Tainted Love @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #LGBTBooks #Q&A

Tainted Love @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets #SohoNoir #TaintedLove #LGBTBooks #Q&A

Tainted Love

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SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER

It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town Joe and Chris grew up in.

When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his best friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.

Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?

A noirish whodunit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.

TAINTED LOVE IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SOHO NOIR SERIES OF COZY CRIME NOVELLAS.

Author Q&A

I am really excited about this new series, so I grabbed a quick chat with T S Hunter to find out more about him and his work.

Who were the biggest influences on you growing up that led you to be a writer?

My grandmother was a great reader. When her eyesight failed, she turned to audiobooks and, when her hearing failed, she told me that she hated not being able to escape into her stories anymore. I’m not sure whether that was a direct influence on me being a writer, but it made me a deeply appreciative reader, and I think one often leads to the other.

I always enjoyed writing at school—though I once had an English teacher tell me I’d been too creative for the exam question we’d been set. I guess no one on the Welsh Joint Exam Board was ready for my “Papa didn’t bleed” horror story in response to the “My Family” stimulus.

Still, I always liked making things up, and was often accused of living in a fantasy world, so I guess I was perpetually in training. Not to paint a negative picture of my experience, my mother has always supported and encouraged my creativity, so I guess she was my first and most consistent influence.

What do you want your readers to feel at the end of your books?

With this particular book, I want readers to feel keen to read the next in the series, of course, but I would also like them to feel like they’ve learned a little about what it was like to be gay in the eighties. It’s such a relatively short time ago, and yet there have been so many advances in terms of rights, understanding, freedoms. I want people to understand that for every right and freedom we have today, somebody had to suffer in the past.

But I also want them to feel like they’ve just read a romping good crime story, and that they almost forgot that the majority of the characters were LGBTQ…

Do your characters always do what you tell them?

Well, if they don’t, I’ll kill them! I’m joking. I like a good plotting session, so I spend a fair bit of time making sure that everybody knows what they’re meant to be doing—who the actual killer is, who the red herrings are and when they need to reveal themselves, who’s going to have a bit-part in this book but a bigger one in the next. Usually my characters all do as they’re told, although sometimes they will get there a bit too quickly, or other times just dig their heels in and make life difficult for me.

The biggest problem I have with my characters is when they refuse to speak to me. It’s really annoying, but there are some days when the voices don’t  come. I find that if I go out for a run or a long walk, they make themselves heard at the point where I am furthest away from either a notebook or my computer. Then I have to negotiate with them the whole way home so that they don’t abandon me before I get to write down what they said.

How many drafts do you tend to do of each book?

Quite a few, but most of them are for me. I tend to write very quickly, skimming over bits I’m not sure about yet—especially dialogue and names, and details. I like to get a feel for the book first, because invariably, detail will change. When everything is basically hanging together, I start redrafting until it is the best I can get it in a reasonable time frame. By the time it goes to the editors it’s already probably three or four drafts in, but there is nothing more I can do with it at that stage—it needs fresh eyes.

Once my editor has had a first pass, I sit and read through all of her comments and digest everything. I then sit on it for a few more days, before opening the editor’s notes again and working through the changes.

A good editor—which I certainly have in Eleanor—is invaluable at this stage. They are able to highlight all the crap, everything that either makes no sense, is a bit trite or predictable, or is just completely wrong, and they are able to word their suggestions to make you still feel like you are the brains behind the machine! It’s a real skill. Usually we push through another two drafts together and then it’s ready for proofreading and final tweaks.

What’s next for you?

Well, I have five more books in this series to publish this year, so I will be pretty busy! I do have an idea for another book. A standalone novel that taps on my brain every day, but for now it must wait. The 80s are still calling and the soundtrack is just so good!

What is a dream scenario for you as a writer?

