Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Death At The Happiness Club by Cecilia Peartree

Death At The Happiness Club is Cecilia’s fourth story set in Pitkirtly.   It is not my favourite story, but is extremely enjoyable nonetheless.  In this book Christopher doesn’t spend as much time with Amaryllis and since that’s my favourite partnership, I was a bit disappointed.  The “will they won’t they” is great and I don’t think I want them to get together properly as they will lose that dynamic.  It was nice to learn more about Maisie Sue and some other characters.
I always feel at the end of one of these stories that I have to say goodbye to friends, even though I’m not one of the gang and am looking in.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007S7WEIY/?tag=kuffbl-21

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Interrogating Talli Roland

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories—complete with happy endings. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States.




How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I must admit, it can be tough to strike a balance. I write in a genre (chick lit/ light women’s fiction/ romantic comedy/ whatever the media are calling it these days) where a happy ending is pretty much a must. However, I’m a big fan of the bittersweet ending, where not everything is wrapped up in a neat little box with a bow. It’s a struggle sometimes to bring myself around to writing a positive outcome.  

Whenever I come up with a plot, I always ask myself if this is something my target reader would want to invest time in – and I try to pick topics a little different from the typical cupcakes/ high heels/ shopping (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) that abound in my genre.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I love the comedic element and the fact that you can use humour to address deeper issues facing women of all ages. The sharp snappy pace of the genre really appeals to me, too. As a former journalist, I’m incapable of waffling on too much.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them? 

I have an ‘ideas’ folder on my computer, but it’s usually for plots. That seems to be how most of my ideas come to me: a glimmer of a storyline, or a unique situation a character might find themselves in. I love taking the seed of inspiration and seeing how it develops.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ? 

A little bit of me always finds its way into my characters (which is a very scary thought!), whether it’s in their likes and dislikes or their observations. The character I’d most like to be with – I’m not sure I’d want to be her! – is Serenity from Build A Man and its sequel, Construct A Couple. She’s a recent transplant to London and even though I’ve been here for eight years now, I can relate to her ‘fish out of water’ feelings. 


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

While I do get very absorbed in my novels – usually during the editing process as I try to make sense of what I’ve written – when I close the door to the office at the end of the day, I’m pretty good at leaving it behind! My brain needs the mental space from whatever I’m creating in order to come back to it fresh the next day. And it doesn’t matter how engaged I am in my work, if there’s food within reach… watch out!


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

To be honest, I’ll read anything. I started off my career writing guide books (24 Hours London and 24 Hours Paris) under my real name, Marsha Moore, so I really enjoy reading non-fiction and travelogues – Peter Mayle is a favourite. As long as there’s a good story and characters I care about, I really don’t care what genre it is.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

That’s an interesting question! I’m not sure you can convince readers a book has the X factor – the content has to speak for itself. You can make an effort to get your book noticed, though. The line between promoting and annoying is very fine: with more and more books out there, the cries of ‘buy my book’ on Twitter and social media can be overwhelming. I try to build relationships first, then think of something unique that doesn’t scream self-promotion but instead attracts attention to the novel. When I launched Watching Willow Watts, where the main character becomes a famous Marilyn Monroe impersonator, I asked people on Twitter, Facebook and blogs to talk about who they’d like to be for a day, if they could choose. And when I launched Build A Man, I directed people to a poll where they could vote on their favourite noses, lips, etc. Then, using the results, I created a composite of the perfect man (who turned out to be hideous!). I think those strategies worked because I wasn’t asking people outright to purchase my work.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

My first two novels were traditionally published with a wonderful editor, and I’m lucky enough that for my self-published novels, I’ve also been able to work with a terrific editor. However, the inevitable typo slips through the net! I try very hard to create a professional product, so I’m always disappointed if a reader spots something that tears them away from the novel. However, I appreciate any reader input and if someone spots a typo, at least I can change it!


What do you like most about visiting KUF?

It’s such a friendly forum, and I love that the moderators are always thinking of ways to improve and involve the community. Everyone is there to support each other, unlike other forums where there can be a bit of a ‘let’s attack’ attitude. I’ve been a member since December 2010, and I’m so glad I joined!


What is on your near horizon?

Construct A Couple, the sequel to Build A Man, is due out in June. In November, The Pollyanna Plan is scheduled for release. It’s been a busy year so far and it looks like it’s going to stay that way!


Where can we find you for more information?

