First Monday Crime is back!

I first attended First Monday Crime in March earlier this year and since then it has become  a firm fixture in my calendar. After a short break First Monday Crime is back with a steller line up, I for one can’t wait to be there. If you’re not too far from London and if you love all things crime, then all you have to do is sign up for your FREE space on their website. But before I give you all the details about where you can book your ticket and where it is being held, let me introduce you to the authors who will be attending next month.

First up we have Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of the Vera series.

Sunday Times Top Five bestseller, Ann Cleeves, is 2017’s recipient of the Crime Writer’s Association Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing. The award recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.

Cleeves has written 31 novels and is translated into as many languages. Before her writing career took off, Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard.

In 2015, Cleeves chaired the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, during which Vera was voted the UK’s favourite fictional detective.

Also in 2015, Thin Air, was nominated for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and Cleeves was shortlisted for the prestigious Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library award. In 2006, Cleeves’ novel, Raven Black, was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, and in 2012, she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame.

As well as fiction Ann has written a non-fiction title about Shetland and, in November 2015, she hosted the inaugural Shetland Noir festival on the Shetland Islands.

Cleeves lives in Northumberland with her husband.

 

Second we have debut novelist, Caz Frear who’s novel Sweet Little Lies won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.

Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.

She has a first-class degree in History & Politics, which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, shop assistant, retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter.

When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.

 

Next up, all the way from Iceland we have Lilja Sigurðardóttir whose novel Snare will be published by Orenda books next month.

Icelandic crime writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of

Akranes in 1972 and was raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland.

An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels,

with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide.

The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California.

Lilja has a background in education and in recent years has worked in

evaluation and quality control for preschools. She lives in Reykjavík

with her partner.

 

And finally we have the brilliant Mark Edwards who has seven solo books under his belt and six books co written with Louise Voss.

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which terrifying things happen to ordinary people. He is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay. 

His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on the Amazon UK Kindle bestseller list, as did his third novel Because She Loves Me (2014), and Follow Me Home (2015). His last novel, The Devil’s Work (2016), was also published to great critical acclaim and commercial success. He has also co-written various crime novels with Louise Voss such as Killing Cupid (2011) and The Blissfully Dead (2015). His titles with Amazon Publishing have reached over a million readers. 

Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing, and is a great admirer of Japanese writers and horror films.

Mark lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat.

 

And the event is being chaired by Rod Reynolds author of The Dark Inside and Black Night Falling.

 

Now, onto the all important details of where it’s being held and where you can reserve your space.

First Monday Crime is back at City University and starts at 6.30 p.m. on Monday, 2nd October 2017. If you’re travelling by train the nearest tube station is Angel, the university is a ten minute walk straight down St John Street.

You can reserve your free space by clicking on this link: www.firstmondaycrime.com

And the best thing about it is that we’re all heading to the pub afterwards where you can chat to the authors and even buy them a drink.

Writing tips from literary agent Jonny Geller, publisher Alex Clarke and authors Felicia Yap and Lisa Jewell

There are many of us who dream of writing and publishing a bestseller, to have the words Sunday Times Bestseller or New York Times Bestseller on the front jacket of your book. On Tuesday, 19th September 2017 I went to a Rooftop Book Club event hosted by Headline Publishing. The event took place on their rooftop terrace which offers stunning views of London. This isn’t the first rooftop book club event I have attended and I would highly recommend them. You can find details of upcoming events by clicking here: Rooftop Book Club

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The speakers were literary agent and CEO of Curtis Brown Jonny Geller, publisher Alex Clarke, bestselling author, Lisa Jewell and debut novelist Felicia Yap. You can find below their top tips on writing and publishing a bestseller.

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To start things off, Jonny and Alex were both asked what excites them when they receive a submission from a new writer. Jonny says that it is always the writer’s own unique voice, it is something that belongs to them. He also advised to spend a lot of time thinking about your cover letter as the cover letter shows the agent that this writer can write. When he first receives the submission, he doesn’t look at the synopsis but he will do when he wants to find out more, if by page ten he is desperate to know what happens next. The synopsis has to be confident and controlled and it should be the authors take on their own book. He also explained that he is looking for the serious writers and not the hobbyist. At Curtis Brown they receive a whopping 50,000 manuscripts a year but he stressed that all agents are hungry for new writers. You have to grab the agent from the start with the cover letter, if the cover letter isn’t to a professional standard or if it doesn’t showcase yourself as a writer, it isn’t likely that your submission will be taken further.

