Category: Blog

First Author Talk

Tonight, I will be hosting my first author talk at Bideford Library, North Devon. I’m excited by the prospect of seeing many people keen to hear about my debut novel, STORM LOG-0505, and have a general chit-chat about writing.

bideford library photo

Photo by JuliaC2006

I hope this will be the first of many such events, and I welcome any contact from reading groups, libraries, literary events and more, who may wish to hear me chat about my writing, my books, or just have me along for a natter!

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Deano’s Grill – Thriller/Mystery author Guy Thair

Welcome to Deano’s Grill Author Interviews.
The only place to be interviewed by fictional detective and hero of the Detective Deans crime thrillers, Andrew ‘Deano’ Deans.

Today, Deano grills Thriller/Mystery novelist, Guy Thair.

Before we start, I need to caution you – You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your credentials if you do not mention when questioned something, which you later rely on in book sales, and anything you do say may be written about you.

Welcome to Deano’s Grill. Tell me your name please.
Guy Thair

Good evening, Guy. Tell us how you got into writing.
I began writing after meeting a friend of a friend online who had a blog. I’d never thought of writing anything before and it seemed like a good idea at the time, so I started Diary of an Internet Nobody just to see what happened. I’ve now been writing for about five years and I’m completely hooked.

Describe your work for us, please.
I’m not sure I can really describe “my work”, as such, because I try to vary what I write as much as possible. I like writing (fiction) in a non-linear style, to keep the reader guessing for as long as I can. I enjoy writing sci-fi-tinged stories, purely because it gives a lot of leeway in plotting and enables me to write my way out of any corners I’ve painted myself into. “Thriller/mystery” would be the closest description, I think. Almost every story I’ve written has been improvised, with no planning or even knowing what it’s going to be about when I sit down to start writing. I use a lot of writing prompts (usually one word or a few letters, often provided by other bloggers as part of a regular feature) and literally make it up as I go along.

Give us an idea of any writing routines you may have.
I only use my smartphone for everything I do (including building, administering and writing all four of my blogs, photography, video, animation and producing strange electronic music), but apart from that, I just sit down, start writing and see what happens. Incredible! I wish I could get mine to do the most basic of functions half the time!

Just in case any aspiring smartphone authors are reading this, which phone do you use?
An Android (currently, a Huawei Honor 7) One finger. (I use a Swype keyboard)

Was it a conscious decision not to use something a little larger?
No, I have never owned a computer and it isn’t an expense I can justify for a non-essential plaything. So I started my blog on my phone and I’ve become a bit of an Android ninja, I can do just about anything on it.

Tell us what you are working on now.
I should say that I’m working on a sequel to The Wrong Stuff, but I’m actually in the middle of writing another accidentally extended mystery thriller, called The Accumulator, which is just another weird serial on the blog. It has evolved all on its own, from a quick idea I had for a short story (taken from yet another writing prompt) and it got a bit out of control. I should finish it fairly soon, however, after which I may well get started on the follow up to The Wrong Stuff, although that’s anyone’s guess, I may have another idea in the meantime. I’ve also just begun a new project; on Niume, a different blogging platform, with a group of other writers. We’re focusing on making it a short fiction blog, with whatever stories we come up with, in any genre.

Describe your recently published novel, The Wrong Stuff.
Here’s the cover blurb:

“Hannah Meredith has always had a good eye and she’s a veteran bargain hunter, but she isn’t prepared, when she buys the box marked “Stuff” at a mysterious auction, for her world to suddenly unravel into a series of increasingly bizarre and terrifying events.

Soon on the run from a sinister cabal of vengeful corporate villains and their homicidal henchmen, Hannah must foil an evil plan to bring the world to the brink of global economic collapse, all the while keeping one step ahead of her pursuers.

A fast-moving thriller with a sci-fi twist, the plot stretches from chases through grimy backstreets of Victorian London back to the present day, where sudden violence shatters the tranquility of the English countryside.

Following Hannah and her unlikely allies in their frantic attempt to stay alive and save the world from disaster, The Wrong Stuff is exciting and original, with more than a touch of black humour.”