You can find me on the web, follow me on Twitter, read my blog, or find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

You can learn more about Talli at www.talliroland.com.




Saturday, 19 May 2012

Love... From Both Sides by Nick Spalding

I'll start off by saying I am a fan of Mr Spalding's work.  I liked his Life... books and also his shorts (even the killer hedgehogs)

I dipped into this book to see how it read and a few hours later I'd finished it.  I read it with a smile on my face for most of the time.  The other times was a grimace.

This - as the title infers - is the same story of two people meeting and falling in love, but from both sides.  I thought that made it a more interesting story.  I enjoyed reading the one point of view, then the same situation from the other side.

Yes, it was crude at times.  I see there's a few one star reviews on Amazon.  But I actually chortled a few times and I don't often do that.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005L3RPP4/?tag=kuffbl-21

Interrogating Lynda Wilcox

For my 100th blog post I interrogate Lynda Wilcox.
"I swear that the answers I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You will remember that  I write fiction, though, won't you?"



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I don't know that I do. I write the story I want to tell, the story I have to write and then rely on my editor and beta readers to point out where and when I might have gone a little OTT. After that it's down to me whether I leave things unchanged or strip it out.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

Well, I write in two; children's fantasy and adult whodunits. I love the freedom that the former gives me. My imagination knows no boundaries when I'm writing for children, just as theirs is free to roam inventing imaginary friends, turning garden trees into giants and making the cupboard under the stairs into a time-portal.

When I'm writing my whodunits, however, I'm attracted by the idea of crafting a story that gives the reader the clues necessary to 'crack the case' and work it out for themselves, while at the same time not making the outcome so obvious that they know the guilty party by the end of page four! My job, my goal is to keep the reader guessing so that, by the end, the revelation of whodunit comes as a surprise but not totally out of thin air. A deus ex machina ending is an unsatisfying one and not something that lovers of the genre are likely to forgive. That's the challenge for me. That's what appeals.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them? 

My computer desk is littered with tiny sheets of paper with names, places, snatches of dialogue, which I then lose when I need them! In an effort to be more organized, I bought a couple of A4 size spiral-bound notebooks - I have one for every project - and now jot things down in these, instead. I still lose things, of course, because I put them in the wrong book. I get a lot of my best ideas when I'm falling to sleep at night or when I'm out walking, so my husband bought me a small, hand-held voice recorder. Neighbours in our small town now think I'm totally mad as I walk the streets at all times, and in all weathers, apparently talking to myself.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ? 

There's a lot of me in Verity Long (the main character in Strictly Murder), for all that she's nearly thirty years younger than I am. I've given her a lot of my opinions, prejudices, likes and dislikes and then had to make her say that she's an anachronism, out of touch with the modern world. I'd rather be her employer, KD, a sensible older woman - and a famous and successful writer of crime stories! You can see why I've chosen her, can't you?


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Well, I'd be a little worried if my husband thought he was married to a 13 year old boy! That's the age that Kel is in Chamaeleon: The Secret Spy. But, yes, I do get so engrossed in my characters - who all seem to lead wildly more interesting lives than I do - that I often become distracted and either don't answer him at all when he speaks to me or say something that's a total non-sequitur. Last Christmas, for example, when I was plotting the sequel to Chameleon, we had the following conversation:

Hubby: "Where's the Christmas wrapping paper, love?"

Me: "In the Royal Palace of Lasheen, where the young emperor is threatened by the ghost of his father."

Hubby: "Oh, right. I'll go there and get it, then, shall I?"

Me: "Umm? Behind the door in the back bedroom. Perhaps with booby-traps and a man-eating vine."

It's easier when I'm writing the Verity Long books - hubby often gives me ideas or I discuss some of Verity's 'rants' with him. There's a whole sequence in the second book Organized Murder, where Verity is in a bank complaining about the paucity of staff but the surfeit of cash machines, that was inspired by him. He is very supportive, as well as being my harshest critic, and is slowly getting used to the idea that his wife is a writer.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I enjoy reading whodunits but, these days, prefer mediaeval mysteries. I started with Ellis Peters' Cadfael books and then progressed to Michael Jecks, Bernard Knight and Paul Doherty's works. I find the period fascinating - all that muck, low life expectancy and religion - but have no desire, or knowledge, to write it myself.