Both Jonny and Alex agreed that you have to be able to tell what your book is about in two sentences if you are hoping to entice booksellers, publishers and agents.

Lisa was asked about her writing process. Lisa has to write away from home and the internet which can be a distraction to her writing. She finds that she writes quicker and better when she gives herself a time frame to write. Her last three books were written in three months and she was writing 1,000 words a day. She never plots her novels and sometimes she doesn’t know the ending of her books until she comes to write it. She said this is a great way of creating pace in your writing as you are discovering what happens next the same time as the reader is.

When Felicia Yap was writing Yesterday, she did fourteen edits of her book before submitting it to fifteen beta readers. She found being part of a writing group immensely helpful; to help with her research she even sent her manuscript to the Metropolitan police who provided her with really useful feedback. Her advice on the submission process: it is equally important to apply creativity to the writing and submission.

Top tips from Jonny

  • Read widely, not just in your chosen genre.
  • Don’t let anyone see your book until you’ve nailed everything down.
  • Make your reader feel something. If they don’t connect with the characters, to the reader it’s just another book.
  • People want to see issues played out in fiction. Trends never get in the way of passion or connection.
  • Get your personality & the flavour of the book across succinctly.

Top tips from Alex

  • No matter what trend you’re aiming at, you’ve still got to write a beautiful book.
  • New writers must be able to tell what their book is about in two sentences.
  • You must be able to step back and think about all the different elements of your book.

Top tips from Lisa

  • When you’re thinking up an idea, try and think about the universal experience. This was the secret to the success of The Girl on the Train. We can all relate to the character, Rachel, commuting to London every day and peering into people’s homes and lives. What if we saw something that we shouldn’t have?
  • Find a specific time in the day to write.

Top tips from Felicia

  • Determination & tenacity to succeed is key and to never give up.
  • As writers, we should keep asking questions about the world around us and to stay curious.
  • Read your work out loud, this will help you find sentences which are clunky and help you to improve your prose, especially dialogue.

THEN SHE WAS GONE BY LISA JEWELL 

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. 
She had her whole life ahead of her. 
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

YESTERDAY BY FELICIA YAP 

There are two types of people in the world: those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? 
Can you trust your husband? 
Can you trust yourself?

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The Watcher by Ross Armstrong blog tour

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She’s watching you, but who’s watching her?

Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours.

Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.

But can Lily really trust everything she sees?

MY THOUGHTS

Ross Armstrong has created an atmospheric and creepy story in his debut novel The Watcher and he takes the reader on an unsettling ride. I have to admit I was drawn to this novel from the comparisons to Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train which is one of my all time favourite thrillers. I can see why comparisons have been made, but The Watcher I found was quite different and in my opinion, darker. There is a real sense of menace from the opening pages that carries right through to the end and Lily was a character who I really engaged with. There was some great characterisation in this book.

Lily Gullick is a keen birdwatcher. She has just moved into an apartment in a new block of flats with her husband, Aiden and she enjoys nothing more than spending her time watching her neighbours. But when her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead, Lily makes it her mission to uncover the truth about what happened and to find the person who committed the crime. But someone is determined to stop her from finding answers and Lily soon finds herself very close to danger.

I loved Lily’s voice in this book. Ross Armstrong drew me into her world, and she made for a great protagonist. I admired her determination to get to the bottom of what had happened to Jean, even though she had only met her once, if you were in a spot of trouble, she would be a good person to have on your side. I do also love an unreliable narrator, and Lily really made me unsure of who, around her, I could trust, and if I could even trust her.

The twist which comes towards the middle of this book is devastating, Ross really took me by surprise and there were times when I wanted to reach into the pages and just give Lily a hug. Ross’ writing is pacey and hugely addictive, although some may say that it is a bit of a slow burner, for me, there was never a dull moment, and it is Lily’s character that really drives the story and hooked me as the reader.

The Watcher is an impressive debut. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ross Armstrong does next. Thank you to Anna Massardi at HQ for inviting me to take part in this tour.

