Giveaway Winners!

I ran a competition as part of Alice Feeney’s debut novel Blog Tour for Sometimes I Lie.
I have 3 lucky winners to announce!!!!!

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Winners are:

Brigitte – @bluebirdbrige

Shell Baker – @ChellesBookRevi

NOTLEFTONTHESHELF – @IFINDOUBTREAD

Congratulations! Please email/DM address and I can forward on to the lovely Bibi at HarperCollins.

Thank you to all those who shared/liked/Retweeted.

Q&A with Author Sarah Pinborough. Sunday Times & NY Times Bestseller!

I have many, many authors whose books I love and cherish. But my list of author’s I openly admit to being a huge #fangirl of their writing is somewhat shorter. Last year I read 242 books and choose 20 favourite fiction reads. In that list were, not one, not two, but three books by Sarah Pinborough! With The Death House, 13 Minutes and Behind Her Eyes all making the list!  My 14-year-old daughter Daisy is also a huge fan of the author and also likes following her writing success in the media. As a mother I am extremely proud that my daughter admires another woman’s success and actively seeks out to promote her work. With recommending to all her friends and demanding they stock the books in the school library!

Huge thanks to the author for being kind enough to agree to a Q&A with me on my ‘newbie’ book blog! 

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Q) 13 Minutes, The Death House and Behind Her Eyes are all incredibly different and unique reads. Full of twists and turns, but all have the definitive ‘Pinborough’ stamp. How do you come up with your ideas?  Does the idea all come at once or are the twists added as the idea develops further? 

A) Oh, if only the whole idea all came at once! That would be wonderful! The origins of books come in different ways though. So for Behind Her Eyes, I had the ending and wanted to write about an affair, for 13 Minutes I’d watched a documentary about a teenage girl murdered by her friends, and then you sort of plot out as you go. I try and have a vague idea of what it’s about, then think about it for a couple of weeks, jotting characters, and little snippets of thoughts down, and then after that – once I have an ending in place – I start figuring out the nitty gritty of the plot. I certainly don’t have it all in place when I start writing, but I will have a whole load of spider diagrams etc, ready to pull together into some sort of structure.

Q) 13 Minutes was categorised within the YA genre. I read this at the same time as my daughter and we both loved it. I found it would easily compete with adult crime fiction, despite the plot revolving around teenagers.  Do you think some readers of adult crime fiction may be put off by a YA genre novel or are they becoming popular with adult readers also? 

A) Oh YA is mainly read by adults – I think mainly 18-32 is the age range I read someone. The great thing about 13 Minutes is how many actual teenagers read it. It’s been great in that respect. The US version is much more YA – I had to take out quite a lot of the adult interaction for them. But yes, I think perhaps people who are serious crime readers might not necessarily pick up a book that is written for teens. But they’re missing out. YA is as well-plotted and has as much emotional depth as any adult novel.

Q) Behind Her Eyes, has had fantastic success in both the UK and USA. Will we see another psychological thriller with the Pinborough stamp?

A) Yes of course! Otherwise my publishers would kill me;-) There are definitely two more coming. One next May and one the year after. Can’t say much about them yet though!

Q) The Death House is a fantasy novel set away from the modern world. It has a story of young love which is heart-breaking and actually made me cry! I loved that the plot revolved around a never-ending threat of being sent to the sanatorium. What was the inspiration behind this plot?

A) I’d written a short story called ‘Snow Angels’ for a British Fantasy Society anthology a few years ago, and it was set in a similar institution and although that had a much more supernatural element to the story, I knew I wanted to revisit those characters and that world again. I don’t overly enjoy writing short stories, so when I do I tend to use them as ideas playgrounds for novels (my trilogy for children, The Nowhere Chronicles, came out of a short story called The Nowhere Man). I’m very happy that Snow Angels morphed into The Death House as I’m really quite proud of that book.

Q) With 13 Minutes and Behind Her Eyes, you have sold the TV/movie rights. I personally think AnnaLynne Mccord would make an ideal Natasha- 13 Minutes. What is your ideal casting for the characters?

A) I have no idea! I never really ‘see’ characters, because I’m always on the inside of them! It really is a blank page to me. I’m quite mercenary though, I’d like whoever is a big box office draw 😉

Q) You have received huge praise from fellow authors, with quotes from Stephen King and Harlan Coben on your covers. How did you feel when saw their comments of praise?

