Monthly Archives: January 2018

Meet Best Selling Author Caz Frear

Caz 1Caz grew up in Coventry, UK, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel.  After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true when she won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition with her debut novel, Sweet Little Lies.  When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue and incisive prose, she can be found swearing at the TV when Arsenal are playing and holding court in the pub* on topics she knows nothing about.

(*Which is exactly where my spy from the Coventry Writers’ Group found her!)

 What is the title of your recent book? (In a nutshell what is it about?)

 Sweet Little Lies tells the story of DC Cat Kinsella, a young detective within the Met, whoCaz 2 starts to believe that her father may be involved in the murder she’s been assigned to and the disappearance of a teenager from the west coast of Ireland in 1998.  It’s very much a police procedural at heart however it has strong domestic/family noir overtones as Cat struggles to balance her professional responsibilities and personal allegiances.

Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with the Richard and Judy competition?

 The whole thing was utterly surreal in a magnificent way!  From Richard Madeley calling me to tell me I’d won (and giving me Warwickshire pub recommendations!) to the day I recorded a podcast with them both, it was like looking at myself from the outside.  HOW did this happen?  Usually the lead-time between getting a book deal and seeing your books on the shelves is about a year, sometimes more, however winning the competition meant everything went into overdrive  – I found out that I’d won at the end of January and then my book was in the shops by the end of June.  Those six months were a complete blur of titles, covers, foreign rights deals, interviews, blog posts and a whole host of other things.  I can’t see how 2017 can be beaten but I have my fingers crossed!

What impact has winning had on your sales and future work as an author?

It’s had a huge impact and I’m so grateful!  So far Sweet Little Lies has hit the Nielsen Bookscan Top 50, hit number 1 in the Amazon eBook charts for nearly a month, been bought by Harper Collins for US publication, hit Audible number 1 in the ‘Mystery’ category, been optioned by Carnival Films (who make Downton Abbey and Whitechapel among other things) and was named Kobo Crime Novel of the Year.  I’m so happy and proud of Sweet Little Lies sales and have my fingers crossed that I can replicate that with Book 2!  Not long after the publication of Sweet Little Lies, Bonnier Zaffre offered me a new 2 book deal and I’ll be writing another two in the Cat Kinsella series.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 I’ll be honest, being a published author is all I’ve ever wanted so it’s hard to say that any of it is particularly challenging.  Obviously some days the words just won’t flow or a scene won’t land on the page in exactly the way I’ve imagined it but you just need to push through on those days and remember that you can always edit later.  I suppose the solitary aspect of being a full-time writer can be quite challenging but there’s always Facebook and Twitter where you can connect with other authors who are usually feeling the same.

The most rewarding aspect is definitely reader feedback – knowing that your story kept someone up all night or made them miss their stop on the bus is the best feeling!

What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Finish your first draft.  It sounds like an obvious thing to say but so many people get hung up on perfection which means they end up with a fantastic half-novel that never gets finished.  The first draft is literally just about spilling the story onto the page so don’t worry if it’s not feeling like a literary masterpiece.  STOP editing as you go – the time to edit is in 2nd/3rd/4th/5th draft.

What are you working on at the moment?

Book 2 is in progress but as yet untitled.  DC Cat Kinsella and Murder Investigation Team 4 are back for more dramas and Cat’s family will feature again.  It’s a completely new case though and one that Cat isn’t personally attached to this time, however the events of Sweet Little Lies will still cast a shadow over her life (and potentially her career)

What do you like to read?

Anything and everything but I suppose about 80% falls within the crime and thriller genre.  My favourite crime authors are Tana French, Gillian Flynn, Lynda La Plante and Ann Cleeves, however some of my favourite novels are from far outside the crime genre – The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer and Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes to name just two.  Ultimately, I love anything that is truly character-led.

Where can readers find you (Which shops, Amazon links etc)?

 Sweet Little Lies is still available in most good bookshops and some supermarkets.  WHSmith, Waterstones and Amazon are probably your best bet.  If you prefer audiobooks then it’s now available on www.audible.co.uk too.

 

 

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Download GIRL FRIENDS for free this weekend!

Just a reminder that best selling #YA novel – GIRL FRIENDS is free to download. Last day today!
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01EX9DPMS
myBook.to/GirlFriends

writingandbreathing

This weekend (Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th January) my YA novel for mid-teenagers isGirl Friends - cover on a special promotion on Amazon, and can be downloaded for free. As you can imagine from the title, it centres round two girls (Courtney and Grace) who are friends. There’s quite a lot of humour, a potential boyfriend, and a fast paced sub plot. The book also tackles some difficult and topical social issues – like child sexual exploitation. A number of people who have read it have described it as a ‘must read’ for all teenage girls. Admittedly this has mainly come from teachers and parents – but don’t let that put you off!