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 21st September 2017

Print length: 384 pages

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE 

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The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti book review

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In a quiet town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a school playing field. As journalists flock to the scene, one of them catches a teacher, Nate Winters, embracing a female student. The student claims that she and Nate are having an affair, sending shockwaves through the close-knit community. Then the student disappears, and the police have only one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s wife, Alecia, is left wondering if she ever really knew her seemingly loving husband. Nate’s co-worker, Bridget, is determined to prove his innocence and find the missing student. But both women will have to ask themselves do they really know what Nate is capable of?

MY THOUGHTS

The Blackbird Season is the first book by Kate Moretti which I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is brimming with drama from page one, the story had me hooked from the first page.

Nate Winters is loved by everyone who meets him. But when a stunning accusation is made against him it brings his world and those in it, crashing down. Questions haunt his wife, Alicia, does she really know the man who she married? Why does he follow his students social media accounts, is there anything sinister in that? Can his colleague, Bridget keep quiet about what she has seen? Can she uncover the truth before it is too late?

Kate has created a gripping mystery in this book. She has a talent for creating intriguing characters who I wanted to find out more about.

What I really liked about this book is how the author examined the traits and personalities of all her main characters. I am huge fan of books that are told from different narratives, it is a great technique for a writer to use as we get to see a character through the eyes of different people. Each character in this book has a strong voice, if I had to pick a favourite I would say that it would have to be Bridget. She really is the main drive of the story and she will do whatever it takes to protect her friend.

The Blackbird Season is a really good read with hugely addictive writing, I’m sure I’ll be returning to Kate Moretti’s work in the future. Thank you to Philippa Ward at Titan books for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Titan Books

Publication date: 26th September 2017

Print length: 384 pages

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#HouseofSpines by Michael J Malone blog tour #bookreview @OrendaBooks @michaelJmalone1

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for House of Spines, the new novel by Michael J Malone. If you love a mix between a fantastic ghost story and a psychological thriller, this is the book for you!

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A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman… A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

MY THOUGHTS

Before I get on with writing my review, I have to confess, this is the first book by Michael J Malone which I have read. I’ve seen his first book A Suitable Lie all over Twitter, and now that I have finished House of Spines it has jumped right up my TBR pile. I can see now what I have been missing out on.

House of Spines is an exceptional, Gothic tale with a brilliant, intertwined supernatural element. I can’t wait to read more from Michael Malone.

We are introduced to our protagonist Ranald MaGhie, a writer who hasn’t had an easy time over the last few years. He has lost both of his parents, and he recently split from his partner, Martie. We first meet Ranald when he is meeting his mother’s family lawyer. What he learns in this meeting completely changes his world. Unbeknownst to him, his mother came from aristocracy, and her family lived in a magnificent house just outside of Glasgow. The current owner of the house, his mother’s uncle, has died and Ranald is stunned to learn that he has passed the house onto him. But why hasn’t his estranged cousins raised any objection to the house being transferred to him? To them, he is a stranger, an outsider. Why are they so keen for the house to be passed to him when it could be worth many millions of pounds?

I became completely absorbed in this book from page one. Once I had started, I couldn’t stop reading. Michael Malone’s description of the house is exceptional, I can see from reading the book that he must’ve put a great deal of time and effort into the plot and into the construction of his setting. It made me wonder if the house was based on a particular property that he knew of as it really did come alive on the page.

Ranald was a great character, it was interesting to see how he coped with his new lifestyle after learning about his good fortune which for him was overwhelming at times. We all dream of that moment of winning the lottery and we wonder what we would do if money wasn’t an object and this is what I felt. It felt as though Ranald was in a very similar position to this. The characters in this book all kept me guessing as I wondered what their game really was, and I had a lot of suspicion about his cousins, which made me very keen to find out what was really going on and if Ranald was simply a pawn in one of their games. Surely they couldn’t be acting just out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, I can tell you that Michael Malone had quite a few surprises up his sleeve.

