#Q&A #HeartSwarm by Allan Watson @allanwatson12 @sarahhardy681

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Today I am delighted to be sharing a Q&A with you all for Heart Swarm by Allan Watson as part of the Blog Blitz with Sarah Hardy. Allan is attending Bloody Scotland this is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, if you are around for this event it is held 21st-23rd in Stirling DETAILS HERE. This is an event I really want to go to (pulls sulky face and stamps feet)… most of the time I am very content living in Cornwall until I see a book event I would love to attend that happens to be hundreds of miles away.

Here is the purchase link so you can grab a copy of your own from Amazon UK. I didn’t have time to read this so instead I just bought a copy for future reading  🙂

Now lets see what the book is about.

Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…

It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Question and Answer:

You will be attending Bloody Scotland this year, how important do you think it is for authors as well as readers to attend events like these?

Readers also attend? Really? Whenever I go along to a Crime-fest I’m always narrowly avoiding being trampled to death by hordes of wild-eyed, drink-fuelled authors. I think it’s a great thing for writers to meet up and swap war stories, commiserate on the latest rejection letters, and lie through our teeth over how many Amazon 5 Star reviews we have for our latest book. It provides a sense of community and fosters camaraderie. So much better than my early days as an isolated writer, not ever meeting anyone else with the same obsession. I even remember trying to join a writers club at my local library and finding myself trapped in a small room with a group of mad people whose idea of writing was penning lengthy articles for Caravan Monthly. Each to their own, I suppose.

Can you tell us a bit more about what a normal writing day for you is like?

I normally write in the evenings as I work during the day. In fact, when I say evenings, I mean midnight is usually my starting point. It’s a good time to work as I don’t normally get interrupted by phone calls about car accidents I’ve never been in or people at the door wanting to Tarmac my driveway or replace my guttering. It’s also an acceptable time of night to drink lots of gin.

What would your dream office/writing space be like?

My perfect writing space would be on a revolving spot-lit stage in a huge auditorium filled with admiring fans. Whenever I write a particularly pleasing piece of prose the audience will cheer and go crazy and flash bombs and strobe lights go off. When I make a typo the audience will let me know by sighing loudly and in extreme cases maybe throw Space-hoppers from the balcony. Um… I guess I haven’t really thought this one through properly.

What made you decide to write in the crime genre?

Peer pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed reading Crime, but I preferred to write fiction that was darker and not necessarily restricted to this reality. Unfortunately, that side of the fiction fence gets branded with the big Horror tag and no one takes you seriously. A fellow author recently pointed out that by simply sticking a policeman in the heart of the story you can reinvent yourself as a Crime writer and suddenly everyone feels fine about the unusual stuff going on the background. Personally, I feel there’s so many books out there tagged as crime, especially all the serial killer thrillers, that are basically just Horror dressed up as Crime. But these days the public shy away from the ‘H’ word. Horror isn’t all about giant slugs and mutant rats, you know.

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading your books, can you tell us a bit more about DI Will Harlan, the protagonist from your series?

Will Harlan was once an ace detective who badly messed up a high-profile murder investigation and lost almost everything as a consequence, including his marriage. He’s spent the best part of five years being marginalised at work, overlooked for everything except the most mundane cases. He lives in a small hotel next door to the Glasgow City Necropolis. It doesn’t help his fading reputation at work that his landlord is a retired old-school London gangster. Redemption for Harlan finally comes along in the novel Heart Swarm. In the second novel, Wasp Latitudes, Harlan has rediscovered his old talents but still always looking over his shoulder for the next ambush from his colleagues. I’ve been told he’s not terribly likeable.

Where do you get inspiration from for the crimes you feature in your novels?

It’s very difficult to come up with a new crime that hasn’t already been committed in someone else’s book, or in real life, come to that. All you can do is apply a decorative touch to try and set it apart as semi-original. I’ve stopped trying to come up with anything remotely unique as the toy box has already been emptied. For me, the location of a crime can be more shocking than the crime itself and that’s been my focus lately.

