been scary and lonely at times, but I’ve still loved every minute of it.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
This happens to me more with films, because falling in love with cinema in my teens unfortunately put books on the subs bench for a few decades, so Abbie I’m playing catch up!

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 read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl as a child. I come from a working class family and we lived on a large estate in Hackney. The book at the time was a rags to riches tale that fulfilled my dreams of life with endless chocolate and no poverty.

I was in awe of Roald Dahl’s ability to combine his incredible vivid imagination with real empathetic characters.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Not yet, but I’m sure they will one day, so I will have to tread very carefully!

A huge thank you for taking part, Marilyn. I really enjoyed reading your answers and I found them really interesting as I think we sometimes forget – well, I do – that film and scriptwriting can be an aid to novel writing, if that makes sense?

About Marilyn Bennett

Marilyn is a Television Production Consultant and has worked in the broadcasting industry for 24 years.

http://www.marilynbennettauthor.co.uk

Marilyn’s Books

Granny with Benefits and Mummy with Benefits are both out now. Here is what they are about:

Grace is thirty-nine and not remotely convinced that life begins at forty.

When her grandmother dies she volunteers to pick up her belongings from the sheltered accommodation. It is the last place she expects to have a chance encounter with the first man she has been instantly attracted to in a very long time, particularly as she is dressed almost head to toe in her grandmother’s clothing and accessories.

Grace’s granny alter ego elicits a conversation with the man about love, death and the universe, which she is convinced would not have happened otherwise. This inspires her to throw caution to the wind and turn what should have been a simple case of mistaken identity into a dating introduction opportunity for the real her. A decision which sets Grace on a rollercoaster adventure of lies, secrets and lust, making her thirty ninth year one she won’t forget, but might well regret…

Wishes do come true… so be careful what you wish for!

Life appears to have taken a rather positive turn for Grace. She is now working her socks off in a job she enjoys and has quite possibly met the man of her dreams. But there’s just one snag, she’s pregnant and the baby is definitely not his. In fact, she is not acutally sure who the father is.

So when she reluctantly has to dress up as her granny alter ego for one last time, it can only spell trouble. Grace is forced to confront her bad timing, bad luck and suitably questionable choices all head on.

Marilyn’s latest novel, Reap, is due to be published in spring 2019 (I can tell you it’s a cracker!).

 

 

Author Influences AND Giveaway with Urcelia Teixeira

I am really pleased to welcome Urcelia Teixeira back to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today for this week’s Author Influences. And Urcelia has something a little special for today’s Author Influences. Not only is she giving us the lowdown on her favourite books and authors BUT she also has a great giveaway for today’s readers. Read on to find out more…

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

I grew up with Walt Disney books and read my first book, Sleeping Beauty, when I was only four! I still have my collection in my bookshelf. Later I read Enid Blyton’s books and devoured her The Famous Five series.  As a teen Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Agatha Christie’s books were my favorites. 

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

I grew up in a fully bilingual home with Afrikaans (South Africa’s native language) and English spoken equally. My grandmother lived with us and she had the strong British influence on my life. I did love English, mainly because my high school teacher had a passion for the theatrical, so I was always plugged in.  I think I got a B for English in my finals.

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

 Without a doubt, yes!  You can tell from the early books I read that I gravitate towards detective and mystery books.  Hunting down murderers through a series of clues, unraveling mysteries and good old whodunits.  As long as they’re clean!  I’m not a fan of fantasy, horror or romance books.  I have read the odd psychological thriller (Linda La Plante) and found it haunted me for long periods of time, so I steer away from these too.

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

I’d love to write a wholesome murder mystery series like Murder She Wrote.  Who knows?  I might very well do this still in the near future.

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

I can’t really pinpoint one particular author, no.  My mom tells me that I started writing poems and stories in my journals around 9/10 years of age.  Apparently I used to leave them under her pillow.  I’ve just always found it easier to express myself on paper. 