A) When Stephen King mentioned The Death House in the New York Times, it came completely out of the blue – the book wasn’t even out in the States at that time – and I sat on the sofa literally shaking. It was such an amazing moment. You can get so caught up in the business of writing, that you forget what drove you to do it in the first place – the stories written that you loved reading. And King was/is a total hero of mine. His books saw me through boarding school. So yeah, that was amazing, and then when he read and loved Behind Her Eyes that was just the icing on the cake. And of course it’s also brilliant to see a Coben quote on your book! I’ve been very very lucky with the people who have been generous enough to blurb my work.

Q) With Behind Her Eyes it is even incorporated into the book description, to not give the ending away. “Don’t Trust This Book, Don’t Trust These People, Don’t Trust Yourself And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…” I was lucky enough to read this in 2016, before I saw any reviews containing spoilers. Was it frustrating to read reviews that spoiled the ending?

A) Actually there haven’t been too many reviews that have mentioned the ending, and what I’m most grateful for is that no one spoiled the ending before the book came out. Even people who didn’t like it were careful not to give anything away. It’s been out a couple of months now though, so I’m sure there are plenty who comment on it. I figure most people don’t trawl through reviews before buying though. They may look at stars etc, but I doubt they read loads. If they’re anything like me they’ll just have a peek at ‘Look Inside’ and see if they like it.

Similarly, how do you deal with negative reviews?

Oh I don’t mind them. People are perfectly entitled not to like something. I certainly don’t like everything I read. Also, with a book like Behind Her Eyes it was always going to be divisive. It’s a love or hate book.

Q) 2017 has seen some amazing new releases, what is on your TBR pile? and what has been your favourites so far? 

A) I think the world is in for a treat with ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman. It’s such a lovely book – so dark in places, so completely Bridget Jones in others. I think I described it as Bridget Jones does Dexter, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s a joy of a book. My TBR pile is massive at the moment. Just finished Simon Toyne’s wonderful ‘The boy who saw’ which is the next in his Solomon Creed series. Such rich storytelling and so moving. I also have a crush on Creed. Christopher Golden’s ‘Ararat’ is out soon and that’s a great kind of The Thing on a mountain book. My favourite ‘people up a mountain’ book of this year and there seem to be a few of those coming out.

I’ve got the new M R Carey, my mum has stolen the new Sharon Bolton which I need to get back, Tammy Cohen’s ‘They all fall down’ sounds ingenious, and then I also have ‘Exquisite’ by Sarah Stovell, ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowkski, and ‘Gather the daughters’ by Jennie Melamed, which all sound brilliant. I’m currently reading ‘Goblin’ by Josh Malerman which is a great collection – a Derry for a new generation.

I’m very lucky in getting sent so many proofs, and now I always make sure to buy the ebook when it comes out because I’m so lucky to get to read such good stories early.

Q) what has been your favourite moment, of the success of Behind Her Eyes?

A) Well, getting to Number One on the Sunday Times Bestsellers was probably the moment, but when we went in at Number two I did have a cry. In the park. While walking my dog. Which was totally uncool 😉

Q) What’s next, are we allowed any snippets of info, on what you’re currently working on? 

A) Nope, can’t give anything away there until announcements have been made!

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Credit for photo: Lou Abercrombie

Authors Web page: https://sarahpinborough.com/
Twitter: @SarahPinborough

*Huge thanks to Sarah for answering my (slightly mammoth) Q&A. I wish you much success in your future writing career and can’t wait to hear news of the latest book! 🙂

 

 

Review: The Birdwatcher by William Shaw 4*

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The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

The Synopsis:

Sergeant William South has always avoided investigating murder. A passionate birdwatcher and quiet man, he has few relationships and prefers it that way.

But when his only friend is found brutally beaten, South’s detachment is tested. Not only is he bereft – it seems that there’s a connection between the suspect and himself.

For South has a secret. He knows the kind of rage that killed his friend. He knows the kind of man who could do it. He knows, because Sergeant William South himself is a murderer.

Moving from the storm-lashed, bird-wheeling skies of the Kent Coast to the wordless war of the Troubles, The Birdwatcher is a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within.

My review:

I had, had this Ebook sat on my kindle for some time, when I decided to request Sympathy For The Devil from Netgally. So I decided to read this one first. I have to say the author is very talented at adapting his writing style to a different plot, setting and era. As both books are entirely different yet very well written.

