Today I have with you all an interview with the lovely and incredibly talented Emer Stamp as part of the Pig Diary blog tour! More information about her and her books can be found at the bottom of the post!
Interview with Emer Stamp
I love the humour in these books and can really see children enjoying the books, does the humour come naturally to you or is it something that you have to work on?
I have a very silly sense of humour, I think it was passed down to me from my parents. So I would have to say writing Pig and making him funny comes naturally. I start writing and silly stuff seems to just come out. If I read back over it and it doesn’t make me laugh or smile then I re-write it until it does.
I also love the illustrations in the books, how long have you been drawing? And do you enjoy doing it?
I have always loved drawing. My Mum always encouraged me. I would sit with her and we would copy pictures out of Winnie the Pooh and our other favourite books. I feel very lucky to have found a profession that allows me to draw and call it work. I am not the best artist, but I am a very happy and satisfied one.
The adventures that Pig and his friends get up to in the books are so great, do you plot the books beforehand or does the plot come to you as you write?
I am a plotter. Before I start writing the books I sit down and write a 3 or 4 page synopsis of what’s going to happen. I figure out the new characters and make sure I have a good beginning, middle and end. But it’s only when I start writing the book itself that the story really comes to life. I often discover lots of new stuff as I go: characters develop and things happen that I had no idea were going to. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I uncover as I type.
As you illustrate your books as well, when you’re writing, do you see the illustrations you want to draw or do you see the illustrations first?
The illustrations always come second to the story. I only start drawing once I have an approved manuscript. As I write I often think, ‘oh, that would make a funny picture’, but I never draw a funny picture and then try and write it in. That just wouldn’t work for me.
Where is your favourite place to get inspiration for your novels?
The farm I grew up on in Devon. All the farmyard characters in my book are based on animals that, at one time or another, lived on the farm. I live in London now, so when I want inspiration; to think of a new story line, or character – I pack up my son and husband and head down there. In The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary of Pig, he, Duck and Cow all go to a country show. This was a direct result of one of my visits coinciding with the Devon County Show.
What is your favourite children’s novel? Is it different from when you were a child?
It always has, and always will be The Witches by Roald Dahl. I was given the hardback for Christmas when I must have been about 9. I couldn’t put it down. I remember my parents and grandparents going out for their post-Christmas dinner walk and begging to be allowed to stay in and read. I re-read it the other day and enjoyed it just as much.
We love Pig , but Pig loves Farmer. After all, Farmer gives Pig yummy slops and special back scratches, and calls him Sausage and seems to love him more, the fatter he gets. Just as well Pig doesn’t speak any Farmer. But Duck does (Duck’s clever like that), and he’s determined his best friend should know the truth.
The hilarious sequel to THE UNBELIEVABLE TOP SECRET DIARY OF PIG. Pig couldn’t be happier. Pig couldn’t be happier. Life with the vegetarian farmers is perfect, and best of all, he has a new friend, Kitty. Kitty is a fellow vegetarian, she purrs over Pig’s every move, laughing at his jokes and even gave him his new diary! Of course, only Duck can see Kitty for the cunning, jealous, killing cat she is. Pig won’t believe she’s up to something until he’s eaten the entirety of the farmers’ prize crop and is half way to the pie factory.
Pig 3: Pig, Duck, Cow and all the Sheeps are far away from their Farm and beloved Vegetarian Farmers. More fun, parps, slops and unbelievable adventure from this much-loved set of characters. Complete with illustrations throughout and printed in a unique diary format.
Emer Stamp is the author and illustrator of The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. Emer grew up on a farm in Devon before training in graphic design and working for some of London’s top advertising agencies. She was the Creative Director for the Adam and Eve DDB communications agency, which creates advertisements for clients including John Lewis, Halifax, Cadbury’s and Save the Children. She lives in London.
Have you read the Pig Diary books yet?
Today I am a part of the UKYA Extravaganza tour and I have for you a great interview with the lovely and talented, Sophia Bennett!
1. Do you have a favourite book that you’ve written?
It always changes! Right now it’s the one I’ve just finished writing, called Love Song, about a girl who gets caught up – against her will – with a rock band. The tagline is ‘A girl, a band, a love story. Things will get broken.’ I think that just about covers it. I’m fond of all my books in different ways though, and proud of them too. They address things like the dark side of the modelling industry, child slavery, refugees and cyberbullying, as well as my fun passions, like fashion, art and music. I love it when readers learn things from them, and get engaged, as well as just having a good read.
2. I love how character-driven and how powerful your characters are. Do you always start with a character or do you get plot sorted first?
Thank you, Faye! Usually I get the plot sorted first, because that’s what comes to me, but I’m increasingly convinced that’s the wrong way round. It takes me months if not years to find the characters and make them as strong and powerful as they are. But the best times are when a character takes over and does something that she wasn’t supposed to do in the plot. Such as when Crow, in Beads, storms out of a design meeting because her principles are at stake, or Jenny simply refuses to pose for the cover of Vogue, even though I really need her to! That’s when they really come alive and writing their story is just a question of keeping up with them.
3. What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished Love Story, the band one, and we’re doing some filming for the launch next spring, which I’m excited about. Now I’m thinking about two detective series that I’d love to do. One is Middle Grade and the other is YA/Adult crossover. Both seem fun and have some great characters (thank goodness!), so it’s a question of which one I get inspired to write first. I’m also going to be teaching a writing children’s fiction course at City University, London, so there’s a lot going on.
4. When it comes to writing, how much research do you do?
A lot, but not too much. I adore research and I found, when I started out, that I’d become a bit of an expert on something and my novel would start to sound like a textbook. I couldn’t bear to leave any details out. So now I try and get the characters and the plots right first, and then I do the research I need to flesh them out. I love interviewing people and finding out extraordinary details – such as that rich people from Middle Eastern cultures tend to line their superyacht bedrooms in leather, rather than wood, because there aren’t a lot of trees in the desert. Some scenes are borne out of interviews I’ve done, such as the endless go-sees Ted Trout goes to in The Look. But I use the internet a lot too, of course. Couldn’t live without it. YouTube is brilliant.