When a good friend of mine turned full-time author (she writes paranormal romance) five years ago and I saw how easy it is to self-publish, I set myself a goal to author at least one book before I turn fifty.  The rest is history!

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

I tend to see which books are hot and happening and pounce on those rather than any particular author.  When Dan Brown’s book Origin recently released, I had to get it purely because I wanted to satisfy my curiosity – see what the big fuss was about.  I’m not particularly a fan of his.  The same happened with Marian Keyes’ latest book, The break, which I was utterly disappointed in.  Hmm, perhaps I should change this strategy…

I also attempt to read a broad spectrum of books so I can learn from other authors and must confess that I try to avoid books in my writing genre simply because I don’t want their narratives to influence mine. 

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

There are many fantastic books, but I guess the one that still sticks is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  The sheer raw emotion-filled beauty of it gripped me to explore who I really was and what happiness meant to me.  It was inspiring and empowering at the same time.  The author is immensely talented with her words; evoking strong emotions in her readers.

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

Yes! My Alex Hunt books are based on true events, real relics and actual history. I am naturally a very curious person and I love researching things so I often get hold of a bizarre news story or headline which sets my mind off to a “what if this happened?” or “suppose he did that” frenzy.

The lost city of Rhapta is very real and so too is The Golden Urn. (You can read all about it on my website!) 

Often my head runs away with me, and the true-life stories get turned upside down into my fast-paced action & adventure thrillers.

My characters are mostly original.  Alex has been compared to Lara Croft, but I think Alex is far more authentic.  She’s nowhere near perfect and her flaws show throughout the books.  Alex has grown a lot and will continue to evolve as the series progresses, but I don’t want her to become so perfect and on point that my readers can’t relate with her.  As for Sam Quinn; well he is as rugged and handsome as your mind can conjure up!  

About Urcelia’s Books

Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta: A Relic Chaser Adventure

When Alex Hunt’s mother tragically dies during her lifelong quest to find Africa’s ancient Lost City of Rhapta, Alex develops Agoraphobia – an unnatural fear of specific places and situations. She vows to never go on another archaeological expedition again.

So when her father, Professor Charles Hunt, Head of Archaeology at a prestigious British University mysteriously disappears several years later, she is forced out of hiding to find him.

With nothing to lose, battling her worse fears and with the mighty University behind her, she travels to Tanzania, Africa in search of her missing father.

Tasked to accompany her, the inexperienced Sam Quinn joins her on an action-packed adventure through the treacherous African savannah.  Faced with an abundance of danger, fear, and heartache they come face to face with sabotage, crime and betrayal that will test their inner strength and will to survive. 

Will she find her father and the infamous Lost City of Rhapta or will she die at the hands of the natives who believes the vanished city is best kept undiscovered?

Alex Hunt and The Golden Urn: An Archeaological Adventure Thriller

ALEX HUNT and SAM QUINN are back for another Action-packed Archaeological Adventure!  This time, in the Cambodian jungle!

Finding The Golden Urn was supposed to be easy.  Nothing the skilled Alex Hunt and Sam Quinn haven’t done before.  But little did they know they would become the center of an international conspiracy.  A conspiracy, so entangled in a web of secrets and crime that it could cost them their lives.

Faced with danger and underground syndicates, they soon realized they couldn’t trust anyone.  Nothing was as it seemed.

After their return from The Lost City of Rhapta (Alex Hunt Adventures Book 1), Professor Charles Hunt retired and handed the reins to his daughter, Alex.

So, when the sacred Golden Urn believed to have contained Buddha’s remains, mysteriously disappeared from a mountain shrine in Cambodia, the Cambodian government hired the highly acclaimed pair for their assistance in finding the holy ancient relic and returning it to its rightful position in the Royal temple in Phnom Penh.

Alex and Sam were on the next plane to Cambodia in their quest to find the sacred Golden Urn.  But what they encountered was far more than what they expected.

Would their pursuit for The Golden Urn put them through the ultimate test, or would it lead to the discovery of a relic no one even knew existed? 