The novel opens with Detective sergeant William South, who doesn’t actually want to work the murder he is seconded to. South is a what I call a grey man, he blends in and aside from the birdwatching there isn’t much that sticks out about him………….well that is until we become more acquainted with his past.

The author clever weaves each chapter to have two parts. The present with the adult policeman South attempting to solve the murder of his neighbour/friend Bob Rayner. Also South’s past and specifically an event that happened when he was 13 years old. I don’t want to expand too much on the past as I feel this will spoil the plot and also ruin it for readers. But it is one of great depth and complexity and really adds to the storytelling.

Bob Rayner is another grey man and fellow birdwatcher. He is found dead in his house at the coastguard cottages. I found this slightly creepy, as I live in the coastguard cottages! The local homeless community is suspected of involvement, but South doesn’t buy into it one bit, with too many mysteries and coincidences in the developing case. South is paired up with ex-MET copper Cupidi, their growing working relationship makes for interesting reading. Cupidi and her daughter Zoe attempt to bring South out of his shell. The murder of Bob is considered a ‘rage’ killing, but who? And why?

There are some brilliant secondary characters such as Judy the local roughian and dealer. Also the uptight and highly wound, councillor Sleight. This is a gem of a novel and I found the birdwatching or ‘birding’ as it’s known in the community, actually very interesting and unique as a theme within the book. 4*

Blog Tour- Guest Post- Giveaway! Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeny

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Super excited to share this Guest post from Alice Feeney, regarding her debut novel Sometimes I Lie. I asked Alice about the journey from brilliant idea to publication.

Alice Feeney:

The idea for this story literally came to me in a dream! I scribbled it all down at about 3am one morning (I do this quite often) and when I woke up the next day, it still seemed like a good idea (this happens less often). I couldn’t stop thinking about Amber and so in the end, her story just had to be written.

This time last year, I was busy scribbling my first draft of Sometimes I Lie. I wrote this novel while working full time as a producer on the BBC’s One O’clock News, so some parts were written in my garden shed at home, but others were written on the train to work or in my lunch breaks.

If you told me back then that it would be a real book less than a year later, I wouldn’t have believed you!

The last few months, being approached by agents and publishers, has been the most wonderful whirlwind! An amazing agent called Jonny Geller took a chance on me and my novel and has since sold it around the world.

In the last few weeks I’ve been to the recording of the Sometimes I Lie audiobook, which was really quite emotional – hearing Amber come to life like that was just brilliant. And I was invited along to the printers to hit the button for the first ever print run – that was just the best day ever! I cried when they gave me the first ever copy, it was literally hot off the press and still warm!

I’m now able to write full time, which has always been my dream, and I feel incredibly lucky – it really is the best job in the world!

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Synopsis:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this new thriller down. Set to be the most talked about book in 2017, it’s perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Widow.

***The fantastic people at HarperCollins have kindly offered 3 copies of Sometimes I Lie to giveway!!! Please Like, share/RT to be in with a chance to win!
Please also follow the blog via FB/Twitter as it makes it much easier to contact the winner via social media! Good Luck!***

*Huge Thanks to Alice Feeney and Bibi at HarperCollins for helping me put together this Blog Post! x x x x

 

Derbyshire Noir #2: Q&A with the very talented Sarah Ward. Author of In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw

As stated in Derbyshire noir blog post #1, I am a huge fan of Derbyshire as a setting. Sarah Ward’s novels are set in the fictional town of Brampton in the very beautiful and very real Peak District. I am a huge fan of Sarah’s writing style, the mix of era’s and time frames, keeps the reader constantly guessing. As much as I am an avid reader, I am unable to guess the endings and at the end of A deadly Thaw I was practically shaking the kindle in my hand, ssshhhhh-ing the kids and just stuck my hand in my husbands face, rather than say “I’m near the end, leave me alone!” So yes, they are very very intense reading!
I had so many questions and Sarah was kind enough to agree to a Q&A on my very new blog.

Q&A

Q) When I review books, I have my own little system for rating books. 5* genius, is a term I use for those absolutely amazing books where every page is great! I don’t get to use it as often as I’d like but such as life. A Deadly Thaw was absolutely brilliant. The writing was so clever & I couldn’t figure out where the story was going to end up. The mini cliff hangers featured throughout the novel meant I couldn’t put it down at all. What is your process of writing? How do you keep up with all the twists & turns?

A) This is an interesting question for me at the moment as I’m writing the (as yet untitled) book four in my Bampton series. With each book, at the start I tend to panic about how I managed to do it the previous time but, as I get going, the process comes back to me.

