#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
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?
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.

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?
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 …

Purchase Link

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.

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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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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 : Bad Sweet Things #BadSweetThings – Maria Hoey @MariaHoey #SpellBoundBooks @SpellBoundBks

– ‘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 ‘Bad Sweet Things’ 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 :

Maria is an author and poet from Dublin, Ireland. Her poetry has appeared in Ireland’s foremost poetry publication, Poetry Ireland. Her short stories have featured in various publications and been shortlisted for a number of awards.
In 2017, Maria’s debut novel, The Last Lost Girl was published by Poolbeg Press, and went on to be shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien Debut Award 2018.
Maria’s second novel, On Bone Bridge was published by Poolbeg in 2018. She has also had a book for children published by Poolbeg in 2019, The Little Book of Irish Saints.
Bad Sweet Things was published in 2021 and listed in the Amazon Kindle Bestseller chart (Irish Crime).
Maria has one daughter, Rebecca, and lives in Portmarnock, Co Dublin, with her husband, Garrett, and their moustachioed cat, Midge.

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Synopsis :

Six women hunted by One:
Each receive a copy of an old school group photo, in which their own face has been savagely scratched out.
Within three weeks, two of them are dead.
A Detective in a race against time:
Known to her colleagues as the Hound, DS Tina Bassett believes the women were all murdered by the same person.
Someone out there is hunting down the class of 98 one by one.
As the death toll continues to rise , DS Bassett desperately delves deeper into the pasts of the women to help uncover the true catalyst to the unfolding rampage in the present.
Will she succeed in stopping a killer hell bent on having their revenge?
Or will the class of 98 finally pay their price ..

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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 grew up in Swords, a once (though not any longer) small town in North County Dublin, Ireland. I now live in Portmarnock, Co Dublin with my husband, Garrett. I have one daughter, Rebecca.
I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t scribbling. When I wasn’t reading, I was forever writing stories as a child, and making little books from them. I went on to write a lot of poetry (very bad poetry, I fear) in my teens and then moved on to short stories. Over the years I had some poems and short stories published by various magazines, as well as a little travel writing, and I won first prize in a local short story competition. I think finishing a runner-up in the Mslexia International Short Story competition was a game-changer for me. I really felt I had something. That was followed by a shortlisting in the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award.
I worked that story up into my first novel, The Last Lost Girl. I sent it off, (unsolicited) to three publishers. Two came back to me with interest and I finally signed with Poolbeg. The novel was published in July 2018 under their Crimson imprint. And I was off!

Which books did/do you love to rete te ad as a child/now as a grown-up?
I was addicted to Enid Blyton and moved on to Agatha Christie at about eleven years old. My Grandmother was a great Christie fan and I raided her bookshelves. I am still a huge Christie fan. I devour crime, especially PD James, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Val MacDiarmaid, Ann Cleeves, Jane Harper, Henning Mankel and other Scandi-noir authors. I also adore Tudor historical fiction, but I am also a 19th Century classics fan, especially the Brontes, Austen, Hardy, Trollope, Galsworthy. Also Daphne du Maurier, Anne Enright, Colm Tobin, William Trevor, I love good writing period.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love an hour or two with Dame Agatha Christie. I want to know where she got the ideas for those incredible plots. To this day, I don’t think anyone has outdone her.

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 would invite the character, Magpie, from my debute novel The Last Lost Girl. I don’t know where he came from and I am still fascinated by him. Also I want to ask him how things worked out for him after I finished writing the book…..
From another writer’s books, I would love to have tea with Hercule Poirot, but also with Inspector Morse. I love Poirot’s humour, I would also ask him why he insisted on wearing those tightly fitting patent shoes. I want to ask Inspector Morse what he thought of John Thaw portraying him in the TV series. I wonder if he loved that portrayal as much as I did. I also want to know if he was really as irrisitible to women as he seemed.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I get comfortable and I drink a lot of tea, that’s it really.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried?
My first book is about a missing teenager. I have always been fascinated by the subject of missing people. The unanswered questions their families and loved one are left with. I felt a real urge to explore that whole area.
With my second book, On Bone Bridge – the idea came from seeing a woman dandling a small child on a bridge over a fast flowing river. I remember thinking, what if the baby slipped or what if…
My latest book Bad Sweet Things grew out of my friend, Eileen, telling me that her primary school class were meeting up to retake a photo of them all as adults. They were going to recreate the original old photo by standing in the same place as they had all those years ago. I suddenly thought – oh, what if…. A lot of my ideas come from that what if.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser. I plotted a lot more for my latest book, Bad Sweet Things, but with the other two I was all over the place writing them, especially my debut. I don’t write in a linear way either – I jump from beginning to the end to the middle and back to the beginnning again. I wish I was more structured but I guess that’s the way it is with some writers.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t be a pantser be a plotter (unlike me)! Find your own voice, and write the kind of stuff you really want to write; writing for the market is soul-destroying unless the market at the moment happens to want the stuff you love to write.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To keep on writing. I want to publish a historical novel and I have two literary novels on the go too.

