Category Archives: Author interviews

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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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?

 

 

 

New Year – and a return visit by Susan Lynn Solomon

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a great Christmas, and 2018 is working out well so far. Did you make a New Year resolution? More to the point, are you keeping to it? I like to keep mine loose and general – get a bit fitter, finish a novel – and my deadline is December 31st, so I have plenty of room for slippage and making up.

I have however resolved to keep this blog going during 2018, and have a few things lined up, including – for those of you who have time to read, but no money post Christmas to buy books, a series of tasters and free downloads of my own work during January and February. I also have a number of author interviews lined up, not least with the winner of the Richard and Judy search for a best seller competition, Caz Frear, on January 31st, and with fellow authors from the Solstice publishing house stable earlier in the month.

First up, and a treat for those who like a good who dunnit for a winter evening’s entertainment, I have more from Susan Lynn Solomon, who first appeared on this blog in August 2017. Her latest book, Twas the Season, can help prolong that festive feel-good glow.

Suzy Sol -Twas the Season Cover“How do I get involved in these things?” Emlyn Goode asks.   It’s Christmas Eve. Instead of singing carols around a fire, Emlyn and Roger Frey are at the historic Echo Club for the Niagara Falls police precinct’s annual holiday celebration. Tonight there will be good food, dancing, and time with friends. A joyous night—that is, until the body of a man Emlyn knows too well is found in the Club’s stairwell. Now she refuses to rest until she figures out who killed him, and why.                                                                                                    But, each time Emlyn’s gotten involved in a murder, the killer has come after her. Can she find a clue in her ancient relative’s Book of Shadows before that happens again?

Social Media Links for Susan Lynn Solomon

 Links to her books

About the Author

 Formerly a Manhattan entertainment attorney and a contributing editor to the quarterlySuzy 1 art magazine SunStorm Fine Art, Susan Lynn Solomon now lives in Niagara Falls, New York, the setting of many of her stories.

Since 2007 her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals. These stories include, Abigail Bender (awarded an Honorable Mention in a short romance competition), Ginger Man, Elvira, The Memory Tree, Going Home, Reunion, Yesterday’s Wings, Smoker’s Lament, Kaddish, and Sabbath (nominated for the 2013 Best of the Net). A collection of her short stories, Voices In My Head, has been released by Solstice Publishing.

Susan Solomon is also the author of the Emlyn Goode Mysteries. A finalist in M&M’s Chanticleer’s Mystery & Mayhem Novel Contest, and a finalist for the 2016 Book Excellence Award, her first Emlyn Goode Mystery novel, The Magic of Murder, has received rave reviews, as has the novelette, Bella Vita, and the novel, Dead Again, which is a finalist for the 2017 McGrath House Indie Book of the Year Award. In the latest Emlyn Goode Mystery novelettes, The Day the Music Died, and now in ‘Twas the Season, Ms. Solomon once again demonstrates that murder can have sense of humor.

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PS: You can find more about me and my work on:

Amazon author pages: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO            

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

Facebook: fb.me/margaretegrot.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meegrot

 

 

 

 

Meet author Josie Montano

Josie Montano is an award-winning author, and has just released her sixtieth book in over Josie 120 years within the publishing industry. She has been internationally published, translated into Italian, and writes under two pseudonyms – fiction under the name of Montano, and resources on Autism under the name Santomauro.

Josie also dabbles in freelance having had a variety of differing articles and regular columns published. Her play ‘The Great Escape, Italian Style’ trod the boards at the Gympie Rush Festival. She has contributed to technical handbooks, narrative scripts as well as co-edited an international journal. She has been short-listed for a variety of literary awards and acquired many achievements over the years. These include a residency with the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, and she has been a presenter with ‘Out of the Box’.

She grew up in rural Australia within a strong Italian community. From the age of nine, she self-published her own books for borrowing at the school library, and received her first rejection letter from Golden Books when she was thirteen.

 What is the title of your latest book?

