A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “author”

Interview with Anthony Lavisher

Hello everyone!  I am finally back blogging and I have a lot coming up for all you readers over the coming weeks.

Today I would like to welcome the lovely Anthony Lavisher to my blog.  Anthony self-published his latest novel, ‘Vengeance of a Storm’, the last book in the Storm Trilogy on the 1st December last year.  Below is my interview with Anthony which I really hope you enjoy.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘Vengeance of a Storm’ please?

Thanks for having me, certainly, Sonya. Vengeance of a Storm is the culmination of seven years of work, the finale of my Storm Trilogy.


What made you decide to write a trilogy?

I grew up reading trilogies, starting with The Lord of the Rings and from there, falling in love with, and devouring, as much fantasy as I could afford or borrow. I love the format of a trilogy, be it on the page or on the silver screen, that natural progression through the story of the characters journey, all of the story arcs, so carefully stitched and threaded through the tale, finishing, hopefully, in a rich tapestry of adventure for both myself and the readers.


Where did you get your ideas from?

I overheard a conversation one day in my local supermarket; two members of staff were being, ahem, shall we say, less than complimentary about one of their colleagues. I moved on quickly, but as I queued at the checkout, I thought “Hmm! What if I had overheard something important? Something that would put my life in danger if I chose to do something about it?”

It offered up all sorts of possibilities and the first book Whispers of a Storm began to evolve from there.


Did you have to do any research at all?

I did a lot of research on the Middle Ages, one of my favourite periods in history. The trilogy is set in the Four Vales, an imagined medieval land, and I wanted to look at the everyday things people would have faced, their customs and their beliefs, the governance and political system, the tools and clothes they would have worn and the lives they would have led.


How long has it taken you to write each book?

It took two years for Whispers of a Storm and three for the sequel Shadows of a Storm (I moved to Wales during that time and started working for the Vale of Glamorgan library service). Vengeance of a Storm, the longest of the trilogy, took 17 months to arrive.


Can you relate to any of your characters?

I think there is a little of all of them in me somewhere. Everyone I have met in my life and many that I have not have sown the seeds of the characters that evolved through my tale.

If I had to relate to any of them closely, I think it would be Khadazin and, probably, a bit too much of Arillion.


Are you planning to write more books?

I have the ideas for at least seven more, so far…. ah, this is question seven 🙂 I have already started my next tale, a stand-alone modern thriller, a complete departure from my fantasy writing. From there, I shall spend several books in historical fiction before coming back to some thrillers and, who knows, perhaps one day a return to the Four Vales…


Where do you do the majority of your writing?

In the summer, I write at the rear of the cottage, where the sun is warmest. During the colder months I migrate to the dining room, closest to the largest radiator. Currently a part-time writer, my dream is that one day I can write full-time and have a study to write from.


How has social media helped you?

It has been a wonderful tool and for me, conversely, also the hardest part about the writing process. It puts you in touch with people you may never have met, a legion of eager readers and the other authors out there who are also trying to carve their path in the Ether. It helps to get you noticed, make people aware of your work, a platform from where your voice can at least have a fighting chance to be heard from.

I also find it a burden, however, as it takes up so much of my time. I don’t want to be camped over my laptop 24/7, or checking things on my phone all the time, but in this digital world we now live in, it seems that to get noticed, you do have to spend quite a bit of your day doing so.


What’s the best advice you’ve been given regarding writing?

“Be true to yourself and to your writing” – don’t be influenced by what people might want from your tales.

My own belief is also that if I am not enjoying it, nobody else will. The day I stop loving what I am doing, is the day I put the pen down (or switch off the laptop).


Who are your favourite authors?

First and foremost, David Gemmell – the British Fantasy writer who sadly passed away in 2006. His style, his tales opened up the floodgates for me and I have never looked back since my friend Alan loaned me a copy of his first novel “Legend.”

I also really enjoy Robert Harris and Bernard Cornwell’s work.


If you had another chance at life would you still write books?

Without any hesitation. The only exception/change I would make is that I would make sure I joined the E-book revolution a lot sooner that I did.

I am a stickler for the belief in the physical page and I held out far too long to get with the times.