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

They say it is easier once you have done it once; murder, I mean. But actually, I did not find that to be the case. Firstly, I liked this one more than I had the other. Secondly, I didn’t have to use my own two hands to kill her. One might be forgiven for thinking that would have made it easier, but that wasn’t the case either. The car did the hard work for me, but there was that sound as it hit her; sickening really, then she was tossed into the air, and I half expected her to land on the roof. But she must have fallen to one side, because when I looked for her in the rear-view mirror, I could see a mound in the road. Driving away I kept wondering if she was dead or alive. I also found myself reflecting that, had she been an animal I had accidently struck, I’d have gone back to check, and, if necessary, put out of its misery. Except of course this hadn’t been an accident; I wanted her dead. And the truth is I never once wavered in my resolve to kill any one of them.

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

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 Evening’s Amethyst (A Nora Tierney English Mystery #5) #TheEveningsAmethyst #NoraTierney – M.K. Graff @GraffMarni

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

Today I’m on the ‘The Evening’s Amethyst’ 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 :

Marni Graff is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. The Evening’s Amethyst is the fifth in the Nora Tierney series. Her short story “Quiche Alain” is in the Agatha-winning Malice Domestic Anthology, Murder Most Edible.

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Synopsis :

Who is Verity?
That becomes a central question for American Nora Tierney, who has moved to her new Oxford home with her fiancé, DI Declan Barnes, and her young son.
Declan’s new case at Exeter College coincides with a frantic call from Nora’s stepsister, Claire Scott: a fellow graduate student has died in a fall, and Claire begs Nora to help her prove her friend didn’t commit suicide.
The sisters conduct their own snooping, while Declan and his team juggle this death with a cold case that proves to be more surprising than Declan could ever imagine.

