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Interview with Vivienne Tuffnell + Competition

Viv_as_pirate

Vivienne Tuffnell kindly agreed to an interview for my blog.  Vivienne has written several books.

 

When did you first start writing?

I began creating stories before I could read or write. My father had a typewriter that I was sometimes allowed to use and I used to bash out strings of letters on that. I somehow believed that the story in my head would appear on the paper. I was about three or four years of age, and one of life’s optimists.

I wrote my first novel when I was ten. I burned it about three years later because my brother gave me such a hard time over it, telling me it was rubbish. I’d begun another one by then which I do still have somewhere, buried deep in a packing crate in the loft.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

That’s the question most writers dread because there’s no simple easy answer. Story ideas can pop up from almost anywhere, from a conversation overheard in a station to a musical phrase without words that sets off a feeling. Many of mine come through a process of letting impressions and thoughts sink in, and then I incubate them using active dreaming. I write down vivid scenes from dreams, and some of those start to grow into new concepts, characters and even plots for novels. I also draw a lot of inspiration from poetry.

 

Can we expect more books from you soon?

I’m in the final stages of getting a new book ready to publish. It’s called Square Peg, and I’m waiting on final edits before the proofreader gets her hands on it. I’m also waiting on news about a cover. The hope is to have it on the market for Easter but as I have a major operation between now and then, I’m not convinced I’ll manage it all. Here’s the blurb so far:

“Chloe is a square peg in an increasingly uncomfortable round hole. Brought up by her wildly unconventional grandmother, she’s a true free spirit and has never learned to pull her punches. She’s just married trainee Church of England clergyman Clifford, and is living at the theological college and trying to figure out what’s going on around her. She’s had very little connection with formal religion, and has a talent for stepping on all sorts of emotional land-mines with the wives of the other ordinands. That would probably be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that her grandmother has inconsiderately died, and left her a house full of exotic souvenirs of her days as a travelling doctor, instructions to track down her father and sister, and what everyone else regards as a really bad attitude. She’s also lost her job, her temper, but not the will to live.

Chloe’s life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined as she tries to understand her own background by setting out to find out what became of her sister and father. But trying to integrate her uncompromising approach to life brings her into escalating conflict with the other women of the college, leaving her isolated and friendless. In Clifford’s final year of training, Chloe meets the arty, anarchic Isobel and together they concoct a plan whereby the irrepressible Isobel becomes the mole amid the college wives and they start to undermine and sabotage the status quo with a series of practical jokes and psychological warfare that has terrible consequences for Chloe when things go horribly wrong.”

 

Have you got any advice for people wishing to write their first novel?

Yes, start about twenty years ago! Seriously, most strong story-lines have been brewing in the unconscious for many years.

I’d also say to read more than you write, in every genre, including ones you don’t like. When you come to write, though, just write. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Get a draft down on paper, shove it in a drawer and forget about it for a good six months, preferably longer. Then you can take a long cold look at it and begin to work with it. Don’t slam it up onto Amazon three days after writing The End. Let it settle first, and then work with what you have. The more expertise you develop, the more likely it is you’ll be able to produce a decent enough first draft that doesn’t need a total rewrite. The figure often quoted is a million words and I suspect that’s not far off. The more you’ve absorbed unconsciously from reading books by respected authors, the more readily your own unconscious learns to shape your work. If a million words sounds daunting, remember a reasonable length of novel is perhaps one hundred thousand words. That means around ten novels is a fair apprenticeship. The ones you write before then will often be reworked much later; it’s probably only your execution of the ideas that’s been at fault, not the ideas themselves. Don’t expect perfection of yourself; that way lies madness. Also, don’t model yourself on a favourite author. Fan fiction is all very well but it’s self-defeating if you want to achieve something truly your own.

 

Describe a day in your life

I lead a very dull life at present. Most of the excitement and interest goes on in my head.

 

Who are your favourite authors and have any of them influenced your work?

I did a degree in English and Latin so I have a lot of authors I’ve loved. I’m not sure if any one in particular has influenced me that much; it’s more a general thing. When I graduated, I’d told the careers’ advisor that I wanted to be a writer and she laughed at me. It was several years after I graduated that I read again for pleasure and it was the same for writing. I couldn’t write because my soul was still in such awe of the superb authors I’d spent three years studying. It seemed the height of hubris to start writing after that.

