Barbara Copperthwaite



October 2016

BLOOD TYPE: Christina Philippou @CPhilippou123 @urbanepub #writingtips


“I love authors that drip-feed you information and peel back the layers one by one.”

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


Tell us about yourself…CPhilippou (2).jpg

My writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under my desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, I can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. I have three passports to go with my three children, but am not a spy. Lost in Static is my first novel, published by Urbane Publications.

I’m also the founder of a contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic.

You’re welcome to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or Google+

How do you go about plotting your book?

Please don’t judge me, but I use spreadsheets (I’m an accountant by trade – I can’t help myself!) to plan, plan, plan. Because of the intricate narrative in my debut novel, Lost in Static, I used multiple spreadsheets for everything from events to character speech patterns to, of course, the plot… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE


BLOOD TYPE: Tara Lyons @taralyonsauthor #amwriting #writingtips


“Facebook book clubs & bloggers have been invaluable in helping me become a bestselling author.”

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

This week: TARA LYONS

Tell us about yourself…71frnywm1bl-_ux250_

I am a thirty-something year-old, single mother and self-published my debut novel this year! I always wanted to be a writer, but needed that kick up the backside to take the leap – thank God for my dear friends and family. I have seven tattoos (yes, I want another) and I’ve lived in London all my life. But I finally have that desire to move somewhere quieter and more “green” (maybe it’s my age?).

How do you go about plotting your book?

As a solo writer, I’m notes everywhere – paper, my phone, in my head – because the ideas come to me at different times. I think also because I’m starting out on my writing career, different characters and stories are coming at me thick and fast. I have to get it all down so I can sieve through it and find a gem I can build and take further.

As a co-writer, the plotting is more structured. For The Caller (and the second book in the series, but shh that’s an exclusive) myself and Mel Comley planned in detail. A lot of that was because we were creating a new series, but also because we’re miles away from each other. We needed documents we could refer back to while writing different stages. Inevitably, new ideas came to us or the characters took us in a new direction, but we just updated each other and the biographies… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE

“Exceptional” My #bookreview of The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel @JLewisStempel


“John Lewis-Stempel has a rare and exceptional talent. It moves me to tears.”


Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last twenty years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life.

Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. It recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane.

But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals. John Lewis Stempel demonstrates that it is still possible to create a place where the hare can rest safe.


I’ll make an admission here: I don’t think John Lewis-Stempel can put a foot wrong in my eyes. Over a year on from first reading it, I still dip into ‘Meadowland’ and read excerpts, marvelling at the jewel-like language, the poetry of his imagery, and the raw honesty of his words. So you probably don’t need to read any further on, because you know I’m going to absolutely rave about The Running Hare.

For starters, how glorious is that cover? It draws me from across a room, enticing me to find out what treasure nestles inside. And treasure there is. Once again Lewis-Stempel conveys the truth of the modern countryside, simply, beautifully, honestly; and he wears his heart on his sleeve as he shares his hopes and dreams with the reader. This time, he has a plan to transform a barren field into a place for nature to thrive as well as the crop. No pesticides, no GM, just hard work and vision. Can he do it?

His love for all of nature, from hares to rooks to worms, is evident in his intimate knowledge of everything he writes about. Woven into the book is also fascinating snippets of history, along with a certain amount of longing for the older ways. This isn’t simply borne of desire for ‘the good olde days’ but because there is absolute sense and need for the countryside to use fewer pesticides, to embrace nature instead of battle it.

The Running Hare is a fascinating insight into a world gone by, a terrifying hint at the future we may have, all encased in simple but glorious language that perfectly captures the natural world and one man’s vision of it. It moves me to tears.

“A flint wind, no good for man or beast, cuts in from the east, so I hug the near hedge, which shivers naked and is no comfort at all. Magpies, those proofs of desolation, flap beside me.”

How beautiful is that? How precisely does he capture the cold, the atmosphere, the view, in so few words. Wonderful stuff!

John Lewis-Stempel has a rare and exceptional talent. Read this book. Please.

Guest Post – Author Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait

Today I’m over on Mrs Bloggs Books, where I’ve written a very revealing post about where I write and why… Check it out!

