#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy – Sarah Rodi @sarahrodiedits @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy

Today I’m on the ‘Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy’ 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 :

M8aqSiwV_400x400Sarah Rodi has always been a hopeless romantic. She grew up watching old, romantic movies recommended by her grandad, or devouring love stories from the local library. Sarah lives in the village of Cookham in Berkshire, where she enjoys walking along the River Thames with her husband, her two daughters and their dog. She has been a magazine journalist for over 20 years, but it has been her lifelong dream to write romance for Mills & Boon. Sarah believes everyone deserves to find their happy ever after.

Social Media Links:
Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

M8aqSiwV_400x400Her tempting enemy
is a chink in her armour!
Viking shield maiden, Svea Ivarsson, would far rather face Saxon warriors than be on the run with the fiercely captivating Lord Ashford Stanton, protector to the Saxon King. Reaching Ash’s family castle, Svea must swap her chainmail for life as a Lady. She can wield a sword like an expert, but no training has prepared her for craving the touch of her greatest enemy…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

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’m Sarah Rodi, I’m 41, married to Chris and we have two girls. I’ve worked on magazines for 20 years, sourcing, writing and editing stories, but I’ve wanted to write romance for Mills & Boon for even longer than that! It’s always been a passion of mine. Over the years, I’ve joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme, been on various writing retreats, kept on submitting and pitched to the Mills & Boon Editors at the RNA Annual Conference… and in 2021, they accepted my first book, The Viking’s Stolen Princess. This month, my second book, Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy, is out.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I still love reading Mills & Boon Modern and Historical romances – you can’t beat them. You know what you’re going to get, and you experience that feeling of falling in love when you read them. As a young adult I loved the Making Out series by Katherine Applegate – and I’ve saved them all for when my girls are older. Maybe I’ll read them again too!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Sharon Kendrick. She has written over 100 books for Mills & Boon and I would love to do the same. I’d also love to speak to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical Hamilton. Have you seen it? It’s incredible. It really speaks to you. I’d love to understand how he went about learning the history, writing the words, getting the emotion in there…
Jane Austen too – as she had the best characters and ideas, didn’t she?

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 love to have my heroine, Svea, in Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy, over for tea. The name Svea is of Scandinavian origin and means ‘spear’. This was apt, as my Viking shield maiden’s feisty personality smashes everyone’s ideas of how a woman should look and behave. Her non-conformity in terms of how she dresses and how she acts, in addition to her prowess on the battlefield, makes her a character to aspire to, and one who becomes more complex as the truth about her past unravels…
I also have a major crush on the Icelandic actor who plays Sigtryggr in The Last Kingdom… he can come to tea any time!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I work full time on magazines, so my writing time is in the evenings after I’ve put my two girls to bed. I switch on the kettle and pour myself a nice cup of coffee and open up a large bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk. I like to read over what I wrote the night before, to get me back into the story, before starting to write. I also light my wax melt burner and use the Devonwick Viking scent… it helps to get me in the mood!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
My characters aren’t based on real people, but a turn of phrase or the way someone moves or reacts can inspire a thought, or a characteristic for my characters and my story. I did fall in love with Brand and Ash, the heroes in my first two books, – and perhaps there are elements in Anne and Svea, the heroines, that are like me. I guess you can’t help but put some of your personality into them. I like visiting historical places, such as Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, Lindisfarne in Northumberland or Viking Bay in Kent for research.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I like to know the outline of my story before I begin and where it’s going, but that’s about as far as it goes. When I start to write, that’s when the characters take on a mind of their own and the ideas really start to flow, so I guess I do pant my way through my books, especially the raunchy bits!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Never give up, despite any rejections you might get. Every “no” comes with useful feedback, helping you become a better writer. Go on as many courses as you can, join writing groups and talk to people, join the RNA, apply for their New Writers’ Scheme and don’t miss the conference. Always make time to write. Enjoy the journey and adventure you’re having trying to achieve your goal.

What are your future plans as an author?
My second novel, Escaping With Her Saxon Enemy, is out this month. I’ve just written book number three and submitted it to my editor, which will be out later in the year, and I’m about to start number four. The dream has always been to write for Mills & Boon and I should love to continue to do so.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

‘So, what do you think?’ he asked, giving her a playful nudge.
‘Of what?’
He pointed to the sea. ‘A late-night swim.’
‘What?’ She laughed nervously.
‘You can swim, can’t you?’ he asked, goading her.
‘Of course I can,’ she said. ‘Actually, I’ve wanted to swim since we got here, but I wasn’t sure if it was the done thing here in Braewood. In Kald, we swim all the time.’
‘Well, you’ll be pleased to know we do too.’
‘Even at this time of night?’
He shrugged. ‘We need to wash all this flour off. And at least no one else will be around to see. We’ll have the place to ourselves.’
When they reached the sand Ash began to pull off his boots, and then his tunic. He stopped when he realised Svea was just standing there, her eyes wide, staring at his large muscled chest, chewing on her bottom lip. A look of confusion crossed her face, and he stilled. Was he making her uncomfortable? That was the last thing he wanted to do. He’d thought they were having fun. He’d thought they both needed this. But perhaps his large body was off-putting—especially covered in its tapestry of scars.
‘I can’t swim in this dress. I’ll sink!’ she said, turning her attention away from him and focusing on her skirts.
Well, she wasn’t saying she didn’t want to go in…
He looked her up and down and realised she was right. She could go in naked, but he had a feeling she wouldn’t agree to that.
‘Here,’ he said, passing her his discarded tunic. ‘Put this on.’
She gripped the material tight, holding it to her chest. She still wasn’t sure, and he wanted to
reassure her.
‘It’s just a swim, Svea.’
‘Then turn around,’ she said, and he grinned.
He had known she wasn’t one to shirk a challenge.
So he did as he was told, even though they were cloaked in the late-night darkness, so he could barely see her anyway. He listened as she tussled with her gown, and then heard it drop to the sand. The response in his groin was instant. Damn. What he wouldn’t give to turn around, stride over to her and take her bare body in his arms. But he knew he mustn’t. He had said it was to be ‘just a swim’ and
he would stick to his word.
He knew he had to take this slowly. He couldn’t be sure what Crowe had done, or just how badly it
had affected her. It made him feel sick, just thinking about that man laying his hands on her. He guessed he had caused her some serious damage, given the way she held herself, the way she behaved, and he needed to build her trust—especially where her body was concerned.
‘Ready,’ she said, stalking past him and running into the water.
The material of his tunic barely reached the top of her thighs, and the sight made him harder. He followed her, laughing. The thought dawned on him that he would follow her anywhere…

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Sarah Rodi.

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!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Broken #Broken – Anna Legat @LegatWriter @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Broken Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Broken’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Anna Legat Author PhotoAnna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Synopsis :

Anna Legat Author PhotoWhat if you lost the memory of who you are?
What if you had to pick up the loose ends of life that wasn’t yours?
What if you had to fight somebody else’s battles?
What would YOU do ?
Camilla’s life will never be the same after her beloved son Christopher is sent to prison .
Father Joseph’s faith is sorely tested when a deranged psychopath uses the sanctity of the confessional to gloat about his most heinous crimes.
Both Camilla and Joseph are paralysed by doubt and inaction.
But then their lives collide…
BROKEN explores where it takes a stranger to break through one’s bindings and inhibitions in order to do the right thing.
It is a story of a mother’s love for her son and a priest’s blind adherence to the seal of confession.
It is a story about Fate’s intervention.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