House of Spines is, at times terrifying, and also an absolutely riveting read that will keep you invested in the characters. I’ll certainly be reading Michael Malone’s first book very soon, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Excellent stuff. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for sending me a copy of this book to read and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 15th September 2017

Print length: 276 pages

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

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House of Spines blog poster 2017

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza Book Review

Dark Water: A totally gripping thriller with a killer twist (Detective Erika Foster Book 3) by [Bryndza, Robert]

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Beneath the water the body sank rapidly.  She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as eleven-year-old Jessica Collins.  The missing girl who made headline news when she vanished twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she discovers a family harbouring secrets, a detective plagued by her failure to find Jessica, and the mysterious death of a man living by the quarry.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve become a massive fan of Robert Bryndza’s Erika Foster novels. And Dark Water is the best book in the series yet.

Twenty-six years ago, seven-year-old Jessica Collins was abducted on her way to a friend’s birthday party. An extensive police investigation uncovered very few leads, and the case was eventually shelved. In the present day, Erika Foster and her team are examining an old quarry (now filled with water) after they receive a tip-off that drugs worth millions of pounds were dumped there. But they are shocked when their investigation in the quarry leads to the discovery of the remains of Jessica Collins and the mood of the team takes on a more somber mood. Erika is determined to make sure that Jessica’s killer is brought to justice, she makes it her mission to lead the case and bring closure to Jessica’s family, and she fights to be given the chance to do so.

Erika Foster is a character who I’m sure will keep readers coming back for more. This is the third book in Robert Bryndza’s gritty crime series, and Erika continues to intrigue and impress me. What I liked about this instalment is that we get to know a little bit more about her family back in Slovakia. Robert introduces us to her sister, Lenka and her two children who arrive on Erika’s doorstep out of the blue looking for a place to stay.

Robert draws us into the story with the opening prologue. Dark Water is one of those books when at the end of each chapter, the book demands that you read one more even when it’s late at night. We see the dumping of Jessica Collins’ remains in the quarry by a curious onlooker. He is scared to involve himself and slips away into the shadows, and it seems that Jessica Collins’ killers will get away with it.

We also meet Amanda Baker, who was the original lead on the investigation. Amanda has been haunted by the disappearance of Jessica Collins and her failure to solve the case has lead to her having a breakdown. She is another interesting character in this book, and it was interesting to read about her career working in the police force before Jessica’s case lead to her ultimate defeat. But like Erika, she is still determined to see justice done and is hopeful she will make the breakthrough the case desperately needs. But there are people out there who want to keep the secrets to this case buried and they are determined to keep it that way at all costs.

Robert delivers a shocking twist in this book that I didn’t see coming. It really tugs at the heartstrings. The Erika Foster series just keeps getting better and better. I need to hurry up now and read the next book in the series. Bravo on another excellent book, Robert, I can’t wait to read the next one!

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 20th October 2016

Print length: 368 pages

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson Book Review

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Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

MY THOUGHTS

I was blown away by Block 46, I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to get round to it. After reading so many great reviews from fellow bloggers, I knew I was in for a treat, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s another riveting read from Orenda Books, and Johana Gustawsson is another author who I am excited to read more from.

When the body of jewellery designer Linnea Blix is discovered in Sweden, investigators believe that there may be a link between her murder and the murder of a young boy in London who was found with similar injuries. The investigators believe that these recent murders could also be linked to killings which have taken place across decades. In 1944, we meet Erich Hebner who has been imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. How is Erich connected to the events which are happening in the present, what really happened at the camp all those years ago?

Block 46, is a powerful and emotive story that explores a devastating time period in our history, the Holocaust. I really had no idea of the direction which Johana was going to take us. The subject of the concentration camps is an area which Johana has researched impeccably well; what Johana has also done in this book is make us, the reader, realise how important it is for us to learn about what happened in these times, to ensure that this atrocity never happens again. The scenes in which Johana takes us inside the concentration camp are graphic and sometimes I had to take a break after reading them, but that is the power of her writing and what makes it so good. She’s an author who makes you care for her characters.

Johana has a great cast of characters in her book, I loved Emily Roy, and I’m hoping that she’ll soon appear in another book. Although Block 46 takes you to some very dark and disturbing places, it makes for an absolutely riveting read that I flew through. I could never be sure who the killer was, and I was certainly surprised by the ending. It is a gripping mystery but also a deeply moving story that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 15th May 2017

Print length: 300 pages

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

 

Road to Publication – Sam Carrington @sam_carrington1

Today I am delighted to be welcoming Sam Carrington onto my blog, author of Saving Sophie (August 2016) and Bad Sister (October 2017), to share her Road to Publication.

