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April 2017

BLOOD TYPE: Daniel Cole @Daniel_P_Cole ‏@BenWillisUK @orionbooks #writingtips #writerslife

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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.

“The best thing about getting Ragdoll published was relief that I wasn’t completely deluded”

This week: Daniel Cole

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Hi. I’m Daniel Cole. I’m thirty-four and live in sunny Bournemouth. I wrote a book called Ragdoll, which is out on February 23rd and am currently hard(ish) at work on book 2.

How do you go about plotting your book?

I always start with just a beginning and an end. I then work on a chapter-by-chapter basis with some major set pieces in mind. I find that there isn’t much point in me planning everything out because everything changes as soon as I actually start writing and letting the story play out in my head.

I did end up drawing an enormous spider diagram at the end of writing Ragdoll though to ensure that I had sewn up all of the loose ends…T O CONTINUE READING, CLICK HERE

‘Slow-burning & complex’ #BookReview THE CHILD, Fiona Barton @figbarton @PenguinRHUK ‏

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‘A fascinating study of mystery and the drives behind people’s actions – including the more sinister ones’

THEY SAY

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.

I SAY

Perhaps it is the similar backgrounds, but I love the way Fiona Barton writes. Like me, she prefers the ‘whydunit’ to the ‘whodunit’ – even if you guess who is behind the mystery, you will find yourself not minding, so hooked are you by the story itself, the reasons behind the crimes, and the characters. Everything is firmly footed in reality. No women have hysterical breakdowns for no apparent reason, no men are menacing simply for the hell of it. Fiona Barton’s characters come across as people who exist in the everyday world, who you might bump into on the street. Even her bad guys are fully rounded and complex – no one-dimensional clichés here… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

PhotoFiction: Tara Lyons shares #writing inspirations @taralyonsauthor @Bloodhoundbook #authorinterview

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Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: Tara Lyons reveals how the view from the safety of her home sparked a chilling crime thriller…

Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara’s debut solo nTara Lyons JAN 2017.jpgovel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley. In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The second book in the DI Hamilton series, No Safe Home, was published in January 2017. When she’s not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.

 

 

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TARA SAYS:

I’ve never thought where I live was very inspiring. Yes, London Town is beautiful, and has many views to be admired, but I don’t live in the heart of the city. I live a tube ride away, actually at the end of the line, and can see nothing of its charm from my bedroom window. There are no lakes, or oceans surrounding my office, and it feels like forever since the sky was clear blue, and the sun shone through my window. I’ve always thought it’s these settings that must be the most inspiring locations to write from.

Yet, without even thinking about it, the location of one of my character’s homes in my latest novel, No Safe Home, is mine… TO READ ON, CLICK HERE

BLOOD TYPE: L.J. Ross @LJRoss_author #writingtips #crime #writerslife

BLOOD TYPE

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.

“Don’t be influenced too much by what others are writing or doing and focus on your own writing instead.”

This week: L.J. ROSS

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Hello! I’m Louise, but I write fast-paced murder mysteries under the pen name ‘L J Ross’. I was born in Northumberland, which is where my DCI Ryan series is set, but I lived for over ten years in London where I trained as a barrister and worked in the City before deciding to make the leap and become an author. Nowadays, I live in Bath with my husband and three-year-old son. I’m a fan of anything creative: reading, writing, painting, dancing, music…all of it!

How do you go about plotting your book?

Once an idea or a concept strikes me, I tend to create the bones of a storyline in my head. I make a few loose notes to remind myself of the direction I plan to take, but for the most part I let the writing flow. I’ve found that if I listen to my ‘inner voice’ (which is angry, sweary and Geordie), it tells me when a draft is becoming stagnant. It’s a useful guideline and lets me know when more action or pace is required to hold a reader’s interest (and my interest, while I’m writing it). I do keep more detailed notes on character biographies within my series, to ensure consistency from one book to the next…TO READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

PhotoFiction: Elaine Spires shares #writing inspirations @ElaineSpires #authorinterview

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Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words

THIS WEEK: Elaine Spires reveals how two very different buildings have influenced her writing: the Taj Mahal and a council estate in Dagenham…

IMG_2056.PNGElaine Spires is a novelist, playwright and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her seven novels, two novelas and two selections of short stories.  She has written numerous plays and sketches, including What’s Eating Me, her one-woman show that she performed on the London and Edinburgh Fringes and which later became her first novel.  She also adapted her book Singles’ Holiday for the stage and wrote the serial drama Paradise View which was filmed and extensively broadcast throughout the Caribbean.  Elaine is a keen armchair tennis fan and she spends her time between her homes in Essex and Five Islands, Antigua (W.I.).