In terms of plotting, I spend my first draft getting the story down. It can often mean quite a short first draft (around 60k words) but I’m used to this now. Then, for the second draft I fill in details – mainly setting and character- and I also look at how my chapter’s end and think, ‘will my readers want to keep going’.

I belong to a book club and one of the members told me that she prefers not to read books where you’re deliberately encouraged to keep reading so she hates cliff hanger endings on chapters. So I’m trying to pull in the reader a lot more subtly.

 

Q) Derbyshire is the setting for your novels. As someone who went to secondary school in Derby & college in Buxton, I think it works brilliantly. I think the scenery & various locations make a perfect location. What made you chose Derbyshire for the setting? Is your next book set in Derbyshire?

A) I live in the middle of the Peak District and there’s so much here to inspire. That said, I’ve created the fictional town of Bampton that is very vivid in my head and I just try to incorporate elements of Derbyshire into it. For example, like real-life Bakewell, it has a strong tourist industry and lots of nice shops. Like Cromford it has a canal and remnants of the industrial revolution heritage.

The hills and landscape are real though as is the awful weather!

Q) As someone who is signed up to your newsletter, I often get a snapshot of what you are reading. What have been your 5* genius reads? Or favourites of 2016, 2017 so far?

A) Great question. I enjoyed Ali Land’s ‘Good Me Bad Me’ possibly because it was something I wouldn’t normally read. I also enjoyed Icelandic writer, Arnaldur Indridason’s latest book, ‘The Shadow District’. It’s the start of a new series for him and excellent.

I’m quite harsh with my marking. I’ve come off Goodreads and tend to score books in my head. Very few make 5 stars. Thanks for including mine in yours!

 

Q) Have any of your favourite authors influenced your writing/reading?

A) I think we’re subtly influenced by everyone we read. In terms of crime fiction, I was a huge P D James fan and I loved her descriptive prose so I suspect she is an influence on my writing. I love the tension and slight strangeness of Ruth Rendell’s world too. Other than that, I guess it’s obvious but I’ve loved Agatha Christie and read and reread her all the time.

Q) Aside from writing, what are your favourite things about being a published author?

A) Without doubt, doing events and meeting people. I love going to libraries and bookshops and meeting readers and not only talking about my own books but those of others too. It’s by far, apart from writing, the best thing about being published.

I also like interacting online with people I’ve not met in real life (like yourself) especially as I live in my own little world up here in Derbyshire.

Q) The crime fiction genre now, more than ever has seen a huge rise in female writers. In turn seeing some female writers doing phenomenally well in terms of book sales, awards & recognition for their work. I think this is brilliant & inspiring. How does it impact the genre from both internally as a writer and externally as a reader?

A) I don’t think this is a new phenomena. The great writers from the Golden Age of crime fiction (Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers) were all women. Crime fiction is a genre that we own and unlike other jobs I’ve done, I’ve never felt disadvantaged because I’m a woman.

I do, however, meet male readers who say they don’t read novels by women and so there is still a way to go. I tend to track my own reading to see if I’m covering both genders but this is for personal reasons. I’m interested in monitoring the trends in my own reading.

 

In bitter chill coverdeadly thaw cover

In Bitter Chill & A Deadly Thaw are both available via Amazon and Kindle:

In Bitter Chill- Synopsis:
Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide.

Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.

This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.*Just£3.79 on Kindle UK- 5*

A Deadly Thaw – Synopsis:
‘Gives the Scandi authors a run for their money.’ Yrsa Sigur�ard�ttir
Every secret has consequences.
Autumn 2004
In Bampton, Derbyshire, Lena Fisher is arrested for suffocating her husband, Andrew.
Spring 2016
A year after Lena’s release from prison, Andrew is found dead in a disused mortuary.

Who was the man Lena killed twelve years ago, and who committed the second murder? When Lena disappears, her sister, Kat, sets out to follow a trail of clues delivered by a mysterious teenage boy. Kat must uncover the truth – before there’s another death . . .

A Deadly Thaw confirms Sarah Ward’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers. *Just £4.74 on Kindle Uk- 5* Genus

Contact/Follow Sarah at:
Web: https://crimepieces.com/
Twitter: @sarahward1
Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/SarahWardCrime/

*Huge Thanks to Sarah for agreeing to do a Q&A on my Blog, can’t wait for the next book! I wish you much success with your future writing.