5. Where and when do you get the bulk of your writing completed?
I write more than I care to admit in bed! Especially when it’s freezing outside. But I like local cafes, because of the background noise, and libraries, because I deliberately don’t learn their wifi code, so I can’t be distracted by the internet. However, now that I’ve finally cleaned my shed up and installed a scented candle, I write there most of the time, and love it. You can see pictures of it on my website. It’s quite new, and much-admired. I think it should meet Candy Gourlay’s shed, because they’re quite similar, and I think they’d get on.
ebook or hardcopy?
Paper! I love my Kindle, but I can’t flick back to an earlier bit of the novel as quickly as I can in a book, or lend a book I love, or admire the cover as easily.
YA or Adult?
Depends. For example, I’ve just finished Persuasion for the umpteenth time. I’d say it was both.
Vampires or Werewolves?
Werewolves. Big Maggie Steifvater fan.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Tricky. Vanilla. I’ve recently started making my own smoothies and it’s a fab addition.
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry, no question. Next!
Four or Peeta?
Peeta. Lovely boy. And knows how to bake a decent cake.
Series or Single?
Series all the way – as a writer. Though as a reader, I tend to prefer single books these days. Having said that, my 9 year-old is just finishing the How To Train Your Dragon series and it’s magnificent. In book 8, it goes up to a whole new level. If you started it and left off, go back and finish it. It’s epic, amazing, and I would say essential.
ou can catch the rest of the UKYA Extravaganza Tour! Find out where the next stop is on this handy graphic:
And don’t forget… this is the UKYA Extravaganza event!
What did you think of this interview?
Today I’m excited to introduce you guys to the lovely Laura Elliot. I’ve got a really interesting interview with her to share with you all, but first, here’s some info about her newest release, Fragile Lies.
He is a writer and a father.
His son is lying in a coma, fighting for his life.
Her name is Lorraine Cheevers.
She is an artist and mother.
An illicit affair has destroyed her marriage.
Michael is desperate to find the couple who left his son for dead, a victim of a hit and run.
Lorraine is desperate to start a new life for her and her daughter.
Michael and Lorraine are about to cross paths – damaged souls, drawn to one another.
They don’t know that their lives are already connected.
They don’t know the web of lies surrounding them.
They are each searching for the truth. But when they find it, it could destroy them both.
If you had to describe your book in a tweet (140characters), what would you say?
Fragile Lies is about an affair that spins into a web of deception – and how that web affects two strangers in a dangerous search for the truth.
Was there a specific moment of inspiration for Fragile Lies or was it more out of the blue?
I was driving home one night when I looked across Dublin Bay towards an industrialised site on the docklands. It was lit radiantly against the dark sky but I knew it was a bleak, lonely place. Some years previously when I worked as a journalist I’d conducted an interview in that location with some homeless people. When I finished the interview I noticed two cars parked together –but only one car was occupied. I thought, as I drove away, that the couple in the second car must be having a secret liaison. What else would bring them to such an isolated setting? That memory came back to me as I looked across the bay – and the catalyst for Fragile Lies was born in that instant.
What was your favourite thing about writing Fragile Lies?
The element of deception – of taking the reader, as well as the characters through layers of deception towards the truth.
Who was your favourite character to write about in Fragile Lies?
Lorraine. I liked the idea of her starting over again.
How many drafts did it take to write Fragile Lies?
About five or six. When I started the book the victim of the hit and run accident was an old homeless man. In my initial draft he died as a result of the accident. I worked with that idea for a few months but the story refused to come to life. Then I realised that I’d created the wrong victim. An old man, alcoholic, homeless, no family ― his death could slide all too easily from everyone’s mind. The dynamic of my story changed as soon as I decided that the victim should be a young man and that he should survive in a coma as a result of the accident. Suddenly, I had his parents as characters, an on-going situation at the hospital, and a media story that kept moving the plot forward.
If someone wanted to read a book after Fragile Lies that was similar, what book would you recommend?
If you mean my own books ―I’d say Stolen Child is most similar to Fragile Lies. It has that same element of psychological drama and relationships that develop as a result of dangerous circumstances. In terms of other books it’s harder to compare but Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson has the same theme of deception and memory loss.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I have a room in my house which I use as my office. I do most of my work there and have a very disciplined routine. I live beside an estuary and I often take a pen and paper with me when I’m walking along the shore – there’s a favourite spot where I can sit for a while and take notes. My garden on a summer’s day is another pleasure – but that’s mainly to handwrite rough outlines.
You have a large backlist of other titles you’ve written, including non-fic and YA, what is your favourite writing style?
My adult novels are the most challenging and the books where my own writing style is most apparent. I’ve often tried experimenting with other styles ―particularly when I’ve read something by an author whom I admire―but it’s almost like trying to rewrite my DNA. Iinevitably, after a few failed experiments, I revert to my own style.
Are you someone who plans all of your books meticulously or are you more of a “pantser”?
I usually have to submit a synopsis to my publisher so that gives a very short and concise outline of my new book. When I’m writing this synopsis I’ve absolutely no idea how I will bring the various
elements of my plot to completion. One half of me is screaming…no…no…it won’t work …while the other half―the half who believes that there is a mysterious internal force at work and the story is already in my psyche waiting to be unpicked―is soothingly whispering…yes…yes…you can do it. I usually succeed but, occasionally a book can go off-course and then I have to decide to either run with it or whip my characters back into behaving themselves.
From your bio, I see that you give regular creative writing workshops. What piece of advice do you give most often to aspiring authors?
My workshops are usually geared for writers interested in writing their first novel. My advice is to roughly handwrite your initial idea. Don’t waste time on writing the perfect opening paragraph. That opening will probably change as your book develops. Don’t worry about your writing style at this initial stage. The main aim is to capture the energy of your idea and pin it down on paper. To handwrite is not essential – if you are a whiz on the keyboard then work directly onto the computer. But I find the computer allows too much time for reflection, for copy and pasting―whereas the flow of the pen keeps pace with the flow of imagination.
Once that draft is down the real work on the computer begins. A lot of what has been written in that initial rush will have to go. What stays will need to be explored and developed, characters will
acquire flesh and personalities, dialogue will become informative yet natural.
Beware of the paragraph that makes you proud of your writing skills but clogs, rather than adds to the narrative. It’s hard to let go of something you admire but be ruthless, copy and caption it and, perhaps, you can insert that paragraph at a later stage when it will have more relevance.
At a certain point, when you feel that the draft you’re working on needs a radical overhaul, make a copy of it and work on a new copy – each copy should be dated. It’s easier to cut and make significant changes if you know that your original copy is intact – and can be used again if the new changes don’t work out.
