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An Interview with author, Ron Bush

Ron Banner Revised

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

My name is Ron Bush, I was born in Dulwich and now live on the Kent coast.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

Isaac Asimov. The collection of stories under the title, “I, Robot.”

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I like to maintain a routine whenever possible. This entails getting up around 6:00 am and writing for a couple of hours. I usually have to share this time with our cat who sits on the arm of my chair,  and one of our dogs who insists that my lap is more comfortable than his basket.  Later in the day I usually find time to read what I have written and add to it. This works for me and I am writing my seventh novel at the moment.

When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition?

At school, my English language teacher encouraged my writing and I have been writing on and off ever since. I like to write short stories as they stimulate my imagination, some have formed the basis for novels.

Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

Although I have not tried writing Science Fiction, other than short stories, Isaac Asimov is amongst many authors who inspired me to write.

When did you make your first serious foray into writing and what did you write?

The first novel (unpublished) I wrote was during break times at work. It was a saga about mountain men during the fur trapping era in the wilderness of America, one’s man challenge against the elements and the conflicts arising from inter-racial marriage. I may go back and work on this in the future with a view to publishing.

Has your style of writing changed significantly since then?

Not so much my style, more the subjects I choose to write about. When waiting for inspiration to strike I often ask myself the question, “What if?”  This has been answered by several of my novels.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I would have sought the help and support that a good writing group can provide much earlier. Honest feedback is something that I treasure. (And try to give back in return.)

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it

If you can’t handle rejection, don’t write. Most writers aspire to be the next J.K.Rowling, but sadly it’s unlikely to happen. If you’re a “personality” a ghost writer will propel you into the best sellers list. Likewise if a relative works for a publishing house you will have an advantage over the rest of us. (Cynical? Who? Me?) If neither of these things apply then be prepared to paper the wall of the smallest room in your house with rejection letters. I have chosen to use the theme of rejection as the basis for my present novel.

Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

This a tricky question to answer. Probably the answer is yes. People are more likely to spend a small amount downloading an author they have yet to become familiar with, than to purchase the paperback or hardback book. Also it suits the modern pace of life. If you can read a book on your phone or tablet, why carry it’s bulky equivalent? (On the other side of the argument there is a lot to be said for actually holding a physical book in your hands.)

Why did you choose to go down the route of independent publishing?

Because I want my work to be read. I put a lot of hours and research into my novels. Self publishing gives a wide audience the chance to judge my efforts. Agents reject new writers for many reasons.

I have heard some authors say that they won’t feel ‘properly published’ unless via a traditional publisher. How do you feel about this statement?

Of course I’d love to see my writing taken up by a major publishing house, but that doesn’t distract from the satisfaction I gain from knowing that someone in the USA or Germany, or anywhere else around the world has enjoyed reading a product of my imagination.

As a platform, is it working for you? What are the pros and cons?

The biggest drawback to any form of publishing is that unless someone knows about your book, they can’t buy it. This is probably where “traditional” publishers win, they have  budgets (albeit limited) to promote books.

What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

My novels to date are:

“Heil, Heil, Rock n Roll!”Ron 2

Inspired by the thought, “What if?”

A boy at my school came to Britain shortly after WW2 and was transformed from Hitler Youth to Teddy Boy. I tried to imagine how he may have felt and reacted.

Blurb:

The menace of Teddy Boy gangs stalks the streets. In the summer of 1958 the leadership of one such gang has been commandeered by a sinister ex-member of the Hitler Youth, brought to Britain at the end of the war. Years of indoctrination bring him into conflict with his father’s acceptance of defeat after fighting for so long. The violent attitudes of the gang provide him with an anchor in the tide of emotions brought on by this change in his life. Despite rebelling against society the questionable attitudes of this time still influence these young men. Rock ‘n’ Roll music is the life blood driving a backlash against the dreary post-war life of their parents. A living nightmare shrouds the gang when prejudice results in murder. With the threat of the hangman’s noose looming over their heads, loyalty to each other is all that is left to them as this chilling thriller explodes into a terrifying chain of events.

This book is my best seller.

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars

A pretty neat slice of REAL 50s post war Britain.

