A Conversation with Author Tonya Mitchell

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tonya Mitchell who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Thank you, Pam. I’m a great fan of your books. I’m thrilled to have found your Lucy Lawrence series.

Thank you! You are very welcome Tonya, please introduce yourself: 

I received my BA in journalism from Indiana University. My short fiction has appeared in The Copperfield Review, Words Undone, and The Front Porch Review, as well as in various anthologies, including Furtive Dalliance, Welcome to Elsewhere, and Glimmer and Other Stories and Poems, for which I won the Cinnamon Press award in fiction.

I am a self-professed Anglophile and I am obsessed with all things relating to the Victorian period. I am a member of the Historical Novel Society North America and reside in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband and three wildly energetic sons. A Feigned Madness is my first novel.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I read voraciously as a child. There was never a time I wasn’t reading something. When I was eight-years-old, I told my mom I wanted to write a book. I had no idea what I wanted to write, mind you, I just knew I wanted to write books. I cherish To Kill a Mockingbird to this day. I still remember the first time I read it, the colour of the couch, the way the sun shone through the window. But it wasn’t until I read Jane Eyre in high school that I really started gravitating to historical fiction. History fascinates me in ways few other things do. It’s so intriguing, because as a reader I’d think: Wow, things were really like this? How did these people cope? How did they survive? I love seeing characters in those tight spaces, battling it out with the cultural beliefs, social mores, and injustices of their time—particularly women, who had so little power. I think I became a lover of all things British when I started reading—devouring actually—Agatha Christie novels. The combination of mystery inside, oftentimes, an English manor house hooked me every time. And who doesn’t love Miss Marple?

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I’m lucky enough to be traditionally published by a small press. My debut will be out this fall. I wanted to go the traditional route simply because I wanted to walk into a bookstore one day and see my book there. That’s been a dream for as long as I can remember. Getting published was a hard road for me, though. I had lots of fits and starts along the way, lots of imposter syndrome. I’d read an excellent book and think: How the hell can I do this? Who am I kidding? There have also been changes in the publishing industry that have made it harder to get published traditionally. The Big Five in the US tend to see debut authors as a huge risk, so if you don’t stand out from the get-go, and I mean stand out amongst the brilliant, already-successful authors with big followings, chances are you won’t get far. It’s very competitive.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

In a nutshell, the authors who were writing what I most wanted to read. After Jane Eyre, I began looking for other dark stories: Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bram Stoker. At some point along the way, I figured out that gothic was really what I loved. From there, I went on to read Shirley Jackson, Margaret Atwood, and Laura Purcell. If there’s something dark and murky about it, something uber twisted, chances are I’m going to love it. What that says about my mental state, I’m not sure 😉

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I think the hardest part is that horrible first draft. Facing the blank page is a monster to me. I know the first draft is supposed to be bad (there’s a reason writers call it the vomit draft), but it’s hard to write drivel and move on. But that’s what you have to do, keep writing badly until it’s down. It’s the next passes, the editing, that I prefer because I have something to work with I can make better. That’s not to say editing is easy, it’s just that I’d rather have something to improve than work from nothing. I like the research too, though sometimes keeping myself from going down rabbit holes is a struggle.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

Proceed as if success is inevitable. I have it stuck to the wall in my office where I write to remind me. Oddly, it didn’t come from an author. It was a meme I think, but honestly, it helped. It’s what got me through all the highs and lows. It helped me keep my head down and working as I approached each milestone. There was some doubling-back of course, but it was all about forward momentum.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I have three teenage boys at home, so school hours are the best time for me. Things get a little chaotic after that. I also work late at night sometimes if things are flowing after everyone has gone to bed.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d probably be drinking too much coffee in Starbucks, lamenting that I should’ve become an author.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

I’d go back to the Victorian period, probably to the 1880’s. It’s when my book takes place. It was such a fascinating time. At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, rooms were lit by candle and transportation was by horse; by the time she died, the world was ushering in electricity and automobiles. The industrial revolution was well underway, but the women’s movement—suffrage, gender equality, etc. was way behind. The dichotomy of that boggles. Reading and writing female protagonists from that era, women who wanted to break free of the mold men were so determined to keep them in, makes for such vivid storytelling. Plus, the clothes. To die for.

