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Barbara Copperthwaite

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May 2016

Review: THE NIGHT STALKER, Robert Bryndza

The Night Stalker

“So tense that you’re holding your breath, so fast-paced that it’s heart-pounding”

THEY SAY

If the Night Stalker is watching, you’re already dead…

In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.

A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.

The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?

As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

The global bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice is back with a heart-racing, electrifying thriller. If you love Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James, you’ll be hooked on Robert Bryndza.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

I SAY

Robert Bryndza really comes into his own with this second DCI Erika Foster book. It feels more confident and assured. Far more importantly, it is more nail-biting, more complex, more… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: Reviews, interviews, & finding my mojo!

 

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“Hmm, ‘incredibly talented authors’, now there’s a segue…!”

A brilliant week! It has ended on such a high – but first let me tell you about how it kicked off.

On Sunday, I was interviewed by the very lovely Nicky Doherty, who (along with Julie Blackie) is one half of the writing duo who make up Nicky Black – authors of The Prodigal. The results can be seen here.

Next up, on Monday, I got two INCREDIBLE reviews from bloggers, one for Invisible (from By The Letter Book Reviews), and one for Flowers For The Dead (from My Chestnut Reading Tree), as well as a couple of great Amazon reviews for them, too (I really, really love it when readers leave a review as you are the ones who buy the books).

Tuesday saw me do a double review for the first time: Sarah Ward’s fabulous detective series kicked off with In Bitter Chill last year, and 1 September will see the publication of the follow up, A Deadly Thaw. I loved both of them – and didn’t realise until after I’d posted that mine is the VERY FIRST review A Deadly Thaw has received. How cool is that? And what a privilege! (Read the reviews here for In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw)

The wonderful A.J. Waines featured on Blood Type, on Thursday, and gave some brilliant tips for writers, as well as amazing insight into her books. I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying this series, and feel as if I’m really getting to know some incredibly talented authors.

Hmm, ‘incredibly talented authors’, now there’s a segue…! Because my next exciting news (well, exciting to me!) is that yesterday, I bashed out the opening scene of my next book because inspiration wouldn’t wait! It was a great confirmation that my writing mojo is back, after several months of struggling with ill health that has also impacted on my creativity. Now I just have to finish Dying Light!

DYING LIGHT is really coming on now, too. I’ll soon be in a position to post a the opening lines of it, to whet your appetite. But there’s been some random Googling involved as I’ve written this week:

sunrise and sunset times
Tupperware cloche
The impact of cold on brain injuries…

Ha! Puzzle on that lot while enjoying your lovely long weekend. Happy Bank Holiday, everyone! x

BLOOD TYPE: A.J.WAINES

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

“Writing seems to be a massive roller-coaster ride with great surges forward followed by terrible disappointments.”

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

This week: A.J. WAINES.

Tell us about yourself…AJWainesMMrev

AJ Waines has sold over 150,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. She was a psychotherapist for fifteen years, during which time she worked with ex-offenders from high-security institutions, gaining a rare insight into criminal and abnormal psychology. She is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Random House) and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth novel, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month in ten countries worldwide. In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). AJ Waines lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband.

How long does your first draft take you?

My very first novel, in 2009, took about twelve months, because I had no idea what I was doing! I’d never written fiction before and it was meant to be a short story, but I was so excited by the storyline, I just carried on… My latest book, No Longer Safe, took eight weeks, but it’s always followed by lots of rewriting and editing. As a rule, I’d say they take between about eight to sixteen weeks, but I need to know some key plot points before I start.

Where do you most like to do your writing?

In my study at home on a full-sized computer. I’m not very good with a laptop and couldn’t possibility work in… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: A DEADLY THAW, Sarah Ward

A Deadly Thaw

“Weaves red herrings in with genuine clues so that the reader is constantly left guessing”

THEY SAY

2004: In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.

Spring 2016: A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found murdered in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago and why did she lie about his identity? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, follows a trail of clues delivered by a teenage boy.

Sarah Ward’s second novel confirms her place as one of the UK’s most exciting new crime writers.

I SAY

This is one jigsaw puzzle where, every time you think the pieces fit, it turns out something is missing. It is expertly plotted, from the intriguing… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: IN BITTER CHILL, Sarah Ward

In Bitter Chill

“A stylish whodunit that is cleverly constructed”

THEY SAY

Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide.

Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.

This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.

I SAY

A stylish whodunit that is cleverly constructed to pull you in and keep you reading.

I loved the flashbacks to the original crime, back in 1978. I found myself desperately searching them for clues, in the same way the victim does, and her reasons for them being fuzzy and incomplete was totally realistic. Rachel doesn’t want to be an unreliable… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: Hitting the 100!

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Only a tiny fraction of readers leave reviews, but they make such a massive difference – authors love reviewers!

Today is, apparently, National Readathon Day 2016.Which is lucky, because it gives me a mighty fine excuse to do what I was going to do anyway: devote the entire weekend to reading!