I also read a lot of children's fantasy but prefer older books, Tom's Midnight Garden, Aquila and so on, to anything written by today's authors. But then, I'm old, and old fashioned  too, I suppose.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Aargh! I don't. If you've read Strictly Murder you'll know exactly what I think about fatuous TV  programmes like The X Factor.

Seriously, I simply try to write the best book that I can, in the hope that it will connect with someone, somewhere. I continue to learn as much as I can and to hone my craft so people enjoy my stories - none of which, I freely admit, will ever be classed as great literature - and come back for more. In the end, readers will decide for themselves if my work has the X, Y, or even, Z Factor. And that's the way it should be.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Well, it hasn't happened, yet, and besides, I don't make spelling mistakes, I only make typos. (And if you believe that ...)

However, when it does happen, there will be three possible answers:

1. I will call them rude names for being so nit-picky and not seeing the bigger picture, then I shall go to bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry myself to sleep.

2. I shall blame my husband, who proofreads everything for me.

3. I shall thank them for taking the time and trouble to point it out, groan at my own stupidity/fallibility and put it right ASAP. Then I shall go out and buy the latest edition of Chambers' Dictionary and throw my old (2003) copy away.


What do you like most about visiting KUF?

At last! An easy question. Without doubt, it is the warmth of the welcome and the friendly, helpful people who inhabit it. I don't visit all of the Forums on KUF and can usually be found hanging out in the Forum for Authors. Even so, that forum isn't ghettoized (is there such a word?) as it is in certain places I could mention and, now that Strictly Murder is published, I shall explore some of the other forums without the pressure to get on with my writing.


What is on your near horizon?

I'm currently revising and editing Chamaeleon 2: The Dragon Key and then I hope to write a short story for the KUF Summer Anthology. After that I need to finish Organized Murder before starting the third in the Chamaeleon series. So, busy times ahead.


Where can we find you for more information? 


My blog: http://writeanglesbylynda.blogspot.com

Twitter: @lyndawilcox

And by email: lyndawrites@gmail.com

Friday, 18 May 2012

Something to Read on the Plane by Jan Hurst-Nicholson

This is billed as a collection of shorts and comments and other fun stuff.  It was reasonably enjoyable.  Some stories seemed to be from and about the author, others fiction and sometimes I was wondering if I could remember if the author was male or female and which ones were the “based on real life” ones.

In all, a pleasant collection of stories for in between novels.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003QCIQ14/?tag=kuffbl-21

Dead World by Shaun Jeffrey

Dead World is set in another of Shaun’s weird worlds in his imagination.

Life is bleak within the walled city of Sanctuary after mankind has fallen.  But there’s only so much room there and it’s a case of “one in one out” when a new child is born.  The “one out” has to leave the safety and go out to be sacrificed to the gods – the undead beings that wander outside being the gods.  But we know gods don’t exist and what the undead really are.

In the post Kindle apocalypse, novellas seem to be coming to the fore and this being a novella, it was the right length for this story.  Shaun certainly knows how to put his varied imagination on the page.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Timeline by David Wailing

Timeline is another short story set in the same world as Relationship Status.

I suppose it is similarish to Relationship Status in that the autos are taking over a human's life choices.  I felt this one had more tension  I read it in one sitting (well one lying as I read it in bed lol) and I was on the edge of my proverbial seat as Joanna was racing across London.

It was a decent length for a short story.  Just short of 1k locations translates to about ten thousand words.  The length was perfectly suited to this story, but I want more from Mr Wailing.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0083RL0VA/?tag=kuffbl-21

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Depth of Deception by Alexander Galant

Depth of Deception is subtitled "A Titanic Murder Mystery" and is a nice little mystery. In 1982, a woman is rescued from the Atlantic, dressed in old fashioned clothes on a deckchair, miles from anywhere or any boat. As she recovers, she says she was on the Titanic. Is she telling the truth or is she a con-woman? But the story has tentacles reaching out across the Atlantic to Scotland and a cold case miscarriage of justice.

Normally I wouldn’t be bothered with anything that promotes itself with Titanic, but this was an intriguing read. You were given little snippets of the mystery and it kept me wanting to find out more. Was she really from the past? It kept me guessing. Was it resolved satisfactorily for me? Not really, but it didn’t matter, I enjoyed the journey.

Reading the acknowledgements at the end was also interesting as the author had used real people’s stories.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007O3IKTY/?tag=kuffbl-21

Interrogating Martin Lake

Martin Lake is an author who would like to live in ye olden days.  As he can't, he writes about it.