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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 was a nurse who always wrote on the side for many years while I studied writing. I always knew one day I would write fiction full time, but during my 30-yr career I wrote for a nursing journal and published essays and poetry. My last nursing position as I was getting ready to retire was as a medical consultant for a NY movie studio—more on that later! When I left and started to write full-time, I knew mysteries would be my genre as they were the books I read and enjoyed the most. I’d previously taken a degree in English Lit, and studied different fiction forms, including mystery and novels at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Program. When I was invited to study one summer at Oxford University, a dream of mine, I gladly accepted and studied Gothic Literature. That cemented my decision to set my first series in England, with an American protagonist who lives there. I’ve never looked back and love that I am able to write full time now, with the new book, The Evening’s Amethyst, the fifth in that series, plus two in print in the new second series, The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I read at an early age and have been a voracious reader. I always loved Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames as a young reader, and discovered Agatha Christie quite early. That led me to the Golden Agers, like Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers. While I’ve read other fiction and non-fiction, the bulk of my reading has always centered on crime novels. I review crime books, so those are still the bulk of my reading, from psychological suspense and thrillers to police procedurals and pure mystery. Mine are cozy mysteries, both series a mix of police procedural and amateur sleuth, where the puzzle and a sense of resolution are the hallmarks.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
PD James was always my hero, Dame Agatha notwithstanding, and I was very fortunate to have met her and have had her in my life as a mentor and friend for the last fifteen years of hers, such a great gift to me. I was writing for Mystery Review magazine when I took that course in Oxford, and they sent me to her London townhouse to interview her. She was gracious and kind, offered advice to a budding crime novelist, and approved of the English series I had in mind. But when she heard of my position as a medical consultant for a movie studio, she made me promise that once I had a few of the English mysteries under my belt, I would start a second series set in Manhattan, and that the main character would be a nurse who had my job. She explained that readers love to see behind-the-scenes in an area they don’t know, and this certainly fit the bill. Once I had written three of the Noras, I brought out the first Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, Death Unscripted, and now alternate the two series.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Hmm, that’s a good question! While there are a lot of fictional characters I’d love to meet, and Adam Dalgliesh springs to mind, I think I’d like to have tea with DI Declan Barnes, Nora’s fiancé. I’d like to ask him how he views Nora and their life together, and how he juggles heading a detective team with Nora, her young son, their puppy and a new home! It would be good to get to know him better to make him jump off the page even more.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
When I’m actually writing, not researching or taking notes, I put on headphones and listen to music. I write at home and that shuts out the household noises of my husband and two dogs. It’s usually classical, as if I put on songs I tend to sing along. I will sometimes put on music that reflects the emotion of the scene I’m writing, too. I was writing a funeral scene once and played the Albinoni Adagio over and over, with its deep, brooding chords, and that put me in the proper frame of mind. Similarly, “Spring” from The Four Seasons is more upbeat. I also like music from the American Songbook: Sinatra, Clooney, Chet Baker particularly, but only when revising, or I’m distracted by the lyrics, but a little Beatles music is always good for polishing!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I watch a lot of crime shows, but mostly to learn of advances in forensics so I don’t screw something up. The plot ideas usually come to me out of my characters and where I want to take them next. I want readers to feel they are not reading the same book over and over, one reason I move Nora around so the settings aren’t the same, as in the Jessica Fletcher Syndrome: how many murders can one small town sustain? That goes to how I tell the stories, too. So for instance, The Golden Hour has a psychopath controlling the action, and the reader is aware up front of the ‘bad guy’ so that one’s not a Whodunit? but a Cantheystophim? For The Evening’s Amethyst, I’d never used a cold case and decided to explore one as the subplot in this book, with what I feel is to good effect. No one I know needs to be worried—at least, not yet!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I start with the end. I know who did it and why, and then work my way from the starting point, which often changes and is the part I rewrite the most to get to that point. So I have a vague overarching plot outline as I plunge into the writing, but the rest I leave to happenstance as I write. I’d say I’m a hybrid! I think a writer can have as exhaustive an outline as they want, but they must allow for a new thought or a better subplot or a different route to occur as they write. I guess what I’m saying is that a certain amount of flexibility is always a good thing.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
READ. Read in your chosen genre, especially, so see what is marketable and what is popular and what is already out there. Read to see what’s good writing and even awful writing so you don’t duplicate it. Read out of your genre on occasion to stay fresh and give you a different perspective. You must be a reader to be a writer. I read three crime novels a week, and that’s perhaps overkill as I read quickly, but a writer should have a To Be Read pile and always a book in progress. Secondly I’d say Just Do It, like the sneakers ad. Write something most days, or work towards your project. Maybe today is not a day you have time to write, but you can find time to Google something for research towards your project. Find the time of day when writing works best for you–for me it’s the afternoons. And third, always carry a small notebook around. A tiny one that fits in a purse or pocket is fine. Use it to jot down ideas that come to you before writing and after you’ve started a project; or maybe to note an overheard conversation that has a line of dialogue in an exchange you don’t want to forget. If you live in your setting, note the smells and sounds of the area; if you are not, you can still note people’s habits and characteristics who cross your path to form well-rounded characters. Does that person keep brushing his hair off his forehead? Is that a nervous gesture, is he shy, or does he just need a haircut? Note details, as details are your friend.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m happy alternating the two series now. While I’m writing a new Nora, I already have a folder to toss in things for the next Trudy. Maybe it’s a photo from a magazine of an interesting face that could be a potential character description, or an article that supports my plot idea. Once a book is in the production stage, after copy-edits and being put in the layout for publishing, I’m already researching the next one in the other series and may start writing it. For instance, right now The Evening’s Amethyst is newly in print, but I started writing the next Trudy Genova, Death in the Orchard, last June once everything was with the book designer. It not only keeps me fresh, I never have writers’ block, because if today Nora is cranky or not talking to me, I can turn my attention to researching the next Trudy. I do enjoy talking about the books and my writing process, so not being able to do that with Covid is something I’ve missed. I hope to be able to get back on the road with a book tour next spring and to visit the libraries where I have a following, driving from my NC home, through NJ, NY, CT, MA into Maine and back!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course! This is the end of Chapter One:

Nora and Declan were interrupted by the almost-simultaneous ring of their phones. Nora headed to the kitchen where she’d left hers on the island; she could hear Declan as he answered first.
“Suspicious, McAfee?” said Declan to his youngest sergeant. “Sounds hellish. Watkins on his way? . . . Good. Tell the sergeant I’ll walk over and meet him there.”
He gave more orders as Nora grabbed her phone and saw it was her stepsister, Claire Scott, enrolled in a master’s program at Exeter. “Hi, Claire.” She heard sniffling on the other end while Claire composed herself enough to speak. A thread of anxiety ran through her. “Are you all right? Is it your dad, or my mom?”
“I’m fine, but my friend Bea isn’t.” Claire choked back a deep sob. “Please come, Nora—Bea’s dead!”

