Q&A with #Author @hollyseddon @CorvusBooks @randomhouse

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Try Not Too Breathe by Holly Seddon
Synopsis:

You won’t be able to put it down.
Just remember to breathe.

Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.

Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.

Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon
Synopsis:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

Q&A:

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’m a British author, living in Amsterdam with my family. My background is in journalism (the softer end, I’m too wimpy for hard news) and my first book Try Not to Breathe was published in January 2016.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is my second novel and follows the story of Robin and Sarah, non-identical twins split apart in childhood through their parents’ actions, and now living fractured and frightening lives. With danger knocking on Robin’s door and Sarah experiencing unbearable loss, they need each other more than ever.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Well, I think the path to debut publication is fairly well known. You send a synopsis and sample (usually three chapters) to agents, hopefully one or more will request a full manuscript and hopefully one or more will offer to represent you. They will then work on the manuscript with you, giving you editorial notes, and then when it’s ready, it will be submitted to publishers to see who will offer a book deal. That’s a very whistle-stop and optimistic version, but perhaps the path to second book publication is less well known?

With traditional publishers, you will generally get a two-book deal, as was the case with me. When you’re negotiating this, only one book will generally already exist but it’s quite common to include a paragraph or a longer outline of a potential book two. So the idea is often already known to the publisher, although you may end up doing a completely different book when the time comes.

I think most people have a close working relationship with their agents, and I certainly trust my agent immensely so I run ideas past her before I start to write. With Don’t Close Your Eyes, I wrote quite a detailed outline and refined it with both my agent and my editor before I started writing because there was quite a tight deadline and, with three school aged kids, a young baby and no childcare at the time, living in a brand new city, I didn’t have any cushioning to make a false start.

The fact is, as always, the finished first draft developed in its own direction a little but it had more or less followed the basic outline.

I then edited based on my agent’s notes (she has an amazing editorial eye) and then we sent it to my editor. From there, we went through several rounds of edits, chiselling away (in some parts, hacking and sawing) until it was ready. Alongside this, at the publisher, they will be looking at ideal publication dates, covers, maybe even title changes. All of my books have had their titles changed… I’m bad at titles.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) Non-fiction wise, I love everything by Augusten Burroughs. I recommend starting with Running With Scissors, then Dry, then Lust and Wonder, and then anything and everything else that he’s written.

I adored Annaliese Mackintosh’s first story collection (part fiction, part autobiography) Any Other Mouth and am excited to start reading her first full novel, So Happy It Hurts.

I also really love the old mystery masters, I have a huge compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories that I’m very slowly working through.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. I loved The Famous Five, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tile, anything with adventure or ghosts.

As an angry, grumpy, emotional teenager it’s probably par for the course than I loved 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and of course, a little before that, I loved Judy Blume. Than god for Judy Blume when you’re 13.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) When Augusten Burroughs tweeted a screenshot of my book and said nice things about it. It was out of the blue and I freaked out with excitement so much that my husband misunderstood and thought something terrible had happened. You know when a dog gets in a panic and spins around, whining and howling? It was a bit like that.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My husband has always been very supportive and encouraging, he’s always been my champion way before I did anything to merit it. And I’m very lucky with the good friends that I have, the ones that long predate any of this. I love them like family.

But I don’t think it can be understated how nourishing and rewarding and just bloody reassuring it is to have a group of writers you can call friends. People who understand exactly what each weird cycle of this mad and exhilarating process is like.

Holly Seddon bw
Holly Seddon
Authors Links:
Web site: www.hollyseddon.com
Twitter: (https://twitter.com/hollyseddon) @hollyseddon
Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/hollyseddonauthor/)
Instagram: (https://www.instagram.com/hollyseddonauthor).
Goodreads: (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9885531.Holly_Seddon)

 

 

#BlogTour #GuestPost #WritersBlock #PayThePenance by @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

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Pay The Penance by Rob Ashman
Synopsis:

A stunning serial killer thriller from The Mechanic Trilogy

Murder. Corruption. Revenge. 

Lucas has been tracking a killer, known as Mechanic, when his world is shattered. Unable to continue his hunt for the murderer he is forced to rely on his friend and colleague Dick Harper. But Harper has a knack for not playing by the rules. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Meanwhile Detective Moran is trying to piece her life back together. The police stumble upon new evidence without grasping its significance and she must divert the investigation if she is to survive.

The police are closer to Mechanic than they realise which puts Moran right in the firing line.

#GuestPost

Writer’s block … take a bath

It is every writer’s worst nightmare when your story line dries up. I tend to be able to keep it at bay by employing a few simple strategies. Before I became a full-time writer I had jobs which were extremely varied, it was one of the things that kept me interested. I try and replicate that environment when I’m writing, so I write in every room in the house, with the exception of the downstairs loo!

