– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Blood Loss’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
We are thrilled to be introducing DI Dave Paton and his son Tommy, the stars of the first novel in Kerena Swan’s new series, to the world. Before coming to Hobeck, Kerena had published three novels, Dying To See You, Scared to Breathe and Who’s There? and has built a solid fan base around her writing career thus far. She is a juggler extraordinaire: driving forward a successful care business she runs with her husband yet finding time to write. She loves to write, here and there and everywhere when she’s not working. We don’t know how she does it but we are glad that she does! Kerena talks about her writing, her influences and how she came to Hobeck in this video.
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With one eye on the rear view mirror and the other on the road ahead, Sarah is desperate to get as far away from the remote Scottish cabin as she can without attracting attention. But being inconspicuous isn’t easy with a black eye and clothes soaked in blood…
… and now the fuel tank is empty.
When a body is discovered in a remote cabin in Scotland, DI Paton feels a pang of guilt as he wonders if this is the career break he has been waiting for. But the victim is unidentifiable and the killer has left few clues.
With the death of her father and her mother’s failing health, Jenna accepts her future plans must change but nothing can prepare her for the trauma yet to come.
Fleeing south to rebuild her life Sarah uncovers long-hidden family secrets. Determined to get back what she believes is rightfully hers, Sarah thinks her future looks brighter. But Paton is still pursuing her…
… and he’s getting closer.
Kerena Swan’s brilliant novel explores how honest mistakes and human frailty can have terrifying and long-reaching consequences. It’s a tale of family ties and loyalty, revenge and redemption that you won’t want to put down.
Blood Loss will be just 99p for a limited time only!
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but throughout my career as a residential care and social work manager I’d only ever written factual documents such as policies and procedures, training courses, assessments, and reports. Sixteen years ago, I left a well-paid and secure senior management role to set up my own care company supporting children with disabilities in the community. This entailed designing all the forms and templates, writing lengthy tender applications, staff handbooks and much more. I currently employ a team of around eighty people and over the years have supported at least 800 families.
Five years ago, I almost lost my eyesight then developed cancer and suddenly realised that if I wanted to achieve my lifelong ambition of getting a book published, I’d better get on with it. I completed a novel writing course with The Writing Magazine and Dying to See You was the result. I was lucky to be given a publishing contract almost straight away. I then went on to write three more novels and a novella and am now on the fifth novel. I would love to write full-time but my care agency takes up most of my time.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I loved Enid Blyton and avidly read all the Mystery series – The Mystery of the Missing Cat, The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage – and can still recall the anticipation and smell of a new book after spending all my holiday pocket money on them.
Nowadays, I favour psychological thrillers and love a book that delves into people’s motivations and behaviours. Michael Robotham is a favourite of mine, especially his series featuring the criminal psychologist Jo O’Loughlin. I enjoy books that keep me hooked, teach me something and make me think.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
As I’m such a fan of Michael Robotham’s, I would like to ask how he obtains the knowledge he needs for his characters. He clearly knows his stuff when it comes to psychology and understanding human behaviours and motivations. He homes in on small details that bring his characters to life and he’s been a real inspiration for my writing. I’d love to know how he plans and writes his novels. Is he a plotter or a panster? My guess is he’s a plotter as his books are so well-structured, detailed and researched.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would invite Arnold Eastwood, from my novel Who’s There? for tea as he’s such fun to be with. I’d probably have to cook his favourite pizza but I’m sure he’d make me a cup of tea. Arnold sees the world with the innocence of a child yet can teach us about courage, kindness, and positivity. I managed a residential home for twenty-five adults with learning disabilities for years and the residents there became my extended family. People with Down’s syndrome were great company and I still miss them. Arnold was inspired by Bobby, a fun-loving young man who sadly died far too soon because he panicked when he realised he didn’t have his bus fare and jumped off the bus into an oncoming car. I was away training to be a social worker at the time but I was still devastated.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
As I work full-time I have to snatch writing opportunities whenever I can. I can’t indulge in rituals or habits because I have to be totally flexible and seize the moment. Luckily, my business is in a large annexe attached to my house and I have a fantastic team so I can take time off when I have deadlines. The Covid19 pandemic has created a lot of work for me, as I’ve had to write business continuity plans, risk assessments, source PPE (personal protective equipment), testing kits and latterly the vaccines for my team. I’ve had to prioritise work over writing so make the most of every minute of every day. My other hobbies of watercolour painting and playing the piano have been set aside until everything calms down. I can honestly say I am never, ever bored!