Please tell us about your debut novel. 

Elizabeth Cochrane has a secret.

She isn’t the madwoman with amnesia the doctors and inmates at Blackwell’s Asylum think she is.

In truth, she’s working undercover for the New York World. When the managing editor refuses to hire her because she’s a woman, Elizabeth strikes a deal: in exchange for a job, she’ll impersonate a lunatic to expose a local asylum’s abuses.

When she arrives at the asylum, Elizabeth realizes she must make a decision—is she there merely to bear witness, or to intervene on behalf of the abused inmates? Can she interfere without blowing her cover? As the superintendent of the asylum grows increasingly suspicious, Elizabeth knows her scheme—and her dream of becoming a journalist in New York—is in jeopardy.

A Feigned Madness is a meticulously researched, fictionalized account of the woman who would come to be known as daredevil reporter Nellie Bly. At a time of cutthroat journalism, when newspapers battled for readers at any cost, Bly emerged as one of the first to break through the gender barrier—a woman who would, through her daring exploits, forge a trail for women fighting for their place in the world.

Available: October 6th 2020

Pre-order book: https://www.cynren.com/catalog/a-feigned-madness)

Pre-order ebook: Amazon

 

If you would like to know more about Tonya and her work, please check out her links below:

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/TonyaMitchellAuthor/

Twitter               https://twitter.com/tremmitchell

Instagram:        https://www.instagram.com/tmitchell.2012/

Email:               tmitchell.2012@yahoo.com

 

 

A Conversation with Author Delphine Woods

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Delphine Woods, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Me 3You are very welcome, Delphine, please introduce yourself:  

I’m a Shropshire based author of historical fiction. When I was a teenager, I had my heart set on becoming an actress, but after my first year at drama school, I decided the lifestyle wasn’t for me. I’m too much of a home bird! After wondering what to do for a while, I decided to join the Open University. I studied a variety of modules including creative writing, medicine through history, and children’s literature, and graduated in 2016.

Whilst studying and travelling Europe, I began writing novels. My first novel was a contemporary romance, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the process (and knowing I could actually write a full novel), the genre didn’t ignite my passion. History is what I love – Victorian history in particular. After a couple of years writing and learning as much as I could about self-publishing, the first novel in my Convenient Women Collection went live in August 2019. There are now five books in the Collection, and I will be publishing the first book in a new, time-slip series soon.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I find it a little hard to define my genre. My books are gothic historical mystery-thrillers, with a dash of romance (although very few romantically happy endings occur). I love gothic texts, with wild landscapes and unstable minds, and these themes are prominent in many of my stories. Undoubtedly, there is a feminist slant to my work, and often I depict the horrific ways women have been treated in the past. I like to make my women fight back, in whatever way they can.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Who doesn’t love a good book? Some books just grab you from the start and won’t let go. I am quite a slow reader, I can’t read a book in a day, but I know one has truly given me the bug when I can’t stop thinking about it.

I tend to stick to my favourite genres. Those are, of course, gothic and/or historical fiction, but it is nice to escape into some light-hearted romance once in a while. I’m not all doom and gloom! I also enjoy psychological thrillers and I am fascinated with the human mind and what makes people tick.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

My routine varies with each book and my state of mind. I used to like writing first thing in the morning, but that was before I had to keep up with emails. I tend to reply to emails and write newsletters when I first arrive at my work space. Late morning and early afternoon I write my novels, at the moment, anyway. I most definitely cannot write at night. I clock off no later than 6pm and cherish my peaceful evenings with my husband. The same goes for the weekend, although as any writer knows, the mind never really stops plotting and planning.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I have always thought I would like to be a psychologist. However, in reality, I’m not sure how good I would be. Working in a living museum has appealed to me too, as has becoming a dog trainer!

