Author Q&A

Author Q&A: Laurell K. Hamilton + Giveaway!

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How did the idea for the plot of SERPENTINE come to you?

From years of reading and loving the Greek and Roman myths, but as often happens when I decide to pick something I know a lot about as my fictional jumping off point, I learned far more than expected about a topic I thought I knew pretty well. The wedding and character interplay was from the characters themselves interweaving with the mystery.

When did you know you were going to set SERPENTINE in the Florida Keys?  Did you visit the setting in order to conduct research?

I thought Serpentine was going to be a very different book set on a distant tropical island, but when Edward’s wedding was being set there he, the character, nixed that idea, and after all it was his wedding not mine. The original plot didn’t have the new form of lycanthropy in it. It had a different mystery and a different supernatural element. No, I won’t tell you what they are, because you’ll be seeing them in a later book. Yes, I visited the Florida Keys before I set the book there. I haven’t written about any place that I haven’t visited at least once, and I try for more than just that. For me as a writer I find that I always learn more if I can walk the streets, look at the sights, hear, feel, taste, touch as much of a location as possible. I know that other writers seem to do great with just book and online research, but I’m not one of them.

Did anything you discovered in doing your research for this book surprise you?

What research surprised me most? That the Florida Keys where the majority of Serpentine is set was so damn beautiful. I had no idea we had any place in the United States that was truly a tropical paradise until I drove over that first bridge and saw it stretched out before me.

What did you find most challenging about writing SERPENTINE?

Honestly, the insecurities that can haunt all writers. I thought once you hit #1 and reached a certain career success that it would go away, but there’s something about sitting down to that blank white paper/screen that invites all your personal demons to visit. It calls your muse, too, but sometimes the muse has to fight their way through the inner demons, before you can hear them.

Who was your favorite character to write in SERPENTINE?

Anita Blake, she’s been my first person viewpoint from the beginning. If I didn’t love seeing the world through her eyes I don’t think we’d be talking about number 26. I enjoyed writing Bernardo Spotted-Horse in this book. He surprised me and Anita with some new depths of character. It was great to see Edward’s family on stage again, including both kids. Peter is nineteen now so legally an adult. I liked him being more grownup and then having the things he hasn’t learned come up to bite him. I remember nineteen, it’s confusing as hell.

What do you do to celebrate when you finish writing a book?

What do I do to celebrate when I finish writing a book? Nothing. I’ve never celebrated completion of a novel. I just get to go back to my life and spend time with my friends and family who haven’t seen much of me in months.

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Author Q&A: Todd Allen Smith + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Todd to The Blogger Girls!

Todd, if you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

I love transportation. It would be exciting to see what we might be traveling in the future, hopefully not cars and trucks and using a hyperloop, that would be so cool.

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

Comicbook related: Ice-Man and Spiderman

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Leftover spaghetti and meatballs and cranberry juice along with bagels and cream cheese.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would like to have teleportation so I could go to different places easily. Have breakfast in Paris, lunch in Morocco and dinner in Hong Kong.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

My dream is attending a writing conference led by Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, my memoirist writer idols.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

Coffee

What Internet site do you surf to the most?

Googlemaps

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Cheryl Strayed who wrote Wild
Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love
Also, I would do Rick Steves since he writes all the travel books I read.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was ecstatic and the first person I told was my husband.

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Author Q&A: Sloane Kennedy + Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Sloane Kennedy to The Blogger Girls!

Can you tell us a little bit about your characters?

Nate is a femme florist who is both confident and insecure at the same time. He has no trouble attracting guys, but he hasn’t found any who want him beyond a physical relationship so he’s trying to turn over a new leaf and find a guy who will stick around and accept him for who he is 24/7. Harrison is a lawyer whose most recent relationship ended badly. He’s convinced Heart2Heart is a hook-up app his ex was using while they were together and sets out to prove it. When he discovers it isn’t, he has to deal with the realization that his ex was looking for someone else for a long-term relationship while he and Harrison were still together, leaving Harrison feeling like he wasn’t good enough for the long-term.