Giveaway

Urcelia is exclusively giving one lucky reader of Bloomin’ Brilliant Books the chance to win ONE full autographed paperback set.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is sign up to Urcelia’s Elite Squad newsletter by following this link:

http://bit.ly/ALEXHUNT_Giveaway

The winner will be picked via a draw and announced on 10th September. Good luck!

A huge thank you, Urcelia, for taking part and for the giveaway.

About Urcelia Teixeira

I, Urcelia Teixeira am a NY Times Bestselling Author!

Ok, so it’s a bit of a stretch right now, but this has become my daily affirmation while I strive to get there.  And when I do finally get to the top, you’ll know, but for now, I will introduce myself simply as a loving wife, doting mother and an aspiring self-published thriller author!

As an emerging thriller author most known for my Alex Hunt Archaeological Thriller series, my inspiration for my novels emanate from my keen interest in all things mysterious. From vanished civilizations, ancient relics, and lost treasures to UFO’s, conspiracy theories and bizarre news stories.

As a mother of three sons, I stand little to no chance not to be swept up in classics like Indiana Jones, National Treasure and The Mummy.  My busy boys ensure my days are naturally filled with lots of action and adventure!

I read my first book when I was four and never stopped.  Action/Adventure books laced with conspiracy and crime are my favorite, which is what I enjoy writing as well.

My insatiable lust for adventure regularly propels my family and I to take annual vacations to faraway places all around the world. Besides traveling, I love solving mysteries and hold fast to the idea that Bigfoot is real and Elvis is still alive.

A lifetime in the service industry and my passion for people lead to a commitment that I will answer emails and social media messages from my readers personally.

Though nowhere near the top of my craft, my stubborn determination will push for success as I continue to grow and deliver books my readers will love!

 Lying ahead are more Alex Hunt Adventure books to complete the series, and hopefully a Murder Mystery Series and a couple of single novels that have been brewing in the back of my mind.

Never miss a thing!  Join my Elite Squad and be the first to know of New Releases and what I get up to.

To get to know me better, I’d love you to follow me on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram 

BookBub

There is also an opportunity to become a member of my Book Launch Team.  Read all about it here: 

https://www.urcelia.com/join-my-book-launch-team/

See you between my pages!

Author Influences With David Owain Hughes

Today David Owain Hughes joins me for another Author Influences. David’s novel South By Southwest Wales is out now, but more about that after David tells us about the books and authors that have influenced him.

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

Point Horror books. I used to devour them. Then, when I got older, I chewed my way through Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz books like there was no tomorrow! Horror is my first love. For crime, Iain Rankin. I discovered Rankin much later in life, I’m ashamed to say. Also, fellow Welsh author Mike Thomas – his Pocket Notebook novel is fantastic. I can’t praise it, or him, enough.

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

No. I was dreadful in school – too much of a daydreamer. However, I loved the subject, and it wasn’t until I was that little bit older—twenty-five—did I truly learn to appreciate it. I went back to college and retook both English Literature and Language, before successfully going on to undertake the A-level. This was around the time I was chewing through books for fun. My passion had finally awoken. What can I say? I was a late bloomer.

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

I’ll read pretty much anything if it takes my fancy, although horror is my number one genre with a bullet. Richard Laymon and his works have had a massive impact on me as a person, what and how I write.  Currently, I’m reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Before that, Sweet and Vicious by David Schickler, with William Boyd’s The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth next in line. These books stand in all different genres. It’s nice mixing it up from time to time, which definitely helps with my craft – I get to taste multiple styles of writing. 

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

Crime is definitely my thing at the moment. For the past two decades, up until I wrote South by Southwest Wales in 2016, all I’d ever jotted was horror; it’s all I’ve ever known since my high school days. However, with one crime novel now successfully under my belt, I’m keen to write another. Also, I’ve recently had thoughts about branching out into satire – comedy has always been a great passion of mine. 