Hopefully this interview has left you wanting to read Anthony Lavisher’s trilogy.  If that’s the case then you’re in luck as Anthony is very kindly giving away two paperback copies of ‘Whispers of a Storm’, the first book in the trilogy to start you off.

To enter just leave a comment telling me what you are reading at the moment.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is the 15th May 2017.  Any entries after this date will not be accepted.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Anthony Lavisher who will send out your prizes.


About Anthony Lavisher

Born in Berkshire, England, Anthony has always loved writing stories. After many years of enjoying other authors works, he decided to try and give something back to the literary world. From an early age, since reading The Lord of the Rings, he has been inspired to write his own stories. He states that his favourite author is David Gemmell and that his style of writing has been inspired by the sadly missed author.

Anthony lives in Wales with his wife Amy and Mertle the cat. He is about to start work on his next novel ‘The Last Tiger.’



Website: http://alavisher.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alavisher

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Lavisher-Author/118025884963443

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4242577.Anthony_Lavisher

G+: https://plus.google.com/102712490566399197548/posts

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anthony-Lavisher/e/B0079N6V68/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1485522874&sr=8-1


‘The Black Cat’ by Lynn Gerrard

Black Cat

Lynn Gerrard is a writer, poet, author of darkness & decadence.  Tonight I would like to share with all of you one of her poems.


‘The Black Cat’ by Lynn Gerrard

The grave soil shifted

And deep down

In the depths

The long dead cat

Drew in a stale breath

And its crushed bones creaked

As they sought to repair

The dreadful damage

That had put it there

Whilst its blood drenched fur,

Matted and sticky,

Writhed and wriggled

As the maggots moved quickly

To leave the beast

As with a crack it’s jaw

Unhinged to release

A Hellish call

That rose through the earth

Piercing all above

With it’s shrill screamed squeals

Of the horrors yet to come

And its claws found purchase

Until very soon

The ungodly creature

Was screeching at the moon

As it scratched and spat

And hissed its curse

What was done to it

It would do much worse

It would seek and find

The human bitch

Who had left it to die

In the dirt deep ditch

Whilst her screaming tyres

Sped off into the night

Caring not a jot for the black cat’s plight

Her scent was strong

And the cat began to gloat

Envisaging the moment

It crawled down her scrawny throat

As her eyes bulged blindly

And her life’s light dimmed

Whilst it pawed and clawed

Until it wore her skin

Then it would dance in the moonlight

And with all the demons laugh

At the stupid woman’s folly

To cross the Witches cat’s path.

Copyright © Lynn Gerrard, 2015


Visit Lynn Gerrard’s blog here – http://thegrumblinggargoyle.blogspot.co.uk/

Short Story by Catherine Hokin

Halloween Stories

Who is ready for another short story?  I know I am!


Stolen Moments

By Catherine Hokin

Alice Morgan liked to steal. “You’re such a little Magpie!”

Her mother had been highly amused by the treasure trove of shiny trinkets she’d found burrowed into the tummy of five year old Alice’s teddy bear. A jumble of old coins and broken necklaces mostly and, yes, her eternity ring which she thought she’d lost for good, but nothing really important. All children did it and Alice would grow out of it so no need for a scene.

But Alice didn’t grow out of it and her mother’s laugh lost its sparkle when other parents muttered about ornaments that vanished and the party invitations began to dry up.

“You do understand that this is wrong, don’t you dear?”

Mrs Drake, the well-meaning head-teacher at Alice’s Primary School always smiled when she posed the question but, as the pile of hair slides and toys that Alice acquired and other children cried over, grew larger, the smile gradually grew more strained. It only reached her eyes again when Alice’s parents agreed with the gently unmovable suggestion that, yes, a new start would be best for everyone.

“I know you know it’s wrong so why do you do it?”

A more direct question from the harassed form tutor as she waved her hand across another heap of purses, watches and rings tipped out from Alice’s bag. But Alice merely smiled and eyed her teacher’s pretty brooch and the tutor had too many other challenging pupils to deal with to push the matter.