I’m just finishing off a sneaky early peek at A Deadly Thaw, the follow up to Sarah Ward’s In Bitter Chill. I’ll be posting reviews of both of these next week. Then I’ll be diving into The Night Stalker, the second of Robert Bryndza’s crime novels. Ah, bliss! What are you reading this weekend?

Those of you who saw Wednesday’s post will know I’ve been struggling with my health, which has impacted creatively (if you want to read the post, here it is https://barbaracopperthwaite.wordpress.com/…/the-lonelines…/ ). I finished the post in a matter of minutes, an outpouring of both frustration but also determination. Never for a moment did I expect the reaction it got. Innumerable authors, both self- and traditionally published, contacted me here, on Facebook, and on Twitter, to say they had all felt that way, too. That it’s part of the process. That I was right to bring into the light a part of being an author that often lurks in the shadows, never spoken of.

Between that reaction, and the fact that my cold is finally clearing after a weak of croaking and coughing, I’ve managed to do some more writing this week. So although DYING LIGHT is postponed, it IS slowly getting there!

Thank you all for your patience, and for helping me along the journey.

I must also thank all of you who have left reviews for FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Yesterday it reached over 100 reviews! What’s more, a whopping 81 of them are 5*****! I’m incredibly proud of this, and it’s given me just the boost I needed. It feels like such a huge achievement and I’m very, very grateful to you all. Only a tiny fraction of readers leave reviews, but they make such a massive difference – authors love reviewers!

Have a wonderful weekend, and happy readathon x

BLOOD TYPE: ANGELA MARSONS

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

“I like the story to grow organically from chapter to chapter.”

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: ANGELA MARSONS.

Tell us about yourself…

359I am a crime writer who lives in the Black Country in the West Midlands. My partner and I
have a bouncy diva Labrador and potty-mouthed parrot. My Number 1 best-selling crime series featuring Detective Kim Stone is published by Bookouture.

I first discovered my love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up my own stories about them. My report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (My Name Is and The Middle Child) I turned to crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

How do you go about plotting your book?

I normally have a rough idea of the beginning and the end. I’m not a planner as I like the story to grow organically from chapter to chapter. I do have a single sheet of paper which is a vague timeline as I normally have an idea of how many days I want the story to be. As key scenes come to me I…TO IN FULL, CLICK HERE.

Review: FOLLOW ME, Angela Clarke

Follow Me

“Fast-paced, absorbing, unique, modern, and rockets along”

THEY SAY

LIKE. SHARE. FOLLOW . . . DIE

The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?

ONLINE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM …

I SAY

If you want a painfully accurate police procedural type novel, don’t bother with this. It’s utter nonsense – but it’s brilliant utter nonsense! Suspend your disbelief, disengage your brain, and just enjoy the ride, because Follow Me is a great read.

Of course it would never happen. The police… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE.

The loneliness of a long-distance writer

 

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This is the hard bit. The bit where the real authors are sorted out from the wannabes. The bit where those not determined enough, passionate enough, driven enough, give up and fall by the wayside.

This is the bit where you are reminded that writing a book is not a short sprint but a long, hard marathon of endurance. My own willpower is wavering a little lately, I admit. I’ve been ill at a constant low-level for two months or so now. Niggling things such as colds, stomach bugs, shingles, even mouth ulcers, all showing me how run down I am, and slowing down my writing. I’m tired all the time. All. The. Time. I even wake tired. What I want to do – perhaps what I need to do – is take a break, rest, regain my zing.

This is the part of being an author that people rarely speak of. Instead, we concentrate on the positive: great reviews of current books, cover reveals, good sales rankings. But lurking in the background is The Fear about the current work in progress.

My book is on the wrong path.

There, I’ve said it.

Right now, I don’t know how to get it right. I feel lost and bereft. I feel completely useless. I feel as if all my worst fears are coming true – and this is almost certainly why I’ve been ill. Most of all, I feel completely alone. I am self-published, so there is no editor to talk things through with, no team supporting me. There is just me, lost.

But I won’t give up. I can’t. Every time I try to, I get more ideas for other books, or think of a new way to solve the problems with my current work in progress. And that’s the good news. That shows that I’m not as lost as I think I am, and that if I keep on going I will, one day, spot something shimmering on the horizon and drawing ever closer. The finish line. Reserves of energy I didn’t know I had will kick in, and I will sprint across it and once again feel that exhilaration of achievement. I’ll look back over the distance I have travelled, the huge volume of words I’ve written, the story I have woven, and think: “How the hell did I do that?”

How? Because I’m an author, and writing novels is a long, hard marathon of endurance. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. All I have to do is keep going.

****

UPDATE

****

It’s now twelve months exactly since I wrote this post. I finished the manuscript, sent it off to agents and publishers, and got a four-book deal with Bookouture. Coincidentally, The Darkest Lies (which is what the manuscript became) was published on Friday, and has entered Amazon’s Top 100. What a difference a year makes!

So if anyone reading this post feels like giving up, I really, really hope this helps to keep you going. Who can say where you will be a year from now…

xx

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