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write about what fascinates me.  I can't be that unusual in my tastes and hope that other people will like the sort of thing that I love to write about.  I don't think I could sustain a whole novel if I was not engrossed by the story and intrigued by my characters.  The only compromise I make is to ensure that I don't overload my novels with unnecessary historical information.  I'm not sure that this is a compromise, actually.  I think it makes good sense and is considerate to the reader.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I have always loved fiction and history so it seemed an obvious and fruitful choice to write in this genre.  One of the things I am most interested in is how people in the past could be both like and unlike us.  I'm sure that a Roman could be an affectionate and kindly person while at the same time a follower of gladiator fights.  I also love helping bring the past to life.  I learnt a lot of historical knowledge by reading stories.  I also like the challenge of taking real historical characters and filling out their characters and motives while keeping them in a realistic setting with the real events they lived through.  I try my utmost to keep to the facts as we know them.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I don't but I love the idea of a box!  I do keep notebooks, quite a few of them, one in each of the many bags I carry.  I get my best ideas when I'm alone in a café.  Not only by watching people and listening to them but by having the feeling of being disengaged from the normal concerns of life and free to delve into my imagination.  I expect I also have a yearning to be some 19th century poet with a café next to my garret.  I also use OneNote software as I can stuff anything in that and use the search facility to find it when I've forgotten where it is.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

My wife tells me that I put a lot of myself in some of my characters.  (The heroes, naturally.)  I agree although I tend to put different aspects of myself into different characters.  So, in my The Lost King series, the loyal and good-humoured side of me goes into Godwin, any thoughtful and clever side I may hope I possess is heightened and embroidered and goes into Athelstan.  I'm not too sure that I'd like to be any of my characters.  The one that comes closest would be Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, as he begins to mature and makes choices about life.  He would be great company as well.  I'm constantly surprised by Anna, the female lead in The Lost King so I'd like to spend time with her.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

I think my wife would say yes.   I can get completely engrossed and forget what time it is.  Lots of jobs I've promised to do don't get done, I'm afraid.  My wife has recently started to edit my books so the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I alternate between history books and fiction.  I guess my main reading matter now is historical fiction although I have favourite mainstream authors who I also read.  My all time favourites are the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I work really hard to make reading my books a pleasure.  If I'm not stirred by it or it doesn't sound right to me then why should a reader like it?  I suppose I should be better at marketing but to be honest I'd rather spend my time working on my books.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I'd shake them by the hand if I could.  I am grateful when people email me to say there is a mistake.  No matter how many times I read and re-read my drafts typos and errors still slip through.  I feel I owe it to readers to have no mistakes.  I have emailed writers quietly to let them know errors I've found in their work and, like me, they are always grateful to be told.


What do you like most about visiting KUF?

I love the sense of community and the enthusiasm for reading.  I've discovered a lot of new books and new authors as well.  Perhaps the best thing, however, is the real generosity of spirit from people.  The advice and help I've had from people has made my journey to self-publication much easier than it would have otherwise have been.


What is on your near horizon?

I'm writing the third novel in The Lost King series.  I'm also editing a novel set in the Twelfth Century Kingdom of Jerusalem.  This was inspired by when I watched Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven and did not believe that commoners would have been knighted in order to defend the city.  But they were.  And it got me wondering what happened to them afterwards.  I aim to publish this one before Book 3 of the Lost King.


Where can we find you for more information?

My blog is martinlakewriting.wordpress.com and I am on Twitter @martinlake14.  You can also find me on KUF of course.

Gray Justice by Alan McDermott

I thoroughly enjoyed Gray Justice.  I’d heard lots of good reports about it and it certainly lived up to them.

The premise is Tom Grey loses his son to a car thief and Tom’s wife can’t take it so kills herself.  Tom has nothing to live for and when the killer is let free by pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention, Tom decides to try to change the justice laws.

But Tom is ex-SAS, so it’s not a matter of writing to the Prime Minister.  The scheme he devises is quite ingenious and the “cat and mouse” he plays with MI5 is played out well.

The story takes an unexpected turn half way through and at the end of each chapter I wanted to keep going.

This is Alan’s first novel and it is an exciting, interesting, though provoking read.  It made me wonder what would I have done on the “audience participation” bit.