When I bought this I’d thought the title was a misprint…well it isn’t – and to explain more would give away part of the plot – which I’m not gonna do as this is a MUST READ for anyone interested in the nascent teddy boy/rocker scene. The attention to detail is amazing and best of all it rings dead true – no phony happy days soda pop nostalgia – just post war Britain in all it’s austere glory. Better still, the characters aren’t the usual stereotypes and the plot is totally captivating with a twist or two at the end that I, for one, didn’t see coming.
Anyway, enough from me – just buy this – you won’t regret it!

 

Is there life after Rock n Roll?”Ron 6

This is the sequel to the Heil, Heil, Rock n Roll and as such did not require any inspiration other than the desire to explore the consequences of the first novel.

Blurb:

A vow of silence binds two teenage boys. It has to. They are both guilty of murder. Unrelated victims, similar motives, but the death penalty is still the price to pay. In this disturbing sequel, emotions bubble away beneath the surface before finally erupting with terrifying results. One of them is having an affair with the mother of his friend. When this comes to light loyalty is pushed to breaking point. Due to the twists and turns of fate both are immune from prosecution for murder unless one of them breaks the vow. Immunity does not apply to nightmares. Like a dripping tap, remorse erodes away at the mind until something snaps!

 

“Cordelia”Ron 3

Again inspired by the thought, “What if?”

This time I wondered how a woman would feel and act if she genuinely believed she was a mother whose children had been taken from her. This leads her to abduct other people’s children to raise them as her own. Her hatred of men, the result of an abusive father, and her increasing mental deterioration lead to devastating consequences.

I wrote this from a woman’s perspective. (It is my wife’s favourite novel.)

 

 

“To have and to hold”Ron 5

The inspiration for this book was to join together characters from two previous novels to see if it would work.

It proved to be a worthwhile project.

 

 

 

 

“Missing”

I would like to use feedback on Amazon for this novel and express Missingsincere thanks to all who take the time to leave reviews.

Inspired once again by the thought, “What if?”

Review:

First let me say I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I believe in the principle, if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all. Well, in this case, I’m delighted that, hand on heart, I can wholeheartedly say lots of nice things. Firstly, a word on the quality of the writing. The author is a master of words and possesses the ability to paint superb pictures in the reader’s mind. (A raindrop, resting on a bulrush at the water’s edge, took hold of a beam of sunlight and transformed it into a fairy palette of colours.) He has the ability to engage virtually all the senses and leave one wanting more. Most important of all, he writes a gripping tale and Missing does not disappoint in this respect. A child goes missing whilst visiting her grandparents and so begins the weaving of an intricate mystery that kept me absorbed right up to the very last page. I can’t always say that. In fact, these days I am known to abandon a book that doesn’t grip me on the basis that life is too short for bad writing. In summation, this is an ‘honest book’ – it doesn’t rely on any shock tactics or gimmickry, merely on skilful plotting and an absorbing story. Why only four stars, then? It’s the Amish Quilt theory – the makers always inserted a deliberate flaw on the basis that only God was perfect. Missing is about as close to perfect as it gets.

 “Tides of deceit”Ron 4

Inspired by a holiday in Norfolk.

Blurb:

Finding an ancient object results in a grisly murder, the second violent death to occur in this otherwise quiet coastal town. A detective duo, one the wife of a serving soldier and the other wedded to his shadowy past, struggle to penetrate a web of lies and deceit. Gripping twists and turns in their investigations plunge Joseph Fargough and his partner, Mary Wells, into uncharted depths as they seek justice. Greed and lust ebb and flow on tides of deceit in this, the first of an exciting series of novels featuring DI Fargough and WPS Wells. More lives are at risk as the killers seek to cover their tracks. Can the detectives act within the restraints of law and order? Or are other methods called for?

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

I think most writers believe that their next book will be better than the last, but how do you tell? My books have diverse plot lines and different emotions.  How do I convince myself that the one I have just finished is my best?

I carry a note book and pen to jot down ideas as they occur. My inspiration can best be summed up by the need to create. Perhaps it’s genetic. Two of my daughters have also written books. My father gave me a love of reading.

 What are you working on right now?

Something entirely different from my other six novels. Having put aside the one I was working on, due to my concern that one of the characters failed to excite me, I have begun a new one. The lead character of this is a struggling female author.

I will go back, resolve the problem and complete the other book in a few months time.

What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I write because I enjoy writing. Creating characters and placing them in situations and places gives my mind the freedom to live another life while subconsciously reliving parts of my own.

 Anything you would like to crow about?