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

I actually had an actor in mind as I wrote The Promise Keeper. The main male character is called Tom Oliver, and I would want the beautiful Douglas Booth to play him. Tom has Douglas’ full lips, his dark hair, his chiselled jawline, and his brooding sense of danger. I didn’t have a specific actress in mind when I wrote Liz, the female lead, but I think Holliday Grainger would be a good fit because of her beauty and poise – I loved her as Lucrezia in The Borgias.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

Firstly, there is no way on earth you would get me into that spaceship! I hate flying at the best of times, but, my five books would be … Gosh, this is hard! First up, it has to be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, my all-time favourite novel which inspired me to write Victorian gothic novels. Second, I would chose Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase because even now, two years after reading it, I can still step into the larder or onto the cliff edge. Philippa Gregory’s The Queen’s Fool would be third. It has been years since I read this book, but the opening scene hooked me straight away, and I still think about bats flying amidst the orange trees at the Alhambra Palace. Fourth, Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White because Sugar is my favourite ever literary character, and Ramola Garai played her so well in the TV mini-series. Finally, I’m going to throw something lighter into the mix because Mars would be pretty hard work. I Love Capri by Belinda Jones is a summer rom-com which has been on my mother’s bookshelf for over a decade and has been flicked through too many times! We all need a bit of love and sunshine!

Please tell us about your latest published work.  

The-Little-Wife-GenericThe last book in my Convenient Women Collection is The Little Wife. Set in 1875 in an isolated Scottish castle, this book has murder, intrigue, sexual tension, and a fight for survival.

When Beatrice Brown’s husband is duty-bound to return to the ominous Dhuloch Castle, she has no choice but to leave her home and go with him. The journey to the Scottish Highlands is nerve-shattering for Beatrice, and life in such a desolate place is no better. All she wants is to go back to England, back to her old, boring life.

As she struggles to cope with the isolation and her husband’s cruel nature, Beatrice finds comfort in the only friendly face, the castle’s mistress, Clementine Montgomery. Soon, the two embark on a passionate affair. With Beatrice’s desires and vibrancy reawakened, she begins to wonder what her husband is hiding. Why did he flee the castle all those years ago?

Something evil lurks inside Dhuloch’s walls. It will not rest until it has blood.

Will Beatrice have the strength to uncover the truth before the castle claims its next victim?

Every book in this collection is a standalone and can be read in any order. If you want a taste of my work for free, join my newsletter and you will receive the Convenient Women Collection novella, The Butcher’s Wife, to whet your appetite.

Buy Link for The Little Wife

 

If you would like to know more about Delphine and her work, please check out her links below:

New Release – Cover Reveal – Jenny O’Brien: Silent Cry

I am delighted to be taking part in today’s cover reveal for one of my favourite authors, Jenny O’Brien. I was lucky enough to read Silent Cry and can tell you, you are in for a treat.

unnamedAlys is fine. Don’t try to find us.

Five years ago, Izzy Grant’s boyfriend Charlie took their newborn daughter Alys out for a drive.

They never came back.

After years of waiting, Izzy has almost given up hoping that they’re still alive – until a note is pushed through her door telling her they’re fine, not to look for them. Suddenly the case is top priority again, and Izzy is swarmed with faces from the past: the detective who was first on the scene to help; an old friend who vanished not long after Alys and Charlie.

Izzy doesn’t know who she can trust, who is sending her notes, where Charlie and Alys might be. Her only ally is DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Cardiff and fleeing a painful past of her own.

Gaby knows something doesn’t fit with the case, and she knows Izzy won’t rest until she finds out what really happened to her daughter. Could someone she knew and trusted really have taken Alys from her?

Wherever Alys and Charlie are, Gaby is determined to find them, no matter what it takes. Somewhere in Izzy’s past is a clue, if Gaby can only find it …

New Release from John Anthony Miller! Sinner, Saint or Serpent

It’s great to have you back in the Library, John, can you tell us a little about yourself for anyone not familiar with your books?