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

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 #AmazonPublishing @AmazonPub / #QandAs : The Last Line #TheLastLine – Robert Dugoni @robertdugoni

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

Today I’m on the ‘The Last Line’ blogtour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling Charles Jenkins series; the bestselling David Sloane series; the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, Damage Control, The World Played Chess, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, as well as a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages. 

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Synopsis :

Title: The Last Line
Author:
Robert Dugoni
Page Count:
53 pages
Release Date:
October 21, 2021
Publisher:
Amazon Original Stories

A newbie Seattle detective gets an education in corruption in a short story by Robert Dugoni, the Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series.
His old life in the rearview, Del Castigliano has left Wisconsin to work homicide for the Seattle PD. Breaking him in is veteran detective Moss Gunderson, and he’s handing Del a big catch: the bodies of two unidentified men fished from Lake Union. It’s a major opportunity for the new detective, and Del runs with it, chasing every lead—to every dead end. Despite the help of another section rookie, Vic Fazzio, Del is going nowhere fast. Until one shotgun theory looks to be dead right: the victims are casualties of a drug smuggling operation. But critical information is missing—or purposely hidden. It’s forcing Del into a crisis of character and duty that not even the people he trusts can help him resolve.

Amazon

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! 🙂

From books to movies to television, police procedurals are incredibly popular with audiences. What do you think is the appeal of these stories?
I think the appeal is readers and viewers have good guys to root for and bad guys to root against. Readers also like a good mystery. They like to see if they can solve the crime, determine the bad guy and figure out what he did and how he did it, just like the detectives. It keeps them engaged in and part of the story.

Do you recall the first detective story you ever read or perhaps you have a favorite? What was it about this type of story that made you want to write in the genre?
Years ago, I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Poet. I don’t know if it was the first detective story I read, probably not, but it was visceral and stuck with me. I do recall reading All The President’s Men when I was in high school, and though Woodward and Bernstein were not detectives, per se, they very much functioned like detectives in that story—finding clues, trying to piece together those clues, and then solve the puzzle. In many ways, that’s what a good detective story is all about: solving a puzzle. I think that is one of the appeals to writers, as well as readers and viewers.

Del Castigliano, the police detective in your newest release The Last Line, has worked in narcotics, arson, sexual assaults, robbery, and now homicide. He has definitely seen the worst that humans have to offer. What keeps him sane and on the job?
For most police officers I’ve spoken with, they do the job knowing that they are keeping people safe—maybe people they know or even love. It’s a tough job and burnout can be a problem. Most detectives have to be mentally tough and can be frequently rotated to help minimize burn out. It’s one of the reasons detectives and uniformed officers, I believe, are underappreciated. It’s a tough job.

Throughout The Last Line, readers get to see Del at his worst—he faces loss, failure, insecurity, loneliness…yet we also respect him. He is honest, hardworking, and clever. How do you see him? If you were to sit down to have a beer with him, what would you talk about?
In The Last Line, I see Del as a guy trying to find his way after life has thrown him a curveball. If we sat down for a beer, I’d ask him if, looking back, he has any regrets, or if time has helped him put life in perspective and he realizes that what he went through as a young man actually helped him to get to a better place in his life.

The Last Line ends in a way that will have readers wanting more. Do you have any future plans for Del and the larger cast?
Very much so. Del is a central character in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and in Tracy #9, What She Found, the story of Del’s first case from The Last Line comes back to Tracy, who is now working a cold case and trying to figure out what happened 24 years ago.

For fans of your bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series, will they feel at home with Del as the lead protagonist? For readers who haven’t discovered Tracy yet, will they be able to dip right in?
Absolutely. The Last Line is a standalone story that predates Tracy arriving at Seattle PD. I’ve had so many readers ask me for more of Del and Faz! Writing The Last Line was an opportunity to dig into how they got started and what shaped them. I have a thought now about Tracy #10 being a cold case that Del and Faz investigated 25 years earlier and telling the story from both time periods leading up to Tracy solving the crime in the present.