Apart from writing and having the perfect marriage I love to talk about the journeys I have made, including two trips on the Amazon in a dugout canoe. (But that’s another story!)

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

I don’t know any ‘secrets’ and so the advice I would give is only write if you enjoy it. Don’t attempt it to make money, the chances are you won’t. If you do enjoy writing forget the usual advice to, “write what you know” Tackle things from a different perspective, your own life may be extremely satisfying but your characters can achieve so much more. Let them!

The other thing I would say is that I often experience a panic attack around the 50,000 word count. Where is this story going? Can I finish it satisfactorily? Fortunately the feeling soon passes. So if it happens to you, don’t worry, it will resolve itself.

Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

I have been given much advice in my life, some I listened to, some I didn’t. I suppose, “Be yourself” must rank high amongst all that I have been given. It’s certainly the one I’ve tried to adhere to.

LINKS

Link to website: https://theauthorron.wordpress.com/

Heil Rock ‘n Roll: http://amzn.to/1Vjx83z

Is There Life After Rock ‘n Roll: http://amzn.to/20FB520

Cordelia: http://amzn.to/1scabnt

To Have And To Hold: http://amzn.to/27TBgMG

Tides of Deceit: http://amzn.to/27TApf8

Missing: http://amzn.to/1U97DwE

Ron Bush, thank you for allowing me to interview you and I wish you continuing success in your writing career.

 

TARA MOORE

 

 

 

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An Interview with Author, Carol Salter

Carol signing

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

I’m Carol M Salter. I was born in Margate and because Thanet remains in my heart, I have returned to live here.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

That’s a difficult one because it depends what genre and which format. When I began reading I couldn’t get enough of E. E. Doc Smith, a classic Sci-Fi writer up there with my other favourites of Asimov, Bradbury & Niven. When I moved to fantasy McCafferty & Tolkien were my favourite, then I moved to fantasy humour and Pratchett became my master. For paranormal/Sci-Fi romance I have all 37 of Connie Suttle’s kindle novels.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I work full-time so a writing routine isn’t possible. If I’m writing something new it’s anywhere I can sit down. It might be in bed at the end of a long day, or 15 minutes in a cafe waiting for an appointment. If it’s a finished draft I’m working on, I have to be disciplined and spend several hours at a time either during the evening or at weekends.

When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and I started with poetry. By the time I left school I’d written enough poems to fill a book. I didn’t start writing novels until forced to sit while my son played with pre-school friends at our local play place. Once I started, I found I couldn’t stop; it’s a bit like an addiction. I’m at the point where I’ve had to stop writing new pieces until I’ve decided what to do with my earlier novels. It’s very hard because I could and do write every day if time permits.

Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

My desire to be published was there from the first page I wrote, but desire alone wasn’t sufficient to drive and support my confidence in times of doubt. Without Tara Moore’s support, guidance and interest I don’t believe I would have continued striving for publication.

When did you make your first serious foray into writing and what did you write?

My first novel, started at the play place, was Rainbow of Destiny. It’s an off-world story about a female courier with a unique ability to mind-bond with animals. I loved it but the 4 publishers I sent it to didn’t. I was heart-broken and I think I would have stopped writing then if I hadn’t met Tara who inspired me to continue.

Has your style of writing changed significantly since then?

I looked over my first novel, written on paper in the dark ages, a while back and was horrified at how complicated my sentences were. I tried to put too much information into each one. I’m not sure why?

If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I wouldn’t have spent 5 years of my life trying to get an agent or publisher interested in my work. I know I’m not the next literary giant. I won’t make them gazillions so I’m probably not on the same planet as them. I wish I knew that then instead of breaking my heart a bit more each time the rejection letter landed on the mat. My heart still squeezes in my chest at the thought that my work may never pique their interest.

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it

I think I’ve answered some of this question above. How did I cope? I licked my wounds – again –  and decided I needed more support to manage the rejections. I started the Inspiration writing group 4 years ago because I couldn’t believe there weren’t other writers experiencing the same soul-destroying letters as me. I knew they were standard letters, and a few were sort of kind, but it doesn’t lessen the feeling of worthlessness.

Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I believe everything in life reaches a plateau and ebooks are no different. Like Marmite, some folk will love them and some will hate them because of this they are no threat to authors only traditional publishers.

Why did you choose to go down the route of independent publishing?

Life is way too short and my heart can only take so much punishment.

