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A Writer Reads

I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola I don’t often read historical fiction for no other reason than I usually have so many thrillers to read, but I recently met Anna Mazzola at The Alderney Literary Festival, and couldn’t resist picking up a copy of her book. What I love about this book is the sense of time and place. It’s set in the mid nineteenth century, and somehow the author manages to evoke a sense of how it was to live in London back then – the sights, smells and sounds. And it’s the story of a murder – a particularly gruesome one – so right up my street after all! Click here to learn more. Friend Request – Laura Marshall I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of this book, and it’s everything

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A Writer Writes

In so many ways, being a writer gives me a sense of freedom. I can work when I want to, can write about whatever appeals to me (and, hopefully, my readers) and take a break whenever it suits me. That sounds so perfect, doesn’t it? The reality is a little different. Writing provides the income that I live on, so if I don’t write how do we eat? I don’t get holiday pay or sick pay, and if I’m not at my desk the emails and the wonderful feedback from readers will just stack up. This month, I had two major distractions. I had a cold – which was hardly life-threatening, but as we all know can make anything other than sitting in front of the fire with a hot drink seem too much like hard work – and we were in the process of buying a new home. The

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Dying to Write

Every month I look forward to the replies for my Dying to Write competition! From your feedback, I’m delighted to report that hundreds of you are putting pen to paper or rather fingers to keyboards to take part and I’d just like to say well done to all of you for having a go. The most difficult book starts with the first word so please don’t give up if you have any desire to get going down the publishing road. Every book starts with the first word and this month’s Opening Lines competition has been a real eye opener – there are some wonderfully dark minds out there and plenty of you who should be shut away… but only to finish the book that would flow from your killer opening lines! As always it was difficult to choose an outright winner so I have settled on a winner and a

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May Events

This month I’m on the road again! First stop is Guernsey Literary Festival on May 11th. I’m going to share a few tricks of the self-publishing trade so hope to see a lot of you there. I’m at the Festival hub at 4pm. It’s a great line-up this year which includes Clare Balding, Sebastian Faulks, Clare Mackintosh and Tom Holland to name just a few. Book your tickets here: http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/index.php/festival-2017/rachel-abbot Then I’m off to New Writing North on May 20th to talk about the highs and lows of self-publishing and the truth is that it is almost exclusively highs with occasional bouts of annoyance that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do. I really hope to get a chance to talk to readers, so come along and say hello. Ticket information can be found here: http://newwritingnorth.com/

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Interview with Alex Marwood

This month I put some questions to Alex Marwood, author of The Darkest Secret and I’m delighted with the answers. Read on for a wealth of fool-proof advice and wisdom on writing and life! What is the first book you remember as a child? I think The House of Arden, by E Nesbit, though I will have been too young to read it myself. I was the youngest in an academic family, and frustrated by not being able to read, so I taught myself when I was two, though I would still have been at Peter Rabbit level, readingwise, when I consumed this with my siblings. It’s a wonderful book, obviously, because Nesbit was a wonderful writer: my first time-travel saga, and great at bringing history alive. My favourite bit was when the children involved end up somewhere on 4th November and ask when the fireworks are, then recite the

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Special Offers

Wondering what to read over Easter? If you haven’t already read it, my third novel – Sleep Tight – is currently on special offer with Amazon for jut 99p. That’s a whopping 70% off Find out more here. And to get a taste of what’s to come, check out the video trailer.  

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Interview with Sunday Times bestseller Daniel Cole

I am thrilled to be able to interview Daniel Cole – author of the amazing debut novel RAGDOLL for my newsletter and blog. I absolutely LOVED this book and raved about it in an earlier post. Daniel and I are going to be speaking at a number of locations in the North West of England later this month, so check out the EVENTS post for more details. What is the most important element of fiction to you, as a reader – plot, character, location? It’s all about characters whichever medium you’re working in. Not a very high-brow example but quite relevant to me as writer/director Joss Whedon is one of my heroes: The second Avengers movie was enormous. It probably cost a gazillion dollars to make. An evil robot tries to blow up the world by dropping an eastern-European city on it from a great height… and yet, the best part of that

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Forthcoming events – April 2017

This month I’m going to be out and about, and it would be great to meet up with some of my readers. I’m off to Denmark first to speak at Krimimessen in Horsens on April 1 but I don’t suppose I will catch up with many of you there. http://krimimessen.dk/ And later in the month I will be travelling to the North West of England, visiting Oldham, Bolton, Warrington, Denton and Wallasey. Do let me know if you’re likely to attend any of them so that I can say hello.   Moving on a month, I will be speaking at the Guernsey Festival on 11th May http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/ and at New Writing North on 20th http://newwritingnorth.com/   Later in the year, I’m looking forward to being a judge for the Kindle Storyteller Award, a new literary prize recognising newly published work in the English language across any genre. The prize is

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The new novel is underway!

I am so happy to have started work on my next novel! As a writer, it’s such an exciting time as the characters and story begin to take shape in my imagination. Not all writers work in the same way, of course, but for me character definition is a critical part of the writing process. As soon as the overall plot is clear in my mind I begin defining the detail of each of the individuals that the reader will meet along the way. I already have a clear idea in my head of what each of them will look like, but I also like to find a photograph of somebody that is close in looks to my idea. That way I can refer back to it whenever I need a visual reminder. I search Google with a broad description and sometimes find an actor that fits the bill, or

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Dying to write – the opening line challenge

This month I’ve picked out some great opening lines from psychological crime thrillers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with one sentence that could start off a book that cannot be put down. My latest book The Sixth Window starts like this: “It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.” So get your thinking caps on – you need ONE sentence that will hook the reader who’s desperate to walk down the dark path, the one who will go into the basement with a faulty torch when they hear something scratching to get in… The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. SJ Watson, Before I go to Sleep An hour before her shift started, an hour before