Excerpt from Girl Friends

If a look could kill, Grace gives me one then, so I shut up. I think briefly about her mother living now in a special hospital for the criminally insane and wonder if Grace…

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Download GIRL FRIENDS for free this weekend!

This weekend (Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th January) my YA novel for mid-teenagers isGirl Friends - cover on a special promotion on Amazon, and can be downloaded for free. As you can imagine from the title, it centres round two girls (Courtney and Grace) who are friends. There’s quite a lot of humour, a potential boyfriend, and a fast paced sub plot. The book also tackles some difficult and topical social issues – like child sexual exploitation. A number of people who have read it have described it as a ‘must read’ for all teenage girls. Admittedly this has mainly come from teachers and parents – but don’t let that put you off!

Excerpt from Girl Friends

If a look could kill, Grace gives me one then, so I shut up. I think briefly about her mother living now in a special hospital for the criminally insane and wonder if Grace misses her: whether it is better to have a mad mum like she has or a sad apology for a mum like mine. Who knows? Who cares anyway—it seems we’re more or less in the same boat.

The tense moment passes. I look across at Grace and she winks and gives a small smile. I smile back and feel my whole body relax. It’s great to have someone in your life who knows almost everything about you and understands. I hope in some way it is the same for her. We drink our coffee in reasonably companionable silence. It’s pretty dark outside by the time we’re down to the last dregs.

Grace looks at her watch—I notice for the first time that it is new. A new alertness comes over her. She digs into her bag and gets out her make-up—peering into the mirror to touch up an already flawless face. She looks across at me.

“Oh, Cor, you do look a mess. Here.”  She starts to lay about me with the powder.

“What the…? Heh, get off.”  I pull away but she has grabbed me firmly and continues to powder my nose. Then she releases me and sits back.

“Well that’s sorted the greasy shine. Now for the eyes.”

“No, Grace, lay off. I don’t really go for much make–up.”

“Time you did,” she retorts, advancing on me with eyeliner. “I’ve bought you your tea, remember, so you do as I say.” That’s true, so I sigh and let her get on with it, even allowing her to re-style my hair, pulling some bits across my face, and pushing other bits behind my ears. Across the restaurant, I see the lads behind the counter looking at us. Surely it must be against company rules to use the dining area as a beauty parlour and one of them will come across and throw us out. But it’s not busy and they are just laughing, enjoying the show. Eventually she is finished and stands up to look at me from all angles.

“Mm, not too bad.” She is obviously pleased with her work. “You should wear a tighter top.”  She pulls at mine from behind and then looks round at the front, before sighing and letting it hang loose again.  “But first, you will need to get yourself a proper bra—that one is doing nothing for you—it must be a least one size too big—and the cups are too small—so you’re just all saggy.”

“Yeh, well, it’s an old one of Mum’s that she’s got too fat for,” I reply.

“Why am I not surprised?” Grace rolls her eyes. “Time you thought about yourself a bit,” she adds reprovingly. “You’ve got to make the most of your assets— use them or lose them as they say.”

It is news to me I have any assets worth making anything off in that department and I pull away from her, embarrassed. “I’m off to the loo,” I say, heading that way as I speak.

When I wash my hands, I catch sight of myself in the mirror. At first I don’t realise it is me—just someone with the same baggy top. The face is quite different; harder, older, more sassy and, I peer more closely, definitely more sexy. Not the Courtney I have known and lived with for nearly sixteen years, but I’m not displeased. I’ll go along with this face this evening anyway, if only to please Grace. I can get back to the real me tomorrow. So, apart from a bit of poking around with my hair, and a small wipe at my eyes to get rid of some of the purple shadow Grace had selected for me, I leave it all intact and return to the dining area.

Grace is standing by the door when I return, reading a text on her phone—not her usual old Nokia, but a new one I haven’t seen before. She looks excited—agitated even.

“Come on,” she says as soon as I reach her. “We’re on a date.”

Links:

GIRL FRIENDS was released by Solstice publishing in 2016 and is available in print and as an e-book.

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Divided by a common language?

imagesAmong the many things the UK has in common with the USA, is the English language. Except that, with a huge ocean and many centuries between when the English spoken was pretty much the same and now, subtle, and not so subtle, divergences have given rise to the sentiment conveyed in the title of this post. No one is quite sure who said these famous words. They are often attributed to George Bernard Shaw. But they might be from Oscar Wilde,George_Bernard_Shaw_1934-12-06 or Mallory Browne, or Raymond Gram Swing, or the prolific Anon.