The characters you had to choose from were readers’ submissions, correct? Were there any other characters you considered writing about before you chose this couple?

No, there really wasn’t. Something about these two characters just kind of called to me. Maybe because they were just everyday type guys so it meant I wouldn’t be too far outside my comfort zone when it came to that aspect of the story.

How did you come to be involved in the Heart2Heart Anthology?

I was approached by Leslie Copeland who spearheaded the entire endeavor

Have you ever been involved in a group project like this before? What were some of the challenges you had to face?

No, I haven’t. The hardest part was making sure my story fit the parameters of the anthology even though those weren’t 100% clear on day 1. I tend to constantly be thinking and planning my stories even before I’ve started writing so with a lot of unanswered questions, that part was a bit tricky for me.

Is this something you’d like to be a part of again in the future?

Absolutely

You’re donating the entire proceeds to charity – can you tell us more about where the money is going?

It’s going to a few different LGBTQ themed charities. One of my personal favorites, The Trevor Project is included. I’m a big believer in kids needing the resources that organization provides so I’m so very happy we get to contribute to that even in such a small way

Have you ever set someone else up on a blind date? If yes, how did it turn out?

I have not

If Heart2Heart were to match you with someone, who do you think you’d get paired with?

LOL, I have no idea. Probably someone completely opposite from me. Outgoing and sociable – an A type personality

 

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Author Q&A: L.A. Witt + Giveaway!

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Please welcome L.A. Witt to The Blogger Girls! For readers who haven’t read Anchor Point, tell them a little about it. Can Going Overboard be read as a standalone or would you recommend readers start at the beginning of the series?

Anchor Point is an 8-book series set in a fictional Oregon town – Anchor Point – which is home to NAS Adams, a naval air station. The stories are loosely tied together by the setting and by characters who appear in multiple books, but each book can absolutely be read as a standalone.

Tell us a little about the characters, what are they like? How do they differ from the other characters in Anchor Point?

Chris and Dalton are in their mid-30s, a couple of Navy coxswains who are trying like hell to hold onto their careers. They both need to get promoted this year, or else they’re done. They’re also best friends, and though Dalton is out and proud, Chris is closeted, even from Dalton (well, for now).

Most of the other couples in Anchor Point have either been May-December or 40+. These guys are a little younger (well, older than Brent and Sean, the Mays of their respective May-December relationships), and they’ve got an established friendship. Their relationship is a little smoother sailing too; the story’s conflict largely revolves around their careers and an attempt cover up an accident that nearly killed Dalton, and their relationship being used against them. So it’s a bit less angsty in that respect than the other books (though not completely angst-free, don’t worry!).

What’s your favorite scene of the series so far?

Oh man. One scene? I’m a sucker for Black Moments and reconciliation scenes anyway, so for this series, (and without giving any spoilers) I’d have to say the Black Moment in Chief’s Mess and the reconciliation scene in Once Burned. Also the hot wing challenge in Rank & File. Just because. And the first kiss in Going Overboard. And….SEE?? I can’t pick ONE!!

You’re writing in quite a few series right now, is it hard keeping them all separate or do you find yourself mixing characters/storylines sometimes?

Not really. My characters/worlds stay pretty separate in my head. To me it’s kind of like following multiple TV shows—I can keep all the characters/plots etc., from Lucifer and Chicago PD from blurring together. Same goes for my own characters and stories. It does make my dreams a little weird, though…

How do you decide what book to write next?

Whatever is on a deadline takes priority, but if there’s a plot bunny refusing to be ignored, it’ll get bumped to the top of the list too, which means I’m usually working on at least two books simultaneously.

And add to that, what else do you have coming out soon and what are you currently working on? 

The next two Anchor Point books are coming soon – Once Burned in April and Wash Out in May. After that, my Cruising trilogy – Adrift, Ashore, and Afloat – will be out this summer. That one is kind of a fluffy contemporary trilogy about two dudes who meet on vacation. There are also some co-writes in the works, but no dates for those yet. Stay tuned!