Give us a flavour of the main characters.
I guess Hannah, the lead character, could best be described an ordinary woman who is thrust into a dangerous situation she doesn’t understand. She is resourceful and courageous, but I doubt she’d have said that, she’s just someone who has had to adapt quickly to a very peculiar situation in order to survive. Frank, however, (my favourite character) is amusingly dumb, tactless, violent and not someone you would want to meet in a dark alley, but he does have some surprising qualities, my favourite of which is the ability to NOT THINK about things. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Provide one piece of advice for unpublished authors of your genre.
Do it. If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

Tell us about your previous working life.
I have done all sorts of jobs, none of which have anything to do with writing, but I’m currently working for an American aerospace firm in Devon. The most fun I’ve had at a job was probably working on markets and country shows, selling timber garden furniture. The market trader community is a very close-knit one and I enjoyed the varied nature of working somewhere different every day, but with the same extended group of friendly and cheerful people, all of whom were always happy to help and give advice (much like the blogging community, which I have gained so much experience and useful advice from over the years)

Do you possess any annoying habits, and if so, who pointed them out?
i) I’m very argumentative, I love a heated debate.
ii) Everyone who’s ever met me.

Tell us the best book you have read so far this year.
Hahaha, reading books? I don’t have time to read, I hardly have time to do everything else. I used to read constantly, I’d get through two or three books a week, easily, but I can honestly say I haven’t read a book for maybe three years.

How about a random pick for a book I’d recommend? The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by GW Dahlqusit and its two sequels are unlike anything else I’ve read.

The final two questions are geared towards your imagination. You can invite two dream guests for dinner – living, dead or fictional – who would they be and why?
Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett are the two who spring to mind, but that’s not terribly original, so I’ll go for David Lynch and Audrey Hepburn.

I’ve loved Hepburn ever since I can remember; a truly remarkable person in every way, I’d recommend reading her biography, her life was extraordinary in so many ways. She was also the most utterly beautiful woman ever to walk the Earth, inside and out, no contest.

David Lynch is quite simply a genius and a giant of cinema, who also produced one of the most unique and ground-breaking tv series of all time, Twin Peaks, with which I was somewhat obsessed, (hence the peculiar “dalecooper57” username on the blog) so I’m looking forward to the reboot with considerable anticipation.

Lastly, you can charter a private jet to any destination in the world, where would you go?
Snoqualmie Falls and Bend, Oregon

Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Guy. Tell us where we can find your books and how readers can follow you.

The Wrong Stuff is available on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com

https://www.amazon.co.uk

You can follow the blog (which is written under the slightly confusing byline of dalecooper57) at www.diaryofaninternetnobody.com and I now also have an Amazon author page:
amazon.com/author/guythair

Deano’s Grill will be back with another fabulous author interview in the very near future. If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, please leave your details on the contacts page.

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Deano’s Grill – Sci-fi author Richard Dee

Welcome to Deano’s Grill Author Interviews.
The only place to be interviewed by fictional detective and hero of the Detective Deans crime thrillers, Andrew ‘Deano’ Deans.

Today, Deano grills Sci-fi and Steampunk novelist, Richard Dee.

 

Before we start, I need to caution you – You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your credentials if you do not mention when questioned something, which you later rely on in book sales, and anything you do say may be written about you.

Welcome to Deano’s Grill. Tell me your name please.
Richard Dee

Hello, Richard. You create Sci-fi and Steampunk novels. Tell us how you got into that line of writing would you please.
I had ideas in my head, dreams and observations from life moments. I had never had the time to write them down, or so I thought. When I had more time on my hands, it sort of grew, first short stories, then I realised that I could join them up into a novel, Freefall was born and once the creative dam was opened it hasn’t stopped flowing.

You have an impressive catalogue of books. Explain how you squeeze all that writing into your days.
I wake up early (unfortunately), so I start early and try to get 2000 or so words done before breakfast, I can edit and refine it later in the day when I’m a bit more awake. That way I have the day to enjoy myself. But if I don’t write anything one day, that’s not a problem, I’ll do it tomorrow.

And, if you should wake up and find your creative dam is temporarily plugged?
Hmm, tricky, that’s when your imaginary friends shut up. I go for a walk along the cliffs, or change the subject; I’ve usually got a couple of novels on the go at one time; so if one lot won’t play, I can find another gang who might come out.