I also write in two coffee shops and the public library. I enjoy the variety that brings and how it keeps my thinking fresh. However, there are times when I get a little stumped and cannot see how the next set of chapters will unfold. It is then I use my more unusual strategy – that is to take a bath.

I always think that an issue is easier to overcome if you can visualise the problem. The trouble with writer’s block is, what does that look like?

For me I picture a cinema showing the chapters from my book. I am sat on the front row while the events play across the screen. I can hear the dialogue and see the characters acting out what I’ve written. This is an old cinema house where the movie is played on giant reels of film and in my head I can see the man operating the projector. He comes to the end of one reel but he can’t find the next in the sequence. He knows it’s there but he can’t find it. That for me is what writer’s block is all about. The story is there, I just can’t lay my hands on what comes next.

I lie in the bath and run the scenes over and over until the man finds the next reel of film. He feeds it into the projector and off we go again. Sometimes I might only be in the bath for a matter of minutes before the plotline becomes clear. Having baths in the middle of the day might not be for everyone but it works for me.

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Rob Aahman
Authors bio:

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

Rob will be publishing all three books in the Mechanic Trilogy with Bloodhound Books – the second novel is titled In Your Name and the third is called Pay The Penance.

Authors Links:
Web site: http://www.robashman.com/
Twitter: @RobAshmanAuthor
via Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/rob-ashman/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Ashman-Author-1428800800468097/

 

 

 

#BlogTour 5* #Review #IKnowASecret by @tessgerritsen @TransworldBooks #NewRelease

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I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen
Synopsis:

I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

My review:

This is Rizzoli & Isles #12 but can easily be read as a standalone novel. Detective Jane Rizzoli and forensic pathologist Maura Isles, are a crime solving due in Boston, USA. With a young woman found dead, with links to high-profile solved case from years ago.
This is no easy case to solve by any measure…..

The novel starts quite slow in the beginning and I longed for the usual, complete and utter engrossment, I get with novels by this author. However, at 50% in, things took a monumental turn and I realised this was the work of a very clever author and writing style. It felt as though the first half of the novel, the author is leaving tiny, tiny breadcrumbs and clues to the plot. Which at the halfway mark, blew me away!

The novel opens with unreliable narrator Holly, attending the funeral of childhood friend Sarah. Sarah having been victim to a fatal house fire. I didn’t like Holly from the onset but the way she delivered little riddle like clues, that had me hooked!
Five rode the school bus that afternoon, only 4 remain alive…….

Maura Isles is visiting a terminally ill, cancer patient, who also turns out to be a psychopathic serial killer. Nothing new there, due to her role as a forensic pathologist would often mean engaging with such killers, after they have been caught. Except this killer Amalthea Lank, is Isles birth mother…….
They have a fraught discussion and you can see Lank’s attempts to draw Isle’s into some form of emotional blackmail with mind games. The relationship between the two in the novel, makes for eerie reading and displays the psychology of familial bonds.
The crosses we all bear due to DNA.

Detective Jane Rizzoli and detective Barry Frost are attempting to analyse the crime scene, where the young victim lays sprawled across the bed, with empty eye sockets and an eye in each hand. The crime scene is grotesque and this is not a novel for the faint hearted. The victim Cassandra Coyle, a young wannabe film maker positioning resembles a similar case in Dallas. A case where 3 young college girls were murdered but the perpetrator was caught.
Is someone trying to send a message to the police?
Does this mean there will be more bodies?

Someone is watching Rizzoli and Isles

The investigation continues with much speculation and theories, but theories don’t catch killers! The autopsy turns up more mystery than hard evidence and the CCTV displays nothing more than a silhouette of a tall man. Not to mention the warring parents at the funeral of the victim. Rizzoli and Isles have little more than some sketchy theories and links to a previous new age cult. When the body of a dead man shows up, with similar findings. The duo know they have the work of a crazed killer on their hands.

“oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive” Holly

There appears no obvious link to the victims, other than a ‘mechanism of death’ used in the murders. *See I told you this was not for the faint hearted!*
The mechanism of death and theories that surround the case, make for fascinating reading. They force the duo to investigate painful cold cases and contact victims, who would rather forget the past.

I can’t give away anymore, with regards to the plot, because to do so would leave spoilers. I do look forward to hearing other readers shock and awe, when they hit the halfway mark! Because this novel has an insanely epic turn!
There are themes of revenge, abuse, family dynamics, religion and the pain of the past.
It is one hell of a good read! 5*    

TG
Tess Gerritsen
Authors Links:
Web page: http://www.tessgerritsen.com/
Twitter: @tessgerritsen

I Know a Secret - BT Banner Websites

 

#Review #SixStories by Matt Wesolowski @ConcreteKraken @OrendaBooks

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Six Stories
Synopsis:

1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby. 2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame … As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth. A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.