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005BSRAZO/?tag=kuffbl-21

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Haunting of Drang Island by Arthur Slade

The Haunting of Drang Island is the second book in the Northern Frights series.  They are based on Norse myths and there's quite a few references to the mythology which makes it interesting.

These books are aimed at the YA audience, but are very readable for adults and often a bit "hide behind the sofa" scary.

I really liked the fiesty character of Fiona. 

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004UB00Z0/?tag=kuffbl-21

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Interrogating Jennifer Hanning

And back to "normal" indies with Jennifer Hanning (I'm sure she'd love the success of John Locke, as would anyone of my interogatees)



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?


I write what I want to write otherwise my work wouldn't have as much depth and passion. However, I'm fortunate enough to be able to think and imagine in various genres. So when I saw that sales for my mystery/suspense novel, "What Happened to Polly", far exceeded my historical/supernatural book, I decided to go with the more popular genre for my next project. 


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

My supernatural book, "Moongolly", was born of an incessant curiosity of the unknown to which I applied my own theories, reasonings, and answers.  Losing myself in an historical saga is one of my favourite ways of relaxing and I hope I bring as my value to my readers in that genre.  I also love writing mysteries; it's so much fun to intrigue readers while building suspense.  Bringing a diverse range of characters to life is very important to me in any genre. 


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Writing my first book, I'd be cruising along and then come to a screeching halt while I tried to decide the name of a new character. So I began to mix and match names from the obituary columns for my characters! These days, I jot down random names from rolling credits and keep a list of names near my computer. I also carry a little dictaphone in my wallet for when ideas pop into my head, usually when I'm driving. 


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

People say one's first book tends to be a bit autobiographical even if it's not intended to be. For me, this happened more with my second book, “What Happened to Polly”.  Once my partner saw that I was in it, I deliberately implemented his nature and talents into the main male character.  It worked well, however, in future I plan on my characters being purely fictional – with bits and pieces of people I have loved and loathed over the years, of course  :-) 


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Thankfully, my partner is even more of a workaholic than I am. And, wonderful person that he is, he takes time out from his own projects whenever I need him to read a draft or to talk me through a block or something I've written but I'm not happy with.  He is very inspiring and motivating and will probably always feature in the Acknowledgments of all my books.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Very short lengths – if only I were better at blowing my own trumpet!  When Moongolly came out in paperback, many of my friends and associates bought it probably to be supportive since it took some of them over a year to finally pick it up and read it.  And the comments I got then -- "awesome", "so different from what I would have expected", "best book I've read in ages" ... and many other heart-warming responses.  There are still others who own it but haven't read it yet and I can't bring myself to convince them that they'll enjoy it.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Relieved, pleased and grateful. I want my books to be as perfectly presented as possible so I have three people proofread the final draft – and that's after I've convinced myself that all errors have been corrected.  Sometimes, we see what we expect to see rather than what's really there.


What do you like most about visiting KUF?

The interaction with friendly and helpful people. I like that we are permitted to promote our books but in a moderated way so people don't have to trawl through a million and a half promos before they find something or someone interesting. Not that the blurbs on books aren't interesting, but in some forums that's all there seems to be these days. The sub-forums in KUF are well presented so readers and writers can easily find what interests them. 


What is on your near horizon?

Sometimes I despair that I will never find the time to write another book. I am also a yoga and meditation teacher and can't say no when people request more classes and/or courses. Soon, I will cut back and begin to transfer my next mystery suspense from my head to the page.


Where can we find you for more information?





Strictly Murder by Lynda Wilcox

Lynda's previous (and first) book is a children's book which I hadn't read.  But after hearing the plot for her new adult book, I thought I'd like it.  I didn't, I loved it.

I can't decide whether it's a cozy mystery or a chick lit.  There's the (not at all graphic) murder, but then there's the sassyish chick deciding which man to choose- if any.

The story unfolds with twists and turns.  I'd made up my mind "whodunnit" a few times to be proved wrong.  I guessed the murderer within 10% of the end, so to me that's a result.  I don't like to know from the start, but I don't like to be baffled by the clues at the end.

If this is the first "grown up" story from Lynda, then I'm joining the queue for the next one.



Thursday, 3 May 2012

Interrogating John Locke

I am pleased to announce that my 20th interrogation victim is the lovely John Locke, one of the most successful self published authors of the ebook revolution.  I am very honoured that John took time out of his very busy day to reply to my questions.  I really like his Donovan Creed books as they are such fun to take your brains out and get on that ride.  I am yet to try his westerns, but I am sure I will like them just the same, even though I don’t like westerns.