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Author Q&A: Cordelia Kingsbridge + Giveaway!

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Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Trick Roller, the second book in the Seven of Spades series!

We rejoin Levi and Dominic three months after the events of Kill Game. Although most of Las Vegas believes the Seven of Spades is dead, our two heroes know better. It’s only a matter of time until the killer resurfaces…

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Please welcome Cordelia Kingsbridge to The Blogger Girls! Tell us a little about yourself, what prompted you to start writing?

I actually got my start writing Harry Potter fanfiction! After many years in the fandom, I decided to branch out and try my hand at original fiction as well. I created a new pseudonym, distinct from my fandom identity – it’s always been important to me to keep the two separate – and began publishing an original WIP called Close Protection on sites like LiveJournal and Fiction Press.

Close Protection took off pretty quickly, and after that, I focused all my creative energy on original fiction. I wrote five original novels online, posting at a rate of a chapter per week, for years before I landed my first professional publishing contract with Riptide. Those early novels have been removed from the internet now, but I look back fondly on those times!

Tell us a little about the Seven of Spades series, how did you get the idea?

The Seven of Spades series started with the final line of the first book in the series, Kill Game. That line struck me out of nowhere and sunk its claws into me so deeply I couldn’t shake it. From there, I developed the Seven of Spades’ identity and motivation before any other element of the series, including the protagonists. Once I had established who the Seven of Spades was and why they behave the way they do, the rest of the concept for the series kind of unfolded organically.

What made you want to create a series out of it instead of one or two books?

The Seven of Spades’ story – as well as the story of Levi and Dominic’s relationship – could never have been told in only one book. In fact, I knew from the very beginning that the story I wanted to tell would require exactly five books.

I plot all of my novels using a classic three-act structure. That’s true for the books in the Seven of Spades series as well, but I also used a three-act structure to form a framework for the series as a whole. Each book in the series plays a specific role within that structure: Kill Game is Act I. You’ve got your setup, the inciting incident, and the first major turning point that forces the protagonists into a brand new world. Trick Roller is the first half of Act II – the protagonists are making progress and things seem to be going well. Then comes Cash Plays, the midpoint climax, the point in every narrative arc where things start going off the rails. This leads into One-Eyed Royals, the second half of Act II, where the problems get thornier, the stakes grow ever-higher, and the consequences for failure are increasingly dire, until the story barrels headlong into A Chip and a Chair, the climactic finale.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? If so, did you base certain aspects of the story on the Sin City or did you create your own places for your series?

Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Las Vegas! As such, the series has required a ton of research, as I do include plenty of real-world settings. In Trick Roller, for example, the characters visit places like The Mirage and The Fremont Street Experience. Resources like Google Earth have proven invaluable!

The Seven of Spades series also includes several locations of my own invention, however – such as Stingray, the LGBT nightclub where Dominic bartends, and McBride Investigations, the elite PI firm introduced in Trick Roller.

Explain Trick Roller in five words or less!

Badass couple hunts criminals!

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Author Q&A: J.K. Hogan + Excerpt!

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Hi folks! J.K. Here! I’m here to talk about my new project (you know, in addition to all of my traditional WIPs) called Stray. Stray is a book I’m releasing by the chapter, free on my website (think fanfiction, but not). It’s a bit of a deviation from my normal M.O. of contemporary with a side of mental health issues, delving farther into world-building, futuristic tech, and combining human lore with paranormal fantasy. This story is purely for my own—and hopefully your—enjoyment. Read on for more info!

What is Stray?

Stray is the first volume in a series called the Sentinel Series. At the heart of each book will always be a primary romance, but the rest of it…well it fits into a lot of genres—paranormal, fantasy, dystopian, etc. It takes place in the future, after mankind has been decimated several times by disease or war, and borders have been redrawn, territories renamed. Humans are still around, but they’re struggling after the last major disaster. Supernatural creatures still try to keep their existence a secret, but some would like to see humans killed off entirely. Certain species live symbiotically with humans, which means their survival is dependent on one another whether the humans realize it or not. Those species have formed an alliance called the Midnight Sentinel, which patrols the territories eliminating mortal threats to humans.