My review:

This is such a unique idea to write in the style of a series of podcast interviews. That and the era’s being 1997 and 2017, drew me in completely. In 1997, I myself would have been 14 years old. So I felt I could relate to the group from one point of view and their circumstances etc. However, when it came to Scott King, I had huge suspicions with regards to his motives and the need to drag up the past.

In 1997 at Scarclaw Fell the body of Tom Jefferies is discovered, having been missing from the previous summer. At the time of his disappearance he was part of the ‘rangers’ group. Which consisted of four other teenagers and two adult supervisors. The teens have a wide range of personalities, with some facing complex ‘coming of age’ type home life situations. I was fascinated by the teens, even into their adult years. Their approach to Tom’s disappearance almost seemed as of one of complete indifference.
Why are the grown up, now adult teens so full of regrets and what if’s?

The media promptly assigned local weirdo/oddball Haris Novak as number one prime suspect, hounding him out of the town despite his alibi. The male adult supervisor also faced trial by media for his neglect of the teens and allowing them to run wild. Scott King pursues the individuals with a series of interviews. In a desperate attempt to not only understand their group dynamic but solve the mystery.
A mystery that makes for intriguing reading.

The location is atmospheric, you can picture the woods, disused mines and hunting lodge in your mind. The Teens are relatable and the era’s, make for an interesting comparison. Personally I felt that this novel would also suit the mature YA genre, as there is nothing too graphic or violent. I think it would engage teens of 2017, as their parents may have been teens of 1997.
I will certainly be passing this one on to my teenage daughter! 4*

MW
Matt Wesolowski
Author Bio:

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

Authors Links:
Twitter: @ConcreteKraken
Via Orenda: http://orendabooks.co.uk/matt-wesolowski/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Matt-Wesolowski-1424984807729101/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5303620.Matt_Wesolowski

 

 

#Review #WhyDidYouLie @YrsaSig 5* #Genius @HodderBooks #IcelandicNoir

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Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb

Synopsis:

A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide.

An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing.

Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea.

They have one thing in common: they all lied.

And someone is determined to punish them…

My review:

The cover of this novel comes with the stamp ‘winner of the Petrona award 2015’. I have also heard huge praise for the author and thoroughly enjoyed one of her previous novels The Legacy. So I knew I was in for a cracking good read, how much of a cracking good read, I could not have predicted!

The novel is almost split into 3 separate parts. The group stranded at the lighthouse. The family returned from a house swap style vacation. Tough but troubled cop Nina. Whilst I loved all these individual stories and the plots that ran within them, my ultimate favourite was Nina.

The prologue opens in the midst of an event at sea. It is a crazy prologue and you never truly know what has taken place. But that is the idea and the pure genius behind Yrsa’s writing in this novel. The novel continues to move around the various parts of the story in the build up to ‘the event’ but as stated we don’t know what the event is all about. Cue epic amounts of tension!

Helgi, Ivar, Toti and Heida make up the group of four stranded at sea, whilst attempting to document a lighthouse at the giant rock in the sea. Their story develops from one of a shared experience to one of accusations and paranoia. I found this gripping, yet I also felt mystified as to how they fit into the plot, what is their narrative’s relevance to the other characters?

The novel moves onto Nina, who is a struggling cop. By struggling I don’t mean with her job or her workload but with the sexism and female oppression that is allowed to thrive in the police force. After raising a complaint, she taken off duty and pretty much sent to the basement to rot away an existence, alone with cold case files. Just when I felt complete and utter sympathy for her character. I was yet to learn her personal history. Nina spends her days at work and her evenings by her comatose husband’s bedside. Her husband Throstur having attempted suicide just 8 weeks earlier, failed in his attempt and now lays in a coma. Doctors have advised to turn off the life support but with Nina struggling to gain his sisters respect, let alone support, it is a tricky decision to make. That is until Nina stumbles upon a cold case file that has her husbands listed as a child witness…………..

Husband Noi, wife Vala and teenage son Tumi, make up the other part of the novel. They are a family returning from a fantastic vacation in Florida. However, their American counterparts are nowhere to be seen. Their house is in disarray, their cat half-starved and their keys nowhere to be seen. What has happened to the people staying in their home? When Noi’s attempts to investigate himself fail, he calls on the police who offer little assistance themselves.

“you can’t go around destroying other people’s lives without suffering the consequences”

This novel is layered with mystery upon mystery as it develops. The novel is titled, Why Did You Lie, for the first half of the novel I couldn’t see who was lying about what and wondered if they were all lying. But that is the essential beauty of this novel. It isn’t about the individual parts of the story; it is in how they come together. This novel not only reads to the very last page; it actually reads right up to the last sentence!
5* Genius

YS
Authors links:
via Hodder: https://www.hodder.co.uk/authors/yrsa+sigurdardottir.page
Twitter: @YrsaSig