 

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Watching the fish in my pond. I’ve had some serious health issues so what I like doing and what I’m able to do are rather different things. I used to love long walks in the countryside away from the hurly-burly. I love museums and art galleries and I do enjoy drawing and painting too.

 

If you had to stay on a desert island and were only allowed to take one book, which would it be?

It’d be a nice big plain journal so I could write down my account of life on the island. Preferably a leather-bound one; I have a thing about lovely leather covered journals.

If I had to say an actual book, it’d be the S.A.S Survival Guide. I have the pocket version of it. I don’t think I’d need anything fictional; I’d stay sane by telling myself stories.

 

For more information about Vivienne, visit her blog – http://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com

Vivienne’s Amazon pages:-

UK –  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vivienne-Tuffnell/e/B00766135C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

USA – http://www.amazon.com/Vivienne-Tuffnell/e/B00766135C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Facebook fan page – https://www.facebook.com/VivienneTuffnellAuthor

Twitter – @guineapig66

 

3 lucky people have the chance to win a paperback copy of Vivienne Tuffnell’s latest book ‘The Moth’s Kiss’, which is a collection of ten short spooky and creepy stories.

To enter just leave a comment telling me why you love reading.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 13th April 2014.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Vivienne Tuffnell who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! 🙂

Interview with H E Joyce

H E Joyce

H E Joyce is the bestselling author of ‘The Deadliest Game’ and ‘Miranda’s Fortune’.  He has had a passion for writing from an early age.  It has taken many years to finally pursue his dream of becoming a writer and publishing his work.  He was a firefighter for eighteen years, and also worked as a newspaper photographer and as a freelance artist; he still dabbles from time to time.  I was given the opportunity to interview him.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing seriously in 2010.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently fleshing out a sequel to The Deadliest Game.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Sometimes from small news items. More often than not though, I have no idea where they come from, they just come.

Can you describe a day in your life?

Most days are filled with writing. I start at around nine in the morning and work through until dinner in the evening. I try to relax in the evening, but my notepad is always nearby.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write?

I would say, go for it. That is if it’s because you really want to write and not in the hope of getting rich.

Which types of books do you most enjoy reading?

My taste is varied, but mainly I enjoy reading the kind of books I write myself, thrillers.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Apart from an astronaut? I always wanted to do something in the arts. I have always been a keen painter and I loved writing stories. However, my career took a different path for many years.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Relaxing in old traditional pubs and travel.

 

Below are some useful links:-

To find out more about H E Joyce visit his website – www.hejoyce.co.uk 

For details of all of H E Joyce’s books visit his Amazon page – http://viewauthor.at/HEJoyce

Follow H E Joyce on Twitter – @HEJoyce1

Luca Veste ‘Dead Gone’ Blog Tour

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I was invited to take part in this blog tour as part of a celebration of Luca Veste’s debut novel.  ‘Dead Gone’ is being published by Harper Collins’ Avon in eBook format tomorrow.  It will be out in paperback on the 16th January 2014.

Veste is set to get readers pulses and minds racing with this, his thrilling, intelligent and unpredictable psychological thriller which is set in the streets of his home city, Liverpool.

‘Dead Gone’ is a must read for fans of Stuart MacBride and Mark Billingham.

Below is an extract from this book for those of you just dying to get a taster of it:-

 

PART ONE

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.

Isaac Asimov

We are taught from an early age to fear death, that unknowable force we are all moving towards, simply by existing. However, this aspect of human life is not one discussed easily amongst those in western society. Death is not an easy topic to discuss openly, without the fear of perhaps upsetting or insulting. This one aspect that binds us all together, touches us all, irrespective of race, gender, or orientation; the one thing we all have in common, yet so often it is considered a ‘dark’ subject. Talking about one’s own mortality is considered morbid and morose.

One truth remains however. We all die. Every single living organism experiences death. Indeed, according to Dr. Sigmund Freud, ‘It is the aim of all life.’ We live to die. Homo sapiens as a species have shown great technological advances over the past few centuries. Yet one thing we have not, and will arguably never achieve, is to create a way of dealing with death in a uniform manner as a population. We grieve differently, we die differently.

Death touches us all. Should we fear death, try to actively repel it, through attempts to prolong our lives? If technology moved to such a point that death could be avoided, endless life became a possibility, would we ever be able to really live?

Without being able to investigate death and the repercussions for the deceased, is it possible to study death in any meaningful way, without being able to experience it?

Taken from ‘Life, Death, and Grief’, published in Psychological Society Review, 2008, issue 72.