I have heard some authors say that they won’t feel ‘properly published’ unless via a traditional publisher. How do you feel about this statement?

Of course I’d love my dream publisher to turn up a La white horse, but I’m also a realist. I wanted to get my novels out there for people to read. I couldn’t think of anything worse than for my stories to sit on a hard drive never to be read. That would mean all my hours and days writing had no point, no value, and I couldn’t live with myself knowing part of me (my writing) never existed as a reality.

Have you ever been traditionally published and, if so, why have you made the cross over to independent publishing?

I’ve been published in other independant anthologies. Firedance Publishing published my short dark fantasy story Underworld, which I later went on to independently publish on kindle.

As a platform, is it working for you? What are the pros and cons?

It’s not a case of is it working. It’s what I’m doing; it will work. It has no choice but to work because I’m not prepared for it not to. I guess all those rejection letters have toughened me up. The pros? I’ve learnt so much about the publishing process. I can appreciate the issues facing traditional publishers to a greater degree.

The cons are also the pitfalls of the publishing process. How to pick professionals to assist with the various elements of publishing is the main one.

The final one is trying to market books whilst working full-time and getting people to place book reviews on-line to assist with sales.

What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I’ve loved every story I’ve written. My favourite is the one I’m about to publish.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

I’m really looking forward to my next publication ‘Aquasapien – Metamorphosis‘.

Aquasap3D

 

I sometimes think my reading inspires my writing, but the work I complete isn’t a carbon copy of it. It’s almost like I can see the gaps in between what I’m reading and subconsciously write about the story inside.

What are you working on right now?

Publishing Aquasapien and finishing the follow-up novel to Witch on the Warpath – Gristle’s Revenge.

What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I like leaving my life behind and living inside the story, somewhere else. I dislike not yet being proficient enough to get away with only a couple of drafts before publication.

Anything you would like to crow about?

My first book Witch on the Warpath, a teen fantasy is out there now, on the shelves at our local Waterstones, selling in Kenny’s bookstore Dublin and on-line on 7 websites around the world including EBay.

 

Witch 3D

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Believe in yourself.

If you know your book is not likely to sell 50,000 copies, because its about the mating rituals of ants etc, consider independant publishing and save yourself a lot of heartache especially you just want a few copies for family and friends.

Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

Stick at it!

Thank you, Carol Salter.

NB: You can buy Witch on the Warpath from Amazon on the link below.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Witch-Warpath-Trouble-Trolls-Carol-Salter/dp/0993317405/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452082084&sr=1-1&keywords=witch+on+the+warpath

Carol is on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carol-salter-86019042

https://www.facebook.com/carol.salter.33?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/SalterCarol

Website: http://carolmsalter.weebly.com/

 

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A Fine Romance – With Nell Dixon!

Image

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

I’m Nell Dixon, a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-seven years. I have three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, I write warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Myrmidon Press, Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press, E-Scape Press and Freya’s Bower.

 

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

This is hard as I love several authors. Jane Austen is my favourite author and a book I really wish I’d written is Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie. That book cracks me up everytime I read it.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

Sadly, no chaise longe. I have a small office just off the first floor landing of my home. It doesn’t have a door so my family frequently clump up the stairs to interrupt me. I write mainly in the evenings and at weekends.

 When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

I have always written from the age of four when I first learned to read, the writing came soon after. I used to make up stories and get my Dad to write them down. Growing up I read anything and everything. Some of my favourite authors were Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton and Elinor Brent-Dyer.

When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I had my first poem published when I was eleven. My local paper gave me a postal order which I thought was amazing. I sent them so many poems after that, most of which they bought, that I had my own little spot. I finished my first book when I was seventeen. I loved Andre Norton so it was very sci-fi. Now I write quirky romantic comedy or contemporary romance with a twist of humour and a dollop of suspense.

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

I had loads of rejections, and indeed still get some. I hope my writing is always improving and I know that what I write may not be every editor’s cup of tea. If I get a rejection I just keep polishing up that story and send it right back out there to someone else.

 Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

I think it’s great that readers have so much choice now. I love finding new authors to read and my kindle has widened the kinds of books I read enormously.

 Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I think so. Anything that gives people easy access to books has to be a fantastic thing no matter what the format.

 What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I’ve written sixteen books now. I like to think that the latest book is always my best one. I do have some favourites though, simply because they were so much fun to write. Animal Instincts, the book that won the Romance Prize in 2010 is a favourite. Not just of mine but also for readers – everyone loves Dave, the foul mouthed parrot.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

I always hope the best is yet to come. I get inspiration from life, reading the paper, eavesdropping on conversations and watching TV.