I’ve partnered with digital artist Somber Illusory Soda who does accompanying illustrations, character profiles, and other fun stuff. I’m releasing Stray chapter by chapter as a fanservice web series.

Who is Stray about?

Probably every supernatural creature you can imagine is in there, but the main characters are Sebastian, of species Feliscindae, or cat-shifters, and a young human (??) man named Noah. The two form an unlikely pairing as they fight against threats to both of their species. We meet many other characters of many different species along the way.

And it’s free? Why?

Yes. And why…because it’s a fun story, and we want everyone to be able to read it and see the art. We started out on Patreon, but we quickly decided that we wanted to share the content with a wider audience, and offering it for free would do that, along with giving us complete freedom when it comes to content. Patreon subscribers have currently read ahead to chapter twelve, but every chapter will eventually be available on the free site.

Where can you find Stray?

Available free here or directly to the chapter feed here.

Chapters are cross-posted here.

Illustrations are cross-posted here (and any NSFW illustrations will be available on Tumblr only, though we’ll let you know about them on the main story feed).

Patreon early release (if you want to read ahead…once the free site catches up, we will be closing the Patreon) is available here.

 

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Author Q&A: Cari Z. & L.A. Witt + Giveaway!

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Please welcome Cari Z. & L.A. Witt to The Blogger Girls!! Tell us about the Bad Behavior series, where are you getting the inspiration for each book?

Cari: The Bad Behavior series is romantic suspense, with an emphasis on suspense and police procedure. There aren’t a lot of hot and heavy moments, but we managed to find time to develop the relationship in between the cases. The cases themselves are totally different in each book, which was part of the fun of it. We kind of picked a crime and then built the plot around it—for example, the first book deal with taking down police corruption, the second one has a serial killer, the third one is a kidnapping. It helped keep things interesting for us.

L.A.: What Cari said. And we did still want the romance, but we didn’t want their jobs to take a backseat to their relationship because it just doesn’t work that way with cops. Especially when they’re in the middle of a major case. So we started with the crimes, and let the relationship between the guys – both professional and romantic – develop alongside the cases they were working. Which means getting interrupted at inopportune moments, and stealing fleeting moments whenever they can. Which in turn frustrates the hell out of everyone, so color me happy. Hehehe

Is it hard co-writing a series? Does the process take longer or is quicker than writing alone?

Cari: It was so easy to write with Lori! That hasn’t been the case with, well, any of my other co-authors, but this collaboration was just kismet, as far as I’m concerned. Lori is a pro at working with others, and very adaptable, so I knew I was in good hands, so to speak. And for me it was a LOT faster than writing alone.

L.A.: Definitely not hard! Cari is amazing to work with. I love co-writing in general, and I hope to do a lot more with Cari.

Tell us a little about Romantic Behavior, what are the characters like and how have they changed since the start of the series?

Cari: Aw, this story is the sweet resolution 😊 Darren and Andreas are finally ready and able to commit to each other, and they’re serious about making it work for the long haul. It’s definitely the book with the cutest moments in it. The guys are totally in love, they rely on each other, they have no doubts (well, almost no doubts) and they’re looking forward to a happy future together. *sigh*

L.A.: I’d say Andreas has had to get his priorities straight, both regarding his family and his boyfriend. By book 4, he’s mellowed considerably across the board, and as I said, he’s gotten his priorities straight. As for the Romantic Behavior, it’s basically a chance for the characters to finally have their hard-won happy ending. That’s not to say there aren’t bumps in this one, but no one’s getting shot at or anything this time.

What’s your favorite scene from the book?

Cari: My favorite scene is either the very first one, where Darren is nervous because Andreas is acting weird, or the one where he finally loses it and tells off someone who, quite honestly, really deserved telling off at that point. It felt cathartic.