 

Experiment Two

She hadn’t been afraid of the dark.

Not before.

Not before it entered her life without her knowing, enveloping her like a second skin, becoming a part of her.

She hadn’t been claustrophobic, petrified the walls were closing in around her. Crushed to death without knowing they’d even moved. Not scared of things that crawled around her toes. Wasn’t afraid to sit alone in a darkened room and wonder if something was touching her face, or if it was just her imagination.

Nope. She wasn’t scared before.

She was now.

It took time to become afraid of those things, and time was all she had, stretching out in front of her without end.

She blamed herself. Blamed her friends. Blamed him. She shouldn’t be there, and someone was to blame for that.

Had to be.

She’d become a responsible adult. The right thing, supposedly. Gone were the days she’d spent going into town, two, sometimes three times a week. Karaoke on a Friday, pulling on a Saturday ‒ if there were any decent lads out ‒ quiet one on a Sunday. Now she was always the first one to leave, early on in the night, when everyone else was just getting started.

She didn’t like the feeling of being drunk. That loss of control, of sensibility. She’d been hungover so many times. She’d decided it wasn’t what responsible adults did. Her mum had drummed that into her one night, holding back her hair as two bottles of white wine and god knows how many vodka and lemonades decided they wanted out.

She’d rather be at home now, watching TV after a day’s work, especially if it meant he  was sitting close to her. She didn’t even mind that he always had the laptop on, playing that stupid football management game. Just being there with him was enough.

She still enjoyed a drink at the end of a work day, a glass of wine with a meal and the occasional full bottle at the weekend. But the binging had stopped. That was for certain.

When a Cheeky Vimto cocktail had been forced into her hand by one of the girls who told her she’d love it she didn’t say no.  Port and WKD. Who thought of these things? She didn’t care. It tasted bloody great.

One more led to four more, and before she knew it, she was in an eighties-themed nightclub, dancing her heart out to Chesney Hawkes. Two a.m. hit, and she was saying her goodbyes. She loved them all. Her girls. Always left wondering why they didn’t see her more often.

‘Don’t go yet, we’ll all share a taxi later. Club doesn’t shut for another hour.’

‘It’s alright, I’ll be fine. I’m knackered, want my bed. Need to get back … No, it’s okay I’ll walk up to the tunnel stretch by the museum if I can’t get one.’

Voice going hoarse from shouting over the music. Promises to do it all again soon. To give them a text when she’d arrived home.

Finally she was out of the club, the bouncer helping her down the final step. Fresh air hit her, along with the realisation she was as drunk as she’d been in a long time. She began searching through her handbag for her phone, eventually finding it in the same pocket it was always in, wanting to call a taxi to pick her up.

‘For fuck’s sake.’

Too loud. Not in the club any longer, but her voice hadn’t caught onto that fact yet. A couple stared as they passed by, as she continued her argument with the stupid battery-sucking smart phone. The decision to wear comfortable shoes becoming the best idea she’d ever had. She set off for the taxi ranks at the end of Matthew Street, hoping it wouldn’t be too long a wait. She walked past the old Cavern Club, the sound of some shitty band murdering old hits wafting out of the doors, as a few tourists spilled out onto the street.

She couldn’t find a taxi, queues of people down North John Street. She walked away from the lights of the clubs in the city centre, hoping to get one coming out of the tunnel. When she was younger it had been easier, as there was always enough of them to be safe getting the night bus home. Now she had money in her pocket she wouldn’t have to sit on a full bus, the stink of kebabs and vodka shots seeping into her clothes. The lads who were either squaring up to each other, or trying it on with any girl with a pulse. No thank you, she could pay the eight quid and get home without any of that.

She stood on the corner near the museum, waiting for a hackney with its light on to pass her. She wrapped her arms around herself, cold air beginning to bite as she stopped walking and leant against the St John’s Gardens wall, the museum over to her right. The entrance and exit to Birkenhead tunnel directly opposite her. Swaying to silent music.

She was cold, wishing she’d picked a warmer coat when she’d left the house earlier. She’d picked the right shoes, that was supposed to be enough. Ten minutes went by, then fifteen, before a hackney finally came towards her, slowing down before passing her.

‘Hey!’

It went up towards town, then did a U-turn and headed back her way, coming to a stop in front of her. She opened the door, barely registering the driver at all, just shouted her address at him, and settled back in the seat. She was glad to be in the warmth of the car.