Fame! Fortune! Great sex! Or a handful of nice reviews and enough royalties to cover the cost of a slap up meal. It’s a tough old world, writing and publishing, and finding an audience for your made up world. I still think it’s hard for me to think of myself as a writer, even though that is what I do. It’s such a strange concept, don’t you think? I would love to be a household name, and you did ask for a dream scenario. I would love to make a living from my words. Realistically, I’d settle for making a difference.

What are your hopes and fears for the Soho Noir series?

The biggest hope is that people love the series and follow the characters through all the books, and the biggest fear, of course, is that they don’t. I really wanted to create a series of good crime stories, that all crime lovers want to share, which just happen to be set in a predominantly LGBTQ community, with gay characters in most of the good roles. I would love this series to become part of the discourse on LGBT fiction, and another step in breaking down barriers for gay characters, but I would also love for people to simply recognise it as good crime writing. It may only ever preach to the choir, but I hope some readers surprise themselves by finding the characters as appealing as any straight detective hero—and preferably more so.

Thanks T S Hunter x

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

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More about the Soho Noir Series

The Soho Noir series is set in the decade of big hair, shoulder pads, pastel suits and bright, cheesy pop, in a part of London which, on the surface at least, seemed to accept and adore people from all walks of life—a melting pot of gender, sexuality, colour and race, where celebrities rubbed up against the average Joe in cafes, bars and hair salons on every street.

But the 1980s had a darker underbelly, even in Soho. This was a time when gay rights were hard fought, where the police actively targeted gay men as easy victims for arrest and extortion, the government deliberately restricted gay rights and the tabloids screamed about The Gay Plague—the AIDS epidemic. And yet, gay icons who would go on to endure lasting fame and success were springing up all over the pop and fashion world.

The 1980s forms a strangely fitting, sometimes nostalgic, always entertaining backdrop to this colourful series of cozy crime stories.

Noirish, sexy and delicious.

For information about Red Dog Publishing click on one of the links below.

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Dyed Souls @dyedsouls @Rararesources #Q&A #Hybrid

Dyed Souls @dyedsouls @Rararesources #Q&A #Hybrid

Dyed Souls

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Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.

Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp.

More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

 

Author Q&A

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With Gary being a winner of the Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards and Chill With a Book Readers Award I was keen to get to know more about Gary.

 

 

Q1: What inspired you to write Dyed Souls?

I worked in settings described in the book early on in my career. Most of us were fresh out of college – hardly what you’d call responsible adults. We’d pour over case histories, diagnoses, and treatment plans, but that always seemed to me to miss the larger point.

We evolved to live in small tribal groups, held together by shared values, taboos and mores. But we’ve radically, and rapidly altered that paradigm. Rather than doing what’s best for our tribe’s interest, we do what is our own interest.

We live in vast cities and suburbs, held together by laws, which may or may not be enforced, and are often subjectively interpreted. We seek out those who share our interests (and often enable harmful behaviour), but in our internet age, even these connections are tenuous.

My goodness, if someone ever invents lifelike sex robots all intimate human interaction may cease to exist. Evolution has no set end game, it just is. But when you look at where we are going in the US – away from acquiring wisdom and knowledge – and ever onward toward materialism, entertainment, and a wide array of pseudoscientific and irrational beliefs and behaviours, you can’t help speculate that throwaway kids I write about are the by-product of such shallow values.

This is the story I wanted to tell. Sure, you can point to biological damage, and abuse, and substance abuse, and poverty, and failed educational systems. But we’re the one’s who created this, aren’t we? It’s laughable to me when people say that redistribution of wealth coupled with more government programs is the answer.

Unless we address the fundamental narcissism at the core of these issues, all the money and government programs in the world won’t mean a damn thing. And the far right is just as misguided. What is more narcissistic than believing there is a God that watches over us, and if we pray hard enough and live by the inconsistent and contradictory doctrine espoused by various religious texts that all will be well? To me, all of this is a problem: our beliefs on the left and right are far too human centric.

