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Barbara Copperthwaite

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April 2016

FROM PANIC TO POSITIVITY

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“It was the most questions EVER seen at an author chat!”

Oh, my goodness! I’m still buzzing after last night’s incredible author chat with Facebook’s Crime Book Club. If you aren’t already a member, then you really should join because the passion, enthusiasm, and warmth of the readers last night was like being wrapped in a cosy blanket.

I’ll admit, as per usual, I was incredibly nervous before the event. At the start of the week I had my usual “I wonder if I can get out of this” thought, then, as usual, told myself I was being ridiculous (luckily, the ‘can I get out of this’ panic only ever lasts for a fleeting five minutes). No, I would go along and make the event as fun as it could be when only myself and the organiser turned up. Seriously, I was convinced that was what would happen. But what the hell, I started to get excited as well as nervous, just in case the event was a success.

Then something weird happened through yesterday afternoon. People were posting questions early, because they were so keen to take part. By 4pm, I was feeling really happy – even if no one actually attended the event, there were plenty of questions to keep me occupied. Hurray!

At 6.30pm, the Author Chat proper kicked off. And, wow, there were loads of people there! All eager to get involved, and know more about me. Little old me! Even more questions were posted, and I posed a couple of fun ones myself, to keep everyone involved. A huge glow of positivity emanated from the whole event, and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I typed away.

…Do I feel trapped in this genre because of my success? Has it surprised me how people have taken to Adam? What’s been the single most scary moment in my writing career? Do I get starstruck meeting other authors? Where do I get my ideas from? What’s my next novel about? …

In fact, there were so many questions that my fingers were almost a blur! The organiser, the absolutely fabulous Shell Baker, who also has Chelle’s Book Reviews, told me it was the most questions EVER seen at an author chat. It was supposed to run until 8pm, then got extended to 8.30pm, and I was still chatting online at 9pm!

I also offered a prize – one lucky person would be chosen at random to have a character named after them in my latest book. The winner was…Ellen Devonport. Congratulations to her! She’s already told me I’ve made her week…and that I can kill her, if I want!

The entire evening really was a fabulous experience and I count myself very lucky to have been on the receiving end of it. Thank you so much, Facebook’s Crime Book Club!

Review: SEE HOW THEY RUN, Tom Bale

See How They Run

“Read. This. Book. That’s all I need to say.”

THEY SAY:

How far would you go to save your family?

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.

The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.

And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.

Terrifying, unputdownable and full of twists and turns, this stunning thriller will have you on the edge of your seat right to the very last page.

I SAY:

Read. This. Book.

That’s all I need to say, really, because this is an absolute belter that has tension, drama, nail-biting high-speed chases, and is brilliantly written. But of course I’m not going to stop there…

The opening scene is just exactly the sort of thing you might imagine as you lie in bed, wondering what woke you. Was it a sound? Or your imagination? Is someone in your house? Or is it just the tendrils of a dream still clinging to you? It’s a powerful start that taps into fears we all have.

Then the nightmare becomes reality…TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: IN THE SHADOWS, Tara Lyons

In the shadows

“Wow, this book gets off to a blood-thirsty start, and the killing just doesn’t stop!”

THEY SAY:

Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is tasked with apprehending a brutal murderer stalking the streets of London – and leaving not a shred of DNA evidence. As the suspect list mounts, his frustration and pressure from his superiors intensify.

Grace Murphy, who is dealing with the recent loss of her beloved grandfather, falls deeper into despair when her friends’ bodies are discovered. Fearing she may be the killer’s next target, she begins to question if her horrifying nightmares are the key to unravelling the murderer’s identity.

How far would you go to uncover the truth? Would you venture into the shadows to unmask a killer?

 I SAY:

Wow, this book gets off to a blood-thirsty start, and the killing just doesn’t stop! On the face of it this is a simple… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite

Wow, I love this review for Flowers for The Dead! “If I were able to write a book, this is the book I would want to write” – what a fabulous compliment!

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51IYkoLXnVL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_“ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS YOU.
Adam Bourne is a serial killer who thinks he is a saviour. When he murders young women and cuts off their lips, he believes he has done it to make them happy.
How did he become warped from the sensitive four-year-old who adored his gran and the fairy tales she read to him? What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?
When he meets Laura Weir, Adam weaves a fairy tale romance around them. A tale she has no idea she is part of. As he hatches his twisted plan for their fairy tale ending, can anyone stop him before he creates the ultimate sacrifice to love?

This is a stonking read and if you haven’t read it, why haven’t you read??  You…

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GET AWAY WITH WRITING!

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“My legs are working a treadmill for my mind…”

I’ve noticed that no end of writers so often say that going for a walk (especially with dogs, which appear to be obligatory when you’re a writer. I myself am a dog owner) is very much part of the process.

It helps clear the head, and get the ideas flowing. I know that when I’m stuck, staring at a screen certainly doesn’t help, so I’ll pop the lead on Scamp and we’ll make a bid for freedom together. Once I’m walking, the blood starts pumping and, hey presto, ideas pop into my head.

But how do I make note of them? Some people always carry a pen and paper, but I don’t like to stop to make notes for fear that the walking and the thinking are somehow interconnected (as though my legs are working a treadmill for my mind). Instead, I dictate ideas onto a recording app on my phone. What a God send! The ideas aren’t polished, but they are nuggets, nevertheless.

