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Barbara Copperthwaite

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June 2016

BLOOD TYPE: Betsy Reavley

BLOOD TYPE

“The characters come to life in my head and I let them lead the way.”

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: BETSY REAVLEY 

Tell us about yourself…615x+H8kI0L._UX250_

I am a mother and wife. I live in Cambridge. My family mean the world to me and my husband is my rock. I have two beautiful and naughty daughters who keep me on my toes, as well as a bouncy puppy and a few quail. Not fogetting the pet frog, Frank.

I swear too much and drink too much. I don’t always think before I speak. I love books, music, films and food. I really want a parrot but my husband doesn’t like birds. I want to travel more.

I’ve written ever since I was tiny and it’s my happy place.

How do you go about plotting your books?

I never plot my books. They happen organically. The characters come to life in my head and I let them lead the way. TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE

Review: THE OTHER WIDOW, Susan Crawford

THE OTHER WIDOW, BY SUSAN CRAWFORD. REVIEW BY BARBARA COPPERTHWAITE

 

“A strong, thrilling set up that made me ask all kinds of questions”

THEY SAY

‘We have to stop seeing each other . . . It isn’t safe. For us.’ He turns toward her, and even in the darkened car she sees his fear.

The affair is over. Moments later, Joe’s car skids off an icy road. Desperate to keep her life intact, Dorrie runs from the wreckage – but now someone is calling her from his phone.

Joe’s wife knew he was cheating. On her own in the wake of his death, Karen can’t shake the feeling that someone is watching her.

Investigator Maggie Brennan is immediately suspicious of the life insurance claim following the crash. The policy was a recent purchase, and she doesn’t believe in coincidences.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, they’re brought closer to a terrifying truth.

I SAY

As soon as I read the start of The Other Widow, I was hooked. It was a strong, thrilling set up that made me ask all kinds of questions I was desperate to answer.

With three women’s stories playing out, there was plenty to get my teeth into. The investigator has a fascinating back story, and it felt as though this book was… TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

BLOOD TYPE: WILLIAM SHAW

 

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“I’ll be honest: what I wrote for years just wasn’t good enough.”

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: WILLIAM SHAW 

Tell us about yourself…

I’m the author of several non-fiction books including Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood, about a year spent with the young men of South Central Los Angeles, and A Superhero For Hire, a compilation of columns in the Observer Magazine. William-Shaw-©-Ellen-Shaw-600x600

A Song from Dead Lips is the first in a trilogy of crime fiction books set in London in 1968 – 1969. It is followed by A House of Knives, set in the weeks following A Song From Dead Lips.

Starting out as assistant editor of the post-punk magazine ZigZag, I have been a journalist for The Observer, The New York Times, Wired, Arena and The Face and was Amazon UK Music Journalist of the Year in 2003.

A very senior agent once advised me to stop trying to write fiction. I was a moderately successful non-fiction writer and journalist at the time and he’d just told me that he wouldn’t be able to find anyone to publish what I’d just handed him. I still know him, and he’s a lovely and very clever bloke and the advice was very well meant. To be fair to him, the books I’d sent him weren’t very good at all. I was, however, unable to stop and my first book, A Song From Dead Lips came out in 2013.

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

Mostly I pick them from random searches or from the spines of books. People I don’t know who try to befriend me on Facebook sometimes too. But in The Birdwatcher one name’s special. As a boy growing up in Northern Ireland, my hero’s name was Billy McGowan. My dad was from the North, from a Protestant family, and McGowan is a family name. Anyone growing up in the North of Ireland would know that William, or Billy, is a name loaded with meaning. For better or worse, Good King Billy remains an icon for Unionists. I wanted to convey that sense of a very partisan culture you have there, out of which this boy had grown. He later hides his Northern Ireland origins, behind another identity, William South. North and South, see? It’s more important for me to know that, than the reader, though! TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: BLACK EYED SUSANS, Julia Heaberlin

 

Black Eyed Susans.jpg

“Made me want to go back to the start and read it all over again”

THEY SAY

A chilling new thriller that gets into the heart and mind of the killer, and the victim . . .

Seventeen-year-old Tessa, dubbed a ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ by the media, became famous for being the only victim to survive the vicious attack of a serial killer. Her testimony helped to put a dangerous criminal behind bars – or so she thought.

Now, decades later the black-eyed susans planted outside Tessa’s bedroom window seem to be a message from a killer who should be safely in prison.

Haunted by fragmented memories of the night she was attacked and terrified for her own teenage daughter’s safety, can Tessa uncover the truth about the killer before it’s too late?

I SAY

A compelling and different take on a serial killer book, both told from the same person’s point of view – but decades apart.

First there is Tessie, the teenager struggling to deal with the immediate aftermath of being the lone survivor found in a pile of girls’ remains. Then there is Tessa, now grown up with a teenage daughter of her own, but still so haunted by what happened to her. The brilliance of the writing is that the two versions both work as the same character, but there are also enough differences for… TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: Secrets, stonkers & crossed fingers!

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“DS MIKE BISHOP IS BACK!!!”