Tell us more about your imaginary friends.
My characters are just people who happen to live in the future / alternative reality. Their stories are our stories; it’s only the setting that’s different. There are mysteries and quests, with conspiracies thrown in, even a bit of romance.

Explain the process of a new project please.
In all my work so far, I start off with an idea. I never know where it’s going, who is going to be involved or where it will end. I just put my hands over the keyboard and let it go. It’s like watching a film or a T.V. show in my head and typing what happens, with the advantage of pause and rewind. But never fast forward. The ending is a mystery to me until it happens. Occasionally I will type for a while and realise that my characters have said and done things on their own, I tend to let them get on with it and see where they want to go.

Tell us a little about the book you are working on now.
I have the prequel (Myra) to my first novel out in March 2017, after being pestered by readers for explanations of some of the events in Freefall I decided to write the back story. And in doing that, a third novel has become necessary to explain the events in the prequel. I’ve also finished a novel with an accident prone and unintentional female amateur detective called Andorra Pett, a bit of a departure from my usual style although still Sci-fi.

So, you are proactive with your fans, tell us what they can expect from you in the future.
More of the same, reviewers keep suggesting plots, sequels and spin-offs, I’m going as fast as I can but I do have my own ideas as well.

You earlier mentioned observations from life moments had influenced your writing. Tell us about your pre-author working life.
40 year sea-going career, Master Mariner, Thames Pilot, sometime Organic Baker.

Wow! That’s pretty cool. You must have a treasure chest of memories.
Taking a 160m long passenger ship through Tower Bridge backwards, or a 190m long ship through the Thames Barrier were highlights. Cape Horn and the Amazon were experiences I’ll never forget. Producing Sourdough bread that people actually wanted to buy more than once is a pretty good feeling.

Okay, imagine you have a night off from writing – describe the perfect evening.
With my family, just chilling. I’m happiest away from big crowds.

And for a special night out?
The breakwater Bistro in Brixham, I’ve been around the world but sitting on that balcony on a summers evening; looking across Torbay is as perfect a place as any.

And if you were entertaining two special guests at home, living, dead or fictional, who would they be and why?
Isaac Asimov for an idea swapping session and Eileen Ripley for tactics, I hope they would get on.

Finally, You can charter a jet to any destination in the world, where would you go?
Australia to see my youngest daughter, I don’t see her enough.

Richard, thank you for taking the time to speak to us and good luck for the future. Tell us where we can find your books and how fans can find out more about you.
At my website   www.richarddeescifi.co.uk Or on my Facebook page.   @RichardDeeAuthor. Or at my Amazon Author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00CN4TTCG

Deano’s Grill will be back with another fabulous author interview in the very near future. If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, please leave your details on the contacts page.
JDM.

 

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Deano’s Grill – YA author K.Y. Eden

deanos-grill-tie-1

Welcome to the inaugural Deano’s Grill author interview page by fictional detective and hero of the Detective Deans crime thrillers, Andrew ‘Deano’ Deans.

In today’s grill, Deano speaks with YA author, K.Y. Eden.k-y-eden

 

Right, before we start, I need to caution you – You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your credentials if you do not mention when questioned something, which you later rely on in book sales, and anything you do say may be written about you.

Welcome to Deano’s Grill. Tell me your name please.
K.Y. Eden

Now come on, don’t be coy. You had better tell us more about this K.Y. pseudonym.
Funnily enough K.Y are really my initials and Eden is my birth/maiden name. K stands for Kristina and versions of like:Krissy or Kris.

Okay… K, Krissy, Kris – describe your work for us.
I write for middle grade and young adults… That’s between ten to twenty year old (I’m a big fan of tweenie and teens because I never matured beyond that age myself!). Having said that most of the readers that have made contact with me have been mid twenties plus, so I suppose, if you’re young at heart you will like my stories. I am currently working on Volume Three of The Redcroft Journals -a time travel adventure, supernatural series.                             

Supernatural eh? I’m partial to a bit of that. Give us a flavour of The Redcroft Journals would you please.
Redcroft is an ordinary village, or so you would think! – I don’t want to reveal too much- but there are super human abilities, angels, demons and time travel that all gravitate towards Redcroft and it’s occupants. There are just some things in life that can’t be explained… don’t you agree detective?  Not wrong there!