STUFF THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT SCHOOL. Everything from acne, after-parties andJosie 2 alcohol to wannabes, waxing and zits – this is a thorough A to Z dictionary handbook for teens full of the stuff that really counts but doesn’t get a mention at school.

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

Challenging: making deadlines! Putting your work out there for people to judge, criticise or/and love.

Rewarding:  seeing your labour of love in book form, holding that first copy in print, having readers love your work – it’s all worth it!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Keep writing, EVERY DAY! Rub shoulders, network, attend conferences, workshops, writing courses etc, to hone your craft. Don’t assume you ‘know it all.’ Even after 60 published works I am always refining and learning.

 What are you working on at the moment?

Josie cartoonI always have a few pots, or should I say stories, on the boil. I have been contracted for three upcoming picture books and, a total contrast, I am also on a deadline for a contracted, non-fiction, resource on Autism and relationships.

 What do you like to read?

I can vary from a soppy trashy romance, a children’s book, a classic, to a soap magazine. I recently created a ‘Classics’ bookclub so we can read the classics eg: Brontes, Jane Austin, Ernest Hemingway etc.

 Where can readers find you?

http://www.booksbyjosie.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/Josie-Montano-Author-88023619410/

 

 

 

Meet author Adam Zorzi

Adam was born in Venice, but educated in New York City and continues to live there. His passion is travel and he counts himself lucky to have a job that gives him that opportunity. He writes non-fiction for work – proposals, reports, and studies.  He started writing fiction about 5 years ago to entertain himself, took a creative writing class, and joined a writers’ group when he felt he had something to share. That made writing fiction even more fun and challenging for him. He takes every advantage of living in NYC with its concerts, art, and films. People-watching, he says, is a great source of inspiration.

What is the title of your latest book? adam 2

Auld Acquaintances (234 pages, Solstice Publishing, $16.99) is my first holiday paranormal romance. Set in Williamsburg, Virginia, a Colonial ghost who discovered her husband’s betrayal at a New Year’s Eve party, and promptly hurled herself out of her bedroom window, tries to stop the wedding of a contemporary couple who plan to wed on New Year’s Eve. She has reason to believe the groom is a cad. The couple, who are both university professors, refuse to believe a ghost could be the one who is interfering with their plans by stealing jewelry, destroying bridal party gowns, and poisoning a wedding guest. They believe someone in their circle of friends and family and colleagues is playing a cruel practical joke. They don’t really doubt each other, but someone is standing between them and marriage. Because it’s romance, there’s a happy ever after ending.

Your readers might find some of the holiday customs sound familiar. Williamsburg was established as part of England’s Virginia Colony in 1623 and is home to the College of William & Mary—the second oldest college in the United States—named for King William III and Queen Mary II. The historic colonial district of Williamsburg has been preserved as it was during its pre-Revolutionary War period and attracts a large number of visitors adam 4during the holiday season for colonial music, decorations, and activities.

I also have a short story Low Country Boil in the latest volume (No. 6) of the Solstice Publishing horror anthology Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It’s not gory horror. It’s more what if? What if persons entrusted to protect the county don’t, and what are the consequences? The story follows a law enforcement transplant from Maine to a county in the southern United States and how adjusting to her new environment isn’t great for maintaining law and order.

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

 I’ll start with the most rewarding. Freedom of expression. No matter what is going on in the world or household, I create a world, populate it with characters I find interesting, and tell a story that intrigues me and sometimes quietly draws attention to issues important to me. I enjoy researching backgrounds for settings and characters and discover all kinds of new and often irrelevant information. It’s an education. Most importantly to me, it’s fun. I truly enjoy it.

As for challenges, I sometimes write myself into a corner. I don’t plot meticulously beforehand so I have to reroute the story. There are also times when I know exactly what I want to happen and it simply doesn’t read properly on the page. I keep writing that scene until it flows and move on.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 Write. Write anything. Get used to expressing yourself on the page. Try different word counts— 5,000 words tells a different story than 1,000. Write the same story from different points of view (POV). Try a new genre. Don’t wait for an assignment. Write letters to the editor of a publication about a story or a letter to fictional characters.