As beings, we are an infinitesimally small part of a vast universe. We have to stop acting like we’re the only ones that matter, and that our happiness and all of the plants and animals on the planet are at our disposal. Though we think otherwise, except in the scientific community, we are only one very small step removed from the leap that Copernicus made. And in many ways, we are going backwards.

We are becoming more, not less egocentric. (If you doubt this, spend five minutes on Facebook and Twitter, or watch The Kardashians, which are veritable homages to narcissism.) The book conveys my fervent belief that it is our duty and responsibility to help each other – not because we are trying to gain God’s favour or fulfil some socialist ideology – but because that it what we evolved to do.

It’s how successful tribes flourish. The greatest travesty inflicted on mankind is a modern one: that we are somehow not fully responsible regarding our obligations toward others and that government exists to fill this gap. Once you deflect individual responsibility toward an abstract third entity, you will have what is depicted in this book.

This is why I think it’s an important read.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

I’d love Ang Lee to direct it. I’m not very up on actors. Since the main players are teenagers, it would have to be a bunch of unknowns.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

In the US, I couldn’t even get my foot in the door to get a rejection. I did get a very encouraging letter from a book coach/agent, which is why I went the hybrid-publishing route

Q4: Which authors inspired you to write?

Steinbeck more than any other. But also Andrea Makine, William Saroyan, Paul Auster. Their seeming ease of putting ideas on paper was both inspiring and discouraging, as my own efforts always fell woefully short. Makine’s writing is simply beautiful. Music of a Life is one of my all time favorties.

Q5: What are your writing routines?

Nothing set. My preferred times are early morning and late evening.

Q6: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Seek professional criticism – lots of it. Your friends will tell you what they think you want to hear – which is sweet, but no help at all. Develop a thick skin and don’t take the criticism personally- learn and grow from it. It’s absolutely invaluable

Q7: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Do something else! Life’s too freaking short.

Q8: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

I’m a consultant, so I’m doing it

Q9: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

Since I’m an unknown author that would be a rather long list

Thank you Gary, I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

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Gap Years @daveholwill @Rararesources #Q&A #selfpublishing

Gap Years @daveholwill  @Rararesources #Q&A #selfpublishing

Gap Years

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19 year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.

Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.

The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl called Rhiannon.

Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope with rejection.

Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.

Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.

Author Q&A

Gap Years - AuthorHeadShot

 

I was intrigued when I heard the title of this novel so really wanted to find out more about the author and this book.

Q1: What inspired you to write Gap Year?

In 1996, when I was 19, I decided not to take up my university place, and then swiftly had a near-death experience which didn’t change my mind, result in an epiphany, or give me new respect for life as I would have expected. I thought the story of that summer and the events surrounding it might be an interesting story to tell if I changed it enough for the main protagonist to actually learn something. I was wrong, that story was deadly dull, but it was a springboard for what I eventually came up with. At the time my stepkids were both still living at home, and the tensions of living with your parents when you are an adult seemed to me to be something that bore closer inspection. A dual narrative to explore the idea from both sides seemed like a good idea. I’ll let the readers decide if I was right or not.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

While I was writing it, one of my main characters, Martin, looked exactly like a bloke who used to be on Neighbours in my mind’s eye. I can’t remember his name, but he had two kids and was seeing a much younger blonde girl. So him, maybe, if I could remember his name. Otherwise, now it’s finished, I can see James Nesbitt or John Thomson from Cold Feet bringing something to him.

His son, Sean, the other main protagonist, needs an air of vulnerability and innocence that is hard to find in young, male actors, but I think Alex Lawther (from The End of the F****ing World) could do an excellent job of pulling it off, or Asa Butterfield is doing a similar kind of role in Sex Education over on Netflix at the moment.

For the girl who comes between them and makes such a mess of their lives, Rhiannon, I think either Helen Monks or Alexa Davies from Raised by Wolves could bring two very different and excellent interpretations to a difficult character to understand.