Sam Carrington

  • Do you find that inspiration strikes you in specific places or do ideas come to you everywhere?

Although inspiration does come at anytime, anywhere, the most common places are: in bed when attempting sleep, in the shower, whilst driving, or out dog walking.

  • What do you usually do after you get the first spark of a fresh idea, is it straight to the computer to write the first chapter or straight to a notebook to start planning?

Sometimes I’ve written an idea on my phone’s scribble app, mostly though I jot key ideas, characters or the odd paragraph in a notebook. I don’t usually start writing on my laptop for a while afterwards – I’m usually in the process of writing the next novel, so don’t want to confuse myself too much by starting a new document on the laptop. I have too many notebooks though, and I found a novel idea the other day that I’d totally forgotten I’d written down. I need to try and write all the ideas in a single notebook…

  • How long does your first draft usually take to write?

I edit as I write, so my first draft takes a while. I think so far, each one has been around 8 months.

Writing space (1)Sam’s writing space

  • Do you celebrate when you finish your first draft and if so how?

Oh yes! I celebrate at the drop of a hat, so definitely when a first draft is complete! Prosecco is my celebration of choice. And chocolate!

  • Is it straight to editing or do you leave your manuscript a while before you pick up the red pen?

It depends on deadlines. With my first novel, I let it lie for a few weeks before looking at it again because I had the time to do that. Now, however, it’s more likely that I’ll only leave it for a few days.

  • How long do you spend editing before your book is handed over the printers?

There is quite a lot of editing involved before it gets printed – it goes a bit like this: I read through and make edits which will probably take a week or so, then I send it to my two trusted writer friends who read and comment on it, then I take a few days to edit in response to their suggestions. Then it goes to my agent. Once she reads and returns it, I’ll edit again. That time will likely take another week or two depending on what feedback there is. Then it goes to my editor at the publishers and I wait with bated breath for the verdict and edits. For Bad Sister, once my editor returned the edits I then had just over three weeks to complete and return it. Then comes the copy-edit…

  • At what point, prior to publication do you find the nerves start to kick in or do you not get nervous in the approach to publication?

For my debut novel, I think I spent the entire time from getting the publishing deal until publication day in a nervous state! This time, for Bad Sister, the nerves kicked in once my editor mentioned sending out proofs. However, the nerves are a different beast this time – I think it’s fear about how the novel will be received following the success of my debut.

  • How does it feel when the early reviews start to come in?

I felt excited when I saw my very first review for Saving Sophie. The thought that someone had read my book (other than my agent/friends/editor) was exhilarating! It also happened to be a fabulous review, so of course I was thrilled. After that, each time I saw a new review pop up, my heart jolted. There was a kind of fear that it was going to be dreadful – and sometimes I was right to be fearful! I appreciate everyone who takes time to write a review, so even if it’s not a good one, I know at least my book has been read!

  • How long do you wait after finishing your book before starting on your next project?

I have to have the characters of my next novel living in my head for a while before I begin writing. So, with that in mind I am usually about halfway through my current project when the next one begins to form. I’ll take a few notes, write a mini synopsis (very mini!) and then get on with the current novel. As soon as it’s gone to my agent I might start writing out character cards and plot points and stick them on my pin board. I’d delivered Bad Sister in the December of 2016 and I began properly writing my third novel in January. I suspect I’ll begin novel four straight after sending book three to my agent as I have a tighter deadline for that one!

  • And finally how do you celebrate publication day?

When Saving Sophie was published I spent most of the day on social media. I had a huge amount of support from bloggers, reviewers, friends and other authors online so I wanted to show my appreciation. I also did a Q&A session on Twitter with my publisher, Avon. I managed to squeeze in coffee and a catch up with a friend, then in the evening had champagne (of course!) Because the ebook and paperback were published months apart, when the paperback came out I had a gathering at my local pub, and family and friends came and drank some fizz with me. I imagine I will celebrate the publication of Bad Sister in much the same way!

Thank you so much Sam for taking the time to answer my questions. You can purchase her latest book Bad Sister by clicking HERE

You can follow Sam on Twitter here: @sam_carrington1

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sisters. Allies. Liars.