Tell us more about the next instalment.
The Redcroft Journals- Volume Three- The Lion Scrolls will find the protagonists Zak, Natalie and Adam (and the help of their trusted friend Riley) use their supernatural abilities to ensure the safety of the present by venturing to the past. Let’s just say gladiatorial style!

Thinking about the main protagonists in your series, what characteristics were most important for you to portray?
I have a few protagonists, they take it turns to take the lead. However, I started the series with teenager Zak (disclosure alert… named after my collie dog) he’s the kind of lad I would have wanted as my friend at that age, honest, steadfast and a bit quirky.

Describe what sets you apart from other authors of this popular genre.
That’s a tough question detective, maybe my extensive knowledge of how teenagers (my protagonist’s age) think and feel in the modern day (I was a teenager some time ago and a lot has changed) working closely in performing arts with this age group has blessed me with a sympathy… no… empathy towards them… and quite a lot on insight!

Imagine The Redcroft Journals as a film or TV adaptation – who would you like to see playing the main roles?
Okay here goes: Zak, Natalie and Adam (I’m taking auditions *laughs) but in Volume Two- The Raven Stones I imagined Idris Elba as Oreb (the angel) and I reckon Jamie Dornan would make an excellent Dr. Riley Robins the Irish archaeologist.

Right, I need a little more detail about what makes you tick. Tell us about your previous working life.
I was and still am (sometimes) a College and University lecturer in Performing and Production Arts. I have had a variety of jobs over the years but when I was a *younger woman in my late teens early twenties I was a fire-fighter (part time then full time) it was tough back then as I was one of the first women to do it, I’m glad to see female fire-fighters are more common place now.

That’s an interesting and varied background. Did the Performing and Production Arts help you to become an author?
Sort of, I took the plunge, I was lecturing in drama and was discussing with the students some different methods to utilise when building a back story for a character… It suddenly struck me that in our working life- a lot of the time we are ‘acting’ our job, I was acting the lecturer at that point and when I got home I acted the cook, cleaner, laundrette manager etc. So what if I acted at being the author, rather than teach it, do it. So I reduced my hours at work and started working on my own performance… as I already had the back story.

And do you have any unusual routines or rituals to help you ‘perform’ when writing?
I have to tidy the room I am writing in first (sometimes I move around the house rather than stay at my desk) I can’t stand a messy desk or room when I’m working. So suffice to say I don’t often write in the kitchen that’s far too distracting/messy.

Tell us how you cope with writer’s block.
Retail therapy is a good start… (any excuse). If I get persistent writers block I binge watch Netflix- that usually does the trick.

Anything in particular?
Anything light hearted- I can’t watch scary things, I have to hide behind a cushion. Although I do love crime drama’s- I watched Vera back to back recently.  

Finally, describe your 2016 author highlight and your hopes for 2017. This interview… oh come on detective, that’s a good answer! I plan to publish at least two more novels next year (2017) the highlight will be when someone reads it and tells me they love it (that was this year’s highlights too).

Well, you have excellent reviews, so I’m sure you will have lots of highlights to come! Thank you for your time, K.Y. It has been a pleasure to grill you. Tell us where we can find your books and how we can find out more about you.

 That’s easy… here are the links to my web site www.kyedenbooks.com

FaceBook- K.Y.Eden Author https://www.facebook.com/kyedenbooks/
twitter @redcroftjournal and Instagram- the.redcroft.journals

eBooks published by pronoun:
https://books.pronoun.com/the-redcroft-journals/
https://books.pronoun.com/the-redcroft-journals-2/
and paperback -Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HTMJPAW

 

 

 

Deano’s Grill will be back with another fabulous author interview in the very near future. If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, please leave your details on the contacts page. James D Mortain

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‘The Spontaneous Author’

So, why The Spontaneous Author?computer

Simple! I didn’t for a moment imagine that I would one day be the author of a book, let alone the creator of a series of crime novels. My decision to write really was that impulsive and followed a chance encounter with an author who was kind enough to spend a while chatting with me over a beer, and provided me with the inspiration to open my laptop, and my mind.