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

Richard Laymon. Definitely. He and his works not only encouraged me to pick up a pen and write but change my life and mindset. During my late teens, nineteen, I think, I discovered his novel One Rainy Night. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was in awe. I didn’t think such boundaries could be pushed in the world of professional publishing. And so I set out on my own path. I went back to higher education, grabbed some qualifications, devoured books and wrote, wrote, wrote! I practised like my life depended on it.

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

Not currently, no, but I was rather taken by Schickler’s Sweet and Vicious – I think I’ll be buying more of his books soon. Firstly, I need to chip away at my ‘To Be Read’ pile that’s stacked neatly against my computer.

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

Robert Bloch’s Psycho. That book was way ahead of its time! My copy is well thumbed and my DVD well-worn. It’s a fantastic story with a great twist ending. I’ve paid homage to the tale.

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

Nothing stands out, but I do take a lot of inspiration from the news, TV shows, music and film.   

South By Southwest Wales is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Samson Valentine is the best private eye ever to wear a fedora–or at least he was, before he became a washed-up booze hound. There simply isn’t demand for a whiskey-swilling Welsh gumshoe who insists he’s living in 1940’s Chicago. Everything changes when a massive diamond falls into his lap.

Before he’s too sure of what’s going on, he’s swept up in the biggest case of his life. The mob will do anything to get its gemstone back, and they prove it when Sam’s friend turns up dead. Now it’s personal, and Sam sets out on a one-man mission to take down the Welsh crime syndicate. Armed with little more than his wits and his fists, the odds don’t look good. Too much time at the bottom of a whiskey bottle has given him trembling hands and an addled brain. If he’s to have any chance of bringing the mob to justice, he’ll first need to come to grips with his worst enemy–himself.

Like the sound of South By Southwest Wales? Get your copy HERE.

About The Author

David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instil in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had multiple short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine, and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novels “Walled In” (2014), “Wind-Up Toy” (2016), “Man-Eating Fucks” (2016), and “The Rack & Cue” (2017) along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and “Choice Cuts” (2015). He’s also written three novellas – “Granville” (2016), “Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything & Chaos Rising” (2016).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DOHughesAuthor/?ref=hl

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Owain-Hughes/e/B00L708P2M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1458241417&sr=1-3

Website: http://david-owain-hughes.wix.com/horrorwriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4877205.David_Owain_Hughes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DOHUGHES32

 

Author Influences With Neal James

Hello and welcome to another Author Influences. I’m delighted to welcome Neal James to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today to talk books.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
Like most boys of that age, I was fascinated by adventure stories and for me, the Richard Hannay novels by John Buchan held me in awe. My favourite was, and still is, ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’, and on a holiday in Helmsley a few years ago I was fortunate enough to spot Buchan’s complete works for only a couple of pounds.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was average at English at primary school, but loved what was called ‘composition’. This gave free rein to my imagination and I did come top of my class in that part of the subject. By the time I moved on to secondary education, there was less focus on composition at the expense of analysis and appreciation of established authors.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I love crime novels, science fiction, and some paranormal. I am, primarily, a crime writer and my reading helps to develop the characters which I have invented to further my writing. I’m also a great fan of science fiction, and the reading of top authors in that field was of enormous help in the writing of ‘The Rings of Darelius’.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Science Fiction would be my second choice of writing style, and the reasoning behind that is my love for the novels of Isaac Asimov. His way of weaving the reader into the story has long kept me riveted, and his books line my shelves – I rarely lend them out.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
James Patterson was the writer who set me off on the trail of crime writing. His short, punchy chapters had me turning pages at an alarming rate. The character of Alex Cross seems so real, and Patterson’s way of bringing the reader into the Cross family life is what holds me.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I suppose Stephen Booth, and his ‘Cooper and Fry’ series would fit that bill. He writes in my native county, Derbyshire, and I can relate easily to the locations which he uses. I have met him at an author event, and he is such a good speaker – a style which I have used when on his side of the audience.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
‘A Place of Execution’ by Val McDermid. Again, it’s set in an area close to my home, and uses historical references in the plot which I find ground the book in believability. The plot is so tightly wound that you are forced into reading just ‘one more chapter’.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
I use incidents from my own experiences at work to flesh out plot lines, but make sure that names are changed in order to protect myself. However, unless you knew the set of circumstances special to the incident in question, you would never know. I have had a number of my readers ask to be written into books, but I always get written permission first and also approval for that section of the book where they appear.