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 became an author (well, maybe not an author, but definitely a writer after a fashion) as soon as I became a reader. I wrote “books” from an early age, usually shameless and pale imitations of my favourite writers, and I personally illustrated them by copy-tracing pictures from my father’s encyclopaedia. There were a few harder images which I actually cut out and glued into my “books”. (sorry, Dad).
Writing has been my escape throughout my extensive travels when I would find myself suspended between my old, familiar worlds and the new, alien ones. When you are a newcomer in a new unfamiliar world, writing about what you know keeps you grounded and sane. I wrote my first serious novel when I lived in total isolation and obscurity, jobless and teetering on the verge of depression, in the touristy town of Rotorua in New Zealand. That book was personal and cathartic, and will probably only be published after I’m dead (if at all).
Although I was always planning to be a writer, I actually trained to be a lawyer and spent many bemused years practising law. Originally I dreamt of studying Russian literature, or archaeology, or philosophy, or journalism. My parents greeted all of those ideas with disdain, but they said they would support me if I went for something sensible, like law or education. Indeed, after years in law, I requalified as a teacher and spent another decade doing … something other than writing books. But I never stopped dreaming of becoming a writer.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved Jules Verne and read all of his books from my school library. Some of them I read more than once. If I saw a new cover for the title I’d already read, I would try it again just in case Mr Verne had added something new to the story (I didn’t realise he was long dead). When I ran out of Verne’s books, I immediately embarked on writing follow-up stories featuring his characters who I could not bring myself to say goodbye to. I think nowadays you’d call that fan-fiction.
I don’t read Jules Verne as a grown-up, but I will watch every adaption of his books, including animations. They just take me back in time to happier days.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
So many of them for so many different reasons, but perhaps I should mention Ruth Rendell. I love her suspense and psychological thrillers, especially those written as Barbara Vine. I would ask for some tips on balancing pace and action with introspection and tension building. She was a master at getting into the villain’s head without losing compassion for the victim and compromising her wider social awareness.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
For tea? Hm… There are a few characters I’d love to have a word with but I’m not sure I’d want them over for tea. So for tea – it’d have to be afternoon tea with Belgian pastries and chocolates – I would invite Hercule Poirot. And maybe Miss Marple could join us. I imagine it would be a very pleasant afternoon and I could rake their brains for a tensely plotted murder case.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Oh yes! Who doesn’t? I start with a lot of pacing and thinking; sometimes I think aloud – that’s a euphemism for talking to myself. Then I scour Twitter and online news for the purpose of procrastination. I make coffee and light a candle. Sometimes I add an incense cone so that my brain can bathe in aromatic fumes while thinking. I open my manuscript and promptly return online to check if anything new has occurred since I last looked (which was only some ten-fifteen minutes earlier). I make a fresh coffee as the old one has gone cold. I re-read and edit my previous chapter. Then I have a quick glance at my emails – you never know I may have been awarded a CBE for services to literature and need to respond to that quickly (can’t make the Queen wait!). At long last, if I have any time left before the dog walk, I write my next chapter. That may explain why my chapters are getting shorter.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Yes, but not unduly. I do borrow real-life events and model my characters on people I know, but if I am to be brutal by creating a nasty, evil personality in my story who is then promptly killed, the character will be so drastically altered that its prototype will be unrecognisable. I also mix and match people’s characteristics so nobody in my books is a faithful replica of a real person.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a plotter who invariably becomes a pantser as the story unfolds. My storylines (as tightly-plotted as they are at their conception – following my aforesaid endless pacing and thinking) tend to go off the piste and meander through various detours, gaining unexpected (to me) twists and turns along the way. Usually they end up in the place I originally planned but getting there is another story altogether.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My biggest mistake at the start of my writing journey was overwrought prose which I kept re-editing and “improving” endlessly. I tried too hard to be original. I devised too many and too fancy similes, metaphors and other linguistic features that caused my story and my pace to be lost in the jungle of words. And then I read Hilary Mantel’s advice which boils down to this five-point plan:
1. Keep your hand moving
2. No crossing out
3. Forget grammar
4. Forget logic
5. Embrace the scary
Can’t argue with Hilary Mantel.

What are your future plans as an author?
Okay, so this is my three-point plan:
1. Write
2. Write
3. Write
But seriously, I want to continue with my existing crime fiction projects, but I also want to diversify a little into other genres, such as alternative history thrillers or black comedy, and just some genre-defiant writing that I will simply enjoy writing.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Put yourself in the shoes of a mother whose son is a convicted criminal. He’s her baby boy and she will never accept his guilt, not even when the evidence stares her in the face.
Put yourself in the shoes of a priest who is bound by the seal of confession. He hears the confessions of a dangerous psychopath, and he feels tainted by the man’s evil acts as he continues to harbour his secret.
Deep down the mother and the priest are paralysed by inertia. Wouldn’t you want to put them out of their misery? The question is how.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Anna Legat.

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!

#PublicationDayPush #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Secrets Behind The Billionaire’s Return – Rachael Stewart @rach_b52 @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Secrets Behind The Billionaire's Return

Today I’m on the ‘Secrets Behind The Billionaire’s Return’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

2pVWigawRachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heartwarmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.
She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.
A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Social Media Links:
Facebook
Twitter
Website
Instagram

Synopsis :

Secrets Behind The Billionaire's ReturnFind out what happens when a billionaire returns to Felicity’s life in book one of Rachael Stewart’s new duet, Claiming the Ferrington Empire, from Harlequin Romance.
The man she never forgot…
The feelings she never lost…
Sixteen years ago, Felicity fell in love with the boy from Ferrington Manor. But their affair was short-lived when Sebastian vanished and she was left with the secret consequence of their love. Now he’s back and his return sends shock waves through Felicity! Will the revelations about Sebastian’s departure be enough for Felicity to succumb to the feelings that still draw her to him?

Purchase Link

Giveaway :

Win 4 x Signed Rachael Stewart Paperbacks and more (Open Int)
Prize Contains:
4 x Signed paperbacks:
• Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal
• Surprise Reunion with His Cinderella
• Beauty And The Reclusive Millionaire
• Secrets Behind the Billionaire’s Return
And:
• “Hug” Bracelet
• Diamond Metallic Pen
• Heart Post-Its

Giveaway Secrets Behind Bil Return

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

The Clifford-Mackenzie Crime Series: Crossfire #Crossfire & Fair Game #FairGame – R.D. Nixon @RDNixonAuthor @HobeckBooks , an #Interview #QandA

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-q&a

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing an interview with R.D. Nixon, author of ‘The Clifford-Mackenzie Crime Series’, to promote this series.

About the Author :

Terri Nixon Author PicTerri Nixon is an author of historical fiction, family sagas, and mythic fiction
R.D. Nixon is the side of her that argues a lot, and writes crime / thrillers
She was born in Plymouth. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.
She now lives in Plymouth, and works in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Synopses :

Crossfire (The Clifford-Mackenzie Crime Series Book 1)

51gClI4SuELTo what depths would you sink to protect your own?
Hogmanay 1987
A prank robbery has fatal consequences.
Five Years Later
Highlands town Abergarry is shaken by the seemingly gratuitous murder of a local man. The case is unsolved.
Present Day
Ten-year-old Jamie, while on holiday in Abergarry with his mum Charis, overhears a conversation. To him, it is all part of a game. But this is no game and the consequences are far more serious than Jamie ever imagined.
Old wounds are about to be reopened.
Struggling PI team Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie find themselves involved by a chance meeting. How deep into those wounds will they have to delve to unravel the mystery?

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Fair Game (The Clifford-Mackenzie Crime Series Book 2)

FINAL Fair Game CoverIt’s autumn in Abergarry.
The nights lengthen, the weather turns, and the atmosphere darkens as the community is rocked by a brutal roadside murder: a loan shark’s ‘bag man’, Craig Lumsden, is found bludgeoned to death in his car in the early hours of the morning.
The season for murder.
The case seems simple enough. and the fingers quickly point to the most obvious suspect. But things are rarely as simple as they seem…
A murder that’s too close to home.
Too close for comfort, and definitely too close for complacency for private investigators Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie. Delving into the case brings at least one of them face-to-face with danger… Will life in Abergarry ever be the same again?