When the novel is finished let it mellow for a few weeks then read it again before submitting it to a publisher. You may discover mistakes you didn’t notice earlier or realise that certain elements in the story need strengthening.
Be brave, be confident and believe in your ability to become an accomplished writer. But, also, be aware that that accomplishment is hard earned through constant rewriting and striving to improve.
What a lovely interview! Thank you very much for chatting with me Laura. I very much look forward to reading Fragile Lies.
It’s a pleasure to announce that today is my spot on the Countdown to 5th June tour! For all of you today I have an interview with the lovely Nigel McDowell about his upcoming book, The Black North (Which is fantastic and a review of it will be up soon!). Hope you enjoy all the questions and answers!
She is accompanied only by Merrigutt, a jackdaw with mysterious transformative powers, and a treasured secret possession: a small stone in the shape of a plum, but a stone that reveals truths and nightmares, and which the Invaders and their ruler, the King of the North, seek more than anything. Oona must keep the stone safe at all costs, and find her brother, before the King of the North extends his evil hold over the whole island and destroys it forever.
The Black North has a very unique fantasy style – which I loved! – which book(s) and/or author(s) inspired you most?
The fantasy writing that I love is always odd. A bit weird, slightly off-key, and always pushing the boundaries of things. Philip Pullman was and always will be a massive influence on my writing (and on the work of lots of other writers, I’d guess!) – his daemon idea, just to take one example, is so strange and beautiful. And he makes it perfectly possible in the boundaries of Lyra’s world – I love that! Other books and authors I loved: have to include Mervyn Peake and his Gormenghast trilogy; Angela Carter and her fairytales; Philip Reeve, who is able to write historical fiction as well as he can write fantasy as well as he can write science fiction (I get the impression he can do anything, and brilliantly!), and also JK Rowling, a fantasy writer whose work is always focused on the humanity and humour in all of us, and on the special magical potency of love.
Tall Tales From Pitch End was your debut novel, is it a similar style to this one? Would you say your fans would like both of your books?
I’d hope that if a reader enjoyed Tall Tales from Pitch End that they’d also find lots to enjoy in The Black North! It is another dark fantasy adventure, about a character trying to find their way in a complicated and crumbling world. It has the same fairytale and folktale influences as Tall Tales. And has a distinct sense of Irishness in its feel and atmosphere. I think both books talk to each other in some small ways, and so I hope a reader could have lots of fun with both!
If you could only use ﬁve words, how would you persuade someone to read The Black North?
Five words! Okay – epic, magic, heroine, nightmares, adventure…
There was a lot of world-building and backstory in The Black North, how did you go about with your research for the book? Was anything based on reality or real myths?
I’m always seeking out and hoarding volumes of fairytales and folktales, particularly any of Irish origin. So the idea when I started writing this book was to incorporate some of those stories. Some I changed, some I embroidered a bit and embellished…but most I invented myself. And throughout the writing of the novel, I always had lots of books scattered on the bed (I write in bed – not as glamorous as it sounds!) about plants and trees and animals and the countryside, because the main character, Oona, lives in the countryside and grew up learning the names of birds and mammals and the uses of plants and flowers. I really wanted The Black North to have a feeling of wildness and adventure and possibility, and fairytales by their nature are full of twists and turns, transformations and revelations.
One of the things I loved about this book was how strong and stubborn Oona was. Was she a character that was based around someone you know?
Oona Kavanagh is so stubborn! I had trouble writing her sometimes because she was always so determined to go her own way…she’s quick-thinking, outspoken, decisive (perhaps irresponsibly so), and definitely knows her own mind. But there’s a lot of talk these days about “strong” female characters. It seems that if a girl is even remotely able to speak or fight or speak out or think for herself, we slap these labels on them – strong, feisty, independent. I find that a bit reductive. So when I was writing Oona, I had in mind my own mother and grandmother, and my partner’s mother and grandmothers. These were women who, when they were girls, had to cook and clean and work the land. Not because they were “strong” or “independent”, but because they had to: it was expected. They didn’t over-think – they had act on instinct. In The Black North, Oona has responsibility thrust on her – mother and father gone, and a grandmother who is ailing, and she has to take on the running of the household. I think there are lots of young girls in the world having to do just this – keep family and home together, looking after siblings, grandparents, perhaps parents. And that, I respect enormously.
I absolutely adore the covers of both of your books, but what do you think? Do you think they’re a good representation of your stories?
When I saw both covers for the first time, I thought they were completely beautiful! Such talented guys in the art department at Hot Key Books! The kind of clockwork gothic of Tall Tales from Pitch End, and the wildness and dark of The Black North – both are perfectly captured by the illustrator, Manuel Sumberac. I feel very lucky, very proud, and couldn’t be happier with how the books look on the shelf! Everyone should have a look at more of his wonderful work – www.manuelsumberac.com
I know which part was my favourite – it shocked me and saddened me – but what was your favourite thing about writing The Black North?
I’m pretty sure I know which part you’re talking about. Sorry. It saddened me too! Graham Greene talked about every writer needing a chip of ice in their heart, but it was the most gruelling and emotional thing, writing that scene. But there was lots of enjoyment in the writing of this novel too! Mostly because my debut, Tall Tales from Pitch End, was set in an isolated community, completely cut-off from the rest of the world; I spent so long in that particular world that with The Black North I really wanted to tell a story that travelled: across wastelands and mountains, along rivers and through ruined forests, meeting lots of different characters and creatures along the way, and dabbling in plenty of dark magic…that journey was very, very enjoyable to write.
Oona goes on a very distinct physical journey in this book but comes across many challenges. What difculties did you come across while writing this book?
Apart from all the usual worries and difficulties of writing, the thing that was most difficult was the thing I wanted most of all to accomplish – to show a young girl going through a physical journey that felt too like a transforming, emotional journey. A passage that felt something like the journey of adolescence – going from a comfortable place you know well and out into a landscape that is constantly shifting (and in this novel, it does that literally – the Muddgloggs, creatures made of earth, are remaking the landscape, moving mountains and
altering the course of rivers) and being changed by what you experience. I wanted the story to have a simplicity, but yet contain some complex revelations. But as always, it was much easier said than done!
Evelyn is a very interesting character, what did you like best about writing her?