“If you’re going to do this, maybe you should at least try to hide the evidence or do you actually want to go to prison? You’re sixteen, Alice, we can’t protect you anymore and the world outside certainly won’t. But the choice, my dear, is yours.”

Head-teachers at secondary schools are far more direct and far less interested in solving the problems of pupils who choose to follow their own paths. It was that very lack of concern that finally caught Alice’s attention. Consequences were, to be honest, usually of little consequence to her but a lack of control over her comings and goings? That was worth a thought or two. So she looked at the mobiles and IPods gathered from her locker and concluded he was right: the choice was indeed hers and there must be more interesting options open.


“You can’t have him!”

Karen’s mascara-streaked face made her look like a clown, the cliché of a clown. “He’s my husband and you can’t have him!”

Alice shrugged, “That’s fine; I don’t want him.”

She watched with interest as Karen’s face seemed to collapse in on itself, barely listening as the older woman bleated out the usual litany.

“But he wants you…You made him fall in love with you and now you don’t want him… You stole him from me…why would you do that if it meant nothing?”

Better people than you have asked that question, thought Alice but she simply smiled and moved on.

Boyfriends, married men (she’d married one of those in a registry office with witnesses pulled in from the street and left within a month); all so very easy to acquire and just as easy to leave. Everything she’d ever wanted: she simply took it until she didn’t want it anymore, whenever that might be. There was always something else to be had, something new. Alice never planned anything: that would have caused too many complications. She just waited to see what would fall into her lap. It always seemed to work out.

Her latest acquisition had been no different.

Alice had been in London for a week, slipping away from her latest boredom to another place where no-one knew her. She’d taken a short let on a flat in an anonymous block through an agent, paying in advance from the bonus her last boss had paid her to leave her post, and not heard never mind seen her neighbours. Now she was starting to think about getting a job, nothing too demanding just enough to pay the rent while she waited to see what might happen next.

The café had attracted her because it was so quiet, the staff too busy with their mobiles to care much about her. She had settled herself with the local paper and they had left her to it, taking her order without bothering to make eye-contact. The one waitress who hadn’t slipped out back for a cigarette had barely looked up from the delights of her screen when the door opened again.

The woman who entered was exhausted: the dark circles under her eyes gave her the look of an abstracted panda and the lank hair drooping round her pale face spoke of too many broken nights. But the child, Alice couldn’t take her eyes off her. She was such a darling, about 6 months old, all chubby face and giggles topped off with a hat that looked like a strawberry. Alice grinned and the mother, grateful for any human contact, smiled back.

“Don’t be fooled by the angelic appearance, she cries like a banshee half the night.” The woman was weighed down by shopping, struggling to balance the load with the heavy pram.

“Here, let me help.” Alice pushed back a chair to make room for the buggy and took some of the bags, stowing them under the neighbouring table. The waitress looked up for a second and glanced away again as quickly; this wasn’t the type of customer to tip.

“Thank you.” The woman sat down heavily; she was bigger than Alice had realised, still slow with baby weight. “It’s always such a challenge to get out and get anything done, even the simplest things…” She looked at Alice without really seeing her, responding to the tiny kindness she’d been shown. “I don’t suppose you could watch Chloe for a moment could you? I shouldn’t ask and it sounds silly I know but just to be able to pop to the Ladies without juggling everything would be the highlight of my day!”

“Of course.” Alice nodded towards the back of the café, “it’s just over there. She’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

And it really was that simple. As the door closed behind the mother, the waitress slipped away from the counter behind the dividing curtain. It was the easiest thing in the world to pluck the baby from the pram, slip the changing bag over her shoulder and leave. Two minutes later Alice was on the underground, the baby perfectly content against her shoulder; thirty minutes later she was walking down the deserted street to her flat.

The baby had napped happily on Alice’s bed while she packed, soothed by one of the bottles her careful mother had stowed in with the spare nappies and change of clothes. Chloe (a pretty enough name but not one Alice could live with) hadn’t even stirred when Alice had popped out to the local High Street to buy a car seat and a travel cot from the bored teenager in a branch of Mothercare that had seen far better days.