Finally, what are you currently working on at the moment and what else can readers look forward to from you in the future?

I’m currently working on the third book in the DI Will Harlan series, a novel called ‘Nightingale Static’. After that I plan on changing tack and writing something different. It’s still nebulous and shape-shifting right now, but hopefully it’ll reveal itself when I need it to.

About the Author:

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Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that… 

Follow Allan on – His Blog – Twitter Heart Swarm Face Book Page

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Many thanks for reading my post a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye @SarahMarieGraye @rararesources #QandA #Giveaway (Open Int)

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I am delighted to be sharing a Question and Answer today with the author of The Second Cup Sarah Marie Graye. I read this book as part of the blog tour by Rachel At Rachel’s Random Resources, so when the chance to pose a few questions to the author came up I was definitely interested.

First Anniversary Blog Blitz: The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

The Second Cup was originally published on 19 July 2017. The extended edition (includes character interviews) was published on 12 February 2018.

Amazon links

Amazon book page: https://getbook.at/SecondCup

Amazon author page: https://author.to/SarahMarieGraye

Lets see what the book is about first:

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.

Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him.

Is Beth about to take her own life too?

Question and Answer:

As I mentioned earlier I had the chance to read The Second Cup (my review here) so when the chance came to pose a few questions to Sarah I definitely wanted to know more. I have experienced depression from the stress of work, and life, I was lucky to see a Doctor who was able to see and help me. My issues were diagnosed and dealt with over a period of time, but the experience has made me aware of how quickly things can spiral into a down. It has left me with a sense of being more aware of how important your own mental health is and how you need to look after that and not just your physical health.

Q:  You’re open about suffering from mental health issues. How can authors help readers understand such issues?

A: If you write a character in the first person that has mental health issues, you are effectively allowing the reader to step inside their head and experience it for themselves.

If your reader is capable of empathy (and I like to believe that most people are) then they are able to put themselves in the position of that character and gain an understanding of what it must feel like for your own brain to be your enemy.

Q: How do you think society views suicide?

A: I think society is getting better at accepting suicide, especially when there are high profile cases, such as the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. If those who supposedly “want for nothing” can choose to end their lives, then it suggests that suicide is driven by something else.

For me, the biggest problem is that suicide is still viewed as being “selfish”. Many of those who take their own lives put their affairs in order first and take great pains to write a note explaining how this is nobody else’s fault – that nobody is to blame. These actions aren’t the actions of someone being selfish.

Q: What is the most important aspect of the story that you are trying to convey to the reader?

A: That picking up the pieces can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. Life can be really tough and bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the way forward and to keep ourselves going. Each of my characters goes through their own issues but manages to come out the other side – more than a little battered and bruised, yes, but they still make it.

Q: What significance does the new cover of The Second Cup hold?

A: The original cover was chosen by my hybrid publisher. I was really unhappy with it because I felt it suggested a ghost story! When we parted ways, it was the perfect opportunity for me to pick something that I felt worked for the story.

At the heart of the story is the butterfly effect: the idea that you can be affected by something that happens to someone else – and in this case the suicide of someone you either didn’t know or haven’t seen for years.

A butterfly in a jar doesn’t stop being beautiful just because they’re trapped. Many of us are trapped or limited by our circumstances, but it’s still up to us how much we live, how much we spread our wings, within these limitations.

Q: What is next step on your literary journey?

I’m currently working on my second novel, The Victoria Lie, which will be out soon – it’s currently with my editor!

The Victoria Lie is the second book “The Butterfly Effect” series. Both Beth and Faye from The Second Cup feature in the book, but the main story focuses on a different group of friends. This time it’s the actions of one of these friends that are the catalyst, rather than the focus coming from outside the group.

During the writing process for book two, I’ve realised I have another story to tell about two of the friends, which I’m now planning as book three. The plan is still very fluid at the moment, but I’m hopeful that the initial idea is strong enough to work!