Everything. I love the fact she is so changeable – her mood always on the move as she transforms, shifting between her guises as a jackdaw and an old woman. She is grumpy, filthy, bossy, secretive, unpredictable. But as Oona learns, Evelyn Merrigutt is also extraordinarily brave. Someone who read the book recently described her as “the heroine” of The Black North. I couldn’t disagree.
Are you excited for June 5th?
Definitely! There are some great books being published on the 5th June, and I feel very lucky to be amongst them. And of course, to have a second book out there in the world is a lovely thing. It will hopefully be the beginning of another exciting adventure.
What great answers! Thank you so much to Nigel for answering all of my questions and to Jim over at Ya Yeah Yeah for organising the Countdown to 5th June!
Next up on the tour, Katy Moran is visiting Raimy over at Readaraptor.
For the full schedule of the tour – and to catch up on the posts you may have missed, head over to the Countdown to 5th June website!
So today I am hosting the lovely Sarah J Maas on the blog with an interview for World Book Day!
You wrote on FictionPress.com before publishing your first book Throne of Glass, how did it feel when you finally published?
It was a bit surreal, to be honest! It took me ten years to go from getting the initial idea for Throne of Glass to actually seeing it on a bookshelf, so when that day finally came, it was almost like having an out-of-body experience! Just seeing physical proof that I had accomplished my lifelong dream was completely overwhelming and wonderful—and there are still some days when I wake up and pinch myself!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot (and read widely). Write what you love (not what you think you should be writing). And don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t get published. Before I got published, I had plenty of people tell me that I couldn’t get published or that I needed a reality check about my expectations—if I had listened to them, I never would have gotten where I am today.
How hard was it to transition from writing for FictionPress.com to writing a full-length novel?
Writing for FictionPress is super, super different from writing professionally. For one, most of the writing that is done on FP is written in a serialized fashion—meaning, you update the story whenever you’ve written more, and there’s no real sense of it being an actual book, you know? So, when I pulled Throne of Glass off FictionPress, the first thing I did was completely rewrite the story—to make it into a book, with a beginning and middle and end, with rising tension and character arcs and resolved plotlines that were neatly wrapped up within a reasonably-sized length (the draft on FP had about 100k extra words that were NOT needed).
But I think what was actually the hardest was just not having an active audience reading every chapter as it was written and cheering me on…. to not be able to show them anything until the book was written, edited, and in print (which is a years-long process). Thankfully, my fans are still super-vocal and involved to this day (and still help me keep going).
When writing do you follow an extensive structure or is it more of a natural flow?
Honestly, I hate outlining—it takes some of the spark out of the story for me. But I do go into writing a book with a fairly solid idea of the major events that happen. One way I keep track (and it took me years to realize that I was unconsciously doing this) is by using my music playlists to structure/organize my book. Music inspires almost everything that I write, and I keep extensive & detailed playlists that are ordered into the structure of my book. So if I move a scene around in the manuscript, I’ll move the songs in the playlist to the place where they now occur in the story. But other than that, I like to just sit down at the computer and see where the story takes me that day.
And finally, who is your favourite author or the one who has inspired you most?
I have so many favorite authors that I couldn’t possibly list them all here! But I’d say that in terms of inspiring me on a personal level, J. K. Rowling continues to be a role model for me. Her imagination, compassion, kindness, and generosity are just…incredible. I wish that there were more authors like her in the world.
Thank you taking the time to answer my questions Sarah, it’s been great getting to know you a little better!
If you already like Sarah’s work or wish to taster some of her work for free, then all you need to do is download the World Book Day app!
TEENS SORTED FOR APP-Y ENDINGS THIS
WORLD BOOK DAY!
New app launched with free, exclusive new stories from nine top YA authors
App powered by Movellas.com for download to iOS and Android devices
An eclectic and exciting mix of exclusive new stories from some of the country’s hottest Young Adult (YA) writers has launched on a brand new app for World Book Day.
Available to download for FREE on iOS and Android devices in the UK and Ireland, the app has been developed in partnership with online teen reading and writing platform Movellas.com, with contributions from Sarah Alderson, Josephine Angelini, Dave Cousins, Will Hill, Sarah J. Maas, Patrick Ness, Dawn O’Porter, Chris Ryan and Alex Scarrow.
And joining the top line-up of YA writing talent are a clutch of aspiring young authors from the Movellas community, whose stories have been added to the app after receiving nominations from their peers.
From comedy, friendship and romance, to fantasy, horror and espionage, the app includes something for every teenage reader, whatever their favourite genres or interests.
Broadcaster, author and YA contributor, Dawn O’Porter said, “I’m proud to have my World Book Day story sitting alongside the cream of the country’s young writing crop. I hope members of the Movellas community will be inspired by the new app to continue dreaming up exciting ideas and characters, and developing their own unique voice.”
There are five exclusive stories on the app on release and a further four will be released on World Book Day on 7 March, and available to read on the app for two months.
Yvonne Biggins, Community Director at Movellas commented, “The opportunity to appear alongside their writing idols on the YA app has been a brilliant way to encourage teenagers to develop their own writing skills. Not only have we seen thousands of brilliant entries posted on the site but we’ve also seen even more voting and commenting on the stories.”
Kirsten Grant, Director of World Book Day said, “The new app and our partnership with Movellas is just one way of getting great book content to Young Adult readers who have a hunger for new stories from top authors. Delivering content digitally and talking to teens in the spaces they like to visit and socialise also allows us to offer a taste of the brilliant fiction that’s out there and hopefully, turn more young people on to reading.”
A brand new space for teens has been developed for the World Book Day website, packed with book recommendations, activities and information on YA book events, while new initiative The Word Herd has launched to give young people creative ideas for sharing their passion for books with schoolmates.
Alongside the World Book Day YA app, a special ‘Story Chain’ game is also being hosted on www.movellas.com, where eight of the app authors have suggested the first line of a new story for members to continue.
Yvonne Biggins said, “Our partnership activity with World Book Day is seeing a brilliant response from our community, and I hope providing a platform for teens to engage in this way sees many more fulfilling our joint mission to keep up the practice of reading and creating throughout the year.”
Visit www.worldbookday.com for more information, the latest news and to subscribe to the free monthly World Book Day e-newsletter.
Please enjoy this interview with Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the contemporary romance series, The Sullivans. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards!