What are your future plans as an author?
The third book in the Charles Jenkins espionage series, The Silent Sisters, will be published, February 22, 2022, followed by Tracy #9, What She Found, which will be out August 23, 2022. Beyond that, readers can look for a new standalone legal thriller introducing criminal defense attorney Keera Duggan. I’m excited about that novel and working hard to get it finished soon.

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

Del drove from the parking garage into a blustery and cold November morning—cold being relative. In Madison, anything above freezing was balmy for November, though Del was starting to understand what Seattleites meant when they said it wasn’t the temperature that chills you; it’s the dampness. He could feel the cold in his bones. A stiff wind rocked his metallic-blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.The wind had started blowing late the prior evening; branches of a tree scraping against Del’s bedroom window had kept him awake half the night.
He drove from Capitol Hill with the defroster on high and worked his way around the southern edge of Lake Union, noting marinas and water-based businesses. He pulled into a parking lot where Moss stood beside a black Buick LeSabre, sipping coffee and towering over a patrol officer. Moss was almost as big as Del, who stood six foot five and weighed 250 pounds.
Del pulled up the collar of his coat against the howling wind as he approached the two men. He recognized the green logo on Moss’s Starbucks coffee cup, the company name taken from Captain Ahab’s first mate on the Pequod, the whaling ship Moby Dick sent to the bottom of the ocean. The logo, a green siren, tempted sailors to jump overboard and drown. Neither was a good omen.
“Look what the cat dragged out. Did we wake you, Elmo?”
“Funny.” Del had heard iterations of Elmo since his teens, when the beloved puppet first appeared on Sesame Street. Moss introduced Del to Mike Nuccitelli, the patrol sergeant. “How’d you get here so quick?” Del asked Moss. He understood Moss lived in West Seattle, twenty minutes farther from the marina than Del’s apartment.
“I didn’t take time to do my hair.” Moss rubbed the bristles of a crew cut. “I’m like my name. You know. A rolling stone.”
Del knew. More than once, Moss had told him his parents bequeathed him the moniker because as a child he never remained still. Vic Fazzio had said it was more likely Moss gave himself the nickname. His Norwegian first name was Asbjorn.
“Halloway here?” Del asked.
“At this hour of the morning?” Moss scoffed. “Stayaway doesn’t come out this early on a cold morning unless he thinks the brass might show up and he can shine their badges with his nose.”
“What do we got?” Del asked.
“Two grown men. Looks like they drowned,” Nuccitelli said. “We’re waiting for the ME.”
“What more do we know about the victims; anything?” Del asked.
Nuccitelli raised the fur collar of his duty jacket against the wind. “Hispanic is my guess, though the bodies are pretty bloated and their skin the color of soot. I’m guessing roughly late twenties to early thirties, but again . . .”
“They didn’t have any ID?” Del asked.
“Not on them,” Nuccitelli said.
“That strike you as odd—they didn’t have ID?”
Nuccitelli smiled.“Not my job.That’s your job.”
“How far out is the ME?” Moss looked and sounded disinterested.
Nuccitelli checked his watch.“Should be here in ten.”
“We’ll take it from here.”

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

Giveaway :

$20 Amazon Gift Card & Digital Copy of THE LAST LINE by Robert Dugoni

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#PublicationDayPush #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #QandAs : How Not To Chaperon A Lady – Virginia Heath @VirginiaHeath_ @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 ‘How Not To Chaperon A Lady’ 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 :

The Mysterious Lord Millcroft - Virginia HeathWhen Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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Synopsis :

His childhood nemesis…
…is the woman he can’t resist!
Chaperoning Charity Brookes while she’s on a singing tour should be easy for Griffith Philpot—he’s spent his whole life sparring with her over her flighty ways! But as he discovers that she’s much more than the impetuous girl he thought he knew, a passion ignites between them… Sharing a steamy kiss leaves him torn—he’s supposed to be responsible for guarding her virtue!