JAM Photo

Hi Pam, thanks for having me. I live in southern New Jersey in the U.S., very close to the city of Philadelphia. I’ve been writing professionally for about six years, and Sinner, Saint, or Serpent is my seventh novel.

What motivates you to write?

I think the motivation for me is learning about the imaginary world I’m creating, which takes quite a bit of research. I love to learn.

Do you ever have writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?

For me, rather than writer’s block, it’s getting stuck on a scene or character that isn’t turning out the way I want. I usually move on to something else, maybe research another aspect of the book or a completely different book, or go for a walk. The distraction normally brings the solution.

How do you go about researching the history behind your books?

Once I determine a period to write about, I choose the location. I think the location, if described well enough, is really a character, often as important as the protagonist. Then I devise the plot. I have dozens swirling around in my head, and need only to find the one that interests me – and potential readers – the most. I often round out the characters last, honour the deadand I usually find that they turn out far different in the end than I had envisioned in the beginning.

I research everything from clothing to hairstyles to food to military maneuvers. I read books about the time period, books written during the time period, and I research websites. The BBC website for WWI and WWII, for example, is a wealth of information, including personal stories.

I continue to research until the book is completed. The first draft is just that – a bit of a mess with notes to myself for future enhancements. But each revision shapes the story, the research bringing both the scenes and characters to life.

With so many different ideas, how many will make it into future books?

I have about twenty different ideas at any one time, many of which will become books. I don’t discard any of them, but if I start on a topic and lose interest in the research, I usually pick something else and move the abandoned idea lower on the list. I have a file for different topics, plots, titles, false starts and various interests that I go through when starting a book. Sometimes I choose one, combine it with another or change the time period, and that gives me a fresh perspective and the motivation to finish it.

Once you have a solid idea, how long does it take you do get to the final product?

It usually takes me 9 months to complete the draft that I send to my agent (which is after 5 or 6 revisions). The draft is then sent to fact-checkers and advanced readers, after which I reconcile any comments – either make changes or explain why changes are not required. That typically takes a month or two. The book is then sent to the publisher, who takes anywhere from 6- 15 months to issue it. There are different editing processes during that publishing timeline, as well as cover design.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

Yes – I have two suggestions. First, try to write every day once you start a book– even if it’s fifteen or twenty minutes, or just scribbling ideas about a character in a notebook. I think the routine and consistency are important. Second, don’t let family and friends discourage you with negative comments. I’m sure they mean well, but some people will not take you seriously until you show them a publishing contract. Write for yourself first, the public second.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I like to cross genres, using thrillers, historical fiction, and mysteries, primarily. I think having a multi-genre plot is much more interesting, with unlimited possibilities for subplots and secondary characters that are often as exciting as the protagonist.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

I would definitely choose late-Victorian through the early part of the twentieth century. I’m drawn to the British Empire, upon which the sun never set, the twilight of Victorian England, the dawn of a new century, the utter destruction of WWI, and the roaring ‘20’s.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

When I’m doing the initial research for the book, and I’ve determined in what time period it’ll take place, I search on the internet for the most popular baby names in the country and year that the book takes place. For example, Sinner, Saint or Serpent takes place in New Orleans in 1926. I researched the most popular male names, female names and surnames in the U.S at that time. I fill the left-hand side of a notebook with female names I like, the centre with male names, the right with surnames. Then, I match them up.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

Sinner, Saint or SerpentMy seventh novel, Sinner, Saint or Serpent, has just been issued. It’s a historical murder mystery set in New Orleans in 1926. Justice Harper and Remy Morel are two reporters investigating the murder of August Chevalier, a ruthless businessman with dozens of enemies. Police identify three suspects, prominent women in New Orleans society: a sinner – Blaze Barbeau, accused of having an affair with the deceased, a saint – the charitable Lucinda Boyd, whose family business was stolen by Chevalier, and a serpent – Belladonna Dede, the local voodoo queen.