Thanks for taking part, Neal. 

Neal James’ latest book, Three Little Maids, was published in January 2018. Here is what it is about:

When vengeance calls, death is its shadow

Billy Robertson is out for revenge and the target in his sights is Dennis Marks.
Holding the DCI responsible for the death of his younger brother, Jack, Robertson seizes on the opportunity given to him by Harold Shaw – another violent criminal falling foul of the skill of one of the Met’s finest detectives – from the confines of his cell at HMP Wandsworth.
After his run-in with the IPCC, Marks is plunged into a murder case involving the death of a teacher at Lainsford Grammar School in Edmonton. Without the services of Home Office pathologist, George Groves, and with the prospect of his own team breaking up, Marks’ abilities are tested to the limit as he follows a trail of false leads, lies and a wall of silence.

You can grab your copy HERE.

Check out Neal’s other work over on his website and say hello on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/neal.james.125

http://nealjames.webs.com/

 

 

Author Influences With William L. Stuart

I am really pleased to welcome William L. Stuart to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books today. William has been a huge supporter of the blog on Twitter and it is lovely to try and return that support a little bit today. So, before we hear more about William and his books let’s find out about the books that he loves.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I read most everything. I own (still) the first 60 Hardy Boys Books, about 20 Nancy Drew Books, and just about anything I could get my hands on. I spent one summer reading the World Book Encyclopedias (my geekiness is showing…)

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t mind the literature part, but diagramming sentences and conjugating verbs was boring. Luckily, I have an amazing editor!

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?  I still read many different genres. As I got older, I became a member of the Science Fiction Book Club and bought everything from hard core SciFi to epic fantasy. While I was in the US Navy stationed on submarines (long before the Kindle days), I would read whatever happened to be in the ship’s library. I read Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlam, Ursula K. LeGuin, Steven Donaldson, and the list goes on. Even today, though I tend to read fantasy, I still enjoy thrillers, and occasional crime novel, sci-fi, and some paranormal. About the only thing I don’t read is horror and romance.

The fantasy genre certainly had an impact on my stories, though I tried very hard not to allow the books I read to bleed into my own writing.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Thriller or action adventure. I’ve read most of Clive Cussler’s books, most of Brad Thor’s, and almost all of Ted Bell’s thrillers. I actually have a WIP of a thriller in the works (though the research keeps sidetracking me).

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
Believe it or not, my biggest influence to write The Gemstone Chronicles was my grandson. He and I were out rock hunting in the North Georgia Mountains and I told him about the magical and mystical properties of gemstones. He was deeply involved with playing World of Warcraft and suggested I go home and write a book about elves, magic, and gemstones. I said OK and the series was born!

I never planned to publish the books. They were simply stories for my grandchildren to enjoy. After Aidan (the real one) read Book One, he encouraged me to publish. My brother John (Alatariel the Elven Scout in the books) read it as well, and urged me to publish. My wife started a cooking blog almost a decade ago and, despite her introvert nature, put her work out there for the world to see, and she encouraged me to publish. I contacted an editor friend to do my editing and a graphic artist friend designed the covers. I decided to self-publish since I never intended them to be commercial successes. Luckily, they have been well-received!