Ooh, there are some exciting things on the horizon!
DYING LIGHT is a whisker away from being sent off to my editor. And what will I be doing with myself while I’m waiting to hear from her? Well, I’ll be working on my next book! Want to know a little bit about it? Here goes…
DS MIKE BISHOP IS BACK!!!
So many people have let me know they would love to hear more from the cuddly-bellied single dad who featured in Flowers For The Dead. I instantly liked the idea, as he was so much fun to write, and surrounded by great characters, but I didn’t want to do it unless I had the right story. Oh-ho, do I have the right story now! It’s a stonker, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
I’m also planning a special something for anyone who subscribes to my newsletter. I had the idea yesterday and have started pulling things together already. I think (hope!) you’ll love it. But I can’t say any more than that right now – sorry!
I’m also hoping to be able to share the video with you soon (the one I mentioned I’d been learning about last week). All I can say is that the delay is down to the terrible weather we’ve been having! I was imagining glorious sunshine for this to work. Keep your fingers crossed for rain-free days this coming week.
I can’t go without making mention of all the terrible things that have happened this week in the news. I write about awful things, and create bad people, but no matter what I imagine, the truth is far, far worse, sadly. All any of us can do is continue to live and love. Peace, love, and happiness to you all. Have a wonderful weekend xx

BLOOD TYPE: MEL SHERRATT

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“If I’d given up after writing the first draft of the first book, I wouldn’t be now writing my twelfth novel.”

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: MEL SHERRATT 

Tell us about yourself…Mel - Sentinel

I write gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as I call it. My inspiration comes from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante, Mandasue Heller and Elizabeth Haynes. I also write contemporary fiction under the name of Marcie Steele.

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

Names of characters don’t have any special meaning to me. I have to choose my names according to the type of characters and class that I choose to write about. So I usually go through the local newspaper, and often births, deaths and marriages to find names. I have to have the right name before I can write a character, as well as a surname that fits the first name. I also have a… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: WHEN SHE WAS BAD, Tammy Cohen

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“It’s a great idea to set a crime thriller in the claustrophobic setting of the workplace” 

THEY SAY

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.

BUT WHAT CAN’T YOU SEE?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder?

 I SAY

Given that the average person spends more time with colleagues than with family, it’s a great idea to set a crime thriller in the claustrophobic setting of the workplace.

From the start we know two things: One, that something horrific has happened in an office in England. Two, that there is a terrible… TO READ REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: Learning curves & best sellers

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“This morning I woke to some truly lovely and unexpected news”

I’m a bit later that usual with my Weekly Round Up, so apologies. Of course, what prompted me to galvanise myself into action was a spot of good news that I woke to this morning. But more of that in a moment…

DYING LIGHT is still being coming together nicely. I’m going over the MS and chipping away at hefty paragraphs, completely cutting entire sections, moving other bits about, and adding in new sections to create more rounded characters, more lifelike landscape, a more sinister atmosphere. I really enjoy this part of the process, though. First draft can be scary, not knowing quite where the story is going, not being sure if things will come together and work. By this stage, though, I know exactly what’s going on, now it’s a question of working on it until it’s right. This is also the stage where I doubt-check facts, make sure the timeline hangs together correctly, etc, and make any changes there that are required (they generally are!). Then it will be on to editing.

I’ve been pulling together some ideas for the cover of DYING LIGHT, too. This is another process I really enjoy. One of the hardest things about being an indie author is that I am in charge of everything. One of the most fun things about being an indie author is…that I am in charge of everything. The cover design is such fun, because it’s such a different creative process from writing. I’m lucky enough to share my life with a very talented man who creates my covers for me. He listens to all my crazy ideas, and somehow manages to give me something wonderful, that actually makes sense. Now that’s a talent! I can’t wait to share some of my ideas with you, but you’ll have to be patient just a little bit longer…

We’ve also been working on a little idea for a promotional video. It’s very much in its infancy, and whether or not it will ever see the light of day, who can say, but I’m finding it fascinating to learn the process. Seriously, once again it’s one of the best and worst things about being an indie author. What do I know about making videos? Nothing! But I get an idea, I start to learn, and voila! Well, hopefully, voila… All I’ve managed so far is a video of me in bed, looking very tired, and muttering to myself that I don’t know what I’m doing (this, incidentally, will NEVER see the light of day, lol). But I experimented with cutting it, then overlaid some text, and I’m frankly stunned at myself for having got that far. I don’t think Spielberg has anything to worry about just yet though!

I’m learning all the time, though. I’ve just signed up to a forensics course, which I’m really excited about. The more I learn, the more it filters into my writing and informs my ideas, which can only be a good thing. I’m so excited about this. It’s going to be hard work juggling it with all my writing and promotional commitments, but it will most definitely be worth it.

So all in all it’s been another busy but satisfying week. And this morning I woke to some truly lovely and unexpected news. Invisible has popped into Amazon’s Noir bestsellers list. I’m so happy! There’s not even a price promotion going on on, so it really is a surprise. Not bad for a book that’s been out for over two years now!

Have a wonderful week, everyone. Let’s hope the wonderful start is a sign of even better things to come!

BLOOD TYPE: ROBIN ROUGHLEY

BLOOD TYPE

“Listen to readers. They’re the best judge of what works & what doesn’t.”

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: ROBIN ROUGHLEY 

Tell us about yourself…

AUTHOR ROBIN ROUGHLEY IS INTERVIEWED BY BARBARA COPPERTHWAITEMy name is Robin Roughley, author of the DS Lasser crime series. At present I have eleven self-published books on Amazon.


How do you go about plotting your books?

For me writing is an organic process. I have tried plotting a novel but found it restricting and I like that feel of being surprised as the story unfolds. This can lead to problems later on in the books but I still prefer the seat of your pants approach. I believe in getting the first couple of chapter’s right, as this should pose a set of questions for not only the reader but the writer as well. So I am always looking… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

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