Interview with Bella Andre
about her writing habits and success
1. Tell us about writing and publishing your very first novel. What were your expectations when you first waded into the self-publishing pond? Is there anything you would do differently if given another chance?
I honestly had no expectations other than some of my loyal readers would finally get a chance to read my book – and that was enough for me. Meeting so many new readers and fans has been icing on a cake I had no idea was being served.
2. You’re an icon in the indie publishing community. Your success is something we all aspire to. What do you believe has been the greatest contributing factor to the success of your novels?
Thank you, that’s lovely to hear. I’ve so enjoyed self-publishing these past couple of years, and I’ve been lucky to have the most wonderful fans with me every step of the way. There are so many things that go into success, but I think my focus and determination – along with the best readers in the world – have been the biggest factors.
3. What was your reaction when you first found out you broke onto the New York Times and USA Today best-sellers’ lists? How did you celebrate?
Actually, it’s kind of a funny story. I was on my way to the RWA National conference last summer and was sitting in the airport in Albany, New York when I found out I had three books on the USA Today bestsellers list. I called my husband and we had a mini celebration on the phone. I flew into Atlanta where I was switching planes for Anaheim, and when we landed I turned on my phone and checked my email. An agent (not mine, I was agentless at the time) had emailed me with the title “CONGRATULATIONS, New York Times!” That was when I found out I also had three books on the New York Times bestseller list…and I started crying. On the airplane. With a very conservative woman sitting next to me. She must have thought I was losing it, because she promptly turned her back on me. :) Of course I called my husband and cried happy tears some more. That night when I got into Anaheim, all of my closest writing friends came up to my room and we celebrated. It was AWESOME!
4. You’ve recently shared some very exciting news—Harlequin MIRA has optioned the print rights for The Sullivans in a record-breaking seven-figure deal. Congratulations! How did this transpire? And how does it affect your writing and publishing plans?
Thank you, I’m beyond thrilled about it and Harlequin have been a dream to work with. They are so incredibly enthusiastic about putting The Sullivans out in paperback in English all over the world, with a simultaneous launch in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia starting this June and going back-to-back each month with the first eight books through April 2014.
My ebook sales numbers for the self-published Sullivan series had been growing bigger and bigger in the year since I’d started publishing the series, and I knew a print-only deal was going to happen soon. When so many Sullivans hit the New York Times and USA Today all at once, that was when the publishers started calling and making offers. I truly feel that Harlequin is the *perfect* publisher for my sexy, emotional contemporary romance Sullivan series.
Because I retained all of my ebook, audiobook, foreign translation and film/TV rights, I am continuing to put out my Sullivans, and other future books, as self-published ebooks and audio books. I have released seven Sullivan ebooks so far and the eighth (ALWAYS ON MY MIND, Lori Sullivan’s story) will be out this spring…and I have a great idea for a brand new series that I hope to start writing this year as well. I have licensed the series in Brazil, France and Portugal so far, and the first two books are already big bestsellers in Brazil, which is very exciting.
5. You write fast! Not only do you produce several novels per year, you produce several well written, polished novels per year. What is your writing process like? Do you have any advice for other wordsmiths struggling with productivity?
Thanks for the great compliment. I work so hard on my stories to make sure they’re emotional and fun and sexy and that they take my readers out of their lives for a little while. I write every day, everywhere, no matter what. I don’t wait for inspiration or a muse to come calling. Fortunately, my favorite thing is writing. In fact, today as I was sniffling over my keyboard during a really emotional scene between my hero and heroine, I was thinking how very happy it made me to be able to write books all day…and to know that I have the best fans in the world waiting to read them!
6. In the early days, what did you do to market your books? Would you recommend these strategies to writers in today’s market?
I took a really personal approach. Because I had started digital publishing in response to my readers who had emailed asking me for books, whenever I released a book, I individually emailed each and every single reader to let them know about it. Now, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I can interact with my readers in other ways that let me spend more time on actually writing, and I recommend doing anything that puts you in touch with your readers.
7. How has making it big changed your approach to writing and marketing your work? Has it changed your approach?
I truly believe that my fans want me to spend more time writing and less time gabbing. :) So I always err on the side of writing…and then once I’ve met my page count goals for the day, I go onto twitter and Facebook and answer emails.
8. You’ve connected with a large international fan base. Do readers abroad respond differently to your novels than those in the USA? Which countries in particular have fallen in love with your work?
I’m having a love affair with my Brazilian readers, and I also love love love my Australia/New Zealand, UK and Canadian readers as well! They’re so passionate and supportive of The Sullivans – but I’ve been really fortunate to find readers everywhere have been kind and amazing.
9. You attend a lot of conferences. Recently, you delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Book Expo America. How have conferences contributed to your writing career?
Conferences are an amazing opportunity to stay abreast of what’s happening in the business. I get incredible value out of networking in the lounge and hearing what people are up to and what ideas they have. The thing is, I truly love this business and everyone I’ve met had been wonderful…so it’s really not work at all for me. In fact, going to a conference and meeting with people is always such fun.
10. My, you are a busy bee! How do you find balance between writing, publishing, and promoting your books and the rest of your life? Any tips for the rest of us?
Give up sleep and sanity…and have an awesome husband who is happy to take care of absolutely everything non-book-related in your life! :) But seriously – get a good team behind you. I have a team of beta readers, editors, proofers and digital file producers, I work with great bloggers, and I also have the love and support of my family. Everyone thinks “indie publishing” means being independent, but it’s not the case at all. While you get to be charge of your own career and your own vision, you also work with tons of great people to put your book out there!
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We’ve got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW!
You’ll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You’ll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world’s heart.
All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
- Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
- Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Sullivans: In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love…usually where he or she least expects it.
Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.
About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she’d found her perfect career. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they’ll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.
Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her “One of the top digital writers in America” and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books.
If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.
So today I am introducing you to the charming Amy Joy Lutchen, author of Renhala. I will be asking her some questions for you all to read over and enjoy!
Hope it helps you get a better insight into her and her novel!
And she is also giving away some Renhala inspired jewellery as well, all will be announced at the bottom of the post.
Hello Amy Joy and welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! Let’s start with the basics, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
I am a gemini, and true to the description! I’m nice and generous, but make me mad and you best go run and hide under a bed. And I also love sweets, and I enjoy sharing them, but take too big of a bite and you best go hide under the table!