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

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?
Thanks for inviting me onto this ace blog, I’m thrilled to meet your readers! My real name is Terri Nixon, and I also write under the R.D name to separate my two different genres of writing: Terri writes historical family and community sagas, R.D writes contemporary crime. The R and the D are my sons’ initials (Rob and Dom.)
I’ve been publishing stories and books since the early 2000s, although I did write the very first draft of the Clifford-Mackenzie series in the mid 90s. My first publication came as a result of winning a competition I’d entered (incorrectly) at the very last minute, and then not finding the email from the comp organiser telling me I’d won. Bit of a miracle all round, really! I’ve now published sixteen novels, plus contributions to some anthologies and other short story collections.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I read books the way my friends watched TV. We spent long periods of time without the tellybox, at various intervals, so I’d lose myself in the usual Enid Blyton collections, Malory Towers, and the Pullein-Thompson pony club books. I was also a huge fan of Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings series, and I still love those. I read my first Stephen King book (Firestarter) when I was about 13, and have feasted on his work ever since, but it’s interspersed with PG Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett and Walter Scott. I think Jennings was sort of Wodehouse for kids really, with very similar language and the same kind of innocent shenanigans you just want to be part of!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King, for his absolute nailing of character, particularly the kids of a bygone era. And for his flawless portrayal of small-town mentality and people’s darker selves. He’s not afraid to muddy the people we’re supposed to root for, and bring them to the very point of losing our sympathy. That’s a gift I’d love to share.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Ooh, good question! There are so many brilliant characters I’ve come to know – been reading books for a loooong time! I think I’d like to get Louis d Pointe du Lac (from Interview with the Vampire), sit him down, and find out how much of what he said is true: when the books turn to Lestat’s point of view he says Louis had been lying about lots of things, and embellishing the story to suit his own tragic viewpoint. But then, can we trust Lestat either? Maybe I’d just put the two of them in a room together, and just eat cake and watch from behind the curtain, while they thrash it out!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
While I’m plotting I like to play the Zen, untimed version of Bejeweled, but on silent mode. It’s a mindless, instinctive action (with some VERY pretty and deeply satisfying explosions!) and while I’m playing I tend to talk myself through what I’m thinking about, or any problems I’ve encountered. It’s a double-edged sword too, because it also means I get some truly stratospheric scores in the game!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Haha! Never say never, but at the time of writing this I’ve only put people in my novels who’ve said they’re happy to be in them! I did write a cathartic short story once, that put my school bully exactly where I wanted them though. Ideas themselves come as a result of playing the long game; sort of like chess, where I’m thinking several chapters/scenes, or even books, ahead. For one of my series the timing worked out so well that I was actually still able to sow the seeds of the finale of book 3, into book 1, which was in the final edit stage after typesetting. That’s never happened before or since, so I have to cast my mind as far ahead as I can, and think about how something might have started. And no, no-one needs to be worried… at the moment! 😉

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m very much a plotter; I think you have to be to a degree, for any series if you want it all to hang together naturally. Having said that, although the big plot points are usually picked out in advance, to give me a structure, when it comes to actually crafting the individual scenes they might go in any direction, and frequently do! I’m always ready to switch directions though, and follow a path that might suddenly become apparent, but that I hadn’t necessary planned for. Plantser? That covers it, I suppose!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Everyone has a different way of working, so all I can do is to pass on something I’ve learned over the years: don’t get too bogged down in preparation, or even research. You can plan, and make notes, and learn an admirable amount about your subject/time/location, but you want your story to come to vibrant, singing life. That won’t happen until you breathe some soul into it. So just… start writing! Learn as you go, whether it’s research you have to do, or getting to know your characters.
Another thing is that you can’t please everyone, all the time. Your style will be what it should be, so if one person says they don’t like the number of characters you have in your story, at least one other person will say they love them. Listen to advice, not opinions. (Unless someone says you’re absolutely ace, then listen to that one!)

What are your future plans as an author?
R.D. Nixon has one more book to write in the Clifford-Mackenzie series, then the field is wide open so it’ll be fun to see what happens next in the crime writing. I’ve had a plan to write a psych thriller based on the university campus where I work, so I might explore that a bit.
Terri Nixon has a brand new series of dramas coming out with Piatkus, beginning this December with (working title) Tyndall’s Folly. They’ll come out over the next 3 years, and I’ll be writing as R.D in between.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Fair Game. Clifford-Mackenzie Crime Series book 2.

Three Sisters, Glen Coe, Scotland. Thursday 15th November 2018

He stared out into the darkness beyond his windscreen, icy hands jammed between his knees, but reluctant to leave the heating on in the car; if there was ever a time to risk flattening a tired battery, this wasn’t it. The quarter-moon played fitfully with bulging clouds, occasionally outlining the menacing volcanic peaks that rose all around, and the time dragged on, but still there was nothing else out there except the rain.
For the millionth time since he’d arrived, his glance was pulled to the tyre lever nestled in the semi-darkness of the passenger seat footwell, inviting him to pick it up and admire its weight. For the millionth time he looked away again. No violence here, not tonight. He’d been a fool, that was the long and short of it, but there was a faint hope that he might buy himself some time, at least, and faint or not, he was going to grab it.
Popular in the daytime, even at this time of year, this beauty spot was always deserted once darkness fell, but the road that cut through the glen was still one of the main arteries from Glasgow, and several cars had passed by since he’d arrived. Another set of headlights lit up the rock face of the mountain, this time from the Fort William direction, and a car slowed. He sat up straighter, feeling sick, but the driver had only wanted to peer more closely at the famous Three Sisters mountain formation before carrying on up the winding road out towards Rannoch Moor.
The nausea remained, and he twisted the ignition key and buzzed his window down to let in some fresh air; rain blew in with it, and he welcomed the cool spray on his burning face as he thought over what he would say when Kilbride’s man finally turned up. Kilbride wasn’t an idiot, nor would he send one to collect his dues; he knew he’d get what he was owed, eventually, and that the interest alone would keep a roof over his head for months… Of course he’d wait. He had to.
The next car did not pass by. It slowed and turned in to the tourists’ viewing point, and as the terrified man watched it creep slowly closer, his hand, acting independently from conscious thought, dipped down into the footwell after all and tested out that tyre lever’s considerable weight. He slipped the lever inside his jacket, and yanked the zip back up just as the BMW Roadster drew up behind his own car.
The Roadster’s window whined down, and the face that glared out belonged to Craig Lumsden, Kilbride’s top enforcer, who bent and examined the back seat of the man’s car through the rear window. He appeared satisfied no-one lurked there.
‘All right, get out.’
The man did so, watching warily as the BMW circled away and returned to park more neatly next to him. He held the tyre lever tight against his side beneath his jacket, and hoped his movements didn’t look too obviously stilted as a result. ‘Where’s Kilbride?’
‘He’s not likely to be coming out here himself, now, is he?’ Lumsden got out of the BMW and studied him across the bonnet. A police issue nightstick was hooked into his belt, and sour bile crept once more into the back of the waiting man’s throat. The solid presence of the tyre lever should have been a comfort, but he found himself wishing he’d left it where it was; before he could even draw it into the open, Lumsden would have that baton out and extended, it would be just the excuse he needed.
He lifted his chin. ‘I need to talk to him.’
‘He doesn’t do talking,’ Lumsden said. ‘Not once the agreement’s been signed.’
‘Well if he wants his money he’s going to have to.’ He sounded stronger than he felt, even over the Beamer’s running engine, and that in turn bolstered his confidence. He met Lumsden’s eyes with something approaching calm.
Lumsden smiled, looking more shark-like than ever in the headlights as he passed in front of his car and came closer. ‘Are you going to bring your account up to date, or am I going to have to remind you who’s in charge here?’
‘If I can’t talk to him, maybe I can talk to you? Look, if you’re prepared to wait, I could cut you in…give you extra, when I’ve got it, to keep for yourself.’ He could feel the sweat, both on his palms and cooling on his temples as the wind blew into his face.
Lumsden studied him for a moment, then shook his head. ‘William said you’d try that one.’ He unclipped the nightstick in a disturbingly leisurely motion and flicked it to full length. ‘Now—’
‘Take my car!’ He hated the harsh desperation in his voice, but couldn’t hide it.
‘That pile of shit?’
‘You can tell Kilbride I never turned up, and then—’
‘Shut up.’
‘I’ll not even report it stolen.’
‘I said shut up!’
He did. He watched the debt collector, feeling all his muscles tense to the point of aching, and wondered where the first blow would land. He folded his arms tightly across his chest and felt the outline of the tyre lever under his right hand, but there was still no way he could draw it out before the stick put him out of action.
Kilbride’s man was still watching him, his face all shadows in his car’s headlights, rain falling on his lashes, but he didn’t blink. He gave that smile again, the one that elongated his mouth but touched no other part of his face, then he stepped back and made his way around to the open door of his car.
‘It’s your lucky night,’ he said, twirling the stick. ‘I was just instructed to pass on a message, should you prove difficult.’
‘Whatever he wants.’ The man followed him, all caution fled in his relief. ‘What is it? Tell him I’m getting the money together right—’
‘You talk too much. And back off – you’re crowding me.’
‘Sorry.’ He stopped a few feet away and quashed the urge to ask again what the price of his reprieve would be.
Lumsden seemed to be thinking hard about his next words. Trying to recall the exact message from Kilbride? Or maybe he just enjoyed screwing with people’s heads. His phone beeped, he ignored it. Then he shrugged.
‘Mr Kilbride says that if I go back empty-handed, he’ll take something of yours to the value. Or possibly a teensy bit more.’ His smile was thin as he laid his hand on the door of his car, then he turned away. ‘Isn’t it traditionally accepted that the sons must pay for the sins of their fathers?’
The clang of the tyre lever hitting the ground, some unknowable time later, brought the man out of the howling tunnel into which Lumsden’s words had driven him. He stared, numb, as the steel bar bounced twice on the gravelled ground and came up against the sprawled leg of Kilbride’s debt collector, and then he dropped to his knees, vaguely aware of the sting of tiny stones through his jeans.
Hands clenched on his own thighs to keep from touching anything, he forced himself to look at Lumsden, slumped half in and half out of his car, and he wasn’t sure whether he was hoping for a sign of life or not. But there was nothing. Lumsden’s head lay twisted on the car seat, where he had been struck down even as he scrabbled for safety. Streams of blood pooled in the open eyes and ran in rivulets down over cheekbone and jaw; the rain diluted it and sent it moving faster, dripping into the open mouth and staining the teeth.
The killer—he was no more or less than that now—stood up and stumbled away from the two vehicles, until their light no longer illuminated the blood on his hands. How often had he hit Lumsden? Once? Twice? More? Christ, he couldn’t even remember. And what now? What if someone had driven by, while he was lost in the throes of whatever it was that had consumed him, and seen what was happening? Taken his number plate? Taken photos, or even a video on their phone?
He tucked his hands under his armpits and sat on the grass at the edge of the viewing point, staring up at the lumpen masses above him as if they held all the answers. But even the skittish moon abandoned him as he watched, and the Sisters were absorbed into the black void above them. As another car passed by, he belatedly came to his senses; there was no chance he would have been Lumsden’s only appointment tonight; no-one would come out here for one lousy collection. The next car might well be the next pickup.
He stood up again, on shaking legs, and gingerly picked up the tyre lever from the puddle of rain and blood in which it lay. He laid it quietly back in its footwell, and, leaving the BMW untouched and its engine still running, he drove home.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up these books and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, R.D. Nixon.