The Average Reader (formerly Mrs Blogg’s Books)

I’m really thrilled to have a guest post by author Barbara Copperthwaite on my blog today. Over to Barbara now:-

Choosing the write place
A popular question people like to ask authors is “where’s your favourite place to write”. But for me the answer is surprisingly complicated – and very revealing because it gives away exactly where I am in the writing process!

ANSWER ONE: The cafe

In the first flush of writing a new novel, I cannot stay home. I find it hard to concentrate because I don’t know either the storyline or the characters well enough yet to be able to lose myself in them. There is housework I could do, or a book to read, or an interesting conversation to be had on the phone, or… So I scurry to a local café, where I can combine people-watching with writing.

Being there also puts me under a…

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Book Review – Invisible: Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @MrsBloggsReader

“My crime fiction novel of the year”

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Wow! After a weekend away, I come home to this absolutely fabulous review of Invisible by Mrs Bloggs Books. I’m overwhelmed! She writes:

This book is my crime fiction novel of the year so far. It’s just outstanding! It’s been on my Kindle for some time and I don’t even remember buying it. I haven’t read any o…

Source: Book Review – Invisible: Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait

BLOOD TYPE: Fiona Cummins @FionaAnnCummins #amwriting #writingtips


“Talent is all very well but tenacity, self-belief, originality and the ability to get the words on the page are just as important.”

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


Tell us about yourself…FIONA CUMMINS_PIC.JPG

I’ve been a journalist all my working life, most notably at the Daily Mirror, where I spent 12 very happy years. My job as a showbusiness reporter meant I got to travel a lot and meet some of the most famous celebrities in the world, including Michael Jackson and George Clooney. But after having my second child, I was desperate to discover whether I had it in me to write a novel. After hearing about the Faber Academy’s Writing A Novel course (alumni include SJ Watson, Rachel Joyce and Renee Knight) on the radio, I applied for a place and RATTLE, my début crime thriller, was born. It’s due to be published by Pan Macmillan in February 2017 and I’m currently working on its sequel. It’s also been optioned for a TV series.

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

I believe names are so important and I choose them very carefully. To me, names are much more than a handy label. Names can conjure up age, era, personality…I love memorable and distinctive names. Think Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. Or Detective Inspector Rebus. Equally, a very ordinary name can be used to signal something interesting about character too. I’m always on the lookout for unusual names, and I squirrel them away in my notebook… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE


“Shivers down my spine” My #review of Eeny Meeny, by M.J. Arlidge @mjarlidge @penguinrandom

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“There was no way I was going to be able to put this down!”


The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found – and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind?

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors – living calling cards – who hold the key to the case.

And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die . . .


Oooh, from the very beginning I was a gonner. There was no way I was going to be able to put this down! What a horrible, uncomfortable, thought-provoking and utterly different premise. People forced to choose between saving themselves or killing someone they care about. Horrific! The very thought sends shivers down my spine – and that is what kept me reading on… TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE

Raise money for #macmillan SIGNED books to bid for – including mine! #bookauction #bestseller


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Pop over to Facebook and check out the SIGNED books up for auction to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Some great authors are involved – and it’s all for a brilliant cause! There’s even a signed copy of Flowers For The Dead available!

The event has been organised by Emma Mitchell, of review blog Emma The Little Book Worm. Macmillan know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything. So from the moment someone is diagnosed, they are there  to support you and help you take back some control in your life. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, they are there. Through treatment and beyond, they help cancer sufferers. It’s a fabulous cause to support.

So what are you waiting for? Go on, check out the brilliant signed books up for grabs and make a bid! CLICK HERE


“Hard-hitting & nail-biting” My #bookreview of The Taken by @CaseyKelleher @bookouture


“Well-written, meticulously-researched, brilliantly-woven, hard-hitting book with a nail-biting ending”


When you’ve lost everything, you’ll do anything to survive.

Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.

Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed by his own sinister secrets. As the sickening truth is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life – and her baby’s.

When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?


This isn’t the sort of story I usually read. At first it sat uncomfortably with me, I have to admit. But as I got more into it, I wondered how the characters’ stories would interweave when they were so different, and how on earth this tale would be wrapped up satisfactorily. As a result, I gobbled this book up in one day!

There is a warning on the front cover that this book isn’t for the faint hearted, and do take heed. There is a lot…TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, PLEASE CLICK HERE

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