It can help with creating action scenes, too. ‘Talking’ a scene out rather than writing can help with the sense of immediacy and urgency. I walk faster, talk faster, and the action gets more speeded up too. In addition, dialogue flows more naturally. And when I get home, I input what I’ve dictate and then polish it.

Who knew that sometimes the best way of writing is to get away from your computer and not write at all?

Review: COFFIN ROAD, Peter May

Coffin Road, by Peter May. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“Go on, try not to keep turning the pages; you won’t be able to.”

THEY SAY:

The million-selling author of the Lewis trilogy brings murder back to the Outer Hebrides.

 A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He does not know where it will lead him, but filled with dread, fear and uncertainty he knows he must follow it.

A detective crosses rough Atlantic seas to a remote rock twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. With a sense of foreboding he steps ashore where three lighthouse keepers disappeared more than a century before – a mystery that remains unsolved. But now there is a new mystery – a man found bludgeoned to death on that same rock, and DS George Gunn must find out who did it and why.

A teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father’s death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist’s suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that others were behind his disappearance.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.

I SAY:

It’s something of a cliché to say that you were hooked from the very first line. But if it were not the first line alone that did it for me, then it was definitely the first paragraph of Coffin Road.

“Oooh, what’s going on?” I couldn’t help asking myself.

Evocative and mysterious: who could… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

THE FIRST STEP…

Bestselling domestic noir thriller Invisible, by Barbara Copperthwaite

“I am a terrible person, who has betrayed the memory of my first born”

Two years ago the idea of forgetting the date would have been inconceivable. It was one of the biggest days of my life, something I would celebrate forever…

But today I realised it had completely passed me by.  I am a terrible person, who has betrayed the memory of my first born.

Not literally my first born. Perhaps I’m being a tad melodramatic. But the fact is, I totally forgot that on 31st March 2014 I published my first book, Invisible. I was so very nervous. And even though the anniversary passed by unnoticed until today, when Facebook reminded me in one of those ‘memory’ posts, I will never forget the excitement of finally being a published author.

It was a few months later that Invisible came out in paperback, and putting MY book on MY bookshelf, nestled among my writing heroes was an incredibly emotional moment.

Since then Invisible has been a Top Six bestseller in its genre (murder) on Kindle. It’s had some great reviews. It’s also been eclipsed by its younger and more successful sibling, Flowers For The Dead. Is that why I forgot about it? In part, yes. Although the day that Invisible was published was an incredible moment, it was only one step in what had already been a long journey towards becoming an author – a journey that continues today. From the first time I sat down and wrote something that might just become a novel (but was then abandoned) to the moment that I typed ‘The End’, from seeing the first sale of my first book (to my mum, of course) to entering the Amazon Top 100 for the first time, each step is exciting and new, and hopefully taking me on to new highs.

So, as much as the past is to be celebrated, I’m busy making sure my future is just as exciting. What was I doing this year on 31st March? I was hunched over my laptop, tearing my hair out, working on book three. That’s another step in the journey of being an author – but it all starts with that first step.

BLOOD TYPE: S.D. SYKES

Blood Type: every fortnight top thriller & crime authors spill their guts about writing to Barbara Copperthwaite

“You have to sit at your desk and write. Even on days when you don’t feel like it!”

CRIME AUTHORS SPILL THEIR GUTS ABOUT WRITING. Every fortnight topnotch authors of psychological thrillers and crime fiction share their writing secrets – and the secrets to their success – with you and me.

This week: S.D.SYKES, author of historical crime hits Plague Land and The Butcher BirdSD Sykes B&W head and shoulders copy

Tell us about yourself.

Like most authors I suspect, I’ve been writing stories since I could write. But it’s a precarious career – so, in order to pay my bills and put food on the table, I’ve had many other jobs over the years – from running my own business through to walking dogs. My second passion, after writing, is medieval history, and I was inspired to write historical crime fiction after attending the novel writing course at literary agents Curtis Brown. My first novel Plague Land was published in Sept 2014, and my second novel The Butcher Bird was published in Oct 2015 (paperback in April ’16). I’m now working on my third novel in the Somershill series. I live in rural Kent with my husband.

How do you pick character names? Do any of them special meaning for you?

I’ve never been asked this before, so thank you Barbara! I use both historical research and general observation to name my characters. But it’s a tricky process. The name has to suit the character perfectly, and I have to be able to imagine the character with this name, or the whole construct can fail. I’m always on the look out for unusual names to use in my books. For example, in Plague Land, I have a family called the ‘Starvecrows.’ It’s a wonderful name, taken from a ‘Starvecrow farm’ that I used to walk past with my dogs. In my third book, I have a character called… TO READ INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: BLOQ, Alan Jones

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“Not only action-packed but intelligent”

THEY SAY:

A gritty crime thriller. Glasgow man Bill Ingram waits in the city’s Central Station to meet his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train pulls in, and she doesn’t get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

I SAY:

This book is a diamond in the rough.

The storyline is deceptively simple: a father goes to meet his daughter from the train, but she never arrives. He must turn detective, and find out what has happened to her. From that point, the reader is led on a rollercoaster ride that is grim, graphic, and gritty… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

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