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!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : The Pain of Strangers #ThePainOfStrangers – Andrew Barrett @AndrewBarrettUK

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Pain of Strangers Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Pain of Strangers’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Andrew Barrett Author PhotoAndrew Barrett has been a CSI since 1996, and one way or another, Andrew’s life has revolved around crime ever since.
In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 150,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.
Today, Andrew still produces authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post and interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.
He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals, and administers justice. Eddie’s series is six books and four novellas in length, and there’s still more to come.
Andrew has recently discovered the delights of writing stand-alones, with one under his belt another under way.
He is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

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Synopsis :

The Pain of Strangers Book CoverWhen damaged people reach positions of power, there is no hope for the innocent.
In 1987, Norton Bailey became known as the Madman of Mabgate. A damaged person in a position of power, he built a machine to take care of his problems and used money as bait.
CSI Eddie Collins is feeling alone and adrift. Even work is unreliable and tense, and brings conflict with bad people. One damaged person in particular seeks to choose how Eddie, and the victims he tries to protect, will die.
Is there still no hope for the innocent?
Forensic evidence has always lit up the way, but now the light shines dimly. It’s just bright enough to illuminate the fight of Eddie’s life.

Amazon UK
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Amazon AUS

Q&A :

Hi

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?
Hello, everyone. My name is Andrew Barrett (please, call me Andy), and I live in West Yorkshire with my wife, Sarah, and our two daughters, Ellie and Lottie. We have two dogs – a German shepherd called Boomer (or dickhead, if he’s raided the bin again), and a fox terrier called Basil.
I work in West Yorkshire too. I am a CSI for West Yorkshire Police and have been since 1996.
I used to write for pleasure – horror novels, and some fantasy stuff, but was never serious about it. I tried to get publishers interested but they threatened me with legal action so concentrated on enjoying my writing and learning how to do it properly.
After joining the police, I thought it an obvious transition to begin writing crime thrillers, and I did, beginning with A Long Time Dead, and featuring SOCO (Scenes of Crime Officer) Roger Conniston. I loved it, and haven’t stopped since.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
One thing you should know about me is that I have a really bad memory. I think it’s something to do with all the aluminium fingerprint powder I use. So that’s my excuse for not giving you a long list of books I loved as a kid. There are a few that do stand out, however. I wonder if you’ve read them too: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The Secret Garden. These were books from when I was really young – when the world was still in black and white. Guess what I bought last month? Yup, The Secret Garden. I bought several other classics that I never read as a kid but felt I should have – Lord of the Flies, for one.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I have an admiration for an author who doesn’t write in the modern crime thriller genre, but who does write compelling historical fiction – Bernard Cornwell. I was smitten by his writing after reading his Winter King Trilogy – an Arthurian story – and have become a fan of his. I would like to know how he manages to create engaging characters in a huge number of books without seeming to repeat them. I’m currently creating book seven in the CSI Eddie Collins series, and I have to constantly check myself for fear of using the same simile or metaphor that I’ve used in previous books.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Let me be selfish here, and invite my own character, Eddie Collins. On his Facebook Page, he’s always calling me Spangly Carrot, and mocking me for making his life so hard. I want to sit him down, give him a good meal, a good drink, and explain myself to him – and also to apologise for being so mean. Once I was satisfied that he understood my reasons, I’d kick him out and tell him to grow up!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
A few, yes. I always write in Candara, 11pt. I find Times New Roman difficult to read sometimes, and Arial and Calibri a little too bland. Candara is like a holiday for your eyes. Yes, I converted your questions to Candara before I began answering them 😉
During the editing process, I always use a red Bic pen, fine point. I cram a lot of notes into the margins, and this pen is great to read, even in my tiniest and scruffiest handwriting.
I also used to have a green hoodie. I wore that each time I wrote until the cuffs frayed and fell apart and the elbows wore through. Gone to hoodie heaven now.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I had to declare my business interest to West Yorkshire Police, and they granted me permission to be a writer so long as I didn’t include any true victims in my books. I’ve stuck to that but have never found it difficult to come up with my own anyway.
I have created somewhere in the region of 300 characters, and only one of them has any passing resemblance to a living person. In The Third Rule was a nasty, slimy git called Stuart, and he was based on someone I used to work with (he’s retired now). I chose to do that because I had a real dislike for this man, and that transferred across nicely into the narrator and Eddie disliking Stuart, too. So I used that dislike as a tool rather than to expose him, and I think the book is better for it.
Only once has a full novel idea dropped out of the sky and into my lap. You should have seen me scrabbling around for a pen! As it was, I dictated most of it before the memory of it evaporated. That book became known to me as 1977 and features an old man in home who… nah, not telling. Other than that, I only ever little bits of ideas, and I have to grow a full book from them. Not easy, but fun. Most of the time.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a pantser all the way. I get my head down with only a rough idea of where the story should be going, and I don’t stop until I get there. But that’s when I begin to scratch my head and wish I’d made some kind of plan. That’s when I sit down with a sheet of A3 and a pencil and make up a flow chart detailing what’s happened and what options are open to me to get the writing flowing again. I choose the option that’s the most realistic while trying to maintain a good pace.
I’m writing CSI Eddie Collins book seven right now, and I’m just heading in the direction I need to take it, but will, at some point soon, have to make a bit of a roadmap. This will be a complicated book with a few sub-plots, so I need to help myself out with it.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Indeed!
Do not rush. If you rush your book and rush to publish, you will regret it. Take your time, make sure the book is the right one to begin a series with, make sure it’s as good as you can get it – no matter who you have to rope in to make sure that happens.
What do I mean by that comment about series? I created Eddie Collins to appear in a standalone book called The Third Rule. This book was a forensic crime thriller with an unintentional dose of politics in the background. I liked the character so much that I wrote a crime thriller series for him. Then I regretted having The Third Rule as the series opener – because of the political flavours in it – and so I’ve had to cut it free and have written The Pain of Strangers as the new, replacement, series opener.
Do not rush.
Do beware of genre constraints. I wrote The Third Rule as a 260k word epic. I let myself go and wrote to please myself. In general, a crime thriller is about 90k words, and although readers enjoy a unique story, they do not like really big books (usually).