I will make sure never to make you mad! Haha. And how long have you wanted to be a writer?
Well, in college I REALLY enjoyed my English classes, and my teachers often tried coercing me to continue on with it because they liked my ideas, but my major at that time was accounting. “Creative” accounting is a bad, bad, thing, apparently . . .
Yes, I can imagine it is! So when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do?
All sorts of stuff. I have this problem where I have to be productive ALL the time. So when my friends and colleagues sit around and talk about this television show, or that actor/actress, I am TOTALLY lost. I do however, like Fringe, and American Horror Story, but needless to say, I am behind like five episodes on each! I also enjoy metalsmithing and lampworking (the art of making my own glass beads), and am often designing custom pieces for people. Oh, and I like to knit, and cook, and . . .
Renhala is a story that involves some interesting creatures and monsters, can you tell us anything about them?
I can tell you that I am most definitely not under the influence of any hallucinogenic drugs, yet these odd, but entirely engulfing characters/species pop into my head all the time: Renhalan creatures like meeples (soft white bunnies with deadly talons), grebles (six-hundred pound torturing machines) and mooncats (large felines with human-like characteristics).
They all sound fascinating! Is there anything specific that inspired you to write an urban fantasy-type book?
Yes, some really crappy, bad stuff that was happening in my life, and past tragic events that were forcing me into a very dark place. Once I gathered the courage to face all these things and began writing them down, these horrible events morphed into something magical and inspiring: the land of Renhala! It has transformed my life and I am in such a better place right now. I can’t stop!
Writing is extremely therapeutic and I say to anyone needing an outlet for angst, try WRITING! I say prove me wrong that any literary jam session is not going to help . . . Seriously, write it down! See what happens.
Brilliant advice there, I agree! If you had to describe your book in a tweet (in 140 characters), how would it go?
I am not a good tweeter, for some reason. I do my best, but I tend to use lots of adjectives and always end up with those negative numbers. Then, when I shorten it and I read what I have I get tweeter envy and usually cancel it, while making a scrunched-up face.
Often subconsciously, writers sometimes take inspiration from the people they know for their characters, are any of your characters based on friends or family?
I often have people ask me, “Who am I in the book?” or “Can I have a place in your next book?” and I often say, “You don’t want to know who you are.” This often results in a good laugh (from me). I have to say yes, though, that maybe, some of the characters resemble people I know, possibly.
Renhala has had a lot of four star and five star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, how did it feel when you got your first five star review?
OMG! I cry a lot. But in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved my story, but because it had special meaning to me and healing power. Turns out people like it because they like the story! I am so thankful for my readers and their praise, for it brings lots of sunshine into my days.
What is your writing structure like? Do you plan out every scene meticulously, or do you simply let the story take it where it wants to go, or is it somewhere in the middle?
Usually, it takes off running without me. So many nights I wake up to things I have scribbled on tissues in the middle of the night—things that have absolutely no current relevance to my story, but they magically become instrumental, at a later time, in my stories.
Without giving us any spoilers, would you be willing to give us a small teaser of Renhala?
I can tell you about the life pools! Every woman needs a Meadow’s Edge female-designated life pool, for once you exit it, your hair will be fuller and softer (and smelling of lilacs), your breasteses will be perfect, and your skin will be supple and flawless. Want one?
And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
Start with what you know.
and a quick fire round;
ebooks or hard copies?
day or night?
reading or writing?
paper or computer?
Paper-specifically post-it notes
tea or coffee?
TEA!! It’s unnatural how much I love it, but not my bladder.
favourite book of the moment?
Actually, right now: I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam (illustrator). So cute!
most memorable book?
Flatland, a Romance of Many Dimenstions by Edwin A. Abbott. Strange, but that’s what makes it memorable :)
Thank you so much for chatting with me today Amy Joy! It’s been lovely getting to know you better – and you certainly made me laugh!
Kailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.
A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey’s history for her liking, opens Kailey’s eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon for karma from the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.
She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and toughens up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a “giver”), balances the egos of two very strong males, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend’s “issues,” and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon.
On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she’ll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey’s realm shortens all life spans.
As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.
Now for the exciting part! Amy Joy has been working hard – we already know she needs to keep busy – making some lovely Renhala-inspired jewellery just for YOU!
ONE lucky winner will win a piece of jewellery that will look similar to the two pictures below!
Being a follower of this blog is the only mandatory entry for this giveaway!
- Open INTERNATIONALLY
- Closes 13th Dec
- Winner will be e-mailed and will have 72 hours to respond
- Please read my Giveaway Policy
So today I am introducing you to the marvellous Ashley Robertson, author of Crimson Groves, and Unguarded. I will be asking her some questions for you all to read over and enjoy!
Hope it helps you get a better insight into her and her novels.
But first, here’s a quick peek at her novels.
Abigail Tate was a normal human girl—until the day Bronx the vampire barges into her life and turns her against her will. Held captive while forced to deal with never-ending cravings for blood, Abby prays for a way to escape. Only when an opportunity arises, it’s with the aid of an innocent human named Tyler—except vampires are forbidden to interact with the unbitten. But Abby quickly learns this human has secrets of his own…secrets that can either help her or get her killed. Only Abby soon discovers that she is the one with the biggest secret of all.
Guardian angel Selene was close to becoming an archangel—until she fell in love a vampire. Now her dark lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her human charge. But her choice to save him doesn’t come without a price. Selene must push her diminishing angel abilities to where she risks becoming fallen, praying she can save the ones she loves before her fate is sealed.
Hello Ashley and welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! Let’s start with the basics, tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
I live in sunny Orlando, Florida, with my husband, stepson, and three furry children (2 labs and a cat), and I love reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When I’m not writing you’ll find me spending time with family and friends, training in my home gym, horseback riding, traveling and exploring new places, drinking medium- to full-bodied red wines, and making gourmet coffees with my Nespresso machine. Visit my website to learn about my upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at www.AshleyRobertsonBooks.com
Seems like a fairly busy fulfilled life. So, how long have you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved to write, especially about everything going on in my so-called life. It began with songs and poems that eventually—as I got older—turned into short stories and plays. I loved my high school English classes, and my teachers always gave me accolades (and good grades) on my essays, and not long after that, those essays began evolving into things with a more fictional twist. And once my college English professors expressed the same satisfaction with my work as my high school teachers did, I knew this might be a career to pursue. But God obviously had other plans for me in the form of a real-estate job. So fast-forward fifteen years from then (and me working 24/7 as a realtor) to when I was finally given an amazing opportunity by my husband: to abandon a career that consumed all of my time and focus on one that was more flexible and would allow me more time with my family. I have one poetry book published and two urban fantasy/paranormal romance thrillers—both of them falling into a YA or Mature YA sub-genre.