Harper has an impeccable reputation, while his assistant Remy Morel is a sassy newcomer with more mouth than she can control. They unravel the mystery, battling anonymous threats and increasing danger the closer they come to cornering the culprit. The clues lead them to more suspects: Mimi Menard – Chevalier’s housekeeper, Nicky the Knife – a lunatic gangster, Serenity Dupree – a sultry jazz singer and Harper’s lover, and even Remy Morel – her family wronged by a ruthless Chevalier.

My goal was to keep the reader constantly confused by the killer’s identity, and totally fooled when the identity is revealed. Hopefully I accomplished that.

LINKS TO PURCHASE:

UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sinner-Saint-Serpent-Anthony-Miller-ebook/dp/B0851NSSWF/

US:  https://www.amazon.com/Sinner-Saint-Serpent-Anthony-Miller-ebook/dp/B0851NSSWF/

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

https://www.amazon.com/JOHN-ANTHONY-MILLER/e/B00Q1U0OKO/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9787380.John_Anthony_Miller

https://twitter.com/authorjamiller

http://johnanthonymiller.net/

Thanks so much, Pam, for the opportunity to chat.

 

A Conversation with Colin J Galtrey

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Colin J Galtrey, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Colin, please introduce yourself:

Picture2I was born in a small village in the Peak District of Derbyshire. I love travel and meeting people of different nationalities. For many years, I had this book in my head until one day five years ago, I sat down and wrote it. This was my very first book based on a fictitious character by the name of Detective Inspector John Gammon.

The detective books, of which there are four series now with five books to a series, take on John Gammon’s professional and personal life in the villages of the Peak District. It is a very popular collection of books and I have people contact me who actually take holidays in the Peak District on a quest to find the villages and people who are part of the stories, with some success I might add.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I enjoy writing in many different genres. I have written thrillers, afterlife mysteries, historic time travel, a love story with a twist, and a book on the IRA.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I am a self-published author with books on Amazon, Goodreads, BookBub and iBooks.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

A very good friend who encouraged me to write my first book.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

The Peak District, without doubt, influences many of my books.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

For some reason I never get writer’s block. I tend to have between seven to nine books being written at the same time.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

An established author told me to just write and never worry about grammar or spelling but just let your ideas flow. Then let somebody else take care of the rest.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I enjoy writing at any time.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I can’t imagine my life without writing

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

For the detective books and the character of John Gammon, I see somebody in the Cary Grant mould. For the Looking for Shona Trilogy, the first book would be Brad Pitt. For the afterlife thrillers, I see David Nielson ( Roy Cropper from Coronation street).

If you could live the life of an historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?

Possibly John F Kennedy. I would quite like lunch with Marilyn Monroe as I am quite sure their conversation would be interesting.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

Sixteenth century and the life of a pirate. All the swashbuckling sounds exciting and seeing the world how it was.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

  • Mein Kampf (Adolf Hitler)
  • The Bible
  • Let’s Dance in the Kitchen (Colin J Galtrey)
  • Freedom and Reality (Enoch Powell)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Please tell us about your latest published work.

My latest book, The Stanton Incident, was released on Amazon on the 4th February, 2020. It is a time travel book based on a stone circle on the moor at Stanton in Derbyshire.

Jake Ingis made a mistake the day he entered the Stone Circle known locally as The Nine Ladies. From that day forward everybody he loves will be affected. How can a normal fun-loving young man be pulled into this life? Who is Cynbel and what was a warrior from the past doing on Stanton Moor? Nothing made sense.

Buy Link

If you would like to know more about Colin and his work, please check out the links below:

Facebook: Colin J Galtrey Author

Instagram: thepeakdistrictauthor

Web-site: https://colinjgaltrey.wixsite.com/colingaltrey

 

A Conversation with Olivier Bosman

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Olivier Bosman, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.

You are very welcome, Olivier, please introduce yourself:

My name is Olivier Bosman and I write the D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries. Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.

I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various dvd collections!)

​I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield.  After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, I turned to the theatre and wrote and produced a play called ´Death Takes a Lover´ (which has since been turned into the first D.S.Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim.