Some of the misunderstandings over words and phrases are humorous (to Brits, anyway – the American term ‘fanny’ is a more sexual part of the anatomy in Britain, so not a word to be used in polite society without a titter or a tut). Some are misleading (American pants are British trousers; the American woman’s purse is the British woman’s handbag). Some are annoying (‘have a nice day’ / ‘take care.’ – No, I’ll damn well have a sh***y day, and run out in front of cars, if I want to. But then, as the English novelist, Kingsley Amis, really did say: ‘If you can’t annoy someone with what you write, there’s little point in writing.’ And the same, I suppose, can go for speaking.

As much as the different meaning of words and phrases can cause confusion, is the difference in nuance. The English person’s use of understatement, often puzzles American and other nationalities.  Carol Midgley, recently wrote about this in The Times:

“When a man says he’s going ‘for a pint’ he means five, minimum. ‘I’ve felt better,’ means ‘I’m so ill I could die.’ ‘I’ve been a bit silly,’ means I’ve gambled the house away, and got my wife’s sister pregnant.’ …

… When someone is described as a ‘livewire’ it means they are ‘a drunk.’ ‘She’s a bit tricksy’ means ‘she’s a complete bitch.’ …

… ‘You look well,’ means ‘you look fat.’ ‘Help yourself,’ means ‘only take one you greedy pig.’ ‘I might see you later,’ means you definitely won’t, and ‘Right, I must let you get on,’ means ‘I’m bored with this conversation and want to end it now.’ (I’ve used that one a few times.)

Although I have had a number of books published in America (by Solstice Publishing), all my work sells better in the UK. Perhaps this is because, despite knowing about pants and purses, I use more typically British terms and stylistic idiosyncrasies than I realise.

There’s plenty more I could say on this topic. But right now, I’m sure you are busy, so I must let you get on.

If you have enjoyed this post, and would like to read more of my work, please go to one of my Amazon Author pages:

Meet Author Amara A Minx

tia head hotWe’re upping the heat level a bit on my blog today with an interview with Amara A Minx who writes provocative paranormal romance.

When fire destroyed her home and contents, including dozens of finished manuscripts, it was five years before she was able to put pen to paper. Now Amara writes from her home on beautiful Vancouver Island, and has a full time literary career.

Already an avid traveler and an outdoors enthusiast, she became hooked on zip lining, and travels the world in pursuit of what has now become a passion.

 What is the title of your latest book? Tia

 Double Shift is Paranormal Erotic Romance about a dominant wolf shifter and his identical twin seducing their virgin mate while seeking revenge on a sadistic vampire.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 Staying focused on a single project is the most challenging thing for me. Finishing a story is the most rewarding. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you follow through on something you have envisioned from beginning to end.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 Stick with it. There are so many distractions for a new writer. Find a time to write that works in your schedule. I write first thing in the morning before life gets too hectic.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 I am working on the first book in a series that focuses on cougar shifters finding their destined mates.

 What do you like to read?

 Erotic Paranormal Romance is my personal favorite, but I will read just about any genre if it has a romantic element.

 Where can readers find you?

 

 

 

Free download of CAST OFF this weekend.

writingandbreathing

In a bid to beat the mid winter blues – mine and yours – I am offering some of my books for free on Amazon over the next few weeks.

Cast OffThis weekend it is CAST OFF –  a collection of 13 short stories based on female characters in plays by Shakespeare.

Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be doing or thinking when she is not on stage? Does she like the role that has been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? Will she actually go back on stage when it’s her cue?

If you download my book on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th January you can find some answers to all these questions, and more, for FREE. Money back if you don’t find at least one story to your liking!

Amazon…

View original post 3 more words

Free download of CAST OFF this weekend.

In a bid to beat the mid winter blues – mine and yours – I am offering some of my books for free on Amazon over the next few weeks.

Cast OffThis weekend it is CAST OFF –  a collection of 13 short stories based on female characters in plays by Shakespeare.

Have you ever thought what a Shakespeare character might be doing or thinking when she is not on stage? Does she like the role that has been created for her? Would she prefer a different plot? Or love interest? How does she really feel about all that cross dressing? Will she actually go back on stage when it’s her cue?

If you download my book on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th January you can find some answers to all these questions, and more, for FREE. Money back if you don’t find at least one story to your liking!

Amazon link:

myBook.to/CastOff

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