When you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do?
Traveling and exploring new places would be one of my most favorite things to do. I’m also a huge red wine lover, so you’ll usually catch me with a glass or two in the evenings. I’m an avid reader of all things urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I also love spending time with my husband Baron and my stepson, Cayman, who turned six this past January.
Crimson Groves is a book about vampires, what first inspired you to write a vampire novel?
For me, this answer is simple. I’m obsessed with vampires—always have been, which is a main part of Crimson Groves (and its upcoming sequel, Crimson Flames. However, I wasn’t surprised when Selene—the guardian angel protagonist in UnGuarded—came knocking on the door of my mind until I caved in and embraced her story, though there are still vamps in this one too, just not the main character as it is in Crimson Groves and Crimson Flames.
As a writer it is good to get a good background of other novels within your genre, could you tell us what your favourite vampire novel is?
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost.
Can you tell us anything interesting about your protagonist, Abby?
Her mother was a powerful sorceress, her father was a gifted vampire. When Abby is captured and turned into a vampire, the process awakened the dormant sorceress blood inside her, making her a whole new species—a hybrid.
And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
I’d love to share some tidbits of info for anyone wanting to get into this business. First of all, make sure this is your passion—writing not only for yourself but to entertain others with your stories. Keep your readers in mind by making each page thrive with drama, action, romance, betrayal, and just about anything else that will provoke emotions and keep your readers turning the pages. This is a very competitive business (I’d actually compare it to those aspiring to be actors/actresses) Yes, it’s that competitive. So you’ll need to grow a thick skin to the many rejections and negative reviews you’ll face along the way. Don’t take it personal! Use it to grow as a writer and improve your work. And remember, you can’t make everyone happy—no author can. Make sure you have a good editor to clean up your work as no one likes to read anything with numerous grammar errors that will actually detract from your story and more than likely cause a lower review for your book. I use the amazing Stephen Delaney with Close Reader Editing Services. Everything I write—even my interviews and guest posts—and overseen by him. And finding an editor is very much like finding a literary agent, you must research and find the ones that specialize in your genre, otherwise it’s a big fat NO from them. Everyone loves a personal touch, and editors, agents, bloggers, reviewers, etc. are no different. Spend the time learning their likes and dislikes (most of them tell you this in their submission guidelines or on their facebook pages) and then use that to your advantage to stand out above your competition. Trust me, this is a MUST as I’ve received countless Thank You letters from various bloggers and reviewers who appreciated that I listened to their requests and shared information about things we had in common.
and a quick fire round
ebooks or hard copies?
day or night?
reading or writing?
paper or computer?
tea or coffee?
favourite book of the moment?
Pleasure UnBound by Larissa Ione
most memorable book?
Captive in the Dark
Thanks for chatting with me today Ashley! It’s been great getting to know you a bit better.
Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn’t writing you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at: AshleyRobertsonBooks.com
So today I am introducing you to the wonderful Ciye Cho, author of Florence. I will be asking him some questions for you all to read over and enjoy!
Hope it helps you get a better insight into him and his novel!
Hi Ciye, welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! Let’s start with the basics, tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you would like your readers to know.
Hi… my name’s Ciye Cho, and I live on the Gold Coast in Australia. Beaches, oceans, and marine life were a large part of my childhood… along with mer mythology.
Australia is such a magical place! But I’m curious, how long have you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember the exact time, but I’ve always been a chronic daydreamer. Growing up, I was painfully shy, so writing stories was a great way for me to express myself and communicate with other people.
It certainly sounds like a brilliant way to communicate! So, when you’re not typing away at the keyboard coming up with new ideas, what do you do?
When I’m not writing, I like to illustrate the things that I dream about. I also work as a freelance graphic designer.
The synopsis for Florence sounds incredibly intriguing, can you tell us what inspired you to create a story set in the ocean?
I’m obsessed with merfolk. I draw pictures of them, have weird dreams about them, and really wanted to present a fresh take on mer mythology. I wanted to create a story full of psychedelic coral architecture and merfolk who came in more colors than a pack of jellybeans.
I thought it would be cool to place these merpeople in a coral dome somewhere at the bottom of the ocean. A dome surrounded by deep-sea volcanoes.
Sounds really interesting! With that in mind, what key themes or messages were you trying to get across in your novel, if any at all?
The main theme behind “Florence” is the idea that we’re all outsiders looking for somewhere to belong–and maybe something to believe in. A smaller theme is the idea that people need to respect the ocean and all its animals. The animals and merpeople of Niemela live and work in harmony with each other, from the giant sea snails that plow kelp fields… to the whales that ferry people from place to place.
They are some great themes and messages! Tell me, are any of the characters in your story based on people you know?
I didn’t base the characters on anyone specific. However, a lot of the characters in this book were based off that central theme about outsiders. A lot of the characters in “Florence” are outsiders who don’t fit in within their world (i.e. Prince Rolan who uses rules to distance himself from others, and Princess Yolee who creates art in a world of extreme pragmatism). In particular, Florence Waverley spent most of her life feeling like a fish out of water… but ends up experiencing the flipside when she becomes trapped in a world of merfolk.
Intriguing. Now, during those long hours creating your new novels, were there any bad habits you fell into (eating lots of ben and jerry’s for encouragement, perhaps)?
I sometimes forget to breathe when I concentrate too hard. That often leads to weird dizzy spells and ocular migraines.
Oh, not good but at least we know you’re taking your work seriously! So, if you had to review your own book, honestly, what three words would you use to best describe it?
Imaginative. Wonderific. Merpeople.
And finally, do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?Never stop writing.
Quick Fire Round
ebooks or hard copies?
day or night?
reading or writing?
paper or computer?
tea or coffee?
favourite book of the moment?
Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone.” From the first line to the last page, every bit of it was a truly magical experience.
most memorable book?