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
I used to grab every Brad Thor, Clive Cussler, Dan Brown, and Tom Clancy as soon as they hit the shelves. Not so much anymore. I spend more time reading Indie authors than anything else. I do enjoy Terry Maggert’s Halfway Witchy series. I’ve read 4 of the books and can’t wait for Book 5. I also add any of Doug J. Cooper’s Crystal Series to my TBR as soon as they are released.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
In the fantasy realm, Steven Donaldson’s first Thomas Covenant series is one I wish I had written. The world building in this series was amazing!
In the thriller world, probably Robert Ludlam’s Bourne books, especially The Bourne Identity. The plot twists and use of description made those books among my favorites.
Lastly, again in the fantasy genre, any of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The imagination and storytelling are topnotch, and her characters really made the books.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
I based my books in the North Georgia Mountains and used my grandchildren and wife as the basis of the 4 major characters. I could have conversations with them in my head and it helped with the dialogue in the books. The elves names are family members’ names translated by a elven name generator. For the antagonists, I used the names of people I didn’t particularly like (though I won’t name them).

I used some of the things I learned in the Navy as part of Beebop’s character, and Nana’s cooking blog is based on my wife’s cooking blog that I mentioned earlier.

Thank you for taking part, William. I love how The Gemstone Chronicles came about, it’s a wonderful and inspiring story.

There are four books in The Gemstone Chronicles series: The Carnelian, The Amethyst, The Emerald and The Ruby. This is what the first book is about:

Elves, magic, stolen gemstones, a quest to restore the balance between good and evil, and who is the mysterious Keeper???

When Aidan and Maggie find a fairy cross while rock hunting with their grandfather, it’s just an oddity. When they discover an elf imprisoned in the stone and free him, Dark Elves attack the siblings and their grandparents, forcing them to flee to Celahir, magical home of the Elves.

The family, with the help of their Elven friends, embarks on a dangerous adventure to find the first of the four stolen gems, the Carnelian. Without restoration of the stones, the balance between good and evil is slipping toward evil – in both Celahir and the human world…

You can buy your copies HERE in the UK and HERE in the US.

About William L. Stuart

William Stuart is a ten-year veteran of the US Navy Submarine Force, works in the animal health field, and is the proud father of his daughter Laura and grandfather of two wonderful grandchildren, Aidan and Maggie. When he isn’t working, he enjoys rock-hunting, gold prospecting, playing softball, playing golf, and dabbling in woodworking. He lives in the Greater Atlanta area with Lana, his lovely and adorable wife of almost thirty years.

Links:
Website: https://www.williamlstuart.com/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/williamlstuart
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegemstonechronicles
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473734.William_L_Stuart

 

Author Influences With Ewa Dodd

Hello and welcome to another Author Influences. Today I’m delighted to welcome Ewa Dodd to Bloomin’ Brilliant Books. Ewa is the author of The Walls Came Down and I will tell you more about her book later. But now, Ewa talks about the books that have influenced her.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
My dad was a bookseller and I read widely as a child, from murder mysteries to classic fairytales, but my absolute favourite books are still David Almond’s Skellig and The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
English was my favourite subject at school and the only one that I could confidently say I was good at.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I mainly like to read relatable fiction. My favourite authors are Maggie O’Farrell, Hanya Yanagihara and David Nicholls.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Possibly a crime thriller – I’ve had a few ideas in this genre!

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
I would say Astrid Lindgren. I picked up Pippi Longstocking as a child and wanted to create some wonderful characters like her.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Definitely Maggie O’Farrell. There isn’t a single book of hers that I haven’t enjoyed.

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 Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life is beautifully written. The characters awakened something in me as a reader, which I didn’t know was there.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Yes, the main inspiration for The Walls Came Down was an article that I read in a Polish newspaper about a missing child.

Thanks for taking part, Ewa. I like David Nicholls too.

Ewa’s novel The Walls Came Down is out now and can be bought HERE. Here is what it is about:

A young boy goes missing during a workers’ strike in 1980s Communist Poland, unravelling a chain of events which will touch people across decades and continents. Joanna, a young journalist in Warsaw, is still looking for her brother, who’s now been missing for over twenty years. Matt, a high-flying London city financier is struggling with relationship problems and unexplained panic attacks. And in Chicago, Tom, an old man, is slowly dying in a nursing home, losing his battle with cancer. What connects them? As the mystery begins to unravel, the worlds of the three protagonists are turned upside down. But can they find each other before time runs out?