 What are you working on right now?

Right now I have an idea for a new series in my head. My last series – The Cornish set New Bay stories has been popular with readers and I enjoy writing stand alone stories that have recurring characters. It’s like catching up with old friends.

 What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I love it when a story comes to life, like magic. I hate the days when it’s like wading through treacle, in the dark with sharks circling.

Anything you would like to crow about?

I’m British so am rubbish at crowing about anything really!

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

My advice to all aspiring writers is to read as much as you can, read widely and then sit down and write. Write even when it’s hard and you’re tired and you really should be scrubbing the toilet or feeding the cat not staring at a blank page waiting for words to come. Just write.

Read more about Nell on:

http://www.nelldixon.com

http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nell-Dixon/228642037151856

Twitter as @nelldixon

Nell’s latest release is Be My Hero http://www.amazon.com/Be-My-Hero-ebook/dp/B0095MYT24/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

BeMyHero 200x300

 

Excerpt!

Nathalie Mayer is thirty-four. On the surface she is an attractive, happy, single, successful woman running her own bridal business. Despite her line of work and her obvious delight in other people’s weddings, including that of her twin brother, Nate. Nathalie has always declared that a settled relationship is not for her. There has only ever been one man whom Nathalie felt she could love.

Evan Davies is back in town after a six year absence. Last time he was here, he and Nathalie had tentatively begun to take their friendship to a different level. Now he’s home again and has the reason for his sudden departure from six years ago with him – his daughter, Polly.

Nell, thank you for a wonderful interview!

 

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Filed under Author, Books, Catherine Czerkawska, chicklit, Crime, Crime Writers, Ebooks, Faith Bleasdale, Fiction, Library, Nell Dixon, Novelist, Publishing, romance, Romantic Novelist, Sasha Wagstaff, Sheila Quigley, Uncategorized, Writing

The Wonderful Mix that is Author, Catherine Czerkawska

ImageA little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

My name is Catherine Czerkawska, I was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, of mixed Polish, English and Irish parentage, but I’ve lived in a small village in rural Ayrshire for many years.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

If I had to pick just one, it would have to be Emily Bronte, and the book would be Wuthering Heights. I go back to it again and again.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I think I could manage the champagne. I write straight onto a PC at high speed and wear out keyboards. I try to write every day but it varies. I can’t start work without a hit of strong coffee. (I buy Sicilian coffee beans on eBay.) I work on novels, plays and research in the afternoons and evenings. Mornings will be reserved for answering emails, blog posts, article and reviews for various magazines. If I’m completing a novel and working to a deadline – usually self imposed these days – I can write for twelve hours at a stretch. But normally I would work on fiction or drama for four or five hours at a time. We live in a 200 year old cottage, and I‘m very lucky to have an upstairs study with a view of the garden and the woods beyond.

When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire?

I can’t remember wanting to do anything else. I was very ill as a child with severe asthma and spent a lot of time at home, alternately fighting for breath and feeling exhausted. Reading was my salvation. We were a working class household in which books were prized and reading was encouraged. My parents read to me all the time. I had a pile of beautifully illustrated ‘wonder books’ which had belonged to a much older aunt when she was a girl. I read them avidly: extracts from the classics, fairy and folk tales. I don’t know when I first thought ‘Maybe I could do that,’ but I was quite young.

When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

There were several forays and they all happened at about the same time. While I was at Edinburgh University, reading Mediaeval Studies, I had poems published in a couple of collections: a ‘new voices’ anthology and a collection called White Boats, with Andrew Greig. And I was writing short stories. One of my first payments was for a short story called Catch Two, in She Magazine. I always knew I wanted to write novels but I kept being distracted by drama: radio drama, (which I no longer write, although I had more than 100 hours produced), and stage plays. These used to earn me a good living. I still enjoy working in theatre – I love collaboration – but I wish I had focused on novels earlier.