I believe everything happens for a reason and nothing happens by chance. Always have. It helped me through difficult times, and has now driven me to a complete change of existence. My wife and I had already taken a big risk; leaving our jobs in Bath and moving to North Devon with no employment to walk into. We took a chance on an opportunity, and that is exactly how I feel about my writing.

When I began, I was clueless. I had no writing qualifications, or been exposed to the world of publishing in any way. However, what I did possess was an open mind, determination, and enough life experience to give it a damn good crack. How hard could it be?

Day 1 – Open laptop. Stare at blank page. Hover fingers over keyboard – frown – down another coffee.

It wasn’t all a mystery, though. I did know the title I wanted to use, STORM LOG-0505. That was never in doubt. Storm logs had been the start of most of my investigations within the police force, so only fitting for the start my book.

In the space of about three months I had a skeleton outline for my story, and as far as writing was concerned, I was well and truly hooked. Obsessed would be another way to describe it. For probably the first time in my life, and certainly over the last twenty years, I was using my creativity. It was an empowering feeling and strangely therapeutic. I still didn’t know if my efforts would come to anything, and that was the way I continued for about another year, churning out more edits, until I realised that I needed to go to the next stage of involving a professional to review my work.

Months of solitude, doubt, hope, and plenty of despair were suddenly in the hands of someone who could rip the guts out of my new-found dream. I used Doug Watts of the Jacquie Bennett Writers Bureau, and over the following months, Doug guided me to the point of agent submissions. Within 48 hours of sending out, I had an agent requesting the full manuscript, followed by suggested improvements, and then – BOOM! I was struck down with viral meningitis. My ability to do the most mundane of tasks simply ceased. I was off work for several months, underwent numerous brain scans and tests. The effects on my physical and cognitive wellbeing were devastating, and I was sadly unable to fulfill the requirements of the agent, or entice any others.

As a result of the illness, I was left with a form of chronic fatigue, but… everything happens for a reason and nothing happens by chance. I was forced to slow down. Take stock. I’d sacrificed much in pursuit of my whim, not least family time. Sure, I was disappointed, but when one direction is blocked another invariably opens, and that route was independent-publishing.

I experienced a change of mind-set; I wasn’t a failure for not securing an agent, in fact, I was now in control. I had been waiting on email replies for months – constantly checking, double checking, triple checking. Now, I didn’t have to wait for someone else to fulfill my dream, now it was down to me, and I opted for indie-publishing.

I found an editing company, Cornerstones.co.uk to hone my work further. After speaking for a while on the phone with Helen Bryant – the founder of Cornerstones, I knew I was in very safe hands, and I subsequently found their editorial services to be completely invaluable. I researched each stage of the self-publishing process using the many excellent sources of online advice, but in particular, I found myself returning to Joanna Penn, of thecreativepenn.com, and purchased several of her superb indie-publishing guides. Joanna offered a very balanced and tested view of indie-publishing, and I made many of my decisions using her advice. I also joined the Alliance of Independent Authors allianceindependentauthors.org, where stacks of great advice helped to answer many of my questions.

I established a publishing name, Manvers Publishing, designed myself a neat little logo, decided on my options for sale – Amazon Kindle and Createspace, Smashwords (encompassing iBooks, Kobo and more), and I also decided to publish through Ingram Spark on paperback. I registered with Nielson and purchased a bunch of ISBN numbers, and I then found the icing and the cherry for my mixture.

I’d given formatting a go – shrieked, grumbled and cussed my way through several nights of pure frustration, and I then discovered Jason and Marina at Polgarusstudio.com. Those guys were simply amazing! Fast, friendly, affordable, and very professional. If they were my icing, then my cherry was definitely my cover designer, Jessica Bell, at jessicabellauthor.com. Jessica was just lovely to work with and produced the perfect book cover.

***

All-in-all, my publishing experience has been life-changing. I discovered a huge amount about me, not least, a determination to succeed… someone actually congratulated me today on my success. I played it down, said I hadn’t succeeded in anything yet. They disagreed, said publishing a book WAS a success. I guess somewhere along the line I’d lost sight of that. So, for now, I’m going to relish my success!

In my next post, I will discuss what happened after I pressed the PUBLISH button, discovered the mistakes I had made, and how everything happens for a reason… again!

 

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