I am currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English .

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write Victorian mysteries. I love a good mystery. I like creating intrigue and suspense and keeping the readers hooked till the end, and I just love the past. If only I had a time machine, I’d be travelling throughout the ages, never to return to my own time again. My books are set in the late Victorian period, because I was inspired to write Gothic Victorian mysteries after reading Wilkie Collins. There is something irrepressibly appealing about dark gas-lit alleys, and sinister men in top hats, and shifty looking maids lurking in corridors, and enigmatic damsels with long dresses and hidden pasts.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read all kinds books. Mysteries and literary fiction are my favourite. Combine the two and you get something like Alias Grace or The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood; or The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. I’m currently going through all the Booker Prize nominees.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I’m self-published. I like the control it gives, and I get to set my own deadlines, which suits me well, because I’m a slow writer.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I’ve had an unusual upbringing. My parents are Dutch, but I was born in Colombia, where I lived until I was eleven. Then we moved to England, where I spent my teenage years. I haven’t stayed put since. I don’t feel like I belong in any particular country. I’m a foreigner everywhere I go, and this is reflected in my main character, John Billings, who was brought up in Madagascar by his missionary parents, and got stranded in England aged fourteen when both his parents died. He’s an alien in his own country which helps him see things from a different perspective. But it also means that, along with the fact that he is a homosexual and a Quaker, he is forever an outsider, which makes life hard for him.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The hardest part is writing the first draft. Getting the words down. If writing were like sculpting, then writing the first draft is akin to sitting on a muddy river bank scraping together the sticky clay and hauling the heavy load back to the workshop. Once the first draft is completed, the fun part starts, which is sculpting and shaping the mass of words into a thrilling little story.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m a morning person. If I don’t do any writing before lunch, it won’t get done. My mind ceases to work after lunch time.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d be doing something that involved making up stories. Film making, or comic books, or composing songs. I can’t imaging not being able to tell stories.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries Boxset

Dimly lit cobblestone streets. Sinister looking men in top hats lurking in the fog.

The first three books in the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries Series have been bundled together to chill you to the bone. Detective Sergeant John Billings is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard’s youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality. In these mysteries he will lead you on a thrilling journey into the darkest recesses of Victorian society.

viewbook.at/dsbillingsmysteries

https://www.olivierbosman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/olivier.bosman.author

 

A Conversation with Author John Bainbridge

Today in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­one of my favourite authors, John Bainbridge, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into his life as an author.


You are very welcome, John, please introduce yourself.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Pam. I’m John Bainbridge. I’ve written books in three historical periods, and autobiographical works about my passion for walking in the British countryside

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write historical mystery thrillers about a Victorian crime fighter called William Quest, who is really a vigilante outside the law who fights against social injustices. I’ve written three Quest novels so far and have just begun the fourth. I’ve also written two novels about a character called Sean Miller, who fights the Nazis in the 1930s. My third series, now complete, is a tetralogy of novels about Robin Hood, The Chronicles of Robin Hood, which tries to root the famous outlaw in medieval reality.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read books in all sorts of genres, non-fiction as well as fiction. My favourite authors are George Borrow, Daniel Defoe and John Buchan, but I also love pulp fiction authors. I usually read several books at the same time.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

In the past I wrote a number of books for a conventional publisher, all non-fiction, but with the novels I chose to go Indie. I like the self-control and the better royalties. Though I’d be happy to consider any decent publishing deal in the future, I’d never want editorial interference with the way I write

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Probably John Buchan, who I can re-read over and over again. But there are so many writers who have influenced me in different ways. I like picaresque writers, and Daniel Defoe and George Borrow were also early influences, as was Shakespeare and Dickens. I still re-read writers I discovered in childhood, such as Arthur Ransome and Alan Garner.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I’ve worked in the past in journalism, where if you don’t do the work, you don’t make any money, so I just sit down and write. Having to pay the bills is a great source of inspiration. I hate doing all the administration that goes with the writing life.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I write first thing in the morning, usually up to 1000 words. Then I run out of steam. In my freelance journalism days, I used to work much longer hours, but not anymore. By the time I fnish my morning shift I’ve done enough.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’d be spending more time reading books and walking in the countryside. When I was young I wanted to be an actor or a film director. I think if I started again I’d be a lecturer in English Literature or social history, or an archaeologist. I never really had great ambitions to be a writer, I just always did it.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