The sensible, grounded and brilliant Alison (Martin’s wife) should be played by Nina Sosanya (from too many good things to list, including Love Actually) or Olivia Colman (you know who she is right?).

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

In the interests of full disclosure I have to admit I do not have a publishing deal, I don’t even have an agent. I am a fully independent author in control of my own career. Having said that, however, I do sporadically try to get a traditional deal and usually get a good dozen rejections before I end up self-publishing through amazon and claiming I am empowering myself. So far it has proved entirely justified every time, as my first two books have sold more than enough to prove me right, here’s hoping for a hatrick.

Q4: How did you deal with them when you started out?

Same way as I still do, stubbornly refuse to admit my work isn’t good enough and publish anyway. The best way to deal with it is to read as much traditionally published work as you can find and compare it ruthlessly to your own work. More often than not you’ll find you’re able to hold your head high, and your work deserves to be out there every bit as much as whatever you’ve just read. Keep plugging away and you’ll get there.

Q5: Which authors inspired you to write?

George Orwell made me want to tell stories that matter, Coleridge made me want to frame them into beautiful dreams, and then Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams showed me that none of it is worth a damn if it doesn’t make you laugh out loud.

Q6: What are your writing routines?

I get up horribly early for the day job and run around to try and make sure I get an entire hour’s writing in before I leave the house. It never works, the cats and the dog always find a way to keep me busy so that I am lucky if I can squeeze in a quick twenty minutes. I usually manage to get another solid ten minutes in during my lunch break, and each evening, my planned two hours of work is constantly disrupted by animals and my attention being drawn to Twitter/Facebook/The Telly. The only solution is to take myself to the summer house (slightly pretentious name for a shed with a big window) where there is no wifi and lock myself in until I’ve hit my wordcounts. Somehow I usually hit my deadlines, so some of it must work.

Q7: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Don’t do it, it will take over what little free time you have, and every time you think you know how to do it something else will come along to show you you are wrong. There is no magic formula, no easy way to plot, and your characters will not do what you want them to. It is hard, thankless work.

Or, on a more positive note, don’t fight with your characters and try to make them fit in with your original idea, they know themselves better than you, even if you did invent them.

Q8: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Don’t do it for the money, don’t do it for the fame, only do it if you really have to, it’s a lot of hard work for very little reward. And your family will hate you/forget who you are.

Q9: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

Sleeping. No, seriously this is a trick question right? I can’t not write, I’ve been writing in various different ways for my entire life. I wrote awful, self-absorbed poetry as a teenager (which I hope has all been burned now) along with some dreadful angsty songs. Then I wrote a music fanzine,  gig reviews for the local paper and various forms of blogging in my twenties. All the while leaving piles of notes and early drafts of unfinished novels. Writing does not pay enough for me to live on (not the way I do it anyway) running a print department and playing guitars in pubs does that. Like every writer I know, I do it because I can’t not.

Q10: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

Difficult, I am far too open about every aspect of my life on my blog, however, you might not know that I have written all my books, and every entry on that blog, on a laptop I pulled out of a skip seven years ago. I rebuilt it, and run it entirely on freeware. The ‘E’ and the backspace no longer spring back up when you press them, but it continues on working unabated, and as such has never been replaced. It has more than paid for itself and I think this might be the year it finally has to go back in that skip. I’ve thought that for the last five years though.

Thank you Dave, I might be looking you up soon so you can build me a laptop!

Dave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
Gap Years is his third novel – following on the heels of Weekend Rockstars and The Craft Room, and he is currently working on the fourth (a folk horror set in his native mid-Devon) and a sequel to Weekend Rockstars.

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Consuming Fire @metalmamawrites @crookedcatbooks @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway

Consuming Fire @metalmamawrites @crookedcatbooks  @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway

Consuming Fire

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Consuming Fire

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen…

Liverpool is in the grip of an intense heatwave, and strange things are happening.