You can’t talk/sell yourself into being an author. You have to have something on pages for an editor, agent, publisher, reading group to read.

What are you working on at the moment?adam 3

A paranormal beach read. I never expected to be a paranormal writer, but my characters usually have an eternal love. If one of them dies, it’s reasonable to me that they would try to reunite.

I’m also working on a four-part family saga that isn’t paranormal. It’s set in places I enjoy visiting and want to create characters who live there. One family member works in the Orkney Islands and another in Mallorca.

What do you like to read?

Autobiographies. I like hearing how a person tells their life story. I’m not interested in any particular industry. I’ve read books by sailors, actors, singers, business leaders, scientists, and political leaders. I rarely read biographies because someone else tells the story often from a scholarly or salacious POV.

I also read mystery and suspense. Right now, I’m enjoying Nordic crime series. One, by Kati Hekkapelto, is set in Finland and another, by Ragnar Jonasson is set in Iceland.

 Where can readers find you?

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Meet author Simon Fairbanks

I first met Simon when he and fellow authors from Birmingham, UK, came to give readings from their latest works at The Big Comfy Bookshop in my home city, Coventry. I had gone along to check out the shop as a potential venue for my own writers’ group and this seemed as good an opportunity as any. It was a very successful evening. Simon and his colleagues proved to be a great bunch, and the bookshop is a truly welcoming and atmospheric place in which to hold a writers’ group meeting. Simon 145kb

Simon is a fantasy author living in Birmingham. His first novel, The Sheriff, was released in March 2014. The following month, it was chosen to participate in the One Big Book Launch. The next book in the series, The Curse of Besti Bori, was released in October 2015.

His debut short story collection, Breadcrumbs, contains twenty-one short stories, including a new adventure starring the characters of The Sheriff.

Simon was also one of ten writers selected for the Ten To One project. Their collaborative efforts resulted in the novel Circ.

What is the title of your latest book? 

Simon 2 My most recent novel is The Curse Of Besti Bori. The jungle cloud of Besti Bori is in quarantine. An infection has consumed the cloud, turning its peaceful people into monstrous splicers. Now a team of archers watch over its borders, ensuring nothing enters and nothing leaves.
That is until Sheriff Baran visits for a routine inspection. His sky-horse is mysteriously drugged and he plummets into the darkness of the cursed jungle.
Now, Sheriff Shaula must return from her self-inflicted exile to lead a rescue mission into the most dangerous place in Nephos. Armed only  with  a team  of  warrior fairies,  Shaula  must  battle  her  way  through hordes of splicers to retrieve the stranded Baran. However, Shaula soon learns that splicers are not the only danger lurking in Besti Bori.

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

 The biggest challenge is finding the time and motivation to write, alongside family commitments, a full-time job and the temptation of Netflix!

The most rewarding moment is holding your printed novel in your hands, knowing that all those months of grafting, writing and editing are now contained in a neat little package adorned with your name. I love sliding my finished novels onto my bookshelf in between famous authors!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer? Simon 3

 I strongly recommend joining a writers’ group. I joined the Birmingham Writers’ Group in Autumn 2011. They helped me progress from a complete novice to a self-published novelist in less than three years – The Sheriff.

Writing is a solitary activity but you need camaraderie, accountability and feedback to stay motivated. An organised and supportive writers’ group is worth its weight in gold.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 I am currently editing my second short story collection, provisionally titled Breadcrumbs 2. I just need to write one more novella and the collection will be complete.

 What do you like to read?

 My three writing heroes are Terry Pratchett, Stephen King and Agatha Christie, thankfully three of the most prolific writers you can find! My favourite books of all time are His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I am very excited about his follow-up trilogy, The Book of Dust, which begins in October of this year. Generally, I read two books a month: one traditionally published and one self-published.