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

Playwrights tend to have robust egos. You rely on so many other people to make a production work. I have had several publishing let-downs, but one example affected me for years. I was lucky enough to be represented by the late, great Pat Kavanagh for fiction. She sold my novel, The Golden Apple, to The Bodley Head, an old fashioned publishing house of great distinction. I was a natural mid-list author. Still am. My novels, historical and contemporary, are well crafted (I hope) and readable, but hard to categorise by genre. In mid publication, The Bodley Head was swallowed whole by a big corporate fish. The Golden Apple was edited and published as a glossy beach bonkbuster. Many years later, my editor told me that she thought they had published it in quite the wrong way. The novel was given virtually no promotion and sank without trace. This was at a time when authors weren’t encouraged to arrange their own promotion as they would now. I had been writing a historical novel based on my own weird and wonderful family history but the new publishers turned it down and Pat couldn’t sell it. We collected a string of rave rejections from editors saying things like ‘I loved this. Stayed up all night reading it.’ But nobody would buy it. They cited the Polish setting and the general unpopularity of historical fiction at that time. Pat was possibly even more frustrated and angry about it than I was. After that, I went back to plays but carried on writing novels. I just didn’t make many attempts to sell them.

Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

Absolutely. I’ve seen changes in publishing which I don’t think younger writers are fully aware of. When my first novels were published, my agent didn’t see it as her job to act as editor. She might ask questions and make suggestions, but editing was done by a publisher’s editor. If the editor supported a book it would be acquired, and she would then expect to nurture a writer through several published novels before – just possibly – there might be a ‘breakthrough’ book. Successful writers who benefited from this (excellent) system still think it’s like that. Publishers still behave as though this is what they do. But on the whole, it isn’t and they don’t. A few years ago, my then agent said, ‘publishers are looking for an oven-ready product these days.’ She would always be looking for the immediate breakthrough. I still remember the sinking feeling of hearing her tell me that if she submitted two books which were turned down (and this wasn’t on quality – it was on instant marketability) they wouldn’t even look at a third from me. I spent years trying to second guess the market, jumping through hoops. It became untenable. The one good thing about it is that I now have lots of pre-written material.

Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I hope so!

Why did you choose to go down the route of independent publishing?

I had been wishing that I could self publish for a long time. I knew I had a good enough product. I had validation from agents, editors, readers and even critics. I just wasn’t enough of a money spinner for them. But I had run other businesses to buy the time to write, and learned a lot along the way. In no other area of my professional life was I treated like the humble supplicant I was expected to become with regard to my writing. I wasn’t asking for special treatment, just a courteous and professional relationship. Becoming an independent writer-as-publisher has given me the autonomy I sought. I love the idea that I can be in charge of my own business, and can buy in the services and expertise I need on a one-off basis just as I would with any other business.

I have heard some authors say that they won’t feel ‘properly published’ unless via a traditional publisher. How do you feel about this statement?

I would advise those authors to seek a traditional publisher. You need to wear two hats to self publish: a business hat and a writer’s hat. If they don’t feel they want to do that (and I can fully accept that some writers may not want to) then it may not be for them. They may well be lucky enough to find the right agent and publisher. But I would also remind them that most readers don’t really care who publishes a book, so long as they enjoy the end product.

Have you ever been traditionally published and, if so, why have you made the cross over to independent publishing? As a platform, is it working for you? What are the pros and cons?

I have been – and still am to some extent – traditionally published. And I would do it again in certain circumstances. But it would have to be on the right terms. In many ways, Amazon has been the answer to a prayer. The main benefit to me (other than a certain amount of good financial remuneration) has been a sense of creative freedom. I recently did a big audit of my work, and found perfectly good manuscripts which hadn’t even been read by my agents, or seen by any publisher, because they didn’t fit the requirements of the time. The big publishers are always trying to predicate next year’s bestseller on last year’s unexpected success. There was a time when you couldn’t sell a historical novel for love nor money. Supernatural? You must be joking! Vampires? No way! It has all made me a mite cynical. It’s no coincidence that so many writers who are embracing the eBook revolution are older mid-list writers like myself. We have confidence in our work, we have business experience, and we have readers who like what we write. The only cons I can see are time constraints, but then those were always an issue. People will say ‘I prefer to spend my time writing!’ but the reality is that very few traditionally published writers are ever paid enough to be able to write full time.

What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I have three traditionally published novels:

Shadow of the Stone

The Golden Apple

The Curiosity Cabinet

plus

God’s Islanders (A big hardback history of the small Scottish island of Gigha.)

Two previously produced plays, Wormwood and The Price of a Fish Supper are both still in print in anthologies, Scotland Plays and Scottish Shorts. Nick Hern is a saint among small publishers; he keeps books in print.