A woman dies in an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion; a truck explodes on the dock road; the charred corpses of pets litter the city; forest fires ravage the pinewoods…and there are birds everywhere, silent flocks drawing in ominously.

Detective Inspector Darren Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crime. But is he imagining things?

Dr. Helen Hope doesn’t think so. And she believes the key lies in a mysterious seventeenth-century occult book which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.

In the blistering sequel to Reprobation, DI Swift is forced to confront some inconvenient ghosts from his past, as a terrifying shadow lies over his city’s reality….

 

Author Q&A

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The blurb for this book made me think of the summer’s we now experience here in the UK where it is anything but cool! Also reminds me of being at work, where the heat can sometimes drive you towards wanting to commit murder.

 

Q1: What inspired you to write Consuming Fire?

The book is a sequel to my first novel Reprobation, and develops some of the characters I created, in particular Detective Inspector Darren Swift. But it can also be read as a standalone. It was inspired by the practice of coupe-feu, a traditional healing method in which a combination of pagan ritual and Catholic prayer is used to cure burns. This is still practised today in rural Switzerland and France, and can even be done over the phone. So I wondered, what if instead of praying to angels to cure burns, you tried praying to demons to cause fire? Over the phone?

As with Reprobation, I wanted to give a potentially supernatural twist to the crimes DI Swift has to investigate, as he continues his journey towards the occult.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Oh I think my books would make a marvellous TV series! But doesn’t every author think that…

If the dream became reality, it would be wonderful to have Liverpudlian actors. Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) would be perfect for Helen Hope.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

I was very lucky; I made an initial application to a handful of agents and publishers and I got picked up very quickly by Crooked Cat. It was largely a case of right place, right time. I haven’t looked back since.

Q4: Which authors inspired you to write?

As a teenager I devoured classic crime fiction – Agatha Christie, PD James, Ruth Rendell, Conan Doyle – so I’m sure all that inspired me subconsciously to write my own crime novels.

I write high-concept with a supernatural twist, so I’m inspired by high-concept writers like Stephen King and Alex Garland. And my favourite author is Kazuo Ishiguro, for the beauty and restraint of his writing.

Q5: What are your writing routines?

I don’t really have a routine; it’s not possible because I have four small children plus my journalism work, so I have to be very flexible. I write whenever and wherever I can, long-hand in notebooks. I always transcribe and save everything I have written onto my laptop at the end of the day. My philosophy is ‘get it down’. I don’t worry too much about writing the perfect sentence or paragraph; I’d rather churn out 2000 words of stream-of-consciousness because I know I can edit later. The diamonds are often hidden in the rough!

Q6: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Don’t be afraid to commit. By that I mean emotionally and spiritually, rather than in practical terms. Because very few people have the luxury of giving up their job to write full-time. But I was embarrassed to admit I was writing; for some reason I found it humiliating to say, even to my husband, ‘I’m writing a novel’. I thought my family and friends would judge me for wasting time, for entertaining frivolous dreams. So I wrote in stealth, waiting until everyone was asleep, until I was alone. If I’d only had the confidence to tell people what I was doing I would have got on much faster, and I could have sought help more easily. If you’re writing, you’re a writer, whether you’re published or not – be proud!

Q7: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Join a critiquing group, take classes, read as widely as possible, write as much as possible – flash fiction, short stories, blog posts, freelance articles. You have to learn your craft, but you can teach yourself. There are a lot of resources out there.

Q8: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

My last job was a breastfeeding counsellor, so I might still be doing that. But I also write part-time as a music journalist, so if I didn’t have my novels I would probably still be writing anyway.

Q10: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

My first job was resident pianist at Harry Ramsden’s Fish and Chip Restaurant on the Liverpool docks. I was a very shy 16-year old piano student, and I just wanted to sit quietly playing classical music and Beatles songs. But I would get loads of drunk customers heckling me and requesting Come On Eileen or Nirvana. I found it so stressful! That was the beginning of the end of my career as a pianist.