You can read my review of The Walls Came Down HERE.

About Ewa Dodd

Ewa Dodd has been writing since she was young – starting small with short self-illustrated books for children. More recently, she has delved into novel-writing, and is particularly interested in literature based in Poland, where her family are from. The Walls Came Down is her first published novel, for which she was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction.

You can follow Ewa on Twitter: @EwaDodd

Author Influences with David Olner

It’s Wednesday which means it is time for another Author Influences. Joining me today is David Olner, author of The Baggage Carousel.

Which authors/books did you read as a child?
I was bang into science fiction when I was a kid, before all the wonderment got knocked out of me. Quite high-end stuff, too, like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. I remember the sense of disappointment when I took Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” home from the library, giddy at the prospect of reading it, only to find out it was some childhood memoir. I was a kid in a small town. I didn’t want to read about some other kid in a small town. I wanted robots and spaceships.
From there, I digressed into reading horror. I read James Herbert and Stephen King at what was probably a far too tender age. I don’t think the gore ever bothered me but I do recollect being completely distraught when Tad, the little boy, died in Cujo. I remember shouting “Why, Stephen King, why?” repeatedly and banging a scrawny fist against the top of my cabin bed. Cabin beds were a thing in the 80’s, by the way, I wasn’t at sea swabbing the decks or anything.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I was, I even won a prize! My mum and dad still have the book (sci-fi, natch) I was awarded for my efforts. Maybe because it’s the only thing I’ve ever won. Meritocratically, that is, not including tombolas and scratchcards. I have enclosed photographic evidence.

 

Which genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I read across the board, there’s no particular genre I’d care to be tethered to. I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking, so often my reading choices were dictated by whatever was available in hostel book exchanges that wasn’t printed in Scandinavian or German. Thanks to that I’ve read a lot of crappy books, but I’ve also picked up so much good stuff. The stuff you know you’re supposed to read but would never ordinarily get around to if it wasn’t an enforced choice. My first exposure to writers like John Steinbeck and Robert Louis Stevenson was through those book exchanges and I’d count them amongst my favourite authors now.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
“The Baggage Carousel” turned out a lot darker than I expected and a second book I wrote proved even bleaker. As a palette cleanser, I had a go at writing a YA book for a while. It felt good to be writing something that didn’t make me want to scrub my eyes away after I’d shut the laptop down. Time constraints meant I had to shelve it, but I’d love to return to it at some point.

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and if so who, what and why?
I read Martin Amis’s “Dead Babies” in my early twenties and it blew my tiny mind. I remember when I was reading it I kept flipping the book over, amazed that a book like that could have a Penguin on its spine. Even the title seemed like an affront to decency. At that point, I realised that you could get away with almost anything under the banner of contemporary fiction. I determined to use that to my advantage, but it took me over twenty years to get around to it.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
George Saunders. I can’t stand it when people bandy the word “genius” around recklessly, it’s like when someone calls you a “legend” just for putting the kettle on. But I think George Saunders probably is a genius. I know he’s definitely a writer to be treasured.

Which books have you read that made you think “Wow, I wish I had written that?” and what was it about the book?
None. If I read a book that moves or inspires me in some way it seems obvious that the author was exactly the right person to write it. But if I read a book by, say, Sarah Waters, I am in awe at the amount of research that’s gone into it. All the depth of field she creates before she can even insert her characters and plot machinations.

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
The basic conceit of “The Baggage Carousel” is true. I had a holiday romance with an Australian girl whose ardour cooled considerably when we return to our respective homelands. I remembered that I’d loaned her a nominal amount of money and contacted her to politely ask for it back and it was at that point she expunged me from her social media. The first time I asked her about the money I could’ve done with it, but the next half-dozen times I emailed her it was more about the principle! For the purposes of the novel I tried to imagine how something like that would affect a character who wasn’t as mentally well-balanced as I so obviously am.