Antoine de-Saint Exupery’s “The Little Prince.” It’s one of the first books I read as a kid, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.
Thank you so much for spending the time talking with me today Ciye! It was great to get to know you a little better and I’m certainly more intrigued about Florence, as I’m sure my readers are!
In case you are all interested, below is more info on the book.
Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand–and find out where she belongs–Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart… and her very soul.
So today I have for you a review of Skating on the Edge by Joelle Charbonneau and then I have an interview with her.
I have not yet read a Rebecca Robbins novel and I actually was not aware that this was actually the third book in the series until I started to write this review and while this would normally bug me, I am glad to report that not reading the first two didn’t stop me from enjoying the novel. Unknown to me, I may have enjoyed it more with the background of the previous novels but these books are set out very much like crime television programmes where there is a cut and closed case each time and therefore readers are able to pick up and put down where they wish to. I know for certain that I will now be going out and getting a hold of the first two books in the series as I really want to read more about Rebecca Robbins!
It is Set
Rebecca has moved back to the small town – village – where she grew up in Indian Falls and it is here that she owns and works at the local roller-skating rink. Indian Falls is a quiet town – or it usually is – so when a murder happens in plain sight, its residents are shocked. Of course, no one actually knows who the culprit is. Feeling the need to solve the mystery – and to save her own skin – Rebecca starts to investigate the murder. I loved Indian Falls. It was such a funny place to be and the character of the place was just brilliant. I could picture the type of area that it was set in real life and that really helped to hook me into the story. It may not have been a place I would love to spend my time but it certainly was a lively little town. Joelle has really managed to capture this place really well.
Everyone is Ready
Oh for the love of characters! This book, and I’m guessing the series, is not without its brilliant, energetic and enthusiastic characters. Taking from the setting, it is bound by natural laws – probably – that such places are full of wild and wacky characters and Skating on the Edge has them by the truckload. Everyone was quirky in their own little ways and it is totally possible to see how everyone sticks together and pulls through. I really liked how the characters interacted with each other and the odd sub-plots and background bits of information that were thrown in here and there. It really helped to make the story more entertaining and engaging.
Rebecca took a while for me to like. At first I couldn’t figure her out and it really annoyed me but I kept going and soon I realised I was with her one hundred percent and was gasping when things happened and edging her on. Without even acknowledging it, this character became someone that I admired and really liked reading about. She was a strong female character who had her flaws but really just wanted to do what was right for herself and the town. She never gave up, even when she was hurt and scared. She had motivation that many people dream about. Other great characters that I adored included Deputy Sean Holmes, Pops, Erica and Lionel. Each for many different reasons but they all really helped to bring the story alive.
So Let’s Solve
If the town and the characters are anything to go by, it would only be fair for the plot to be wacky and wild also and it definitely was. With so many different things going on, with loose ends leading to more loose ends before everything eventually gets tied together and sorted, this book is not without things to keep a reader interested and prepared. It was an engaging read that was really entertaining and fun – while also bringing forth a bit of mystery and romance too. The plot was just really interesting and compelling, I had to keep reading to know exactly what was going to happen next and to simply know who was behind everything.
The Last Piece
Overall this book was really enjoyable. At first I found it a bit difficult to get into because of my quarrel with Rebecca’s character but once I got passed that, it was simply an easy read that kept me entertained. The characters helped to bring the tone of the book up, and when one is writing about crime it must be difficult to keep moods high. I found myself laughing out loud a fair few times, grinning like an idiot at others and then screaming silly things at the characters at others. It was fully engaging and completely engrossing and is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun, interesting or mysterious read. I would, however, probably recommend that they read the first two books in the series first!
** I received this book in return for and honest review **
Hello Joelle and welcome to A Daydreamer’s Thoughts!
Skating on the Edge and Murder for Choir both involve strong female characters who take their own initiative to solve the crimes surrounding them. Is there a reason behind this style of writing within the crime genre?Crime fiction, and in my case amateur sleuth crime fiction, requires strong characters in order to make the story work. It does take a special kind of person to look a crime and think “I can help solve that”. I admit, I’m thrilled strong female characters have found a place in crime fiction and hope that they show young women that being assertive isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There are a fair few characters in Skating on the Edge, but can you tell us which one of them is your favourite and why?
This is such a tough question. Well, until this book, my favourite character to write was Pop. He is fun, feisty and willing to try anything. The derby girls have also been a blast to write. However, most surprising is my fondness for Deputy Sean Holmes. He has grown a great deal during the series and I am dying to see how he continues to evolve.
Every author has a different place that they write, or even a different method of writing, where do you go when you’re writing your novels?
My living room chair. Since I have a four year old, a great deal of my every day e-mailing is done with him racing around. When he naps (and thank God he still naps), I sit in the living room chair, break out the laptop and write. Some day, hopefully soon, we’ll move into a place where I have an office with a door. Until then, I’m located near enough to the kitchen to snag caffeine when necessary and close enough to my son’s room to hear when he wakes up.
From my own experience, I acknowledge that writing crime can take a lot of time to research and plan and plot, do you always plan extensively before you start writing or do you plot as you write or do you simply just write?
Plot? What’s that? I’m only half kidding. I love the concept of outlines, but I have yet to write a book that can follow a preconceived plan. More often than not, I come up with an idea for the crime, figure out how the first chapter ends, jot down a few notes about what I think might happen in the book and then start writing. Whenever I get stuck, I look back at the notes I jotted down in the hopes that something on that page will jumpstart me. It’s kind of a scary process since I don’t know what is coming next, but it’s fun when the twists and turns surprise me as much as the reader.
As a crime writer, do you often read other crime fiction stories? If yes, who is your favourite crime author – at the moment?
Sadly, this whole writing thing has really cut into my reading time. However, I do love crime fiction stories. In fact, my shelves are bursting with them. One of my all time favourite writers is Harlan Coben. His Myron Bolitar series has both wit and suspense and his stand-alone thrillers are amazing page turners. If you haven’t given his books a whirl, I urge you to pick one up. You won’t be disappointed.
When you’re not writing away or plotting or coming up with new ideas, how do you like to spend your time?
Hmmm…with a four year old around and 4 books to write this year, there isn’t a lot of time for frolicking. However, I love to watch sports (Go Bears) and I adore cooking and watching Food Network. I’m also a fan of spending time with my son, my husband and the rest of my family no matter what activity we are participating in.