Thank you Catherine x

Catherine Fearns is from Liverpool, UK. In previous incarnations she was a financial analyst, a cocktail pianist and a breastfeeding counsellor, but nowadays she likes to write. Her first novel, Reprobation, was published by Crooked Cat Books in October 2018 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller in several categories. The follow-up, Consuming Fire, is currently on pre-order and will be available in early 2019.

Catherine writes for music website Pure Grain Audio, and her music journalism has also appeared in Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction and non-fiction pieces have been published in Here Comes Everyone, Toasted Cheese, Offshoots & Metal Music Studies. She holds a degree in History from Oxford University, a Masters from the London School of Economics, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.

When Catherine is not writing, she plays guitar in a heavy metal band, mainly to annoy her four children.

 

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The Ghostly Father @AuthorSusanB @crookedcatbooks @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway

The Ghostly Father @AuthorSusanB @crookedcatbooks  @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway

The Ghostly Father

The Ghostly Father

Was this what really happened to Romeo & Juliet?

Think you know the world’s most famous love story?  Think again.  What if the story of Romeo & Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?

This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.

If you love the Romeo & Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.

Author Q&A

Sue Barnard Author

How good does this novel sound! A really interesting take on a story we all know and no doubt studied! I am still very much hung up on the film. Enough on that this is blog tour…

 

Q1: What inspired you to write The Ghostly Father?

I’ve always loved the Romeo & Juliet story but was disappointed and frustrated by the way it ends.  I wanted to give the young lovers a happier outcome.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

I’d love to see Hugh Jackman as the Friar, with Eddie Redmayne as Romeo and Lily James as Giulietta.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

Before The Ghostly Father was accepted for publication, I entered it in a couple of competitions.  It didn’t win, so I suppose that counts as rejection.  The weirdest rejection I’ve ever had was for my second novel, Nice Girls Don’t – the publisher in question turned it down it for a reason which directly contradicted their own guidelines!  Even now, more than five years later, I’m still trying to work out why.

Q4: How did you deal with them when you started out?

By telling myself that my work just wasn’t right for that particular publisher, and being determined to move on and try again.  Only once have I ever felt moved to question a rejection.  That was in the case I mentioned above, and I never did get a satisfactory answer.

Q5: Which authors inspired you to write?

Shakespeare (obviously); also John Wyndham (I love his short stories) and the great Terry Pratchett.  But my biggest inspiration is the wonderful Sally Quilford, who is not only the author of more than twenty amazing works of romantic intrigue, but who also taught me to write.

Q6: What are your writing routines?

Routines?  HELLO???

Q7: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Writing a novel is nowhere near as easy as the experts make it look.  So don’t be surprised, or disillusioned, if you find that it takes a lot longer than you think.

Q8: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Just go for it.  If I can do it, you can!

Q9: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

Pushing up the daisies.  I can’t imagine a life without writing.

Q10: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

I once went out for dinner and ended up being sawn in half.

Thank you Susan x

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet.  She was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium, but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester.  After graduating from Durham University she had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent.  If she had her way, the phrase “Non-Working Mother” would be banned from the English language.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  She is also very interested in family history.  Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

 

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T&Cs Worldwide entries welcome.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Whisper To Me by @SherrieLowe2 @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway #selfpublished

Whisper To Me by @SherrieLowe2  @Rararesources #Q&A #Giveaway #selfpublished

Whisper To Me

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A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix.

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die.

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go.

Author Q&A

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How good does this novel sound, the first thing I thought about when I read about this book was that film Over Her Dead Body . This book sounds  beautifully written with so much thought and experience behind it.

 

Q1: What inspired you to write Whisper To Me?