After a rights reversion, I published The Curiosity Cabinet as an eBook, followed by Bird of Passage and then The Amber Heart, which was a version of the epic Polish historical novel rejected all those years ago .

My favourite of these is probably Bird of Passage. It is in some ways a homage to Wuthering Heights. It’s about the effects of traumatic childhood experiences, and it’s also a story about obsessive – and destructive – passion, mostly set on a Scottish island, with forays to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin. It allowed me to explore my Irish background. I think it’s probably one of the best things I’ve written, but maybe not to everyone’s taste. It’s quite harrowing. And very sensual.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

Oh yes – I have so much still to write. But I also have manuscripts which need extensive revision (and a few which should definitely stay in the drawer!) There’s also lots of new work in note form, and many produced plays which I would consider writing as novels or novellas. I hope I can work away for some years yet and establish a real body of longer fiction.

What is your latest book?

Ice Dancing,  probably the closest I’ve come to a genuine romance. It’s a love story about a younger man and an older woman and it’s about my favourite game, ice hockey, as well. But it does have a darker side. It was published in October 2012.

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing final revisions of a Scottish historical novel called The Physic Garden, set in and around the old college of Glasgow University in the very early 1800s. It’s due for publication in mid February – in the first instance to Kindle, but I’ll definitely be doing Print On Demand with this one as well. It’s narrated by an old man remembering events in his youth which have coloured his whole life, a story of friendship and appalling betrayal. I felt as if I was channelling my narrator, not making him up. I’m very, very fond of him. He has a strong voice – and he makes me cry. The few people who have already read the book tell me that they have found it to be genuinely and unexpectedly shocking – but they couldn’t put it down. I don’t think it will appeal to everyone, but I hope people will give it a try.

 I’m also making notes for a piece of biographical writing about my Yorkshire childhood. I’ve been thinking about writing this for years, but never felt ready. It seems to be a project whose time has come.

What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I like everything about writing. But if pushed I’d say I love researching and revising more than writing the first draft.

Anything you would like to crow about?

I don’t do a lot of crowing but some of my recent reviews have been worth crowing about. It’s lovely when somebody takes the time and trouble to analyse what you have written. The other thing I love is when young people tell me that they have successfully used extracts from some of my plays for auditions.

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?

Years ago, somebody wrote to me that ‘the only way to learn how to write is to write’ which may seem obvious, but I meet a lot of people who seem to think that they can write one novel, rest on their laurels and make a fortune. It could happen. And you could win the lottery, too. But most writers have drawers full of stuff. Pat Kavanagh used to say – in her usual forthright way – that if you couldn’t bear not to write, you shouldn’t bother.

The best book on the subject I have ever read is Stephen King’s ‘On Writing.’ He suggests reading and writing a lot and he doesn’t favour critique groups. I personally think that reading doesn’t necessarily have to be fiction. But you do have to read extensively and mindfully. You’ll learn more from reading (good and bad) than from any amount of feedback. If the feedback is from somebody you respect, somebody whose work you admire, it’s a different matter. And if you can find a small, supportive group that’s fine. But the more prescriptive and forceful the criticism, the less helpful it tends to be in your search for your own unique voice.

Thank you, Catherine, for a wonderful, insightful and very enjoyable interview.

You can find out more about Catherine and her books on:

www.wordarts.co.uk

            BLOG: http://wordarts.blogspot.com

            AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/Catherine-Lucy-Czerkawska/e/B001JP4K6U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1278708.Catherine_Czerkawska

TWITTER: @czerkawska

And you can buy her books here!

THE CURIOSITY CABINET: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Curiosity-Cabinet-ebook/dp/B005GEYW4A

BIRD OF PASSAGE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bird-of-Passage-ebook/dp/B006RB2H3Y

THE AMBER HEART: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Amber-Heart-ebook/dp/B007PV35G8/

A QUIET AFTERNOON IN THE MUSEUM OF TORTURE:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Afternoon-Museum-Torture-ebook/dp/B005EMUK68/ref=pd_sim_kinc_3

STAINED GLASS:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stained-Glass-ebook/dp/B0072V9JH0/

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ImageAND HERE – JUST TO MAKE US ENVIOUS IS A PICTURE OF THE IDYLLIC COTTAGE IN WHICH CATHERINE DREAMS UP HER CHARACTERS AND WRITES HER WONDERFUL BOOKS!