As they drove through the city centre, she began to feel just a little uncomfortable, the driver looking straight ahead, barely acknowledging her presence. He’d not said a word since she’d entered. Must be one of the new foreign drivers that were coming over from Eastern Europe or wherever. Her mum would know. She should ring her mum tomorrow, she thought. She hadn’t been in touch much lately, and she wanted to catch up.

She yawned a few times in succession, the blurred buildings going past becoming hypnotic as the cab wound its way out of the city centre towards home. She battled her tiredness and lost, as her eyes closed and stayed that way.

That was her mistake.

She woke when the cab came to a stop and looked up to see the driver getting out of the cab. Through bleary eyes, confused by the sudden absence of movement, she sat fully upright.

‘I’m awake, it’s okay,’ she called out, but he was already walking around the cab, past her door and out of her sight.

Panic didn’t set in straight away. Confusion was first.

‘Where are we?’ The windows inside had misted over, and she swiped her hand over the pane. To one side she saw trees lining a gravel driveway. She tried opening the door, but the handle wouldn’t budge. She moved across the seat, and tried that door handle. Same result. She swiped her hand over the window again, seeing a house to the other side. A strange house. Not her house. Oh shit, not her house.

‘What’s going on?’ She could hear the man’s shoes crunching through the gravel behind the car and then her window darkened. She jumped in her seat. He was crouched level with the window, his face obscured by a black balaclava.

Panic started then.

His voice came through the window. Slow, precise.

‘We’re in the middle of nowhere. So if you scream, no one will hear you. More importantly, if you do scream, I’m going to break the fingers on your right hand. Scream again, and I’ll cut them off. You understand me?’ There was no trace of an accent, yet there was something odd about his voice.

She started to move across the back seat to the opposite door. Adrenaline kicked in. The need to get away, to get out of there, overtaking everything else.

He was quicker though. The door opened behind her and a hand grabbed her by the shoulder. He was strong.

Fight back, fight for her life, fight back.

Without screaming.

She used her fists against the opposite window, pulling on the door handle with all her weight, as the man attempted to drag her out.

He got a firm grip of her dress, and placed his arm around her neck, turning her around. She kicked out at him, but felt herself being lifted from the car. He dragged her all the way inside the house, his grip around her throat choking the air out of her lungs. Her eyes drifted downwards and then around. Stone steps with marble pillars to the sides marked the entrance, but she had no time to look at them as she was pulled along a darkened corridor. She needed to breathe properly. Watched as one of her comfortable shoes slipped off and became lost in the darkness. She kicked at the ground, scratched at his arm, used her fingers to try and prise her way out of his hands, but nothing worked. She was being dragged along on her heels.

He stopped, shifted his grip so she was now in a headlock. She could breathe a little. They went through an opening, before she bounced downwards. A staircase, she guessed. She couldn’t tell. It was too dark.

They came to a stop. He took his arm from around her head, and before she had a chance to move, he pushed her with two hands. She fell backwards, landing hard.

She heard, rather than saw a door close. She sprang up, the pain from the fall lost in the midst of heavy breathing and adrenaline.

‘Let me out of here you bastard! Open this door, open it now.’

She was in darkness and grasped at the door, trying to find a handle or anything that would open the door. She used her fists, banging on the door with all her strength. ‘Please, don’t leave me here.’

She continued to bang on the door until her hand started to ache.

She switched hands.

It came then. A voice through the walls, an audible static over it. She stopped, cocking her head to listen.

‘You will be fed. You will have water. There is a hatch opening on the door which can only be opened from the outside, through which this will be provided. On some days your food will have an extra ingredient, in order for me to clean up. You will not know when this is. If you’re good, I won’t have to kill you.’

The voice was silent then. She stood still, straining to hear any other noise, backing away from the door carefully. She put her hands out in front of her, her eyes trying to adjust.

There was no sound, other than her own breathing, panting in and out. She spread her arms around, jumping a little as her hand brushed against a flat surface.

She took a large breath in, struggling to keep the panic in. She couldn’t see the walls around her, yet she could already feel them. Closing in on her.

She was alone, in the darkness.

 

If reading this extract has left you hungry for more you can get yourself a copy on Amazon.  Click on the link below to be taken there:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/DEAD-GONE-Luca-Veste-ebook/dp/B00E31D9J6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385553864&sr=1-1&keywords=dead+gone

 

Don’t forget to drop by the Fiction Fascination blog tomorrow for the next part of the tour.

http://fictionfascination.blogspot.co.uk

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