The inspiration for Whisper to Me came from a comment my mum made to my dad. She said to him, ‘If I died you wouldn’t remarry would you?’ Nobody thought she’d die but she did, aged 43 from breast cancer. He remarried 10 years later and my mum’s spirit wouldn’t have been happy. The characters in the book aren’t my family and the ghostly goings on are different to the ones that actually went on (those are covered in Shadow Across the Sun, my first memoir) but it gave me the idea for the story.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

I don’t know for Whisper to Me, someone well known to bring people to see it but also new people to help their acting career whilst helping my writing career. For my Willow’s Dip series Aidan Turner would have been fabulous for my Nathaniel O’Keefe although I did have Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow in mind as I wrote. Either would be much too big a star for my little story though.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

Enough to paper the walls! I lost count but that was for all of my books not just one. I had my hopes raised at times when an agency asked to see the complete manuscripts of three of my novels after I’d submitted the sample chapters only to have them dashed when they decided no thank you. I didn’t get a traditional publishing deal, I’m an indie author and self publish through www.feedaread.com for the paperbacks and Amazon for the ebooks.

Q4: How did you deal with them when you started out?

Initially I sunk into manic depression as the envelope dropped onto the mat; I’d hoped to be earning a living writing but you get back up and get on to the next agency on your list. That was at the time when it meant hiking off to the post office with your sample chapters and S.A.E.

Q5: Which authors inspired you to write?

Jilly Cooper, her Rutshire Chronicles gave me the idea for my Willow’s Dip series, in the sense that you can write other stories set in the same place and update the original characters lives. If your readers have come to love your characters they can follow them through.

James Herriot and Frank McCourt for the way they wrote memoirs, true life with a touch of humour. I tried to incorporate that into both of my memoirs, Shadow Across the Sun and Better or Dead. Even in difficult times you can find humour somewhere and it helps you through.

Q6: What are your writing routines?

I enjoy the physical act of writing with pen and paper, that’s the way my creativity flows, I can’t think on the computer, that’s where I tidy it all up and make it neat and legible, pen and paper is for the mess that is my thought process. I write it out, read it through several times over a couple of days, making adjustments, only when I’m happy with it does it go onto the computer into the main file. I have notepads all over the house, upstairs and down because conversations, scenes and ideas come at all times, when I’m in the bath, when I’m asleep and dreaming etc and I have to write them down as soon as possible or they are gone!

Q7: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Don’t think you’ll make a million! I had hoped I could earn a living by writing when I had to resign from my job as learning support assistant in a mainstream high school due to ill health. I should have listened to other people before me who had said there is no money in writing. It is a very enjoyable hobby though.

Q8: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Do it because you enjoy it. If you become successful then great but expect to pay out more than you make, at least at first. Don’t be put off though. Keep at it. Whatever level of success you have you have achieved something to create a story, a poem, whatever you choose to write. It is very satisfying.

Q9: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

If I still had my health I’d still have been working as a learning support assistant in the high school. I may have changed schools but I loved the job. I would probably have written in the evenings though as my children grew up and left home.

Q10: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

Sherrie Lowe is a pseudonym devised from the beginning of my Christian name and the end of my surname. It came about at a work placement when someone hurriedly said my name and mingled the two names. I thought then that if I ever wrote a book that would be my author name.

Thank you Sherrie x

Sherrie tells us more about herself below:

I am a divorced mum of two adult sons and nana to three grandchildren, soon to be four. I’ve always had a notion to write but didn’t get round to it seriously until I became ill with M.E in 1995 when I was 40 and was too ill to continue my job as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school. I was devastated to have to resign from my job but writing saved my sanity. My first attempt was a memoir, Shadow Across the Sun which covered the loss of my mum to breast cancer two days before my 13th birthday. When the rejections began to flow in from traditional publishers and agencies I joined a creative writing class and learned to write fiction. Whisper to Me is my 10th novel. I have a strong belief in the afterlife due to events following my mum’s death so most of my stories have some form of supernatural aspect to them.