What are your future plans as an author?
My future plans are probably the same as most authors: to do it full-time. I’m still a full-time CSI for West Yorkshire Police, and while I find it very rewarding, satisfying, and challenging, and while I am very proud indeed to work for WYP, I really want to wake up each morning and write.
I think about writing the very moment I wake up, and it’s the last thing I think of before I close me eyes. Yes, I really am that obsessed by it.
As a writer, I have several more novels in the pipeline for Eddie, and I have a couple of standalones I want to write, and even more novellas and shorts, too. All I need now is the time to write them.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course: I couldn’t choose between these two, so I’ve put them both in.
Here’s the opening chapter:

Maureen Bailey hurried through Leeds city centre; a see-through umbrella kept the drizzle away but it couldn’t shield her from the nerves she felt. Her face was pale, the lips she licked constantly looked like ones stolen from a corpse, and her heart threatened to stop working right then and see her drop to the wet pavement like a sack of—
“Mummy, slow down.”
“Mum, is this really necessary?”
Maureen stopped dead and stared at her children. She took a breath, and shut out the noise of the crowds and the noise of rain pummelling the umbrella. “I can’t slow down, Libby. I need to be somewhere in,” she flicked her sleeve up her arm and glanced at her watch, “fifteen minutes. I have an appointment.” She stood a little straighter, a little taller and her gaze met Norton’s eyes. “I don’t know what you think you know, but this is very important. To me, I mean. And it’s important to you, to both of you; it’s for your futures, so you need to cooperate; yes?” She glared at them both. “And you need to keep this to yourselves.”
“Keep what to ourselves?”

And here’s one from a few chapters in. It features Eddie and Benson, and a dead body:

The noise of rain on the tent roof was loud enough to have them shouting to each other across a body and four yards of wet pavement. Benson stood rigidly in one corner wearing the largest scene suit Eddie had in his van, and even then it looked like it had been sprayed on. Every time he breathed in his eyes bulged a little.
Eddie put the camera aside and knelt next to the body. The kid was maybe twenty-five years old, shoulder length brown hair, tattoos on his knuckles: left was ‘love’, right was also ‘love’. He loved everyone, apparently. Eddie acknowledged that, and asked, “Do we know who he is yet?”
“I asked him. He ignored me.”
“I’ll do that too if you don’t treat this with some respect.”
Benson coloured up and cleared his throat. “No. We don’t know who he is yet.”

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Andrew Barrett.

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!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : Hangman’s End (DI Jack MacIntosh #5) – Michelle Kidd @AuthorKidd @QuestionPress

– ‘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 ‘Hangman’s End’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Michelle Kidd Author PhotoMichelle Kidd is a self-published author best known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels set in London. She has also recently begun a new series which is set in her home town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – starring Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle.
Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.
But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.
In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and has not looked back since. There are currently four DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fifth in progress, and the first DI Nicki Hardcastle novel is due for release in August 2021.
Michelle now works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order.

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Synopsis :

Two bodies.
One bridge.
Twenty years apart.
The discovery of two bodies beneath London Bridge plunges DI Jack MacIntosh and his team at the Metropolitan Police into two of the most complex investigations they’ve ever had to deal with.
With two decades separating them, can the cases really be linked?
Having an intense dislike for coincidences, Jack can’t let it go.
And when evidence then emerges pointing to a 1989 cold case, Jack is transported back in time to a miscarriage of justice that has haunted him for quarter of a century – and back to a little girl he vowed never to forget.
As two cases turn into three, becoming more and more entwined, will the river finally give up its secrets?
Maybe.
Because sometimes the dead can speak.

Amazon UK
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Q&A :

Hi

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?
Hi! I’m Michelle, and I currently live in Suffolk – although I was born and brought up not far away in Cambridge. I live with my daughter and my tabby cat, Livi. Those that are familiar with my DI Jack MacIntosh books will know that Livi features in that series as a rescue tabby cat (much like Livi was!). She loves being in my books and will always have a nose at what I am writing, just to be sure she’s still in there! I work full time for the NHS at my local hospital – I dream of being a fulltime author one day! I have always written, ever since I knew how to hold a pen – but I didn’t publish my first book until 2018.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I always had my head in a book! I grew up on Enid Blyton. I loved reading the Famous Five books, and then the Mallory Towers and St Clare’s books. When I was about nine I was pony mad so I would read anything that had a picture of a horse on the front! But if it was a book, I would read it! I also read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy in my early teens, and those are books that I will still go back and read now. I also got into Stephen King in my early teens and he is an author I still look forward to reading now.
As an adult I mostly read crime fiction and crime thrillers – with the occasional chick lit thrown in! I love Harry Potter, though, and can read those books time and time again.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I think I would pick Stephen King’s brain! He is an amazing writer. I loved his horror books when I was a teenager. He is so multi talented that he crosses over through so many different genres, not just the horror books that he started out on. He is an amazing story teller – so I would like to ask him how he gets his ideas and how he plots such amazing storylines!

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 either Dumbledore or Snape from the Harry Potter books! As I mentioned, I loved the books and I also love watching the films. I think they are one of the very few examples that have made a decent film out of a book! I’d like to explore their friendship, which I think is intriguing. Throughout the books you are led to believe that Snape is a bad guy and it’s not until the final book that you discover this might not be the case and he has this friendship with Dumbledore. It was a great twist!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I have to have peace and quiet. And Livi sits on my legs to make sure I don’t move and go and do something else!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
My ideas just pop int my head at random moments! I always have a notepad close by to jot things down.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I generally plot – but only in stages. I don’t plot the whole book out in one go. I start with a general storyline and plot a few scenes. Once those scenes are written, other ideas come into my head so I plot a few more scenes. None of my scenes are written in order – so I may well start with the opening scene but I may move onto some scenes in the middle or towards the end next. I then fill in the gaps. It sounds quite chaotic but it works!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read! I always feel the best writers are also prolific readers. And trust your own judgement and gut insticnts. Write what you want to write, not what you think you should write.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To keep writing. And maybe give up the day job!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

Time: 1.00am
Date: Saturday 3rd September 1994
Location: The End of the Road Public House, London SE1

The idea came to him in the middle of the night. He knew he needed to move her – she was starting to smell – and although no one usually came up here, he was pretty sure they would when the stench reached downstairs.
Nobody had missed her yet, which had been a blessing. She’d not been due to work another shift in the pub for a few days after their brief encounter, so no one had raised the alarm as to her absence. But he knew that as soon as she didn’t turn up for work on Monday, then questions would be asked.
But he’d already thought of that.
Narelle’s keys sat on the bedside table, where she’d left them with her rucksack. He knew where her flat was – it wouldn’t take long. He could be there and back during his break.
But first of all, he needed to get rid of her.
The pub kitchen downstairs had a variety of knives, and he quickly selected the set chef used to cut the meat for the carvery on Sundays. He didn’t get it completely right, he knew that – and it was much harder than he’d thought. He’d dragged her over into the small tin bath that sat in the tiny bathroom. It had still taken him most of the night but at least the bath helped to contain much of the mess. At one point he’d had to go back down to the kitchen and find the large, butcher-style meat cleaver.
Eventually, the job was done. Wiping the blood from his brow, he let his eyes rest on Narelle’s crudely dismembered body and gave a rueful smile. Not his finest work, but it would have to do.
He hadn’t found it as stomach churning as he’d expected, instead finding himself curiously detached from the whole process. Even when he’d stared deeply into those ocean-blue eyes of hers while detaching her head from her body, he’d felt nothing.
Glancing at his watch, he noticed it was almost seven o’clock and the sky outside had lightened. Pretty soon the kitchen staff would be arriving to make preparations for the lunches – and then the bar staff would saunter in.
So he would need to be quick.
It took him several trips to bring Narelle downstairs.
The head, legs and arms had been relatively easy – once he’d got the hang of tucking a limb under each arm. But it was the torso that caused him the most trouble. Narelle didn’t look like she weighed much, and probably didn’t, but by the time he’d figured out how to carry her without dripping blood everywhere, he’d been sweating profusely.
It was a good job no one else rented any of the rooms above the pub – imagine what questions he might have faced if anyone had caught him on the stairs.
Now standing outside in the rear courtyard, he smiled at the thought. It was quite funny in an Ealing comedy kind of way.
Gerard pulled on a cigarette and inhaled the smoke deep into his lungs. He didn’t normally smoke – but today he felt like he needed one. Felt like he deserved one. Leaning up against the open kitchen door, he took another deep drag on the cigarette and gazed over at Narelle.
He’d chosen the wheelie bin closest to the exit onto the road. That would help with the final part of the plan. Looking out across the courtyard towards the bins, he couldn’t help but let his smile widen. The flies were buzzing around as usual, but even they didn’t yet know what delicacies lay within; something different to their usual offerings of rotten vegetable peelings and old meat bones.
He felt another chuckle brewing.
Poor Narelle. She just didn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. She’d been nice enough at the start – quite sweet, really – and she’d had an accent to die for. He knew he’d caught her eye when she’d first arrived; he could tell. But that night she’d overstepped the mark.
No one laughed at Gerard.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Michelle Kidd.