 Where can readers find you ?

NB: You can also find a short story by Simon in the Christmas anthology, Festive Treats, along with my short story, Mary’s Christmas. This is available as a free download from my Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

 

 

 

 

 

Meet author Salee Vidal Tadeo

 Salee 1Salee is a Lecturer of English Literature and Language in Norfolk, England.

Her first book is called, The Third Colour; a story about her youngest sister’s long battle for life, and eventual death.  For Salee, her sister’s story reignited the fire in her as a writer.

She incorporates her deep faith in God in all her writing because she believes that without God, she would not be able to write inspirational stories to share with the world.   

 

What is the title of your latest book?Salee 2

 

It’s called Sombre – The Incubus. It is about Ysabelle, a young girl who played Spirit of the Glass, a horror board game similar to Ouija. Little did she and her friends know that the spirit of the young man who answered their call on that dreamy night would become Ysabelle’s regular nightmare.

 

 

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

The most challenging for me is keeping with a self-imposed minimum number of words to be written every day. The reality is there are days that I cannot write anything, not even a word because of many reasons, or I’d say excuses, for being a normal? human being (I put a question mark as I am not really sure if we, as writers, are normal because our brains are constantly working , i.e. buzzing  for plots, characters, twists and turns.)

Another reason for not keeping to my self- imposed rules is the reality that I am also a full-time lecturer. That does not need any elaboration, I believe. Teachers, like me, will definitely understand my state of mind and body at that.

The most rewarding is when I read a scene and feel exactly how my characters feel. That’s when I know that what I am trying to convey in my book is working.

All writers want to be published; that is the ultimate goal, so when you finally get that seal of approval from a publisher, you know that all your hard work has paid off.

A good review and excellent sales result add up to the joy of course.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 What I always try to do is the reverse chronology. I begin the story with its end without revealing the climax, of course: a scene that could create a rhetorical question that will ignite the reader’s interest.

I know the word passion is overly used, but it is really the bottom line. It should be embedded in everything that we do. If there is passion, you know that you’re doing it right. It may not be good in other people’s standards and in a writer’s case this could mean a rejection, but always remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; you’ll find someone who will put his/her trust in you eventually. In my case, that someone is Solstice Publishing.

Prayers also play a big role in my life so I always pray for guidance. Believe it or not, but some parts of my book Sombre were manifested in dreams. The manuscript I am currently working on is also shown to me in a dream.

What are you working on at the moment?

 I am about to finish the first book for a trilogy. As mentioned above, the idea came from a dream. I was watching a film in my dream and the title was Heaven’s Archive.  I am going to use that as the series title. The first book is my own title, The River’s Ode (not from a dream, so it’s likely to change).

The River’s Ode is about a soldier’s wife who becomes bewildered after her husband has gone missing in action. She tries to find her husband by herself. She begins by going to the last place where she thinks he has disappeared.  Her feet lead her to a river tucked away behind rows of giant trees. Little does she know that that river holds all the answers to all the questions on her mind.

 What do you like to read?

My job requires me to do a lot of reading so I basically read everything; from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello and many more;  John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men;  George Orwells’s Animal Farm to books like A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness , The Savage by David Almond, Stone Cold by Robert Swindells.

However, my most favourite is any book based on a true story especially when it is about heavenly encounters. I am a fan of Mitch Albom, Leo Buscaglia and Jacky Newcomb.

 Where can readers find you?

 My website is www.english-matters.co.uk

 Book links at all Amazon sites: https://www.amazon.com/Sombre-Incubus-Salee-Vidal-Tadeo/dp/1625265921/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503578920&sr=1-1&keywords=sombre+the+incubus        

 On Twitter: https://twitter.com/englishandbooks?lang=en-gb

GoodReads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16986661.Salee_Vidal_TadeoGoodReads:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsaleevidaltadeo/?ref=bookmarks

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