The car packed up and Chloe (Emma?) strapped in, Alice had driven north; Manchester was somewhere she hadn’t been yet. The first couple of nights were spent in a Travelodge while she practised a story no letting agent was interested in hearing. Emma (Laura?) was soothed by a dummy but became fractious at night; no one in the hotel seemed to care. Alice had seen the story of the abduction breaking on the news but neither the distraught mother nor the defensive waitress had been able to give a clear description of the woman and the baby looked like any baby: lose the strawberry hat and the little red coat and who could tell one from the other? Alice had switched the television off, it held little real interest.

Two days in a confined hotel room where she couldn’t escape Laura’s (Kerry’s?) gaze was enough. This time Alice rented a little house with a garden. It was winter now but she could imagine sitting outside when the summer came with the baby crawling on the grass. Such a lovely thought and she would have made it happen, she really wanted it to happen; it was nice to want something. But the baby was so much harder to manage than she expected: it never slept and it pushed against Alice with such a frown sometimes it was as though it knew.

Staying and playing mommy was really too difficult and Alice didn’t like difficult, she never had. It was such a relief when she closed the door behind her and got back into the car. She’d tried, she really had; time to move on.

Copyright © Catherine Hokin, 2015



Catherine Hokin’s Website – www.catherinehokin.com

Twitter – @cathokin

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cathokin?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Interview with Madeline Dyer

2014-03-22_20.11.15-1Madeline Dyer has had her work published by various publishers.  She kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog.

Can you tell me a bit about your latest book?

The latest book I wrote is The Imposter, which I have just begun querying–and have already received a request for the full manuscript from an agent. It’s a science fiction thriller aimed at the YA market, though it is suitable for the mature end of the YA readership too.

However, I’d also like to talk a bit about my previous book, Untamed. It hasn’t yet been released, but the full manuscript is under review with several editors at publishing houses and I have already been offered a contract, so hopefully I’ll be able to say a lot more about that very soon! Untamed is a YA dystopian manuscript with strong fantasy elements.

Which types of books do you write?

I write fantasy and science fiction books, predominantly. Recently, although I’ve still been writing science fiction, I’m moving more into the thriller and mystery territory as well, which I’m enjoying a lot. I also have had seventeen short stories published, appearing online, in ebooks and paperback anthologies in aid of charity.

All my fiction is traditionally published. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Definitely! For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. I just love the freedom that writing offers and how I can be transported into a new world so quickly.

Can we expect another book from you soon?

Hopefully, Untamed will be published very soon (as I’ve already received one offer of publication from a publisher). I’ve also just started querying my latest book, The Imposter, and the first book I wrote, Spirit Of Fire, is also being reviewed. 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to try their hand at writing?

Just to write. Honestly, if you want to be a writer, then you have to write. It’s (the main) part of the job. And write because you want to, not because you think it’s what you should be doing, or because someone else thinks you should be a writer. It needs to be your choice. And you must love what you’re writing–readers will be able to tell if you don’t.

It’s the night before your new book is due to be published.  How do you feel?

Ooh, nervous, excited… Even on the nights before I have a new short story being published I can’t sit still!

Describe a day in your life.

At the moment, I’m studying at Exeter University for an English degree, so my weekdays consist of lectures, seminars, and coursework, with any spare time dedicated to writing (if there is any spare time!). Weekends are a bit nicer, writing-wise, as I can usually get 3,000 words written in a day. I prefer to write first thing in the morning, or last thing before I go to bed.

The type of writing I get done each day, (and, yes, I do try to write every day), varies a lot depending on which stage in the writing process I’m at. If I’m writing the first draft, I can be really free and imaginative–pretty much everything goes. The second and third drafts are more about developing the plot, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and tightening up on characterisation. Also, at this point, a lot of restructuring takes place, so I have some days that I’ll spend ages ‘writing’, but my word count won’t change a lot. After this stage, what I call the fine-toothed-comb editing takes place. This is the small stuff, word choice, etc., yet I often find myself writing new scenes and deleting others that don’t work/don’t add anything to the plot at this stage too. The final editing/read through is one of my favourite things to do in a ‘writing day’. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I live on a farm where we breed Shetland ponies, so I love spending time with them! I also own a number of other animals–guinea pigs, a rabbit, a cat and a goldfish–so I’m looking after them a lot.