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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?
Writing books was always my dream right from my earliest memories but it wasn’t until I was in my 40s and burned out from teaching that I was brave enough to take the plunge. I am so glad I finally did as now, after twenty-three published books, I am living my wildest dream!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child, I loved Dahl and Dickens and the immersive worlds they created. As an adult, I adore Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and Susan Mallery. I particularly love to read a series as I need to know what happens to my favourite characters once their book is done.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Obviously, the living author I would choose would have to be Nora Roberts, who is the most phenomenal and prolific storyteller. Her book Montana Sky is a masterpiece of both suspense and romance. Of the past, I would love to chat to Oscar Wilde as his comic timing and use of witty prose is second to none.

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’d invite Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka as I think he would be a fascinating character to chat with. He’s quirky and endearing but with a dark edge. I suspect he and I would share the same warped sense of humour and love of the ridiculous.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I cannot work in a mess, so I have to clear my desk and tidy my office before I sit down to write. The rest of my house can be a disaster zone- but my office must be spotless!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ideas just seem to appear out of nowhere and that’s always been the case. Sometimes things I see or hear spark something and sometimes my odd head conjures things up. And should people be worried…? I might have based the odd baddie on somebody I have encountered in real life but my lips are sealed as to who 😉 .

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I am a total panster. I cannot plot at all because I see and hear the book appear in my odd head as a film as I type, so I’m always as surprised as my readers by what happens. OInce they are formed in my mind, my characters basically do as they please and always misbehave and take the story in a different direction to the one I thought we were heading. Weird, I know, but it seems to work for me—especially as the characters are always right.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My top tip is to find your own writing voice and not try to emulate someone else’s. Once you’ve found it, writing becomes soooo much easier. You also have to force yourself to write when the words won’t come and fix your story rather than abandon it. Giving up is for hobby writers- the ones who have a future writing will plod on even though it feels like pulling teeth. One of my favourite writing quotes is ‘Easy reading is hard writing’ and that’s the truth. I have another quote framed above my desk which pretty much sums up the joy and pain of being an author ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ Its not the easiest job, far from it, but once you get it right it’s the best job in the world.

What are your futureplans as an author?
To keep writing my stories for as long as I have stories left in me to tell! Aside from the final book in the Talk of the Beau Monde series, I have a Regency RomCom series coming out with St Martin’s Press in the US and Headline Eternal in the UK on 9th November which I am super excited about. Never Fall for Your Fiancée is the first book in the Merriwell Sisters trilogy. I’ve also got another series coming out with Harlequin/Mills&Boon coming out in the new year. My Very Village Scandal series is set in a quaint, thatched English village where gossip is rife everybody knows each other’s business- a bit like Virgin River but set during the Regency. The Earl’s Inconvenient Houseguest is the first book and that’s out in February. I also have plans to write a contemporary RomCom series next year which will need a home, so watch this space…

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Yes indeed—the hero and the heroine have been sworn enemies since children thanks to an unfortunate incident with a kite. Even after eighteen years, neither are over it… nor over each other 😉 .

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

Giveaway :

Win 2 x e-copies of How Not to Chaperon a Lady (Open INT)
*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 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.

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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 #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : Wolf Tones #WolfTones – JJ Marsh @JJMarsh1

– ‘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 ‘Wolf Tones’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator.
My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.
Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence.
The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.
I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese.

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Synopsis :

You escaped the past. Here comes the present.
Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter.
His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects.
All because of her.
Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it.
Neither will she.
She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?
While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself.
Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?
Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past.
A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Amazon

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! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me!

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Jill and I write as JJ Marsh. I’ve published twelve books in the Beatrice Stubbs series, three standalone novels and am embarking on a new series of international thrillers. Writing has always been a part of my life, as has reading. I’ve been a teacher, and actor and a theatre director – all those involve storytelling. Becoming an author was a natural progression.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm is a book I read as a child and still love as an adult. From Enid Blyton through Stephen King and Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières and Milan Kundera, I learned something from all of them about the way to use words.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
J.M. Coetzee. He tackles the most heart-rending topics with a clear eye. I’ve attended one of his readings and he’s searingly intelligent. If I ever met the man, I’d probably be too intimidated to utter a squeak.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and I could have a fun afternoon in a London tea-room, as long as they serve prosecco.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
My writing process is pretty dull. Mindmap themes, outline the plot, fill the storyboard, get the words on the page, then edit, edit, edit. But my non-writing habits are those of a magpie. I’m always aware of conversations, signposts, unusual names and unexpected images, specific tastes or atmospheres, peculiar encounters and odd experiences. My notebooks are crammed with random observations and saved for the day they come in useful. I’m a kleptomaniac in the Supermarket of Ideas.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
See above. Concepts for a novel tend to ferment a while until I can see a way of telling the story. It can be a moral dilemma, a life-changing event or a social or political point that interests me. The starting point must come from a character. As for people in my life, I have stolen names and appearances on occasion, but never from anyone genuinely close.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Plotter who lets the pants take over when the time is right. I was almost at the end of White Heron when my subconscious poked me in the ribs and pointed out how I could use one character as a ‘didn’t see that coming’ moment.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a critique group, online or in person. Learn how to think critically, to give and receive feedback, to constantly remember the author’s intention and help them reach their goal. After years of doing this, good habits become second nature and first drafts need fewer edits. Read books on craft and test out those theories with a short story or perfectly honed flash fiction. Pay attention to what’s happening in the publishing world and read as widely and deeply as you can. There is no one way to be a writer so make sure you’re aware of the options.