 

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Filed under Author, Books, Catherine Czerkawska, chicklit, Crime, Crime Writers, Ebooks, Faith Bleasdale, Fiction, Library, Publishing, romance, Sasha Wagstaff, Scotland, Sheila Quigley, Uncategorized, Writing

Have a little Faith – Bleasdale, that is!

 

ImageThis week’s interview is with the lovely Faith Bleasdale, who writes on a tray – you read that right. Over to you Faith.

A little bit of bio – who are you, where do you come from and where are you based?

I’m Faith Bleasdale, I was born in Sussex, grew up in North Devon and after moving nomadically around for years I am now based in North Devon.

Who is your favourite author of all time and which book do you wish you had written?

Goodness that’s difficult, I love so many, I shall say Margaret Atwood, I think she’s wonderful and I wish I’d written Alias Grace; due to the fact for me it’s historical fiction at its best.

Have you a writing routine? Do you write a la Cartland, dictating to a minion whilst lying on a chaise longe sipping champagne? Or, is the reality a garden shed or a corner of the living room?

I have a tray. No really. I used to have the luxury of an office but then I had a child. So I have a vintage tray that I work on usually on the sofa in the summer or in bed in the winter. It’s quite a sight. Of course I do have a dining table and a bureau but for me the tray works best. Well until I can afford the minion to dictate to of course.

When were you first gripped by the writing bug – was it a gradual realisation or always a burning ambition? Which authors, if any, were influential in fuelling this desire? 

I always wanted to write ever since I can remember if I’m honest. At school I was happiest when writing stories, so deep down I was gripped from a very early age. I think perhaps one of  the most influential authors for me is Enid Blyton, as I spent so much of my childhood lost in her books and then Judy Blume. Those two authors I feel framed much of my childhood/teenage reading.

 When did you make your first serious foray into writing? What did you write? Has your style of writing changed significantly since then? If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

I was in my early twenties when I realised that I couldn’t really find a job I liked, so I thought about what I really wanted to do. I took a leap of faith; took up temping and wrote my first book. I was very much in the young female fiction genre back then, so now I feel that I have grown up and hopefully so was my writing. And no, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I believe everything we do, both good and bad leads us forwards in life, so no regrets and no looking back!

We all know the world of traditional publishing can be brutal in its rejection and fragile egos are routinely shattered. Have you ever experienced this? How did it make you feel? How did you cope with it?

Goodness, rejection is my middle name. I used to grade my rejection letters from bad to good and I actually liked the good ones! It’s a part of life and I believe that if it’s the right thing for you, then you believe in yourself and no matter how many rejections you get you dust yourself off and get back up there. Rejection in any form isn’t nice but it is true, I believe it either floors you or makes you stronger. Well most writers are pretty strong I think.

Ebook platforms such as Kindle and Smashwords are playing a major role in changing the face of publishing. Is this a good thing and do you feel that traditional publishers and agents have had it their own way for far too long?

I think it’s fabulous because this way the readers get to be the judge of what they read not the publishers. It gives writers a chance they might not other wise have and I welcome any change, because that’s how we evolve.

Do you feel ebooks will continue to escalate in popularity?

I do think they will and I also am happy to be making my first foray into e-publishing soon.

What books have you written? Have you a particular favourite? What/who inspired it?

I’ve written six books so far, Rubber Gloves or Jimmy Choos, Pinstripes, Peep Show, Deranged Marriage, Agent Provocateur and The Love Resort. Like children, I couldn’t possibly have a favourite.

Do you feel the best is yet to come? What inspires your writing in general?

The best is definitely yet to come, and life inspires me. Actually I think most things inspire me!

What are you working on right now?

I’m about to publish my first e-book and I’m also writing something different to what I’ve tackled before.

What do you like/dislike most about writing?

I like everything about writing, well mostly. I dislike spelling because even after all this time and spellchecks, I’m still not great.

Anything you would like to crow about?

No!

When I was an aspiring author, I longed to know ‘the secrets’ of other authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Did anyone ever share a particularly valuable insight or piece of advice with you and, if so, can you share it with us?                        

I went out on a limb and took a chance to do something I loved and I believed in. I think if it’s something you are passionate about then give it a go. And in this day and age with e-books there is no better time to do so.

You can read more about the lovely and prolific Faith on www.faithbleasdale.com

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