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Barbara Copperthwaite

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS TO GIVE YOU SHIVERS

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January 2017

“Flowed with tension” My #bookreview of RAGDOLL, by Daniel Cole @Daniel_P_Cole @BenWillisUK @orionbooks

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“I couldn’t wait to read what on earth the killer was going to do next”

THEY SAY

One body. Six victims.

The only thriller you need to read in 2017

‘A high concept solution to a mystery’ Sophie Hannah
‘A brilliant, breathless thriller. If you liked Se7en, you’ll love this!’ M.J. Arlidge
‘An exciting thriller’ Linwood Barclay 

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

I SAY

There is a lot of hype around this book, and that raises expectations exponentially. Forget the hyperbole, and instead simply treat it as just another book…

The storyline is one I couldn’t resist – there is a serial killer on the loose. I love a serial killer! Especially one with a penchant for the theatrical, and this one really does enjoy keeping everyone on their toes. TO READ THE REVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

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WEEKLY ROUND UP:Routines & Red Herrings

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There is just over a month to go until I have to hand over my current work-in-progress to my editor, so I am entering the feverish stage of writing. It is a frantic, breathless, slightly out-of-control feeling, as I pull story strands together, make characters work a bit harder, ensure plots make sense, and nail that ending – because without a good ending what is the point of a good book?

There is still so much to do. Layers of tension and atmosphere must be added, sights, sounds, smells, mannerisms, red herrings… Hard work, but what fun!

This will become the second book to be published by Bookouture…and while finishing this off, I’ve also been given the structural edits for my first book with Bookouture. It’s a busy old time!

Next week, I’ll also be getting back into my old blogging routine, after a month off. Keep your eyes peeled for Blood Type, because I’ve got some incredible people lined up for you, including Sarah Hilary (Quieter Than Killing, Someone Else’s Skin, No Other Darkness, Tastes Like Fear), David Young (Stasi Child and Stasi Wolf), and Daniel Cole (whose debut novel Ragdoll is out on 23 Feb and EVERYONE is talking about it – look out for my review of it on Tuesday).

A new section is also being launched, where authors share photographs of what has inspired them. The fabulous Sarah Ward (In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw) will be kicking that off on Friday. It’s really fascinating to see the visuals that spark a hundred thousand words.

With that in mind…I’d better get back to work!

Have a great weekend, everyone x

Writing a novel: It’s not business, it’s personal #amwriting #writerslife

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To truly be a writer, perhaps the biggest requisite comes down to ‘skin’ 

Before I started writing a novel, I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing it. It was such a huge amount of words – 90,000-100,000 words, when as a journalist I was used to writing features of around 2000 words maximum. Was I a sprinter, incapable of completing a marathon? Did I have the sticking power to keep with it, or would I get bored and give up?

Those were the thoughts in my head. Never for a moment did I think that it might be something else that let me down. I knew plotting, pacing, how to hook readers in, thanks to over twenty years’ experience at a national level as a journalist. But the hardest thing about writing a novel was something I didn’t even contemplate until I had completed my manuscript, proudly written The End and was thinking of actually allowing someone to read my words.

The hardest thing was the horrible feeling of vulnerability.

When I write an article I write in the style of that publication. Chat magazine has a totally different way of wording and construction to The Times, for example. But no matter who I work for, I interview someone and then write their story up in the style demanded by the publication. Simple. In other words it is always someone else’s story. I have interviewed a person, taken what has happened to them and therefore does not belong to me, and then put it in whatever style I am required to – so even the words I have written don’t belong to me. Not really. It’s a business. It’s not personal.

A novel isn’t like that. This is my story. It won’t be something that has happened to me, but it has come purely from my imagination. I have created a world so complete that I can lose myself in it for hours; I have constructed characters so rounded that I can see them in my mind’s eyes, and feel what they are feeling in order to pour it out onto the page. It takes it out of a person, I can tell you.

The plot, the setting, the twists and turns, and the characters are all of my making, so in some ways, even though they are nothing like me at all and I wonder where on earth they come from, they are all born of me. It’s not business. It’s personal.

There’s also the time invested, of course. A feature takes a couple of days, sometimes less. A novel? It can take eight months of blood, sweat and tears (okay, maybe not blood, unless I sustain a nasty papercut, but definitely sweat and a whole lot of tears).

All of that means that letting go is incredibly hard. By putting it out there, I am putting myself out there. I feel open and vulnerable, sensitive and raw. And when someone criticises it…oh, my, it cuts deep. When someone praises it, though, I feel as giddy as a puppy.

To truly be a writer, perhaps the biggest requisite comes down to ‘skin’ – it must be thin enough to truly feel every emotion and convey it; and thick enough to lay it bare to the world. It’s scary, terrifying, and rather wonderful.

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Chatting about books with brill blog CHAT ABOUT BOOKS! @bellaboobos11

Today I’m over on Chat About Books, with Kerry Parsons. Despite being a mum to two teenagers and a shi-tzhu, Kerry somehow manages to find time to run a brilliant blog about her passion – books! Well, with our mutual love of novels we were bound to get on like a house on fire. Kerry asked me about all sorts! So pop over to her blog to discover what inspires me, why I’d like to quiz Charles Dickens, and how a hardback book with an orange cover changed my life, plus loads, loads, more!

Here’s a cheeky little excerpt to tease you…

Today I am over the moon to welcome Barbara Copperthwaite! 🙂

Barbara is a crime novelist. Author of INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. She is a lovely lady and is very supportive of other authors and book bloggers.

Now, I have to confess that Barbara’s books have been waiting patiently on my kindle for far too long already. I have seen many glowing reviews for these books which makes me all the more ashamed to admit that I haven’t had the chance to read them, yet. I will be rectifying this as soon as I can, I promise!

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

Hello! My name is Barbara Copperthwaite, and people have always said that with a name like that I ought to write books. That wasn’t the only reason I decided to start writing, though. I’ve been a journalist for over twenty years, writing features, and working my way up to become a magazine editor. I’ve always loved the buzz of it. But I needed a new challenge and had an idea that refused to be ignored any longer… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

“Read this!” My #bookreview of HER EVERY FEAR, by Peter Swanson @PeterSwanson3 @FaberBooks

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“Had me literally gasping out loud. Read this book!”

THEY SAY

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

In the tradition of such greats as Gillian Flynn and Harlan Coben, Patricia Highsmith and James M. Cain, Her Every Fear is a scintillating novel, rich with the chilling insight and virtuoso skill for plotting that has propelled Peter Swanson to the highest ranks of thriller writing.

I SAY

I’m a huge Peter Swanson fan ever since reading his second novel, The Kind Worth Killing, which became my absolute favourite read of last year. When people ask me for a recommendation, it is still that book that springs to mind every single time. So…quite a lot of expectation to live up to for this tale.

Chilling, well-written, cleverly plotted, and characters who are uncomfortably, realistically horrible – just as with The Kind Worth Killing, Her Every Fear features all of this. It is curiously constructed though. I’m not sure how else the story could have been told, and because it is utterly brilliant and unputdownable, it works. Against all odds, Peter Swanson pulls it off. But there were a couple of times when the writer in me felt the construction was curious, and strangely weighted here and there, as it swapped between perspectives. It’s such an engrossing storyline though that the thought is fleeting and doesn’t spoil the overall pace.

I lost myself in the characters: The delicate Kate, who has already been through so much, and may not survive (either mentally or physically) this next challenge. Corbin, a weak man with terrible secrets. Henry, a chameleon and master manipulator. And the strange neighbour who sees everything, and is prone to obsession…

This isn’t a whodunit, as you discover that fairly quickly, but the storyline’s twists and turns had me hooked and I was desperate to discover just what was happening, and why. The final confrontation had me literally gasping out loud.

In summary…I loved it!

Her Every Waking Fear is not quite up there with The Kind Worth Killing, but is only a smidgeon beneath it. The merest whisker. That is high praise indeed. My only advice? Read this book!

Want to know more about Peter Swanson and how he creates such incredible books? Then read on – I’ve got a great chat with him, too!

Hi Peter! Tell us about yourself…

I am a full time crime writer living just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. When I’m not writing crime thrillers, I’m probably reading a crime thriller, and when I’m not doing either of those two things, I am trying to organize the ridiculous number of books that are threatening to take over my very small office.

I’ve published two novels—The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, and The Kind Worth Killing. My newest thriller — Her Every Fear — comes out in January, 2017

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

Some names—usually of the main characters—have special meaning. For example, Ted Kimball, the frustrated-poet detective in The Kind Worth Killing is called Ted after Ted Hughes, and Kimball was my grandmother’s maiden name, and also my sister’s middle name. It’s a surname I associate with goodness, and Ted, especially compared with the other characters in the book he exists in, is one of the good guys.

But Ted Kimball’s name is an exception. Most of my character’s names are… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: cold weather, hot keyboard, & magic #amwriting #writerslife

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“The book decides to add something itself & I am simply the conduit”

I’m starting to think that my mouth and fingers are inextricably linked. I don’t seem to be able to type unless I am eating something. The good news is, the more I eat, the faster I chew; the faster I chew, the faster I type. The bad news is that by the end of my next novel I may explode.

My week has consisted exclusively of typing and eating, as I have hidden away in my writing cave. I’m rushing towards the ending of my second book for Bookouture, putting in some touches I had expected, and having some magical moments where the book decides to add something itself and I am simply the conduit through which it gets put down in black and white.

The weather has helped massively. It’s freezing cold, so I haven’t been tempted to move from my spot in front of the cosy wood-burning stove we have. Bum firmly on seat, I’ve been flying through the words, only distracted when my questing fingers reach out for a biscuit…or two…

The weather has helped me create the right atmosphere for my work in progress, too, which is also set in winter. Looking out of the window had given me all the inspiration I need.

I’m just over a week away from ‘finishing’, I think. The reason why that word is in inverted commas? Because then it will be a question of going straight back to the start and reworking everything I’ve just done. Right now, though, I’m on the exciting journey to the final showdown, hanging onto the novel’s coat tails as it pulls me along. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen!

Have a great weekend x

WEEKLY ROUND UP: new books, new plans, old chocolate #amwriting #writerslife

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“It’s involved me scoffing a lot of chocolate left over from Christmas”

The first week back at work is over! Already the festive season seems a distant but wonderful memory. Despite writing during that period, it was only sporadic attempts, in front of the fire, stopping whenever something good came on telly or I fancied more cheese and biscuits and perhaps a cheeky glass of something sparkly. But from Monday I had to get my serious writing head back on… It’s been a slow slide into it, though, I’ll be honest (it’s also involved me scoffing a lot of chocolate left over from Christmas).

I’m currently writing my second book for Bookouture. This one will be another standalone psychological thriller for you, and I’m already very excited about it. It’s a dark and claustrophobic tale…but I can’t say more than that right now – sorry, I couldn’t resist the tease!

And here’s another tease… There’s some exciting news about my first Bookouture novel looming on the horizon. I can’t tell you what right now, but I’m keeping everything crossed that I’ll be able to soon, so please watch this space.

As well as writing, I’m organising a new section for the blog, where authors will share photographs of things that have inspired them to write, or sparked the idea for their latest books. The ones I’ve received so far have been so diverse and really fascinating – I can’t wait to share them with you to see what you think. Authors who have agreed to take part include B.A. Paris (Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown), S.D. Sykes (The Butcher Bird), and Sarah Ward (In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw).

So there it is, my first Weekly Round Up of the year. Have a great weekend, everyone!

x

Wrestling the octopus of story strands #amwriting #crimefiction #writerslife

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I’m disappearing into the writing cave for a while, so you might hear less from me. I’m attempting to lose myself in my latest book, which is my fourth. It’s an odd feeling to be writing book four without my third endeavour being published first. As a self-published author, this would be pretty much unheard of, but of course now I’m getting used to doing things a different way (it still feels very surreal to think I have a publishing deal. I keep thinking it will feel more real when…I receive the contract, when the announcement is made public, when…well, let’s just say that so far it still hasn’t sunk in, so maybe it will when the first book with Bookouture goes on sale!)

Right now, I am busy letting a story play out, rather messily, in front of me. I’ve reached the stage where I feel I am fighting an octopus, each tentacle a different strand of the tale that is wriggling, trying to break free and live a life of its own. It occasionally picks me up and throws me across the room. Somehow, I must wrestle with it and get it tamed until it sits with all tenacles together, neat as a debutante with her back straight and her ankles crossed. Right now, that doesn’t seem even remotely possible, but I’ve been here before, and know this is just a phase. Eventually, the octopus is always tamed – well, becomes less wild, anyway.

Until then, it’s time to get my whip out and head back into the writing cave…

INVISIBLE & FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD #BestBooks2016 via @calturner @MrsBloggsReader

After a fantastic end to last year, I thought I’d be hiding away in my writing cave for a while, recovering while the world went on without me. But already 2017 has got off to an incredible start – let’s hope it is the way it intends to continue! – because yesterday two more bloggers released their lists of their favourite books of 2016…and my books were on them!

Firstly, Cal’s Blog released her Top 10 Reads of 2016, and I was honoured to discover Flowers For The Dead was on there. “A fantastic nail biting read that had my emotions see-sawing from one extreme to the other,” Cal wrote.

I was on cloud nine. Just a few hours later, Mrs Bloggs’ Books published ‘My Outstanding Books of the Year 2016’. And there, right at the very top, was Invisible. Wow!

What a great start to the new year. Now, I’m back to the writing desk and hoping that I can repeat my previous success with my next novel. Wish me luck!

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