What are your futureplans as an author?
My current focus is on getting Wolf Tones in front of the right audience which will absorb most of August and September. Then in October, the second in my Run and Hide series comes out. Black River is a thriller set in the Amazon rainforest. I have sketched outlines for six books in that series so will get to work on No.3. Towards the end of the year, I’m bringing out a novella as a Christmas special for fans of Beatrice Stubbs.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course. This is when my main character, Rolf, has just arrived at his new apartment in Salzburg.

Three streets away, he found a Thai restaurant offering takeaway packages. He ordered in passable German and asked if there was shop nearby where he could buy wine. The young girl behind the counter was helpful and patient and assured him he could get to the mini-market and back in the ten minutes it would take the kitchen to cook their order.
Half an hour or so after he’d left, he unlocked the front door and ran upstairs, carrying a brown paper bag filled with containers of Thai curry and rice. In his right hand, he held a bottle of champagne. The apartment was empty so he went onto the balcony to see if she was there.
Down in the garden, Leonor was sitting at a wrought-iron table, laughing with a young man. Rolf didn’t even know how to get into the garden.
“Food is ready!” he shouted, brandishing the bag.
She looked up and her face broke into a beautiful smile. “Bring it down here with plates and glasses. I want you to meet our neighbour.”
The guy lifted his face and gave a salute. “Hi! My name is Anton, I live downstairs. I don’t want to intrude on your first night. Just wanted to say hello.”
“Give me a minute.” Rolf collected two plates, two sets of cutlery and two glasses. The gesture was pointed. Tonight they did not want company. But when he got downstairs and found the door to the garden, he saw Leonor and Anton were already drinking cocktails from martini glasses.
“Hi,” said Anton, saluting again.
“Meet Rolf, the one I’ve been telling you about.”
“Hello, Anton,” said Rolf, forcing a smile.
Leonor took the bag and inhaled. “Mmm, I love Thai food. Would you like to join us? I’m sure we can stretch this for three.”
Anton held up both palms. “Thank you, but no. I’ve already eaten and I really don’t like spicy food. I have a typical Austrian palate, I’m afraid. I’ll leave you in peace to enjoy your meal. Just so you know, there’s a house cat called Blue. He’s currently favouring my place, but changes his mind about where he sleeps quite frequently.”
Leonor waggled a glass at Rolf. “Are you ever going to open that bottle? That’s fine with us, we love animals. Thanks for the martini. Cocktails before champagne, I could get used to Salzburg.” She laughed up at him with the sparkle in her eye she always used when she wanted to charm someone.
Anton laughed with her, evidently spellbound. “Great to meet you and I’m so pleased to have friendly neighbours again. The last woman was a miserable old bag. Hey, do you two fancy going out for a drink next week? I could show you some local bars and warn you which ones to avoid.”
Leonor tilted her face to Rolf, her mouth an O of delight. She was handing him the mic and he couldn’t see a way out.
“That’s kind of you. It would be useful to learn a bit more about the area.” He twisted the bottle and the cork popped out. He poured the overflow straight into a wine glass, aware of Leonor’s giddy laughter.
Anton took his cocktail glasses, wished them a good evening and went inside his own apartment. There was no sign of any cat.
They emptied the cartons onto their plates, drank champagne and toasted their new start. As the twilight deepened and lights came on in the apartments on the other side of the hedge, their building remained in darkness. Presumably Anton had gone out for the evening. Why not? Young, not bad looking and obviously familiar with the local nightlife. What reason would he have to stay home? Rolf relaxed a little and let go of the feeling they were being watched.

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

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!