L.A.: The wedding. Definitely.

And lastly, where do you see the series going from here?

Cari: This is the end of the Bad Behavior series! It’s done, finished, fini, finito, and all the other f-words that mean the end. I’m really proud of how it’s turned out, and hopefully now that it’s done readers who were reluctant to start something without having an end in sight will feel ready to dive in.

L.A.: Yep. I’m not opposed to the boys showing up as secondary characters in other books, but their story is done. We deliberately set out to make this one a trilogy with a well-deserved extended epilogue, rather than making it go on and on. Ongoing series can be fun, but not this one. Even though I am going to miss Darren and Andreas something fierce.

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Author Q&A: Joanna Chambers + Giveaway!

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Hello, book lovers! I’m Joanna Chambers and this is the blog tour for Tribute Act, my new romance which is book #8 in the Riptide’s Cornwall-set Porthkennack series. I’ll be sharing thoughts on writing my first full length contemporary, writing Christmas songs as an extreme form of authorly procrastination and my love of men with sad eyes. Please join me for a chance to win a copy of the book and a $25 Riptide gift card!

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Please welcome Joanna Chambers to The Blogger Girls! Tell us a little about yourself, why did you start writing?

Hi, it’s great to be here – thanks for inviting me!

I pretty much always wanted to write. My first writing endeavour was to try out for my writing badge in Brownies (UK version of girl scouts for little girls) but Brown Owl (troop leader) said my story wasn’t up to the mark! I was 7 years old – my first one-star review! That experience put me off for a while, lol, but the itch was always there. I made a real proper go of it after I had my first child. Something just clicked at that point 😊  

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Oh, from all over – I have a constant flow of ideas – the challenge for me is deciding which ones to take forward. I have finite writing time and I’m not a particularly fast or prolific writer. I’m best known for my historicals and a lot of my ideas come from tiny snippets I’ve read – little serendipitous facts that I come across and that intrigue me. Also situational stuff. For example, when I signed up to write A Gathering Storm, my first Porthkennack book, I picked a character to write about (Sir Edward Fitzwilliam) that meant I had to set the book in the 1850s. I ended up researching that period in lot of detail and a lot of the plot was driven by the events and news of 1850-52.   

Why the Porthkennack series? How did you get involved with this series?

Sarah Lyons asked me and when she told me Alex Beecroft had created the universe and written a detailed story bible, I was in – that was even before I knew who the other authors were. Also, it’s set in Cornwall which is an amazing setting.

Is it hard writing in part of a series with other authors even though the stories are standalone?

I imagine it could be, but honestly, Alex’s bible was so thorough, that it was fine.

Now for the story, tells us a little about it in three sentences or less. 

Nathan and Mack meet at a nightclub and hook up for the night. They part in the morning, but less than a day later, they meet again when Mack turns unexpectedly in Porthkennack. Nathan’s a fixer by nature and when he learns more about Mack’s history, he desperately wants to fix things for him, but to do that, he has to overcome Mack’s fear of intimacy.

How does it differ from the other stories in the series?

It’s probably a bit more standalone than some of the other stories in the series as the main characters are all new characters.

And lastly, what else do you have coming out soon or what are you currently working on?

I’ve been plate-spinning a few drafts recently but my new year’s resolution was to put everything else aside and work on my main project, which is a pair of werewolf books with historical settings. I’m wildly in love with this project right now!

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Author Q&A: Layla Reyne + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Relay Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! Relay, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. Relay is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about Relay, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!

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Please welcome Layla Reyne to The Blogger Girls! Tell us a little about yourself, what prompted you to start writing?

I wanted better endings. The first time I gave writing serious consideration was twelfth grade, when I wrote an epilogue to Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. Presumptuous as hell, I know, but I didn’t like the ending. That trend continued as I dove into writing fanfiction. I was not waiting nine seasons for Mulder and Scully to get together. Ditto Damon and Elena. Now in my original fiction, I write romances where everyone finds love and happiness at the end of their journey. Those are the better endings I want.

