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March 28th, 2017
A Writer Reads
I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. Dead Woman Walking – I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this excellent novel by Sharon Bolton, and as many of you know she is one of my favourite authors. It begins with a dramatic hot-air balloon ride and a view from above of a killer. With a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming, the tension never drops until the last page. Although not published yet, Dead Woman Walking is available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Woman-Walking-Sharon-Bolton-ebook/dp/B01KL65GTM/         Wrong Place – Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Davies’ first novel, Gone Astray, I was keen to read the next story in the DC Maggie Neville series. Neville is a Family Liaison Officer, and this gives a unique spin to a police procedural. Wrong Place is the story of a woman ...
March 30th, 2017
Interesting links
Here are a few interesting links that I thought you might enjoy. Is it way past time you finished that novel you’ve been carrying around in your head? Try this article for inspiration! https://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2017/mar/20/how-to-finish-a-novel-tracking-book-progress-wyl-menmuir Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing describes his perfect reader perfectly! ‘They have no gender or age, but they are in for the night, and looking to get lost in, and maybe a little scared by, a book.’ Sounds good to me! https://www.ft.com/content/e9c39ac4-f529-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 An interesting and timely read? I think so: Margaret Atwood on what The Handmaid’s Tale means in the Age of Trump http://nyti.ms/2mo9wkr If you have any interesting links you would like to share, just let me know!
March 30th, 2017
Featured Reader – Beth Moist
Thank you all so much for responding to my request for featured readers – now I have a library of you! I’m going to start off with Beth Moist from Phenix City, Alabama, USA who has some very interesting memories to share. My love for psychological thrillers comes from my childhood. My father was a police officer and he used to ride me around in his patrol car and he would take me in the back of the jail with him. It was so exciting. My father also used to take me on his adventures into ancient Native American burial grounds where we would search for old pottery, arrow or spear heads. The mystery of looking and what I might find was a great thrill for me. My big brother Tom and I would often play and explore in the woods, looking for a secret cave or hide out, pretending ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...

Recent Posts

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Listening to Readers

Earlier this year, I published a novel – Stranger Child – which did very well for me. It’s a novel I’m proud of. In the UK it has just under 1300 Five Star reviews and was the 11th highest selling book on the UK Kindle in the first six months of the year – and that’s across all authors – just being pipped into the top ten by Lee Child (but that’s fair enough!). However, as Stranger Child only came out at the end of February, thereby losing two months’ sales, it would have been interesting to see what the picture might have been with a full six months to go on!

Food for thought

Writing rituals and tips for new writers

Following is an interview with Rachel, originally published on NovelKicks, 21 April 2015. What is your new novel, Stranger Child about, and what inspired it? If I had to find one word which sums up what Stranger Child is about, it would have to be revenge – but that nowhere near covers it. Emma Jacobs met David – now her husband – several years ago, but they lost touch when she went to Australia. When she came back, she was horrified to learn that David’s first wife had been killed in a car accident, and his six-year-old daughter had disappeared from the scene. Now, six years later, Emma and David have put the past behind them and are happily married with a new baby, Ollie. And then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world falls apart. Emma discovers things about her own past that shock her, and when

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National Crime Reading Month

June is National Crime Reading Month in the UK, and so it’s time for you all to choose your favourite crime writers, and get reading. I’d love to know what you are reading – just add a comment. To celebrate this exciting month, my latest novel – Stranger Child – is going into an Amazon Kindle promotion not just in the UK, but in the US and Australia too. Since launch, Stranger Child has been incredibly successful, remaining in the top twenty for three months after launch, and still in the top 100. With over 800 reviews, it has a star rating of an amazing 4.7. The promotional prices are 99p, $1.99 and $(AUS) 1.49 If you don’t read on the Kindle, you will be pleased to hear that a paperback version of Stranger Child is also available (although sadly not in the promotion). Please do share this with your

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Inspiration

I love and hate the question “where do you get your inspiration from?” in equal measure. I love it because it makes me reflect on how I came up with each idea, and I hate it because it makes me feel vulnerable. The worst thing that could happen to a writer is running out of inspiration, and each time I finish a book I think, “I’m never going to have such a good idea again”. So it’s a very worrying question!

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Building Characters

One of the great joys of writing novels is the fact that – as the author – you get to build the characters you want to. You can make them as evil or as wonderful as you like, and they can embody the worst of human behaviour, or the best. I am a great people watcher, and I am totally fascinated by the way individuals treat each other and react to situations. When I see a behaviour that is interesting, I store it up, ready to paste it into one of my character profiles, usually exaggerated to make a fairly simple human failing into something considerably more sinister.

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The Pros and Cons of Self-publishing

I am often asked why I chose to self-publish, and the answer is that it wasn’t really a conscious decision. I had written my first book – Only the Innocent – because the idea for the story had been buzzing around in my head for about ten years, and so one very cold winter I decided I was going to spend my days writing a novel. It’s the best decision I think I have ever made!

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Getting Started in Crime Fiction

People often ask me why I decided to write thrillers, and I’m never sure what the right answer is. I have always loved reading thrillers – not so much traditional crime fiction, but more the psychological, slightly twisted, tales that chill a person to the bone. But that’s not the only type of fiction that I enjoy. I’ll happily read just about any book, so why did I choose to write crime? I would argue that my books aren’t really about crime. The underlying story is about people – how they behave towards each other, treat each other, and abuse their power. But as there is always a crime committed as a result of this behaviour, it becomes necessary to have a police presence. Without a doubt, though, I would say my books are more about the ‘why’ than the ‘who, what, where’ of a traditional crime novel.

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Author Rob Sinclair on why self-published authors need entrepreneurial skills

I am very happy to welcome author Rob Sinclair to the blog today. Rob is the author of the Enemy series of thrillers featuring intelligence agent Carl Logan. He self-published his first novel, Dance with the Enemy, in 2014 to widespread acclaim and recently released the follow-up novel, Rise of the Enemy. Today Rob discusses why it’s important for self-published authors to understand that they are also entrepreneurs. Writing a best seller is easy, isn’t it? It’s just a process of stringing together 100,000 words in the correct order. If it’s good enough, getting the book to sell is then a no-brainer, of course. From your very first reader, word of mouth will simply take control and spiral outwards across the globe. Within weeks your book will be topping the charts, have been translated into several languages and you’ll have received several offers for film rights from big Hollywood studios.

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Success in independent publishing

This is a hastily written blog post in response to requests for information on marketing self-published books – so I apologise in advance for any errors. I am sitting in my hotel room with my laptop balanced precariously on my knee with half an hour before I have to leave to catch a train! The reason for the haste is that yesterday I attended an excellent event hosted by ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors), and it was reported by the equally excellent of Joanna Penn (of www.thecreativepenn.com) that my blog has advice on successful marketing for independent authors.

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Not all endings should be happy

As a writer, I feel I have a duty to provide a complete story that leaves my readers satisfied. Equally, and maybe slightly bizarrely, I feel a duty to my characters – imaginary though they may be – to be true to them. And sometimes this has been a bone of contention with my readers. Obviously I can’t talk in detail about the end of each of my books without giving away far too much, so I will have to write in general terms.