The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Saving Sophie.

Stephanie is scared for her life. Her psychologist, Connie Summers, wants to help her face her fears, but Connie will never really understand her. Stephanie’s past has been wiped away for her own protection. Stephanie isn’t even her real name. But then, Dr Summers isn’t Connie’s real name either.

And that’s not all the women have in common. As Stephanie opens up about her troubled relationship with her brother, Connie is forced to confront her own dark family secrets.

When a mutilated body is dumped in plain sight, it will have devastating consequences for both women.

Who is the victim?
Who is to blame?
Who is next?

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page.

Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas Book Review

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She can run

Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny flat in Bath for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

But she can’t hide

But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

Because someone knows her secret

What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive . . . and what she did.

MY THOUGHTS

Claire Douglas has done it again with her latest novel Last Seen Alive. She is an expert at creating unexpected twists, and I always have that confidence, when I start one of her books, that I am in for a good read.

When Libby sees an advert for a house swap, she is drawn to the idea of spending a few days away from home. The person who created the advert is offering their luxury holiday retreat in Cornwall as they need to be near a hospital in Libby and Jamie’s hometown where their sick daughter is being cared for. Libby and her husband, Jamie accept the offer. But things begin to go mysteriously wrong for them once they are there, Libby is terrified of staying in the house, and when the holiday ends with a call to the police, Libby begins to wonder if her past is about to catch up with her.

This book deals with some very current issues that are being discussed in the media today. I think this is what made the book all the more frightening and realistic, that this could easily happen to any one of us. I for one would never agree to a house swap with people who I didn’t know; I think I would still feel uncomfortable with the idea of allowing people who I am familiar with to stay in my house while I wasn’t there.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this book, Claire really is a master at delivering her twists and misdirections. There were times when I did find myself feeling sorry for Libby, particularly when it concerned her relationship with Jamie. I always felt as though she was viewed as an outsider by the rest of Jamie’s family and that they thought she was intruding on their perfect lives. She made for a great protagonist.

Another outstanding book from Claire, fans of psychological thrillers will not want to miss this. Thank you to Sarah Harwood at Penguin for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 13th July 2017

Print length: 400 pages

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Certain Signs That You Are Dead by Torkil Damhaug Book Review

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CERTAIN SIGNS THAT YOU ARE DEAD is the fourth psychological thriller in Torkil Damhaug’s Oslo Crime Files, a tense ark quartet for fans of Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo.

Every killer leaves a trace.

In Akershus University Hospital, a patient disappears into thin air.

That evening, his body is found in a basement box-room, his throat cut.

When retired forensic pathologist Jennifer Platerud is called in to examine the dead man, she has no idea of just how closely she is involved in the murder herself.

And in the merciless heat of summer, she will be forced to make connections she would have preferred to ignore…

MY THOUGHTS

Certain Signs that You are Dead is the first book by Torkil Damhaug which I have read and it is the fourth book in the Oslo Crime Files series. Although I hadn’t read the previous books in the series I had no problem getting into this book and it made for a very enjoyable read, I highly recommend it.

Sigurd Woods believes his girlfriend, Katya is having an affair. He has watched her talking with a stranger and now she is leaving him for several days and gives him very little information about what she is doing, it begins to drive Sigurd mad and he sets out to discover the truth about what she has been doing behind his back. But when he discovers the truth behind her mysterious past and what she has been getting up to, he finds himself in a dangerous situation and he must make the decision whether he should help Katya or not. Is their relationship really worth fighting for?

The book is filled with plenty of action, especially towards the end. I thought it was an intelligently plotted thriller and I enjoyed getting to know Torkil’s characters. I found Sigurd and his mother Jenny particularly intriguing. Whilst they both find themselves caught up in this dangerous case they both have their problems at home to worry about. Sigurd’s brother puts a huge strain on the family due to his increasing debt, I thought this was interesting back story to explore and for me it opened up their characters.

If you’re a fan of Jo Nesbo, then you have to give this a go, it’s a series that I’ll be keeping an eye out and I’m keen to read the previous books. Thank you to Millie Seaward at Headline and Bookbridgr for sending me a copy to review.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 18th May 2017

Print length: 448 pages

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