It would be nice to go back to Victorian times, as I could understand the mechanics of living there and then. Much of what I like about the Victorian era is that we can still walk through places they would recognise. Look above awful modern shop fronts and you can still see buildings Victorians would recognise. And British social conditions and injustices seem to be heading back to the Victorian worst of worlds.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

Lavengro by George Borrow; John Macnab by John Buchan; Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe; A Complete Shakespeare; and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

My latest book is Dangerous Game, a Sean Miller thriller set on Dartmoor in 1937. Here’s the description:

“Sean Miller – a rogue of the first water; a former Army sniper, he seems unable to stay out of a fight. Sean Miller’s on his way back to fight in Spain when he’s diverted to Devon to undertake a mission for renegade members of the German Secret Service, trying to stop the Nazis plunging the world into war. A secret agent lies dead in a moorland river and the one man who can keep the peace is an assassin’s target. As the hunter becomes the hunted in an epic chase, Miller encounters his greatest enemy in a dangerous game of death across the lonely hills of Dartmoor.

A fast-paced action thriller by the author of Balmoral Kill and the William Quest adventures.”

My Amazon author page, which lists all my books, is at https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Bainbridge/e/B001K8BTHO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

I have a writing and books blog at www.johnbainbridgewriter.wordpress.com

And write about walking and the countryside at www.walkingtheoldways.wordpress.com

 

New Release from Renny deGroot

I am delighted that Renny has dropped by to tell us about her new release, Torn Asunder. Renny, what inspired your story?

As an author of Historical Fiction, I’m fascinated by the human perception of historical events. For example, each of us have family stories of events that took place before our birth and handed down to us. These spoken stories become a part of us, and the details may or may not fit exactly with other stories of the same events and yet we absorb and take for truth those that have been given to us by people we love and trust. While all cultures and families have these stories, in my opinion, no culture does this better than the Irish (and I don’t have a drop of Irish blood coursing through my veins). Dating back to ancient times an Irish story-teller (or a Seanchaí ) was the keeper of the community history, and the tradition of story-telling falls naturally in an Irish family.

My new novel, Torn Asunder draws on this tradition when the main character chooses to fight for the Cause with his pen (ie as a journalist) rather than a rifle. His challenge is his lack of awareness of the power of his words.

Fiercely loyal, Emmet Ryan plays his part in the war against the British to see a free and united Ireland. As a 16-year-old boy, Emmet is thrilled to join his father and brothers in the Finglas Volunteers during the 1916 Easter rebellion. The effects of that week mark Emmet for the rest of his life as he wrestles between his allegiance to his country and loyalty to his family. At times he isn’t sure he’s given enough to the fight until the day he realizes he may have given too much.

The story of Ireland’s birth as a modern nation and her turbulent formative years is woven into the very fabric of this multi-generational family drama.

http://mybook.to/TornAsunder

A Conversation with Historical Fiction Author, Carol Hedges

Today in the library I have a very special guest. I happen to be a huge fan of Carol’s Victorian crime series, so I am really pleased to share this interview with you.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
 
I write Victorian crime fiction. I used to write teenage fiction, until the market got flooded by celebs, and I decided to switch genre. As I read Victorian authors, like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, etc., and specialized in this era at university, it seemed a natural choice. My series ‘The Victorian Detectives’ is set in 1860s London … mainly because the 1880s is a rather crowded field. I have two main detectives, DI Leo Stride and DS Jack Cully, and a host of other members of Scotland Yard’s Detective Division, plus the populace of London who wander in and out of the books, causing havoc.
 

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others? 