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I’m at a place in my writing where most of my loyal readers give me the leeway to experiment with the occasional new character series (Emmett Love, Dani Ripper, Dr. Gideon Box), but I am very careful not to abuse that trust. What this means is, I may write new characters and story lines, but I stay within my style of fast-paced, conversational writing.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in?

Nothing in particular, it’s just where I’m comfortable.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder, etc. where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories?  Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters—even if you have no idea when you might use them?

No. I only save the dialogue I plan to use for my current story. Otherwise I’d feel like I’m forcing old ideas into a story I wasn’t even thinking about at the time. My ideas come when I’m thinking about or discussing my current book, and the place I “save” them is in the manuscript, below the current story line. For example, I danced with my wife for two hours Friday night, but I don’t like to dance. I decided it would be interesting if my main character—who does most things extremely well—can’t dance. Today I was telling someone about it. I said, “I’m a terrible dancer.” She said, “How terrible?” I said, “When the music’s fast and I’m dancing freestyle I look like Quasimodo trying to put on a suit.” She laughed, and I decided to put that line in my next book.


How much of you is in your characters?  Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be?  Or be with?

My fingerprints are all over my characters, but you wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a lineup. I want to be like Donovan Creed. Unfortunately, the only parts of me that are like Creed are the areas where he needs improvement. Which character would I like to be with? Why, Gentry, of course! I’m totally crushing on Gentry!


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if she’s married to you or one of your characters?

She knows she’s married to the guy sitting at the computer. She just wonders why I work this hard to earn thirty-five cents a sale!


What type of book do you like reading?  Is it the same genre as you write?

I don’t have time to read. I wish I did, but right now reading other books is a luxury I don’t have. My readers are a harsh mistress. They feel any free time I have belongs to them. And I agree, because they give me so much in return.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

My readers share my sense of dark humor and irony. They understand I’m not trying to write great literature that kids will be forced to read in summer school. They know I’m doing my best to entertain them. When I send my little book out into the world, my readers know I’m sending them a story that held my interest and made me smile. They’re willing to bet on my instincts, and I’m willing to take my lumps if I let them down. 


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

The same way I’d feel if you and I were at dinner, and I had a piece of spinach in my teeth—I’d want you to tell me! I might be embarrassed to have spinach in my teeth, but I wouldn’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean I don’t know how to brush my teeth properly, right? It’s the same with my writing. I’m humble enough to know I’m a work in progress. If you see a mistake I’ve made, I hope you like me enough to tell me. My readers and I are a team. We’re in this together, as partners and friends, and it’s their feedback that makes me a more effective author.


What do you like most about visiting forums?

The only forum I visit regularly is the one my readers put together. But I do visit forums when my friends send me links, and I always enjoy the topics. I don’t follow them regularly because it would distract me from my writing. I’m always trying to find more time, instead of finding ways to occupy my existing time!


What is on your near horizon?

First I’ll review what I’ve written in this interview before sending it back to you. That’s because I want to make sure your readers get an idea of who I am, so they can decide if they want to try my latest book, Bad Doctor. Then I plan to answer forty reader emails, which will take me two hours and bring me to the point I’m only a week behind in my responses (I try to answer at least a hundred a day, and this morning I answered sixty). Then, if I’m not too tired, I’ll write a scene in my new book before going to bed. I’m currently working on the 10th Donovan Creed novel, and hope to publish it in June.


Where can we find you for more information?

At my website, www.SavingRachel.com 
Or at this link to check out Bad Doctor, only 99 cents: www.amazon.com/dp/B007RZ2N7Y/

Bang: Memoirs of a Relationship Assasin by David Wailing (Revisited)

I reviewed this book back in December 2011.  I have since read it again for the kuforum's bookclub discussion.

It is the story of "Scott" who is a relationship assassin, ie someone who ruins a relationship for payment. He starts off quite cocky, but as the story unfolds he becomes more human. As with Fake Kate there's a lot about identity.

It seems Scott was like marmite, people either loved him or hated him.  Myself, I loved him as he was some characters but really didn't like him as others.  To me, that's the sign of a good writer, bouncing my emotions around.

I really like David's writing.  The book was just as enjoyable the second time round.  It is simple and flowing and just a joy to read. I am officially a massive Wailing fan.