 

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ELAINE SAYS: I am going to share two photos with you – two very different photos, but both of them triggered very different books.

You don’t have to be a World Traveller to recognise where I’m sitting in the first one. Yes, that’s me, on “Diana’s Bench” in front of the Taj Mahal. Like most people, I had seen umpteen photos of it during the course of my lifetime but none of them ever really did the building justice. When I went there during my second visit to India I really did stand with my mouth wide open at its jaw-dropping beauty. Our guide had said we would be going just after dawn as it was best appreciated in the early-morning light. And he wasn’t wrong. The Taj Mahal shimmered and glistened and gleamed as the sun’s rays spread over it turning the facade into a rich, jewel-encrusted brocade… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Read an exclusive excerpt of The Darkest Lies #crimefiction #thriller @bookouture

 

‘I thought I’d be naughty and give you an exclusive sneak peek inside The Darkest Lies…’

Eek! The publication day for THE DARKEST LIES is edging closer!

I honestly can’t wait to share it with everyone – so I thought I’d be naughty and give you an exclusive little sneak peek inside, right now. So go on, read on, and discover why Nicki’s Life of Crime describes The Darkest Lies as a ‘twist-packed thriller’.

She adds: ‘OMG, what a totally unexpected ending, absolutely jaw dropping, I didn’t see that coming.’

PROLOGUE

The cry for help is ragged and desperate, the voice hitching. There is no one to hear it.

A moon hangs so fat it oozes an aura into the sky that almost blots out the stars surrounding it. It looks down on land as flat as an open palm, and as unforgiving as a clenched fist, and gives no answer to the screams of fear and rage that float up to it.

This is the wind’s playground. It races across the North Sea and hits the land full force. There is nothing to slow it; no hills, few trees or hedges here on land reclaimed from the water to create the marshes and fertile flats of Lincolnshire. It screams ecstatically, punching the handful of houses it comes across, revelling in its unfettered freedom as it rattles windows. On its journey it picks up the entreaties for help that are echoing into the sky. Hurls them across the landscape, as gleeful as a toddler with a toy.

‘Help me! Please! Help!’

There is no one to catch the words.

No one, except a lone figure, turning, walking away towards lights in the far-off distance.

 

ORDER NOW!

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

‘Twist-packed thriller’ #BookReview by @NickiRICHARDS7 #TheDarkestLies @bookouture

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‘OMG,what a totally unexpected ending, absolutely jaw dropping, I didn’t see that coming.’

Woo-hoo! The first blog post about my new book, THE DARKEST LIES, is up…

Nicki’s Life of Crime is a blog all about, in her own words “Books, books and even more books, oh and maybe some things that are not books” Sounds like a woman after my own heart! So I kept everything crossed that she had enjoyed THE DARKEST LIES.

Oh, boy, did she!

She says of the ‘twist-packed thriller’: ‘OMG,what a totally unexpected ending, absolutely jaw dropping, I didn’t see that coming.’

Well, I couldn’t ask for more than that, could I? But Nicki was kind enough to write a LOT more. To read this wonderful review in full, CLICK HERE.

  • The Darkest Lies is published on 12 May, and available to pre-order now.

Top Authors’ Top Tips! #writersblock #writing #writingtips

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I asked some best-selling crime writers for their thoughts on writer’s block.

Everyone has heard of it: writer’s block, that horrifying moment when the words will no longer come. Wikipaedia explains it this way: Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years.

Sounds about right.

Personally, I call it The Fear. When I feel like that, a horrible feeling comes over me, as though there is a weight on my chest, stopping me from breathing. All I want to do is write, and I can’t. So, I take some time out. Generally, I realise that my ‘writer’s block’ was my subconscious jumping up and down, telling me there was a problem with my story. I take the time to look at the issue, and then, even if I am still struggling, I make myself write. Even if all I’m doing is writing character biographies, rather than working on the manuscript itself, often the problem works itself out by me coming at it from that different angle.