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
A lot of my ideas come from reading news articles. I love stories about people in unusual situations or crimes with a difference. Once I have the kernel of a story I build on it then create my characters. Dying to See You was inspired by the clearances I have to do on new employees yet when we meet people in our personal lives we don’t check their backgrounds and give them access to our loved ones. Who’s There? was inspired by a course I attended about drug gangs cuckooing people with disabilities. Scared to Breathe was created from a desire to set a story in a creepy old mansion and Blood Loss was the result of reading an article about a woman whose life was turned upside down after she did a DNA test. Here She Lies was inspired by a true event in America. If anyone in my life is worried it’s my husband. His eyes widen every time he turns on the iPad to see ’10 ways to dispose of a body’ or ‘how long does it take to suffocate in a fridge.’ What freaked him out the most though was the delivery of my Little Book of Poisons. He hasn’t eaten mushroom soup since!
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I tried being a panster but it didn’t work for me. I got so far then thought of something else to improve the story so changed it. It then fizzled out and I wasn’t sure where I was going. I need a loose framework to build my story around. I don’t plan out every chapter in advance but if I have a rough idea I can plot three chapters at a time in a few sentences then write it out in full before moving onto the next three chapters. This gives me some freedom to be creative without coming to a blank wall. I constantly edit and re-write but I’m a fast worker and can complete a novel in six months or sooner if I’m determined enough..
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
There is so much to learn and so many dos and don’ts. I’ve read numerous writing advice books and attended a lot of short courses and I’m still learning.
I’d say the most important thing is to build your characters early in the planning stage. What do they want in life? What are their idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes and speech patterns? People remember characters far longer than they remember plots.
Start with action and stick with it for a while. No reader likes to be thrown out of the here and now for a load of back-story when they’re fully engaged with the present.
Start small – a diary, short stories, and blogs until you gain confidence in your ability. Write about what you know. You may not think it’s interesting but other people love getting a sneaky peak into someone else’s life.
Write for pleasure. What’s the point otherwise? Very few writers actually make a living from it. And finally, read, read, and read some more of whatever it is you plan to write.
What are your future plans as an author?
To write a long series featuring DI Paton and Tommy and to write more psychological thrillers. I’d also like to try writing books for children as I have years of experience, both personal and professional, of working with kids. I might even try specialising in books for children with disabilities. I need to reduce my working week first though.
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Another photo appeared, this time of the body on the floor. Paton swallowed several times. Raspberry jelly on a fruit flan. That’s what the shiny surface of the blood reminded him of. Bloody hell. Wendy had just made him one of those. When she started to feel better she always baked treats to show she was well again. He’d struggle to eat the flan now.
‘We looked at the pool of blood surrounding the body and how it had solidified at the edges,’ The crime scene manager said.
Paton’s stomach roiled and he swallowed.
‘After checking the ambient temperature of the room and the algor mortis of the deceased we’ve estimated the time of death as between 9am and 11am. We examined the knife for fingerprints but due to the amount of blood on it we were only able to find the victim’s prints and a partial print of another person. This partial is replicated on other kitchen items in the drawers, on the bed frame, coffee table and doors, which suggests the assailant was there for some time.’
That figured. Paton was confident with his theory now.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Kerena Swan.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!