If you liked this, then you'll enjoy Roulette (two mini tales about Scott) and also Fake Kate (about Kate)

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ODLZ2E


Interrogating Joe Cawley

My 19th interrogation is with Joe Cawley, who will slap you with a wet haddock if you don't enjoy this interview.



How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromise you make, if any?

I don’t.
If you come up with a good story, if it’s written in an amenable and engaging tone, you can snag readers with any subject matter. Having said that, my next book isn’t going to be about the history of nose trimmers or 100 things to do with a carrot. Just not my bag. As a writer, if you’re passionate enough about what you’re writing, that will come across and once people know that about you, they will want to read it.


What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in?

The leap.
I write humour, and never cease to be amazed how my inky patterns arranged a certain way on a piece of paper or screen can jump the ether, reach inside a stranger’s brain and cause it to fire impulses that cause a physical reaction ie jiggling with laughter.
I find it a huge challenge to get in ‘the zone’, but once there, you feel like a magician. Very few things give me more pleasure than watching somebody laugh at something I’ve written. Except almonds. Oh... and Mr. Matey bubble bath.


Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

Too many of them.
After 12 years of keeping notes in notebooks, scraps of paper, index cards then forgetting where I put them all, I’ve finally started using a filing cabinet. Now, if I can only find where I put the filing cabinet...
Seriously though, I’m a huge believer in note-taking. Mainly because my memory is so crap, but also because through my travel writing experience, the more notes you have, the less effort it takes when it comes to sitting down and actually putting the whole thing together. I make notes on people I see, random things I hear, emotions I feel - everything. I also use my iPhone notepad, which is nifty as it’s always with me. Unlike a pen or pencil, which causes huge embarrassment when people find out you’re a journalist.


How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with?

It’s all of me.
More Ketchup than Salsa is about my own journey from working in fish innards on a cold Lancashire market to buying and running a bar in a sunny holiday resort abroad so what you read is me. It’s not necessarily the ‘me’ that I’d like it to be though. I’d actually prefer to have the guts and confidence of my partner, Joy (also in the book), but hey-ho... you can’t have everything. I got the anxiety, she got the looks.


Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

She is.
...married to one of my characters that is (see above).Bbut then again, she’s one of my characters too, which is not easy. I’m currently writing the follow-up to More Ketchup than Salsa, which covers a particularly turbulent time in our relationship so I’ve vowed to let Joy vet it if she feels she’s either not been well-represented or it digs too deep on a personal level.
In general though, she’s highly supportive of my writing endeavours and understands completely when I yank the duvet off in the middle of the night and plod half-asleep to my computer to jot down an idea I’ve just had. “You carry on, love,” she whispers. Or at least that’s what I hear in my dreams.


What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

Pretty much.
I usually have four or five books on the go at the same time. It’s like music... there are different moods for different styles. I’ve always got a non-fiction book on the go as I love to be constantly learning. I also have a humour book half-read on my Kindle, though I’m not a great laugher, more of a sniggerer. I love well-written fiction, especially horror or adventure, but there’s an awful lot of garbage out there that you have to wade through to find the nuggets.
To get back to the question, I guess I do like reading the same genre that I write, which is mainly non-fiction humour.


What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I threaten people with fish.
Subtle threats, mind... like ‘buy my book or I’ll slap you about the head with a wet kipper’. Seems to work. Even online, where the odds on me actually cyber-slapping somebody with a kipper, wet or not, are remote to say the least.


How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Stupid.
But thankful. I’m very appreciative of anybody who takes the time to contact me to point our either good or bad.. Thankfully it’s mostly the former, but perhaps I’d be a bit less hasty with the send/receive button if I knew I was in for a deluge of bitterness and English lessons.
It’s a lonely job being a writer, so I love feedback, even if it’s to tell me that I’m an eedjut who can’t spell.


What is on your near horizon?

A world full of writing.
Completing the follow-up to More Ketchup than Salsa is a priority and one that should be accomplished within the next couple of months. After that, the success of getting to number one in Kindle travel and number 4 in Kindle humour has spurred me on to get to the point where I can drop all other writing work and concentrate on full-time e-book writing.


Where can we find you for more information?


My blog:  http://www.joecawley.co.uk

My Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JoeCawley

My Twitter account:  https://twitter.com/#!/theWorldofJoe




My Wattpad page:  http://wattpad.com/JoeCawley