YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
 
Want to know more about me? I've been lucky enough to take part in some really fascinating Author Q&As on review blogs. Here's a selection of some of my favourite questions. 
Criminally Good

 

Why do you write crime fiction?

 

That’s just the way my brain works! I’ll be walking along the street and suddenly a murderous scene will pop into my head. The other day I saw a perfectly innocuous poster in my local park, and by the time I got home I’d woven it into a storyline involving a burglar. My partner is a sensitive artistic type, and used to be quite amazed (and slightly concerned) by the things I came out with – he’s got used to it now, luckily.

I suppose my crime fascination began as a child. I was addicted to Enid Blyton’s ‘Mystery’ series, and was reading ‘The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat’ when I figured out whodunit a whole page before the big reveal. To this day, I remember the feeling of pride at that moment, so clearly even as a nipper I was obsessed with crime fiction.

I also briefly worked in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow’s category A men’s high security jail. There I met a number of charismatic perpetrators of crime and realised just how true that saying is that one should not judge a book by its cover, or a person by their façade. I love to peek behind that façade – and expose it to my readers.

For me crime fiction is about the people it impacts on, more than the act itself. INVISIBLE, for example, is as much about the lies people tell themselves, as it is about the sickening crimes at its heart.

 

Read the interview in full here

Linda's Book Bag
 

How far does your experience of being an editor help or hinder your writing process?

 

It’s definitely been both a help and a hindrance. At first it was frustrating for me because I was used to being able to produce a feature that was pretty much word perfect at the end of the first draft. I’d give it a read through then send it off to be printed, job done. Writing a book is nothing like that. I’ve had to get used to the fact that while writing the first draft I frequently feel out of control, and that the finished first draft is very rough, and has to go through a lot of rewrites and editing before it’s ready to be published. So rather a different experience to when I wrote articles…!

There are plenty of positives, though. Thanks to all those years of journalism, I know what makes a good story, how to hook readers, construct a tale, pace, characterisation, etc. Being a former editor helps me to step back and look at the book as a whole, to see the big picture. It’s been particularly useful when coming up with concepts for the cover. My partner is a very talented artist, who works with me to create something I think will sum up the story as a whole, without giving anything away.

 

Read the interview in full here

'Chelle's Book Reviews

 

What research did you do?

 

As a journalist, research is something I really enjoy and is second nature to me. I love learning new things. For Flowers for the Dead, I looked into taxidermy and also the meaning of flowers, which was particularly fascinating. It’s a very genteel language that was great fun to subvert to more sinister use.

What genuinely shocked me during my research, though, was how easy and cheap it is to buy locksmiths equipment and surveillance items. I was also stunned to discover that it is possible to turn a mobile phone or any other device with voice recognition software or a microphone into a ‘bug’. So that includes televisions that you ‘speak’ to, many laptops and tablets, smartphones etc.

Back in 2006 the FBI were trying to gather evidence on a crime family but couldn’t get close enough to them to bug them the traditional way. So they used the family’s devices against them in order to gather recorded evidence, then successfully prosecute in court. These days anyone can do it by buying the right software on the internet. The programme will allow someone to eavesdrop on phone calls, get details on text messages, remotely control the phone using SMS, track the location of the phone with GPS and log the phone's activities. It will also allow them to use the phone as a listening device and hear what is happening in the surrounding area. Scary stuff!

 

Read the interview in full here

PORTOBELLO BOOK BLOG
 

If you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

 

This is incredibly tough! But I’m going to head back to my childhood for my answer, and be Maria in Elizabeth Goudge’s wonderful book The Little White Horse. I read and re-read that story as a child, until I knew it off by heart. I fell in love with the whole world created by the author, from the manor house to the village, to the silver world inhabited by the little white horse. Maria’s bedroom was round because it was located in a turret, and to this day I have a fantasy about having a circular room.

 

It is a beautifully written book, and all the characters really come to life – the description of Wiggins, at the beginning of the tale, makes me laugh even now! The ending is heartbreakingly wonderful, as the heroine realises that one day, when she dies, she will meet her little white horse again. Who could ask for more than an adventurous life, true love, good friends, and a happy ever after that goes on even after death?

 

Read the interview in full here

Elaine Spires Journal: Hot Holidays
 

Where did you spend your last holiday and what made you choose it?

 

We miss our dog, Scamp, too much to leave her behind for a holiday abroad, so Paul and I always holiday in the UK. I’ve always been the same though; once I went on holiday to Australia and missed my old dog, Buster SO MUCH. As soon as I landed, after a 24-hour flight, I jumped in my car and drove two hours to my mum’s house to get him. That was the last time I went abroad.