Thanks for taking part, David.

David’s novel The Baggage Carousel is out now. Here is what it’s about:

Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with Amber, a free-spirited Australian girl, seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn’t respond to his emails, the only direction he’s heading is down…

The Baggage Carousel is a visceral yet humane travelogue of a novel about life’s great let-downs; family, work and love. Dan Roberts is destined to go down as one of fiction’s great solitary men, equal parts Iain Banks’ Frank, Camus’ Meursault and Seuss’ The Grinch.

You can get your copy of The Baggage Carousel HERE.

About David Olner

Dave Olner likes to travel, relishing the opportunities to annoy people from different cultures. He currently lives in Humberside where he works as a fork-lift truck driver by night and sleeps during the day. Like a vampire, except without the bloodletting, immortality or superhuman strength.

Dave studied Film at the University of Derby. Films are like books where you don’t have to turn the page. He only got a Desmond, though, but bumped it up to a 2.1 on his CV. That little white lie enabled him to fulfil his lifelong dream of driving a fork-lift truck, by night, in Humberside.

“The Baggage Carousel” is his debut novel and will be released by those miscreants at Obliterati Press on the 23rd of March 2018.

Twitter: @daveocelot

 

Author Influences with Rachel Amphlett

A huge welcome to this week’s Author Influences guest, Rachel Amphlett. Rachel has taken time out to tell us all about the books and authors that have influenced her.

Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
From an early age, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series – I think it’s a prerequisite for being a crime writer! From there, I discovered Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series and because we used to go to a second-hand bookshop quite regularly, I picked up both The Crimson Rust and The Ring of Nenuphar by CB Rutley. The Ring of Nenuphar made an early impression on me because although written in the 1930s, it featured a female pilot and an adventure in northern Africa. It took me a while, but I managed to locate a copy to replace the one I had as a child a couple of years ago – and it’s still a great story.

Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English at school – I got bullied from an early age through most of my school years, and so the library became a sanctuary for me. All that daydreaming paid off, because I used to love writing my own stories.

What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
Crime fiction and spy novels are at the top of the list – that stems from reading my grandparents and parents collection of books, including Dick Francis and Jack Higgins. Outside of those genres, I really enjoy historical fiction, especially by authors such as Ken Follett and Robert Harris.

Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Peter Robinson, and countless others have all had an impact on what I write – I make sure I read all their interviews, and every time they have a new book out I pounce on it, because I know I’m going to learn something new about the writing craft.

If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I’d really like to write historical fiction – I’ve got a couple of projects on the sidelines, but it’s difficult to find the time to write them!

Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
When I was still at school, reading books by Alistair Maclean and Jack Higgins got me started writing my own action and adventure stories.

I think my crime fiction writing happened by osmosis – I read so much of the genre, it’s impossible not to soak it up and after a few years of not doing anything creative after I left my last band, when I started writing again it was natural to lean towards the crime genre.

Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Yes, Michael Connolly is one, and Robert Crais is another. They have a real knack for pulling you into the story and you become invested in the characters and setting.

Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Any of the Shardlake series by CJ Sansom. His research is meticulous, so you feel like you’re in Tudor London with all the sights, smells, and political intrigue. He’s another author that when there’s a new book out, I’ll drop everything to read it!

Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
No, but I hear snippets of conversation or read a headline and my brain goes off on a tangent playing “what if?” – that’s usually how stories begin in my head!

Thanks so much for taking part, Rachel.

Rachel is the author of the Detective Kay Hunter Mysteries and the first in the series is Scared to Death. Here is what it’s about:

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…

You can grab your copy HERE.

About Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance, usually with a crime fiction festival tacked on for good measure!

Website: https://www.rachelamphlett.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelamphlett.author/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelAmphlett
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelamphlett/