Barbara Copperthwaite



March 2017

Preparing for the future, celebrating the past #writerslife #BookAnniversary

Exactly three years ago today, I became an author.

Today is a BIG DAY. Something exciting is about to happen, which hopefully bodes well for the future. So it seems odd that it is also the anniversary of another BIG DAY. Exactly three years ago today, I became an author. I pressed ‘publish’ on Amazon’s KDP site, and my first novel, Invisible, went on sale.

There was no fan fare. I hadn’t sent it to a single blogger because I wasn’t aware of bloggers. I didn’t have a website, and had only just joined Twitter and Facebook. I didn’t have a clue about publicity. To say it was the start of a steep learning curve is an understatement.

It also marked the first step on a plan I had. Well, less a plan, more a ridiculous dream I felt embarrassed saying out loud, because it could never possibly come true. I wanted to sell double figures of my book. I managed that – and then some! Invisible became a Kindle genre bestseller in the UK and US.

With my next book I set my sights a little higher. Being a genre bestseller was lovely, but I wanted to get into the Top 100 of all the Paid For Kindle Books on Amazon. Flowers for the Dead hit number 24. Hurray!

As I started writing my next novel, I heard about an independent digital publisher called Bookouture. They were quite small but seemed to have a knack for choosing great authors. Authors whose books I devoured. I dreamed of one day joining them, but once again I felt silly for setting my sights that high – especially as, over the course of the following months, Bookouture grew more and more successful. There was no way they’d be interested in signing me up.

Only, they did. Back in October, my dream came true when I signed a contract with them.

Today, there is an exciting announcement coming. I can’t wait to share it with you, but I can’t say more right now… Apart from that none of the amazing things that have happened to me in the last three years would have been possible without that very first step, when I self-published. As I look to the future, I celebrate the past. I was so horribly nervous. I remember counting off the sales I could definitely depend on: me (come on, I HAD to buy a copy), my mum, my brother, and both sisters. Five sales. If I sold more than five books, I’d be overjoyed, I decided  – and double figures would be amazing.

So far, so good 😉





PhotoFiction: Catherine Pullman shares #writing inspirations #HistoricalFiction #authorinterview


Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: Catherine Kullmann reveals how the Regency period has inspired her novels…

After tCatherine Kullmann 4 MB.jpgaking early retirement Catherine Kullman was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write. Her no
vels are set in England during the extended Regency— that fascinating period between the demise of hoops and the invention of crinolines- the end of the Georgian era but before the stultifying age of Victoria.

Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, was honoured with a Chill with a Book Readers Award. Perception & Illusion, was published in March 2017.

Catherine Kullmann is represented by A for Authors

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CATHERINE SAYS: One of the joys of writing historical novels is that you have an unimpeachable excuse to rummage in flea-markets, second-hand book shops, antique fairs and curiosity shops. My books are set in the extended Regency period from 1800 to 1830 and I was amazed to discover the wealth of coloured contemporary illustrations of the period over and above the portraits and architectural prints I had expected. Print shops selling cartoons and caricatures thrived and ladies’ journals published fashion plates and engravings of eminent persons in each issued. In addition, publishers had progressed beyond the usual frontispiece to produce lavishly illustrated books that are the forerunners of today’s graphic novels. I have chosen four of these illustrations to take you on a tour of London from the lowest dive to the Prince Regent’s court… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE


BLOOD TYPE: Angela Clarke @TheAngelaClarke @AvonBooksUK #writingtips #crime #writerslife


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.

“I try to work out why certain books are so good, and then I try to emulate that in my own work. Not copy their ideas, but study their craft”


Tell us about yourself…419MMABMoiL._UX250_

My name is Angela and I eat too much chocolate, and I have no plans to change that. Oh, and I’m a writer. My latest crime thriller in the Social Media Murder Series is Watch Me. I spend too much time on social media, and I have no plans to change that…

How long does your first draft take you?

My first draft is very fast and usually quite short – around the 45,000 word mark. It comes out in a fairly swift blast, of barely intelligible story. I won’t go so far as to describe it as prose, it’s more like a stream of consciousness, with dreadful spelling, where I tell myself what happens. I can usually complete it in about 6 weeks. After that the real work starts whipping it into a state where another human could actually read it… TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

‘Dragged me in’ #BookReview THE BREAKDOWN, B.A. Paris @BAParisAuthor


“Had me desperate to reach the end, totally hooked.”


If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn’t stop to help the woman in the car, and now she’s dead.

Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she’s sure someone is watching her.

Consumed by guilt, she’s also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is – and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.


Oooh, what a start. A dark and stormy night and a lone woman, Cass Anderson, driving in heavy rain. She pulls over to help another driver who has seemingly broken down. Then Cass has second thoughts… It’s the sort of thing that could happen to any of us. It’s the paranoid, worst case scenarios that flit through most people’s minds when they stop to help someone. That is what is so clever about B.A. Paris’s opening scenes… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

PhotoFiction: Anna Mansell shares #writing inspirations @AnnaMansell @bookouture #authorinterview


Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: Anna Mansell reveals how she is inspired by people and places close to home – including some witches marks…

Anna’s had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. She later decided that being sawn in half by her father, at barely 6 months old, was too submissive a role, vowing to channel the trauma in to something much more pro-actively creative. Having failed at acting, singing IMG_0979and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYs the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. How to Mend a Broken Heart is her first novel and her life was not on the line in order to write it. Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog


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ANNA SAYS: For me, inspiration has changed over the years. From book’s I’ve read, theatre I’ve seen, brilliant people I’ve met, or cake… always cake, but, there is something about the current phase of my life that draws me home, inspired by the beauty I see in that which surrounds me. Family, friends, places. They’re all on my door step. I don’t think that’s good in the long term. I think we have to look outwardly, seek new experiences, embrace diversity and opportunity. But as someone suffering some pretty tricksy anxiety for a year or so now, or perhaps because of a somewhat tumultuous few years for my family, home is where both my heart and my inspiration lies… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

BLOOD TYPE: John Bowen @johnybwrites #writingtips #crime #writerslife


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.

“You’re searching for emotional touchstones you can connect with to write them honestly.”

This week: JOHN BOWEN

Tell us about yourself…

My name is John Bowen and I’m a Birmingham based bestselling multi genre thriller writer, dad, husband and all round fiction fan. I love books, audioboJB Picoks, movies, video games, television… If there’s a narrative medium where made up people are getting up to made up stuff then I’m usually interested.

I’m approaching my third anniversary as an independent author, with over 50,000 books sold and 15,000 downloads of my free short story collection. My first novel, supernatural suspense thriller WHERE THE DEAD WALK was released in 2014, my action adventure thriller, VESSEL, in late 2014, my shorts collection, COLD SWEATS & VIGNETTES, in early 2015, and my cozy murder mystery crime thriller, DEATH STALKS KETTLE STREET, late last year.

How long does your first draft take you?

Always longer than I’d like… but usually around a year. I start with a loose outline, which I build out and restructure as I go. By the time I reach the half way point every forthcoming scene is usually sketched out. This helps identify any possible structural or pacing issues and gauge if the plot, core character arcs and theme are working nicely together so I don’t get bogged down rewriting huge sections near the end…TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY ROUND UP: Audiobooks & honours


“A book does not just belong to the author, but also the reader”

A very unexpected bonus at the start of this week – I got to choose a narrator for an audio book version of my upcoming novel. I’m so excited! It was really strange (in a good way!) to hear three people reading excerpts of my work, each putting a slightly different emphasis on words and tension. It also helped bring home to me just how different each reader’s experience is, as my words come alive in their heads – a book does not just belong to the author, but also the reader, who gives it their own spin. That is possibly one of the hardest things for authors to accept – that once their words are out there in the big wide world, they are no longer their own, but belong to others to put their own interpretation on.

But I digress. Hearing the narration coming alive was such an incredible experience. I found it really tough to decide who my favourite was, as each reader had things I loved about their performance.

In the end, one woman just edged it though, Alison Campbell. She has narrated a number of novels, including for Angela Marsons and Casey Kelleher, and often wins high praise from listeners for her skill.

This is another step closer to my dreams coming true. I’m still in ‘pinch me’ mode, not feeling as though it can really be happening.

The week ended in lovely fashion, too. Yesterday The Book Review Café published their Top Five standalone crime thrillers. There were some incredible books on there – including Flowers For The Dead. It was a real honour to be chosen, and a fabulous high note on which to end the week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


#TopFive with @ReviewCafe #crimethrillers #standalones

The absolutely wonderful Book Review Cafe is today featuring their Top Five standalone crime novels – and Flowers For The Dead is one of them! I’m so very proud and pleased to be included in a list of such brilliant books.

To read what the Book Review Cafe had to say about Flowers For The Dead, and check out which other great works of crime fiction have been included, click here.


PhotoFiction: T.A. Williams shares #writing inspirations @TAWilliamsBooks #authorinterview


Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: T.A. Williams reveals how the inspiration for his novel led to an incredible coincidence…

I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is61oc6Fq1KwL._UX250_ due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…
I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.


T.A.WILLIAMS SAYS: ‘So, where do you get your ideas from?’ We’ve all been asked it and the answer isn’t always easy. I’ve written ten books so far and by the end of 2017 that number will have gone up to 12. With some of them, it’s not so hard. My first book, Dirty Minds, for example was sparked off by a newspaper article predicting that…TO READ ON, CLICK HERE

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