Our most recent holiday has been Norfolk, in a tiny place on the Broads called Reedham. We both love walking and nature, so this is the perfect location for us. The old windmill we stayed in was in the middle of nowhere and had a huge garden, which backed onto the water. I’d get up early to watch swallows swooping down over the mill pond in the front garden, almost crashing into one another. In the evening, we’d eat at the picnic table, and watch marsh harriers hunting, to be replaced with barn owls later at night. Ours days were taken up with walking for miles, exploring the great outdoors.

 

Read the interview in full here

A Lover of Books
 

I am absolutely intrigued by your nature website, Go Be Wild.  What’s it all about?

 

Juggling journalism, writing a novel, and doing publicity, plus running a home, can get a bit hectic and stressful sometimes. I constantly have ever-growing lists in my head of things I must do, and am always thinking three steps ahead with everything. But when I’m watching nature, all of that is left behind.

 

My nature website, www.gobewild.co.uk is something I do purely for pleasure. I’m no expert, and don’t claim to be, I just love keeping track of what I’ve seen on the blog, and write some features on the site, too.

 

I particularly love taking wildlife photographs. It really takes my mind off everything and focuses me on living in the moment. There is no past, no future, only that perfect time when I’m barely breathing as I focus my camera on something beautiful, such as a butterfly, and take the snap.

 

Hopefully, in addition to be a lovely, relaxing thing for me to do, Go Be Wild also resonates with other people.

 

Read the interview in full here

The Book Review Cafe
 

How long did it take to get your first book published?

 

I’m self-published, so it didn’t take long at all! It makes me sad that some self published authors produce work that hasn’t even been spell-checked, let alone edited, as that makes it much harder for the rest of us. And there are some amazing self published authors out there!
 

I take my writing very seriously, and after I’ve finished drafting my copy, I pay for an editor who is very well respected in the industry to work on it. Once it has gone through that process, it is proof-read for errors. Everything that a publishing house does to a novel happens to my work, too. I want my readers to enjoy a great, professional novel.
 

The fact that my books have been reviewed by magazines such as Bella, and newspapers such as the Sunday Mirror (beating Lee Child, to be their Choice Read of the Week) hopefully shows what a good job has been done. That, and the lovely reviews readers are giving me.

 

Read the interview in full here

From First Page to Last
 

Flowers for the Dead was picked as a critic’s choice in the Sunday Mirror recently. What did that mean to you as a writer? Does it create more pressure for the next book for instance?

 

I was absolutely over the moon when the Sunday Mirror chose me over Lee Child! I mean, come on, he’s sold literally millions of books all over the world, then there is little old me, an indie author…it’s simply impossible for me to comprehend that they made me their recommended read. I still feel stunned when I think about it.

 

It’s been a huge boost in confidence for me, and given me the faith to keep going. There is pressure on the next book to be even better than Flowers For The Dead, but it’s pressure I put on myself. I particularly felt it after publishing my debut, Invisible. When I had started writing it, I hadn’t even been sure I was capable of finishing a novel, let alone that it would be any good – but as it was my first go I almost expected to flop, and every success was a wonderful surprise. When it hit Number 6 on Amazon’s best seller list, I was elated. But then came the fear that I was a ‘one hit wonder’, and that I wasn’t capable of creating a second decent story. Now, I know that I can. And now I’m wondering: can I do it a third time, and be even better?

 

 

Read the interview in full here

Jera's Jamboree
 

If your novel was made into a movie, Barbara, who would you cast as your male lead?


That’s such a tough question! The hardest person to cast would be Adam, because he is so incredibly complex. It would have to be someone who has the ability to convey not just a cold-blooded killer but also a certain amount of vulnerability. Benedict Cumberbatch could probably do a great job of it, as he is a fantastic actor, but I’m not sure if he’s right for the role physically. It’s a bit random, but I think my top choice would be Daniel Radcliffe. He has the innocence, we’ve all seen that in his role as Harry Potter, but I’ve watched him in plays and he has the range to have a more evil side. Playing a serial killer would definitely be a different direction for him!

As for Daryl in Invisible, it would have to be Tom Hardy. He could get the stare right. 

 

 

Read the interview in full here

Being Anne
 
“Dark, gripping and twisted” - was that always going to be the genre you chose to write?
 
Ha! That’s one of my favourite quotes from a review! I think with my background, it was inevitable that I wouldn’t produce anything fluffy. My mum adores crime, as did her mother (whom I was very close to) so it’s in my genes. Add that to my background in journalism, having interviewed so many people who have experienced great trauma…

I’ve met rapists and murderers. I’ve met their victims. In both cases, I love getting under the skin of people and finding out what makes them tick – from why one person has done terrible things, to how someone else has found the strength to survive when something awful has happened to them or a loved one.

I’m equally fascinated by the psychology of my characters. For me ‘whydunit’ is so much more important that ‘whodunit’. Dark, gripping and twisted is definitely a genre I can’t get enough of.

 

 

Read the interview in full here

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