I also enjoy reading and blogging a lot. Oh, and catching up on iPlayer!


Below are some useful links:-

Madeline Dyer’s website – http://www.MadelineDyer.co.uk

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MadelineDyerAuthor

Twitter – @MadelineDyerUK


Interview with Vivienne Tuffnell + Competition


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

Book Launch: ‘Nine Lives’ by Terry Tyler

Nine Lives

Terry Tyler has written several novels and her first book ‘You Wish’, was the winner of the ‘Best Women’s Lit/Chick Lit’ category in the eFestival of Words 2013.  I reviewed ‘You Wish’ last year and you can read what I thought here:-


Terry’s novels appeal to lots of people.  They make for addictive reading and deal with a number of everyday real life issues.

Never failing to surprise her readers, Terry has now tried her hand at writing short stories.  Her brand new book ‘Nine Lives’ is officially out this Wednesday and for five days, yes FIVE WHOLE DAYS, everyone has got a chance to download her new book for free.  Just click on the links below from Wednesday 20th November onwards.

UK Readers


US Readers


To learn a bit more about Terry click on this link to go to her Amazon page:


If you do read ‘Nine Lives’ remember to leave a review on Amazon.

Interview with Martin Pond


Back in April 2012 I reviewed ‘Dark Steps’, Martin Pond’s debut book of short stories.  My review can be found here:-


Martin very kindly offered to take part in an interview.

How long have you been writing for?

Writing has always been something I’ve loved. I wrote a lot in my teens and early twenties, but that somehow fell by the wayside as the world of work got in the way. I started again in 2007, at the suggestion of my partner. I gained further impetus from taking a diploma in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, and haven’t stopped since then (though, sad, to say, the world of work is an ever-present obstruction).

Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

My career for the past 20 years has been in IT, in a number of different fields. And that is not without creativity – writing a program, designing software, building a user interface, these are all creative activities. But they don’t scratch the itch like writing always has. Also, I’ve always felt that I’m half decent when it comes to stringing words together – I won a big silver cup for a story I wrote as a child, and it sat on my parents’ mantelpiece for a year. That sort of thing makes you feel pretty good, I can tell you, and gives you confidence in your own abilities from an early age.

Have any authors influenced you in your writing?

Inevitably, I’m influenced by the authors I like to read. Fortunately, I like different authors for different situations and moods. I love Stephen King – one of my most treasured reviews described my writing as “like a British Stephen King”. I also very much enjoy Nick Hornby, with “High Fidelity” being one of my favourite books of any genre. And Margaret Atwood is simply incredible, as are Cormac McCarthy and Chuck Palahniuk. I particularly admire McCarthy’s concision, and try to bear that in mind with my own writing.

What are you currently working on at the moment?

I am trying very hard to finish my first novel-length work, Drawn To The Deep End. It charts a thirty-something’s decline in the wake of his fiancée’s death. No, it’s not a comedy. I have 65,000 words down, and I know how the story ends, I just need to get there… I also have three short stories that are crying out to be written but I’ve promised myself I won’t start them (beyond rough notes) until the novel is finished.

Can you describe a day in your life?

After a relaxing morning writing on my golden typewriter (sorry, younger readers may need to Google ‘typewriter’), I recline on top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies (sorry again, that line is for fans of Rainier Wolfcastle), to count my Booker and Pulitzer prizes. Then I wake up, stop dreaming and stumble off to work…

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try their hand at writing a novel?

The hardest thing is to just make a start. So, to paraphrase King, just take a character, put them in a situation, and start writing. You’ll find the story as you go. Also… you’ll be forever thinking that what you’ve just written is rubbish. DON’T let that stop you. Just keep going, get something down. You can revise and improve it later. Also, and this is very important, the best way to catch errors and things that just don’t work is to read what you’ve written aloud. Those bits that catch in your mouth? They need changing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I work full-time, three quarters of our house is in mid-decoration, we have a pre-school son and I try to write too… what spare time?

What sort of books do you like to read?