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!

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #QandAs : Birth Rite #BirthRite – Anthony Steven @GaryTwigg1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Birth Rite Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Birth Rite’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Anthony Steven Author PhotoI mainly write horror and paranormal thrillers although I am probably the most squeamish of people when it comes to watching horror movies and normally watch the scary parts through my fingers. Why I write in this genre of fiction is therefore quite ironic, but I’ve always been attracted to horror and thrillers in all their forms, whether on print or large and small screen. I have early memories of secretly watching Appointment With Fear with my older brother on an old black-and- white portable TV on Monday night’s when we should have been asleep. The image of Christopher Lee crashing through French windows in the first Hammer Horror Dracula movie, with blood on his fangs chills me to this day!
Predictably, I am a huge fan of Stephen King, but also love writers such as Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, CJ Tudor and James Herbert. When I was a kid, I was fascinated and enthralled by Robert E Howard’s sword-and-sorcery tales of Conan The Barbarian and several other creations, and then by Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series. These stories really fuelled my imagination and made me want to write my own stuff. When my older brother introduced me to Stephen King, I was soon lost in even darker worlds and I haven’t wanted to come out of them ever since. My books are, therefore, quite disturbing, gory at times, but I try to also litter them with characters who, while flawed, display the finer human qualities such as bravery, loyalty, and above all love of other people above themselves. I hope that you think that I have succeeded in this.
In my normal life I work for a charity that supports blind and partially-sighted people and I am also a qualified psychotherapist. This is all after spending twenty-five years in the private sector, where I wasn’t just unfulfilled, but also monumentally bored. Working with people directly to help them solve their own problems was definitely a better fit for me.
I live in Cheshire with my wonderfully patient wife and our small dog, Bailey, who loves nothing better than cuddles, food, and waiting until I’m relaxed of an evening before she demands some attention.

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Synopsis :

Birth Rite Book CoverNine-year-old David Ryan is in mortal danger. He has a deadly secret that is unknown even to himself. But there is someone that does know: a relentless killer born of hatred, who draws upon dark powers to destroy God’s chosen ones.
As David grows into a troubled teenager, he has to confront the truth about himself to have any hope of stopping the malignant spread of evil that is engulfing his small town. He must accept his birth-rite, or the whole world will burn.

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Q&A :

Hi

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 live in Cheshire, England and work for a charity that supports people with sight loss. I live with my wife, Mary, and Bailey, a small dog with a massive personality. I also have many grandchildren and even a great granchild, although I don’t consider myself to be particularly old! Like a lot of writers, I have been writing on and off since I was a child, and have lots of short stories in my virtual trunk. I’ve now written three full-length novels, but only seriously thought about publishing them in the last couple of years, which I now have. I also have my own author website and send monthly newsletters to my email subscribers.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I loved the Narnia books by CS Lewis and remember devouring them as a child. I loved lots of other fantasy books as I got older, such as Lord of The Rings, The Sword of Shannarra and the works of Robert E. Howard, which included Conan The Barbarian. As an older teen I outgrew sword and sorcery fiction to a large extent and graduated to horror. My favourite writers to date are Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Joe Hill and CJ Tudor.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Predictably, Stephen King.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own books I’d invite psychic Nick Ballard to see if he could read my mind. My favourite fictional character apart from this is The Gunslinger, the hero of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although I’m not quite sure that he would be the perfect guest for an afternoon spot of tea and snacks.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. Apart from writing the first draft as quickly as possible and then editing at a more leisurely pace. I always let my wife read the finished article first, as she’s my Ideal Reader.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
In the past, people in my life had read my stuff and then looked at me in a different light, I think, as normally I’m the most placid and easy-going person, or so I like to think. It’s funny about ideas. I’ve got a series about a psychic and a policewoman who solve murders in London, and I don’t really know where that came from. My horror novel, Birthrite, is largely derivative of my childhood, so I absolutely know where that came from. Shorter stories seem to come from random ideas and images that develop into stories. For example, I often see people standing on motorway footbridges, looking at the traffic as it passes beneath them. From this, I came up with a short story called The Bridge People.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I have a basic structure of a story, but that can often change as I write, so in that way I suppose I’m a bit of a pantser.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I think that as novice writers we can develop some bad habits without realising. When I loved all things Robert E. Howard, I probably wrote as a third-rate version of him and the same with Stephen King. I engaged with an organisation called Jericho Writers who helped me to find my own voice and iron out some of those bad habits.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m currently writing book three in my psychic/policewoman trilogy, and I’m also compiling an anthology of my short stories, which are all of the horror or thriller genres.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

At the other end of the platform, a tall, dark figure waited. It began to move forward, and David saw a pale glitter of steel in the uncertain glow of the streetlights. Thoughts of his father were swept away. The Bogeyman had come for him; The Bad Man, The Monster. It punished children who strayed or misbehaved; took sweets from strangers or wet the bed, and now it was here at last. The old stories were all true. He was unable to move or even dislodge the scream that was building in his throat. He was going to die, and God couldn’t save him.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Anthony Steven.

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!

#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : Eloping With The Laird – Jeanine Englert @JeanineWrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

– ‘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 ‘Eloping With The Laird’ 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 :

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. 

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

A man she can trust …
With her life … and her heart?
Ordered by her father to choose a husband by the end of the Highland Games—or he will select one for her—widow Moira Fraser hastily elopes with Rory McKenna, Laird of Blackmore. But they soon discover neither is free of the past. Rory has a price on his head and needs an heir as soon as possible, and Moira’s horrible first marriage has left her afraid of letting her new husband get close …

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Q&A :

Hi

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 wanted to be a published author since I was 8 years old. I wrote poetry and short stories, but it wasn’t until 2013 when I joined Romance Writers of America that I became serious about trying to become a published author. In 2019, I published my first book, a Victorian romantic suspense, Lovely Digits with Soul Mate Publishing. Then, in May of 2021, I published my first historical romance, The Highlander’s Secret Son, with Harlequin/Mills & Boon.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I have always loved to read, and my parents used to take me to the library to get the max number of books I could for the summer reading program. My favorites when I was young were Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. I still love to read mysteries, like the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber, and of course romance. My favorite romance authors are Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, and Mary Jo Putney.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to talk at length with Jayne Anne Krentz. Not only do I love her Amanda Quick books, but I’ve loved every writing session I’ve heard her speak at and learned something new every time.

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 am currently obsessed with Adam Dalgleish from the Dalgleish tv series based on the P. D. James’ novels. I would love to chat over tea with him. A poet and a detective? What an amazing combination.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I use music to plot many of my scenes, and I write best early in the morning (like 4-5am early) with just my lamp on, several cups of black coffee, and my eldest pup sleeping beside me.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The ideas I get are often triggered by a meshing of something in my current environment with something that’s been spooling up in my imagination without me even knowing it. And I never know when it will finally push itself to the forefront of my mind. None of my characters are related directly to the people in my life, but some of them do share traits. 😊

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I have tried so hard to be more of a plotter, but I’m not. I am a full blown pantser. Even when I attempt to plot, the characters often drive me in a different direction as the book goes on.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
1) Finish the book; don’t keep editing the first few chapters over and over again.
2) Just because an agent or publisher says yes to you doesn’t mean you have to say yes to them. Pick the agent and publisher that are right for you.
3) Stay in your own lane. Do not worry about what other authors are doing or you will lose your purpose and your joy.
4) Listen to your books as you edit.
5) Edit from the end of the book to the beginning.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To be open to whatever opportunities come my way with my writing! Also, there are two more books in the Falling for a Stewart Series coming out with Harlequin Historical. Book 2, The Lost Laird from Her Past, is coming out in July 2022.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course!
Set up: In this scene from chapter 2, our hero Rory McKenna responds to widow Moira Fraser’s statement that he is her first choice for a husband. Since, it is well known throughout the Highlands that he is ill and expected to succumb to the dreaded curse that has claimed his ancestors, he is surprised by her response and inquires as to her intentions.