But what do other authors think of writer’s block? How do they tackle it? I asked some best-selling crime writers for their thoughts.

Angela Clarke, author of the social media series, Follow Me and Watch Me, believes the answer lies in the subconscious.

‘I deal with plot knots by getting away from the screen. I try and do something physical, like going for a walk, or a swim, or even unloading the dishwasher and folding and putting clothes away. I find that if you’re looking the other way, the solution often sneaks up on you.

‘I’m also a big fan of a plot nap: a nap in the middle of the day where I’m thinking about my book when I fall asleep. Something magic happens in my subconscious when the rest of me relaxes and drifts off, and I often wake to a solution.’

Sounds crazy, but I’ve used that technique, too. It works! Angela adds: ‘If I’m still stuck I will go all out to do something else creative, something that will take concentration, like watching a film, or a good TV show, or painting a picture. Not thinking and worrying over the plot knot, seems to be the best way to undo it.’

Bestselling author Tom Bale is famed for his fast-paced novels, including See How They Run and They All Fall Down. He has some great advice for when writer’s block hits.

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‘One of my fallbacks is to switch to writing pure dialogue – even if it’s for a future scene somewhere else in the book. I’ve always found dialogue the easiest part of writing, so getting the characters to talk to each other often clears the blockage.’

Tom also has a handy tip for avoiding writer’s block in the first place.

‘The best way I’ve found to avoid having those problems is to visualise the day’s first scene before sitting down to write. I’ll often try to compose the opening sentence in my head, and then it seems to flow more easily once I’m at the computer.’

The DI Marnie Rose series got off to a blistering start with Someone Else’s Skin, which won Crime Novel of the Year 2015. Quieter Than Killing was published recently, and is the fourth in the series. Author Sarah Hilary powers through problems.

‘[Writer’s block is] just the name we give to what happens when we lose confidence in our core idea. I get bored and belligerent, and mentally exhausted — all of which makes writing difficult — but I don’t get blocked. I do get bad ideas, like all writers, but the only way to test them is by writing until I realise they’re not enough to sustain a story. Then I start over,’ she says.

‘For me writer’s block is a sign that something isn’t working’ agrees Angela Marsons. Her crime series featuring DI Kim Stone has taken the publishing world by storm, and the sixth book in the series is out now. ‘Historically I’ve found it to be that I’m just not into the story or that the characters haven’t properly formed in my mind and that I’m trying to write a story that I’m just not ready to write. I’ll normally give it a couple of days to see if the magic comes back. If not, I move onto an idea that excites me. Nothing is ever wasted as it is all flexing the writing muscle and there may be a day the excitement for that particular project is reignited.’

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William Shaw, author of The Birdwatcher, agrees that writing through it is the best way forward. ‘Writing can become really difficult sometimes when things just aren’t working but I’m from the insensitive school of thought that believes you just have to write through it, even if you’re writing crap. And sometimes there are gems in the crap. That’s a fairly unpleasant metaphor, but you know what I mean.’

There is no magic solution that will get an author through writer’s block. It seems the only thing to do, is to make yourself write.

Louise Beech, author of How To Be Brave and The Mountain In My Shoe, echoes this.

‘I’m very very lucky in that I rarely get writer’s block. If I’ve had it, I can’t recall, so it must have been brief. I can always write something. I think that’s the key. Just write something. Even if it’s not what you intended or hoped to write. And once the words flow, the other ones follow.’

  • To read interviews with the authors in full, visit BLOOD TYPE

Adam from Flowers For The Dead named in #TopTen Fictional Characters by @Tr4cyF3nt0n

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Over on the wonderful blog Compulsive Readers, run by Tracy Fenton (queen of secret bookaholics’ Facebook group THE Book Club) there is a Top Ten Fictional Characters. And I’m very, very proud to reveal that Adam, from my novel Flowers For The Dead, features on it!

Here’s a little taste of what Tracy has written…

“It’s obviously the skill of the author that brings Adam to life in a sympathic way and allows the reader to try to understand why he behaves the way he does without excusing his actions.”

There are some wonderful characters on this list, so I’m over the moon that my character has been included. To find out more about what Tracy thinks of Adam, and who else is on her Top Ten, CLICK HERE

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