So many different types. Perhaps some examples would help: I very much enjoyed “Let’s Kill Love” by Mark Kilner, a collection of dark short fiction published earlier this year. I devoured “Joyland” by Stephen King whilst on a recent holiday, further proof, if proof were needed, that he’s not just a horror writer. And I’m currently reading “The Psychopath Test” by Jon Ronson – disturbing, thought-provoking and yet also funny in equal measure.

I would like to thank Martin for taking the time to answer my questions.  Below are some links:-

Interview with Steven Dunne

Publicity (1)

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Steven Dunne’s fourth novel, ‘The Unquiet Grave’.  To me it was crime fiction at it’s very best.  I asked Steven if he would be willing to take part in an interview for my blog and he very kindly said yes.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I’ve written since university when I became more interested in the expressive arts. I wrote sketches and stand-up routines for myself then moved on to comedy pilots and even wrote the book for an award-winning pantomime version of Hansel & Gretel. It was when a Channel 4 pilot fell at the final commissioning hurdle that I decided to move into novels because it was a form that required no-one’s approval to bring to completion.

Does it take you a while to research for each book?

Research tends to get done on an ad hoc basis as and when the story needs it. I don’t have a big list of research topics when I set out, rather at any given point in the story some unchecked fact will glare out at me and I will either research it there and then or make a note, usually in CAPITALS, in the MS if I don’t want to disturb the flow. I won’t leave it too long to do the work because the results may change the direction or tone of what you’re writing from that point.

How long does it take you roughly to write each novel?

I still have a part-time teaching job in Derby so my turnaround is about fifteen months. Without the job it would take a year. And it’s only just enough time but these are the demands of a publishing contract. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

You’ve done it, your new book has been published.  Do you celebrate in any way or buy yourself something nice?

I honestly don’t reward myself with anything other than really mundane things that I will have missed during the final frantic days of meeting a deadline – a couple of days staring at a wall to uncouple my thoughts from the myriad plot points that I have tinkered with in the final week. Exercise is another treat. A walk in the Peaks as antidote to fourteen hours a day confined to a chair and a laptop. A week later, I’ll shake my head and realise I have to start the next novel soon.

On publication day I’m usually too wrapped up in the next novel to go overboard on celebration. Honestly it’s more a time to worry about whether people like what you’ve produced.


What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try their hand at writing a novel?

Sit in a chair and do it. Take pleasure from the lack of deadline and enjoy what you do. Writing is its own reward; don’t write with a view to publication. Only when you’ve finished and read it and rewritten it should you show it to someone else. If it passes that test then start thinking about the process. But don’t set out to do anything other than please yourself.

Can you describe a typical day in your life?

It pains me to do so because a writer’s life is soooo boring. An early start if possible, all the better to hit a word target – yes, you must have targets and generally you must stick to them – endless cups of tea and saunters around the house mulling things over. If I reach my target, and am loving it, I’ll keep going. If I reach my target and I’m not, I’ll stop and go to the gym, do some chores, go for a walk. Life and your mental health take precedence sometimes.

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?

Being stuck behind a desk means exercise is important. I swim, walk, read, cook, watch TV. All the normal things, not forgetting Twitter, of course. I’m not the best tweeter. I find any remote communication problematic as I prefer face-to-face conversation which means I don’t breeze around all the small-talk that flies around on Twitter.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading 1Q84 by Murakami. It’s a very interesting book and I’m enjoying it immensely. I don’t actually read that many thrillers, unusually. Possibly because it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday and possibly because I love top quality literature, usually American.

When can we look forward to your next book?

I can give you my deadline which is April 1st 2014. I’ve only missed one deadline and that by only three weeks for my first book written to order – The Disciple. Having said that, it was three weeks well spent when I found my killer ending. After delivery it’s up to Headline when The Companions is released.

Is DI Damen Brook still going to be the main character or are you planning to work on something completely different?

DI Brook is the main character in The Companions, yes. As for the future I’m always exploring different possibilities and storylines for Brook in my head. When they dry up – and I’m always expecting them to – then I may come up with a new lead character.

I would like to say thank you to Steven Dunne for agreeing to this interview and providing me with the pictures.  I’m really looking forward to your next book.


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