Thank you so much for your answers Sarah. I think society definitely has taken baby steps towards being more understanding. It helps that people are more open with their own experiences and are willing to talk about them, in doing this it breaks down the stigma that is attached. I also love this new cover, it says so much more than the previous one. I can’t wait to read The Victoria Lie and I wish you all the very best with that and also future writing xx

About the Author:

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Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.

Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.

Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.

Follow Sarah on – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Goodreads

Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye  (Open Internationally)  ∗∗∗ENTER HERE∗∗∗

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

 

#BlogTour : Q and A : The Picture by Roger Bray @rogerbray22 : @rararesources

The Picture

I am delighted to be hosting a Question & Answer session today with “The Picture” author Roger Bray. Due to a busy reading schedule I was not able to read the book, so decided on asking Roger a few questions as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. But first a little bit about the book.

Synopsis:

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

Q & A:

1/ What was the starting point, or inspiration behind this story?

I had half an idea which I wanted to explore about celebrity and was mentally throwing ideas around.  One morning in my courtyard on an overcast day the clouds parted a little and a beam of sunlight came down, really bright and focussed on a small area.  I starting thinking of how such an event could be used to illustrate a moment in time and came up with the eponymous picture.  Joining those two things together, one showing compassion and hope, the other greed and narcissism I put the two in opposition to each other and as is often true in life the ‘good’ side of the story didn’t really know there was anything untoward happening while the ‘bad’ side was focussed for its own ends regardless who got hurt.

2/Did you research this story and if so was there anything that really stood out for you?

I did a lot of research for the story, geographically as well as practical knowledge.  A lot of the research didn’t make it to the book but was invaluable in getting a better understanding of the loss and utter devastation after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.  What really stood out for me was the herculean efforts from locals and the wider community in the initial rescue and later recovery efforts.  There are many hundreds of stories of heroism and survival, most of which will never be told, but the ones I did find were awe inspiring.  Human capacity to help each other when it really matters was obvious in this event, and humbling to watch.

3/Now you have finished the novel and you have time to reflect, what in the story has inspired you?

What has inspired me is (tongue in cheek) that I finished it.  I have heard it said that writing the manuscript is the easy part, it is what comes after that is the most difficult.  Editing, re-editing, sending to editor etc etc.

Having gone through the process and reading the manuscript I was still amazed at finding typos right at the end (there are probably still some there to be found).  My real inspiration was my wife who stuck through the whole process and read the book over and over again looking for errors.

4/What 5 words would highlight the key factors in your story?

Love, compassion, hope, greed, selfishness.

5/What if any is the underlying message?

There are a number I think.   Life will find a way,  always try to do the right thing whenever you can and the cult of celebrity we have at the moment is the very definition of ethereal, it is based on lies and morbid fascination with others’ misfortune.  I would suggest to people instead of being glued to a TV screen getting a fix of reality TV they should help out at a local shelter, human or animal, help in a soup kitchen or volunteer abroad if they can.  If they want reality a TV is not going to give it to them.

6/Who are your favourite authors and why?

Tom Sharpe:  The funniest writer I have ever read.  His ability to turn the most innocent and innocuous situation into hilarious farce is brilliant.

John Gresham:  Brilliant story teller, packs a lot into his books can give a laugh and a shock in two sentences.

Robert Harris: He is not locked into any genre so each book is a new look at his ability as a writer, well researched and writes about areas I am interested in like Enigma and the Dreyfus affair.

Others: Leon Uris, Louis de Bernières, Gerald Durrell, Sebastian Faulks

Thanks very much for your interesting questions, I enjoyed answering them very much.  And thank you for the opportunity and inviting me onto your blog.

Thank you Roger so much for taking the time to answer. An absolute pleasure to be hosting you today and I wish you all the very best with your book xx

About the Author:

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I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Social Media Links –  Twitter ~  Facebook  ~ Website

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Many thanks for reading my post, a share or a like would be brilliant 🙂 xx