First?
Rory McKenna had never been anyone’s first choice for anything, let alone a woman’s first choice for a husband. ‘I’m sorry, did you say I was your first choice?’
‘Aye,’ she answered. ‘My brother Ewan has apprised me of some of the other…options for a husband, but I believe you and I would suit one another, quite well actually.’
‘How could you possibly know that when we’ve never met before?’
She hesitated and a slight flush rose in her cheeks. ‘Because you are dying, my laird.’
What did one say to that?
‘And here I believed you might be intrigued by my title, estate or good looks,’ he teased, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘I must say I have never met anyone quite like you, Mrs Fraser.’
Her blush deepened and her shoulders rolled in, reminding him of a raven tucking in its wings. ‘You must think me a horrible person. Now that I’ve said it aloud, I realise how awful it sounds. I don’t wish for you to die, my laird. I’m not that kind of person. Truly.’
He studied her for a moment. Though she didn’t seem that kind of person, one could never tell, could they?
‘Your logic intrigues me,’ he stated. ‘Why do you wish to marry a dying man? How could that possibly benefit you?’ He angled his body closer to her, hoping she would open up once more. He didn’t quite know if he should believe her or not. She had just absorbed a hard fall. Her logic could be impaired.
‘My laird, I have no fantasy of love. Mostly I wish to have a simple, peaceful life and future of my own choosing, but as a woman that is not an option. If I must select a husband, then knowing it will not be for long…would be strangely comforting.’ She shifted on the timber as she stared out in the distance, her features flat and pale.
Something deep inside him shifted, and his body tightened; his initial shadowy thoughts about her reservations to remarry came into sharper focus. What had happened to her? He wished to reach out and touch her, comfort her, protect her, but he ran his open palms down his trews instead. He didn’t trust himself. He had little to offer her and from the looks of it she deserved everything.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Jeanine Englert.

Giveaway :

Warm up with a Scottish Highland Giveaway! (Open to UK / US)
Cozy up with a beautiful cashmere scarf made in Scotland, some book swag, and a Scottish Blessings bracelet while you read my latest Highlander romance, Eloping with the Laird! I hope you enjoy this first book in the Falling for a Stewart series! Happy reading!

*Terms and Conditions – UK & US entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 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.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

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!

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : A Nose for Mischief (Riverbend K-9s Book 1) – K.T. Lee @KTLeeWrites

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

AS9CSB5A

Today I’m on the ‘A Nose for Mischief’ 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 :

HOcyxHHQK.T. Lee is a writer, mom, and engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. She’s the author of multiple books, including those in the Riverbend K-9 Series and The Calculated Series.
Find out more and get the latest updates (and a free prequel novella!) at her website or follow K.T. on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Synopsis :

LUiLytrAWhen materials engineer Zoey Butler lands her dream job at Future State Energy, she believes her research in renewable energy will make headlines. Unfortunately for her, she’s right. Zoey is working on her latest experiment when FBI Special Agent Alexis Thompson and her K-9 partner, Waffle, raid Future State and arrest the head of the development for fraud. Zoey helps the FBI find answers in the aftermath, but she soon finds herself jobless and unemployable. Desperate and out of options, she reaches out to Alexis, the one person who knows Zoey was duped like everyone else.
Liam Graham is an FBI special agent and instructor at Riverbend K-9 Academy. When Alexis brings in a new recruit with an unusual background, Liam pairs her up with Tasha, a dog in need of a handler to stay in their competitive program. Zoey is thrilled to put her past behind her and give the mischievous rescue dog her own second chance. However, shortly after she arrives, the FBI realizes the Future State case is far from closed. And Zoey may be the key to solving it.
Zoey offers to go back to Future State to help the FBI end things once and for all. Only this time, she’ll have Liam and Tasha for backup. But, the problems at Future State are more explosive than any of them suspect.

Purchase Links:
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Barnes and Noble

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Of course! Thank you for having me! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am an engineer by day and a writer by night (or whenever I can fit it in). I’ve been an avid bookworm for many years and slowly began to find myself thinking about what I might do differently if I wrote the story when I was reading books. Then, one night, I just started writing – and I haven’t stopped yet!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As I type this, I’m sitting next to my bookshelf of old favorites – Sherlock Holmes, Michael Crichton, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain. I’ve always read a mix of literature and my tastes have evolved to a mix of genres, traditionally published and indie authors, fiction and non-fiction. Mary Roach, Kate Danley, Julia Quinn, Russell Munroe, and Bill Bryson to name a few. How much space do I have to answer this question…?

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
This is a great question! I’d love to sit down with Mary Roach or Bill Bryson to talk about how they do research – they both have this way of conducting deep learning about a non-fiction topic and making it read like page-turning fiction.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my books – Alexis Thompson – she’s a tough-as-nails FBI agent who also cares a great deal about her team. To me, Alexis is your best friend who has your back but isn’t afraid to kick you in the butt when you need it.
From someone else’s – Elizabeth Bennet. I mean, how do you not love her?

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I write whenever and wherever I can get the words on the page! I do love a glass of wine when I’m drafting as a special treat because writing into the blank unknown is always the hardest part of writing for me. And coffee for the momentum when I am editing a book from start to finish.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
LOL! I never write a bad character based on someone I know. I don’t need that kind of stress in my life. I will occasionally pull a character trait I’ve seen somewhere and use that as a jumping-off point to create an entirely different character, but I make sure the character doesn’t come close to anyone I know. Particularly since there is a bit of romance in my books – that would feel way too weird for me!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Both! Because my books are so character-driven, I have an idea of where the story is going but sometimes when I put the characters together in a scene, that idea doesn’t make sense anymore. For the story to work, I have had to learn to go with the flow. Probably a good lesson to learn for this planning addict.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I think it would be to pace yourself. You don’t have to do everything all at once, you just have to keep improving. My mantra is “progress, not perfection.” And it’s a good one for this recovering perfectionist. 🙂

What are your future plans as an author?
As long as people are reading, I’ll keep writing! There is a lot more to come in the Riverbend K-9 Series, starting with Zoey’s sister, Elise, in An Ear for Trouble. She’s going to flex her skills in wildlife biology to find a criminal at the conservation center in Riverbend.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
After an FBI raid implodes her research career at Future State Energy, Zoey Butler starts a new life at the Riverbend K-9 Academy with the only people who realize she was a victim, and not a perpetrator of the crimes that led to the raid. However, as Zoey settles into Riverbend, it becomes apparent that the trouble at her old company is far from over. And she may be the key to stopping it before it becomes explosive.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, K.T. Lee.

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!

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 / #QandAs : Strangers’ Kingdom – Brandon Barrows @BrandonBarrows @brwpublisher

– ‘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 ‘Strangers’ Kingdom’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Brandon Barrows is the author of the novels STRANGERS’ KINGDOM, BURN ME OUT, and THIS ROUGH OLD WORLD. He has published over seventy stories, selected of which are collected in the books THE ALTAR IN THE HILLS and THE CASTLE-TOWN TRAGEDY. He is an active member of Private Eye Writers of America and International Thriller Writers and was a 2021 Mustang Award finalist.

Website

Synopsis :

Title: Strangers’ Kingdom
Publication Date: August 25th, 2021
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Politically blacklisted detective Luke Campbell’s last chance in law-enforcement is a job with the police department of rural Granton, Vermont. It’s a beautiful town, home to a beautiful, intriguing girl who’s caught his eye, and it’s a chance at redemption. Even if his new boss seems strange, secretive, and vaguely sinister, Campbell is willing to give this opportunity a shot. And no sooner does he make that decision than the first in a series of murders is discovered, starting a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone in this once-quiet town…

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Q&A :