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T&Cs Worldwide entries welcome.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

The Monsoon Ghost Image @Tomvater @crimewavepress @Rararesources #Q&A

The Monsoon Ghost Image @Tomvater @crimewavepress @Rararesources #Q&A

The Monsoon Ghost Image

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Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

Author Q&A

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Continuing my renewed interested in spy novels, I was really excited to interview Tom Vater author of The Monsoon Ghost

Q1: What inspired you to write The Monsoon Ghost?

I live in Thailand, work in Southeast Asia as a journalist. Like The Monsoon Ghost Image, my previous two novels, The Cambodian Book of the Dead and The Man with the Golden Mind looked at stories in our recent history that connect us – Europeans, Americans – to Asia. The first book was about the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia in 70s and how a German detective deals with that in relation to his own country’s past. The second book was set in Laos where the CIA ran a secret army of 30.000 soldiers in the 60s to fight the communists. The Monsoon Ghost Image is an action detective story looking at the CIA’s renditions program (the kidnapping and torture of suspected terrorists) in the wake of 9 11. I am principally interested in what white people do in Asia and that lies at the heart of these three novels.

I also have my protagonists question the official narrative, the one we are all bound by, the one we are fed through the media by politicians and corporations. I try to offer some small but poignant counterviews to that incredibly seductive, powerful narrative.

Q2: Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

As unlikely as that may be…. My dream cast would include Ryan Gosling as Detective Maier, Gérard Depardieu as his Russian sidekick Mikhail, Leonardo DiCaprio as photographer Martin Ritter, Léa Seydoux as his wife Emilie and Werner Herzog as the German bad guy.

Q3: How many rejections did you get before you got a publishing deal?

I’ve published some 20 books. Some were guns for hire jobs, others I wrote and sold. Some sold thousands of copies and became bestsellers, others no more than a few hundred. But for those books published, I pitched many more to publishers, which were rejected.

Q4: How did you deal with them when you started out?

How did I deal with rejections? I ignored them.

Q5: Which authors inspired you to write?

Joseph Conrad, Ottfried Preußler, Peter Matthiessen, Raymond Chandler, Katherine Dunn, David Goodis, Patricia Highsmith, Jim Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jr, Mikhail Bulgakov, Philip Kerr, Ross McDonald, Massimo Carlotto

Q6: What are your writing routines?

I write every day. I write several feature articles a month, as well as bits and pieces for no-fiction books. Occasionally I write TV documentary screenplays. When I am at home, which is about six months of the year, I wake up in late morning, have breakfast, do some sports and/or go shopping for food. Then I start dealing with the usual mountain of admin – emails, social media etc. Then I start writing, usually around 4pm and work through to 10pm when I have dinner. Then I often work through to 2am. After that I wind down for an hour or two before calling it another glorious day. On the road I don’t write all that much except for the assignments I am traveling for.

Q7: If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself

Rob that bank instead. Only kidding. I would have been caught.

Q8: What would you say to someone who wants to write?

If someone needs to tell a story, they should tell it. As technology is cheap these days, there are many ways of telling a story. Anyone can make a film now. And anyone seems to write books as well, which is why there are so many self-published titles out there. So, if you have a good story and need to tell it, find the format that works best for you. Writing novels is going out of style and fewer and fewer good ones are published every year. Write a podcast, a short film, a TV series or a stage play instead.

Q9: If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

Robbing banks. Sitting in a hut on a beach. I never thought about it since I sold my first story in 1997.

Q10: Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know?

I have walked across the Himalayas, had the opportunity to dive with hundreds of sharks in the Philippines, and witnessed the Maha Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of people in the world. I have travelled with sea gypsies and nomads, pilgrims, sex workers, serial killers, rebels and soldiers, politicians and secret agents, artists, pirates, hippies, gangsters, police men and prophets. Some of them have become close friends.

Thank you Tom x

Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin www.sacredskinthailand.com.

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