I don’t think you CAN be a writer unless you are a reader. I always have a couple of books on the go. One is usually a research book on some aspect of the Victorian era (currently a book on Lunatic Asylums). Then, true to my genre, I have a couple of crime novels to read. I enjoy Philip Kerr, Kate Atkinson (the Jackson Brodie books), Robert Harris, Donna Leon, Tobias Hill. I’ll sometimes dip into a writer I’ve never come across, if recommended. I like series best ~ you know if you’ve enjoyed one, there are more to follow.

 
Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?
I used to be published by Usborne, when I wrote YA. Now, I am entirely self-published, using Amazon as a platform. My publishing name is Little G Books (named after my granddaughter). I publish in ebook and paperback formats, and I use a professional cover artist to do my wonderful covers. It is definitely worth paying out for good covers. The advantages of self-publishing, for me, is that I have control over pricing, platforms and publicity. The disadvantages are that few mainstream bookshops will take Amazon-generated fiction. But then, as most of my sales come via ebooks, that isn’t a big problem. I don’t ‘owe’ an agent 12% of my earnings, nor a publisher 25%! All good as far as I am concerned.
 
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
My English teacher has probably been my greatest influence, which shows how important schooldays are. Mrs Myles, who taught me in Years 7 & 8, loved the writing process. She used to set us ‘compositions’ every week, giving us a title and then seeing what we produced. It stopped me being terrified of the blank page, and made me think in all sorts of directions. I am so upset that the modern curriculum no longer gives space for free creative writing! I wonder how many writers of the future are being stifled.
 
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
I am a TERRIBLE procrastinator. Given the choice, I’d rather dust behind the fridge than actually write. I have learned, though, to be disciplined, as I know that as soon as I sit down at my computer to write, I will just get on with it … and time will flash by as I do. I gather, from ‘fessing up’ to this on social media, that I am definitely not alone.
 
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
I remember reading somewhere that there is no such thing as ‘writer’s block’ ~ it is just a fancy excuse for not writing. Yes. Ouch!
 
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I like writing in the late morning … and then again late afternoon. If I am editing, I can do it at any time, but I seem to be drawn towards those particular times of day. I do NOT set myself any word limits; if I manage a page or five pages, that is enough. Distractions include: cat taking over writing chair, fish cavorting in the pond below my window and the local goldfinch thug-pack visiting the bird feeders.
 
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
I would love to go back to my fictional period: the 1860s. Not sure who I’d be ~ possibly not one of the starving poor, but I’d like to stand in Oxford Street and just watch the passing traffic and people. However much research you do, there is so much more you miss. What did it SMELL like? How did the people SOUND? What were their faces like? We know that any TV/film adaptation of a Victorian novel cannot ever be accurate ~ I find I shout at Ripper Street and The Woman in White, etc., as I know they are presenting a false image. Where are the rotten teeth? The smallpox marks? The clothes are always far too clean, as are the streets. I’d so love to go back, for 24 hours, and see what it was really like. And then come back and write about it!
 
Please tell us about your latest published work. 
Intrigue & Infamy is the 7th book in The Victorian Detectives series. I am currently working on the 8th, Fame & Fortune, to be published later this year.
 
It is 1866, the end of a long hot summer in Victorian London, and the inhabitants are seething with discontent. Much of it is aimed at the foreign population living in the city. So when a well-reputed Jewish tailoring business is set aflame, and the body of the owner is discovered inside, Detective Inspector Lachlan Grieg suspects a link to various other attacks being carried out across the city, and to a vicious letter campaign being conducted in the newspapers. Can he discover who is behind the attacks before more people perish?

 

Elsewhere, Giovanni Bellini arrives in England to tutor the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Haddon, ex-MP and City financier. But what are Bellini’s links to a dangerous Italian radical living in secret exile in London, and to beautiful Juliana Silverton, engaged to Harry Haddon, the heir to the family fortune?

Romance and racism, murder and mishap share centre stage in this seventh exciting book in the Victorian Detectives series.  Buy Link

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @carolJhedges