Hi

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 been writing stories for my own enjoyment pretty much as long as I can remember. About twelve-thirteen years ago, an opportunity arose and I started writing comic books professionally. Eventually, I transitioned to (or perhaps back to is a better way to put it), writing prose.
I still write comic books now and again, and have roughly a hundred individual issues’ worth to my name, but mostly I write crime, mystery, and western short stories and novels now.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
When I was a kid, I was really big into JRR Tolkein. I read The Hobbit first when I was in third grade and then struggled through The Lord of the Rings trilogy in fourth and fifth. I had a teacher who encouraged my love of literature and loaned me a lot of classics like The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. They were pretty tough reads for a kid that age, but from there, I branched out and found my own loves, which included Robert Howard, Piers Anthony, and a lot of science fiction paperbacks.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point as an adult, I mostly stopped reading horror and fantasy and sci-fi (though I still do occasionally) and moved on to crime, mystery, and western fiction. Some of my all-time favorite authors in those genres are Gil Brewer, Ross MacDonald, and Louis L’Amour.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’m not sure. Honestly, most of my favorite authors are dead, which limits my choices, unless I delve into necromancy. If I could pick anyone, though, I’d be interested in talking to Ross MacDonald about plot construction. His Lew Archer novels have some of the most complicated, deeply layered mysteries I’ve ever encountered – often to the point where you might think, “He can’t possibly wrap this all up in the pages we’ve got left.” And yet he does, every time, and the solutions to his mysteries are always so logical that you’re left wondering how he managed to pull all those threads together so brilliantly.
Plot is the most difficult part of writing for me. I can draft prose until the cows come home, but I often struggled when it comes to the question of “What next?” or “How do I tie this all together?” Speaking with a true master of complex plotting would be very interesting to me.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Most of my characters are not people I’d want in my home truthfully, haha. If I chose one, though, I think Luke Campbell, the protagonist of my most recent novel, Strangers’ Kingdom, would probably make the best guest. He’s a lifelong professional detective and I’m sure he has plenty of interesting stories even I haven’t heard.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not rituals, per se. I like to write in as quiet an environment as possible, so no music or anything like that. I know many people keep the radio or TV on in the background while they work, but I find it distracting.
I do drink most of my coffee while writing, though, if that counts as a habit. I also spend a fair bit of time with my favorite online thesaurus, looking for alternatives to some of my most used words so I’m not repeating myself too often.
That’s pretty much how I write: quiet, coffee, and my trust thesaurus.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Well, no, I’ve only killed off a couple people I know in stories, and they were both crappy neighbors, so nobody I actually like will have to worry.
Ideas and plots can be tough for me. Often, titles pop into my head and I try to work out a story that will fit the title. I find, ironically, that I get my best ideas for novels when I’m working on a short story and vice versa, though. If I just sit around looking for ideas, I won’t find any, but if I’m occupied, whatever part of my subconscious is responsible for that stuff usually comes up with something or other.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
It depends. I would say 70% pantser, but as ideas come to me I often jot them down and arrange them into a semblance of an outline so I don’t forget them.
The only novel I’ve written entirely from an outline was Burn Me Out, my most hardboiled noir novel to date. That one the ideas came to me so quickly, I had to sit down for a couple days and just bullet stuff out. As I was doing that, bits of dialogue and descriptive passages came to mind and I added those, as well. By the time the outine was done, I had a really solid skeleton for the novel and the prose was very easy to write. The first draft only took about five weeks.
On the other hand, Strangers’ Kingdom took me close to three years, with a lot of breaks, because I kept coming to points in which I really had no idea what came next. I finally got sick doubting myself and just powered through, deciding that it didn’t matter what I put into a first draft, as long as I had a first draft. When I went back to it a few months later, I was quite pleased to discover that most of what I wrote during that period wasn’t bad at all.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Read a lot and write a lot.
Read everything until you know exactly what speaks to you personally. I’ve met many would-be authors that don’t seem to actually like reading that much, but like the idea of thinking of themselves as a writer. If you don’t like reading much, you won’t like writing, either.
And it should go without saying, but write as much as you can. A lot of people love the idea of their own stories, but don’t want to put in the work to craft them. Telling people about all your great ideas may temporarily scratch the storytelling itch, but it doesn’t amount to anything if you never write the book.

What are your future plans as an author?
To keep writing as much as possible, hopefully expand my audience. I have four novels either under consideration or under contract with publishers, so the next two years or so will be a pretty busy time.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure. How does this grab you?

When I arrived on Rosalie’s street, fifteen minutes after her call, I saw exactly who she was worried about and exactly why. He stood just outside the circle of light cast by a streetlamp, hanging around the mouth of an alley. I watched for a few minutes and he did nothing at all – not so much as light a cigarette, shuffle his feet or cough. He wasn’t worried about seen.
I exited the vehicle and approached.
Closer up, I could see he was a sickly thin young man, skin so pale it almost seemed to glow in the dimness. He wore a faded blue hooded sweatshirt that hung from him like laundry on a line and his hair was short, mussed and unwashed, making it look like blond barbed wire. I’d have bet his diet consisted largely of amphetamines.
The guy’s eyes, watchful and wary, scanned me as I approached. I flashed my badge and said, “Evening.” That was all it took. Those animal-alert eyes went wide and his fist swung out in an arc and then he was gone, rabbiting towards the nearest hole.
My feet pounded the pavement, echoing sharply in the narrow, trash-strewn space, all senses searching for signs of the danger I was rushing headlong into. Light beckoned from a short distance and after a moment, I burst out into the next street. Even the soft yellow glow of sodium lamps seemed brilliant after the pitch-dark of the alley and, as my eyes adjusted, I turned left then right, spotting a figure disappearing around the corner. I followed, telling myself I was being stupid, telling myself I should go back to Rosalie Stompanato’s, make sure she was all right, call it in, ask for additional officers, all while my feet took me closer to where I saw that retreating form.
I turned the corner, saw a flash duck around yet another corner. At the mouth of the alley, I allowed myself an instant’s rest before entering. Even from the street, it was clear this was a dead-end. There was nothing but darkness down this brick corridor – the alley was blocked up midway down.
I drew my weapon, fumbled in my coat pocket for my penlight, flicked it on, then aimed it and the weapon down the length of the alley, sweeping the narrow width of the space.
“C’mon out. There’s nowhere left to go.”
My heart pounded in my chest and there was a stitch in my side, but I felt good all the same. Stompanato’s intimidation failed, and I caught his crony in the act. Witness tampering charges would be a bonus year or two on Stompanato’s sentence.
There was a rustle behind a pile of discarded cardboard boxes. “Let’s go,” I commanded. “Now.”
The figure rose like a scarecrow in a concrete field, arms lifted in a half-hearted pose of surrender. I flicked the flashlight’s beam upwards; he shied away, blinded by the brilliance, his head turning and one arm flying up to protect his eyes. I shifted the light so I could hold both it and my weapon in my right hand then started forward, plucking a pair of handcuffs from my pocket. With my left hand, I reached for the man’s wrist. Up close, I could see he was barely more than a kid.
“You’re under arrest for disobeying a lawful command, resisting an officer and—“
I never got to finish.
The fist I’d narrowly avoided before thrust out again, catching me hard in the right shoulder, a wave of pain and shock jolting down the length of my arm. He was a lot stronger than his frailness suggested. He followed up with a two-handed push that sent me spinning off to one side, banging my other shoulder off of the rough stone wall of the alley, before rushing past, trying again to escape.
I threw out a hand, grabbing a fistful of his sweatshirt. It stopped him, but only long enough for him to half-turn and chop an open-handed blow down onto my elbow. Fresh pain skittered along my nerves, but I didn’t let go, instead raising my right hand, only to discover it was empty. Somewhere in those chaotic two or three seconds, I dropped my gun.
I cursed and struggled for a better grip on the kid’s clothing. He was thrashing wildly, yelling, “Let go! Let go!” his voice shrill and his mind going into panic mode. The decision between fight or flight was no longer his to make, but it seemed as if he was trying to choose both options simultaneously.
“Settle down! Cut it out, God damn it!” I snarled, freeing one hand to cuff him alongside the back of the neck, trying to startle him into a semblance of calm. “Nobody’s going to hurt you, but you’re digging yourself one hell of a hole!”
He ignored the words and continued to flail around. I tried to tackle him around the waist and ended up dragging both of us down to the filthy floor of the alley, where we rolled around for a few seconds, trading a punch a two. We were making enough noise that lights in the surrounding buildings came on. I hoped someone would have the sense to call 911, but even if they did, I knew nobody would arrive soon enough to help me get out of this. I was on my own.
Just as the thought flew through my head, the kid stopped moving. I allowed myself to hope he was coming to his senses at last. Then his hand shot out, straining to reach beyond my head, and when it came back into view, his fingers were wrapped around a chunk of brick the size of a small loaf of bread. He reared up, holding the thing above his head, prepared to end things between us. In the scant light of the nearly forgotten flashlight, his eyes looked huge and empty.
My own eyes flew all around, frantic, searching for a way out. The other man was straddling my chest and his knees kept me effectively pinned to the ground, but my arms were free and my fingers scrabbled across the rough, cold ground, searching for something, anything, to break this deadlock. They closed around something even colder, something metallic and familiar.
As the brick came down, my fist came up, and the explosion of noise and light only inches from my face all but knocked me senseless.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Brandon Barrows.

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