– ‘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 ‘The July Girls’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
About the Author :
PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. THE JULY GIRLS follows Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller THE TALL MAN.
25th July 2019
Published in hardback by Wildfire, £16.99 eBook and Audiobook also available
Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.
Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks -but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.
Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…
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?
So I’m the author of two psychological thrillers – The Tall Man and now The July Girls – as Phoebe Locke, but my name is actually Nicci Cloke and I’ve also written three YA thrillers and two general fiction novels. As to how I became an author – a lot of late nights secretly typing away after the day job, a pretty steep learning curve and a bit of luck is probably the most honest answer!
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child, the Farthing Wood books by Colin Dann were the first books I remember really hitting me – my mum read a chapter to me and my brother every night and we were absolutely captivated, and distraught when bad things happened to our favourite characters (I’m still not quite over the events of The Fox Cub Bold). But then as a teenager I read pretty widely – at sixteen, I took every Stephen King novel I could out of the library but also pored over every page of Jane Eyre. It’s pretty much the same now – I love to read everything, from thrillers to commercial fiction, to more genre stuff.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King – because of course. The scope of his imagination is a constant inspiration for me. But J K Rowling’s worldbuilding skills are also something I am completely in awe of and I would love even five minutes alone with her notebooks!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Caz Frear’s Caz Kinsella – although I think I’d take her to the pub rather than for tea! Definitely one of my favourite characters in a police procedural series ever. But also Atticus, Jem and Scout Finch, or perhaps Sirius Black.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Yes and no – I tend to go through cycles with things. For a while, writing first thing in the morning is what works best for me, but then I’ll go through a phase where I get more done in the evenings. I try not to hold myself too firmly to any ritual but just to go with what gets the words down – inevitably, coffee is always involved! And good snacks. And I do like to print off a couple of pictures or articles to pin to the board above my desk which fit the mood/theme of the novel. This usually evolves to me sticking huge sheets of paper across every available wall space to fill with spider diagrams and scrawled notes that no-one but me could possibly interpret.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Haha, always! I’m always taking notes… To be honest, it can be anything. A news story or a song lyric or a random poster. I usually have a memo on my phone where I jot down those little fragments and I know when one of them keeps playing on my mind that there might be a novel in there.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a bit of both, to be honest, and it varies from book to book – for some, I work from a really detailed outline, but other ideas I like to start writing straight away to get a feel for the characters and the story. Usually if I do that though, I make myself stop after 5-10,000 words and I’ll plot then. And in all cases I don’t stick to my outline too rigidly – inevitably things change as you go and what you’ve planned doesn’t always work with where you end up.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Write for yourself – don’t get too caught up on what people are saying is ‘big’ at the moment. Trends move quickly or don’t happen at all, and the process of the writing itself should always be the best bit, so work on something you would truly love to read rather than something you think might have a chance of earning megabucks. I know it’s a cliché but read – read everything and anything, and always be thinking about what you liked or didn’t like about every book, and what that tells you about what you’d love to see on a shelf with your name on its cover. And be persistent – it’s such a tough road, with so many highs and lows, and that’s why finding as much enjoyment and fulfilment as you can in the creative bit is so important.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m not sure! There are some other genres I’d like to have a go at, and I’d love to try writing for the screen at some point. And I have two thriller ideas I’m currently working on (writing one, plotting out the other) so I’ve plenty to be getting on with.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
There is a moment with each of them. A look in their eyes when they know that it’s over. He likes to watch that realization finally dawn, see them accept that there is no escape. The feeling of it is electric. Each time, he holds them close to him. He cradles them, a calm taking over.
It’s the calm, he thinks sometimes, that he truly craves. That second’s peace, the fury he feels suddenly silenced. It doesn’t last; it never lasts. And when the fury surges back, the hatred crackling through him, he will long for that moment. He will try to remember the way it felt as he killed them. Try to survive on it. But soon – too soon – he starts counting down, waiting through the cold months the Christmas lights, the bleak early weeks and then the slow awakening of spring.
Soon he begins to look forward to the day when he can take the next.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Phoebe Locke.
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!