Are you a plotter or do you fly by the seat of your pants for ideas?

Plotter. I have to be for the romantic suspense series that I write; the structure also helps with contemporary romance. If there’s not enough structure, I fret that the story is too plotless, regardless of the subgenre. I also adhere pretty strictly to a plotting diagram that follows three act structure. I used to write screenplays, and I watch A LOT of TV, so that flow and pacing is familiar for my brain.

How did you come up with your characters’ names?

Cantu is a nod to my best friend who helped me brainstorm the series. Alejandro is a personal favorite. As for the rest, I’ve been known to raid my phone contacts list for combinations, snag a name off my twitter timeline, or pull names from street signs 😉

How did you get the idea for the Changing Lanes series?

My best friend and I were on our way back from a baby shower (my idea of hell), and she basically talked me down by forcing me to brainstorm this duology. I knew I wanted to do a sports romance, and that I wanted to play with my favorite tropes – second chance romance and enemies-to-lovers for book one, a bit of an age gap and friends-to-lovers for book two. I also wanted to feature a sport that’s not as commonly written about. Thankfully, there are a lot of swimmers in my life, including said best friend.

And last question, describe Relay in three words or less!

Can I have four words, please?! Because it’s perfect… Swim Your Heart Out!

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Author Q&A: Charlie Cochrane + Giveaway!

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Two Feet Under began life as a conversation in a car, when my eldest daughter and I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an author/reader event. It gained a criminal mastermind as a result of another conversation in the car with her younger sister. It got its background thanks to the popular television series “Time Team” and a setting care of the northern part of Hampshire. The plot came from the author’s twisted imagination, via a lot of checking. And at least one character is based on people I know. You have been warned.  

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Please welcome Charlie Cochrane to The Blogger Girls! Tell us a little about yourself, what prompted you to start writing?

I’d describe myself as mad and middle aged. My youngest daughter might put another light on me; as she often says, “It’s amazing you’re not in a home yet, mother.” In terms of writing, I’ve always made up stories in my head, either to amuse me or – later on – to amuse my daughters. Once I actually had some time to sit and write, the transition to putting stories down on a screen and sharing them with other people seemed a natural transition.

How much research do you put into a story?

As much as it needs. You have to make sure – first and foremost – that the central threads of the story work, so that’s the initial research an author has to do. And that’s irrespective of whether the story is historical or contemporary, because readers are more likely to spot a goof in a novel set in the modern day. Once that groundwork is done, I tend to research as I go along – you should see my initial drafts of stories, which are full of notes to self along the lines of, “check this”, “is that word too modern?”, “can you get from A to B on the train without changing lines?” They all get picked up second time through, so although that means I may have to make small changes, I haven’t lost the flow of my writing first time round.

How do you come up with your murder mystery plots? Do you always know the end or do you let the story unfold wherever it goes?

I rarely know the end. I let the story unfold as though I’m reading/watching/listening to it and finding out what is happening as I go along. This may seem chaotic (as will the fact I write scenes in a scattergun approach then piece them together later) but it works for me. As for plot ideas, my daughters are great sources of inspiration. “What about a story where a group of archaeologists are deadly enemies of a group of detectorists?” they say. And I go, “Ooh! Let me just give that a whirl.”

What’s harder for you, naming your characters, coming up with a title or finding the right cover?

The second one. Covers are a doddle because the Riptide artists are so talented. Names are also a doddle because if I’m stuck for one I go on the BBC sports website and trawl through some team listings until I find the right surname, then bung an appropriate forename on it. Titles, however…they’re like sweating blood. I’ve had to be rescued so often by my editors because my working title has been, to use a technical phrase, frankly pants.

And lastly, what book would you recommend for a new to you reader to start with?

If they like mysteries, then “The Best Corpse for the Job” makes a nice, gentle introduction to my writing style. (Also good for readers who like big, daft dogs.) If people prefer romance and/or shorter stories, then “Second Helpings” would be a great place to start. Continue reading

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