Hannah Stevenson is the editor of the Official Inspector Morse Society’s newsletter, as well as an expert on Henning Mankell. She also has an MA in English Lit and a passion for reading crime fiction. Her blog contains many author interviews and reviews of crime books. It’s worth checking out!
Mark Taylor is an author from the UK, specialising in horror. His first novel is Shutter Speed, published by Nocturnal Press Publications. Mark’s short fiction is published in many anthologies, including Tales of Terror and Mayhem, Haunted and Small Cuts to the Psyche. He specialises in dark and twisted stories.
What should readers know about you and your writing?
I am an author of the macabre. I have in the past labelled myself as a horror author, but these days I am still better with macabre. My writing is dark, it is scary, but rarely do I focus on gore and splatter.
I have a long history of short story writing, and while I do still do some, mostly my work these days is longer – Novellas and Novels.
I have a new book – actually a large collection of short stories – coming out in the summer from Gnome on Pig Productions in Canada, I have novels Shutter Speed and Redemption out from publishers in the UK and US respectively and I have some self published work out.
What inspires you to write?
I love to write. That’s pretty much all the inspiration I need.
I’ve been a fan of horror since I was young. I love the films. I’ve always had a passion for reading King and Barker, Herbert and such. It’s these things that got me started.
I can’t stop, it appears.
What advice would you give to other writers?
If you’re writing to be famous, or rich, or for the groupies, then stop now. Go learn the guitar. It’s more rewarding in those ways.
If you’re writing because you write, it’s hard. Some days no one will read your work. Some days you won’t want to show it to people. Rejection hurts. Criticism burns.
But it will make you better. It will make you stronger…
Don’t give up.
Good advice. Giving up is the only way of guaranteeing failure.
What are you working on now right now?
At this pinprick in time I am just about to start the last chapter of my latest novel, Trinity. It’s a (macabre) science fiction number. I’ve got a lot of work to do to it though.
I’m also working on part three of The Devil’s Hand series titled Celestials. It should be out soon.
Oh, and I’m halfway through another novel.
So much to do.
Sounds like you are very busy!
Which writers are your favourites?
I’m a massive fan of Richard Laymon. His work is fantastic. And as I have said before, King, Herbert, and Barker. These days with the prolific amount of fiction available through small press and self publishing I have found myself more and more reading new writers.
I love reading many “indie” authors, and have started finding myself buying their work over and above the authors that I used to.
For better or worse some would argue, the internet has changed a lot.
I’m also a big fan of Richard Laymon. His style looked so simple – almost too simple – but his stories always raced along with good dialogue and effective suspense. I liked the dark humour in his work.
Thanks for doing an interview, Mark.
Mark Taylor’s novel, SHUTTER SPEED, is available now from Nocturnal Press Publications, and REDEMPTION, a novel he co-authored with author Charles Day is available from Black Bed Sheet Books. The first parts of THE DEVIL’S HAND series, CROSSING GUARD and CONVICTION, are also available now.
His author website is at www.authormarktaylor.com
He is also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarkTaylor
Guest Interview: Eden Sharp
Eden Sharp is the author of the crime novel The Breaks: An Angela McGuinn Thriller, book one of the Vigilante Investigator Justice Series.
What should readers know about your writing?
I wanted to write the type of book I like to read. For me that’s a fast-paced thriller, with some sassy dialogue, a cool protagonist, and plenty of action. (And a little sexual tension is always a bonus!)
I love the way that crime thrillers give us an access-all-areas pass into an underbelly of society that is usually obscured, allowing the exploration of dark themes.
I also enjoy crime, mystery, suspense and the thriller genres in particular because of the way they often include social commentary. I find you can learn a lot about the time in which titles were written which is something I enjoy when I read classic detective fiction.
I like to mix it up: private investigators, good and bad cops, three-letter agencies, the government. Overall, my utmost priority is a focus on fast-paced prose with increasingly higher stakes that build towards an adrenaline-packed climax guaranteed to keep the pages turning.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always written. I got a prize in primary school for a poem I wrote and I remember being so thrilled. Then when I was in high school, I invented what I thought was this really cool American TV cop show and my English teacher used to mark my scripts in his own time(God bless you wherever you are now).
Apart from reading, it’s the thing that makes me the happiest. Also I teach fiction writing and publishing to university undergraduates and they are so inspiring to me. We have some great discussions and workshops and they come up with some awesome stories.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Two things really. Writing is a vocation. It should be something you do because you love it and you should perfect your craft. It’s not an option if you think you can make a quick buck. It’s seriously hard work. You have to show up whether you’re inspired or not. The key I think with anything must be persistence.
Secondly, I tell all my students this from day one but sometimes it takes them three years to really get it: you have to give yourself permission to write rubbish. All first drafts are bad. Self-doubt is part of the process of being a writer but you have to switch this off when you’re first trying to get something down on paper/screen out of your head. I think writers’ block is actually when people try to get something that’s perfectly crafted from head to page. You need to mine plenty of dirt in order to find the gems in it. Writing is about what you take away not what you put down. You have to have the raw materials first so that you can fashion them into something good later. Self-criticism should only come at the editing stage not at the creating stage.
That is good advice. I’ve suffered from self-criticism while writing my stories and know it can be a crippling condition. I wrote this post about it: Writer’s Block and Edititis.
What are you working on now right now?
I’m working on book two in my series. It follows immediately on from The Breaks. It’s called GET9 and my investigator’s criminal past is catching up with her. The pressure is really piling on and now the government and a couple of three-letter agencies have got involved things are not so easy. People she thought were friends may no longer be allies and her relationships are complicated by figures from her past. The stakes are a lot higher!
Which writers are your favourites?
I love Andrew Vachss and how dark and visceral his Burke series is. Also Michael Connolly, Robert Crais, Dennis LeHane, Lee Child, and Barry Eisler. I mean, what’s not to love about Jack Reacher and John Rain?
They are great writers, Eden. Michael Connolly is one of my favourites, too. I always look forward to reading his Harry Bosch novels.
Thanks for the interview, Eden.
Eden Sharp can also be found here:
Facebook Page – Eden Sharp (Author)
Guest Interview: Tony Leslie Duxbury
Tony Leslie Duxbury is the author of The Adventures of Jojo Smith – a light-hearted fantasy novel about a young man who is accidentally transported to an alien world.
Q: What should readers know about your writing?
TONY LESLIE DUXBURY: I don’t try to write what is termed literature. I write entertainment. Maybe my work will provoke some thoughts, but that’s not why I write it. I have no ‘truths’ to tell. I love stories, so that is what I write. One thread I’ve noticed that seems to run through all my work is change. All my main characters seem to experience some sort of change during the course of the story. That may be a parallel with my own life. It has taken a direction away for the path that I was supposed to follow.
Q: What inspires you to write?
TONY LESLIE DUXBURY: There’s no hard and fast answer to that question. I started off with the idea ‘What if I could really write something?’ Then when I had finished my first novel I realized that I had enjoyed it so much that I just had to continue.
Q: What advice would you give to other writers?
TONY LESLIE DUXBURY: Just write about what you like in your own style.
Q: What are you working on now right now?
TONY LESLIE DUXBURY: I’m in the process of reviewing and cleaning up my second novel, but my main activity at the moment is promoting my first and only published novel.
Q: Which writers are your favourites?
TONY LESLIE DUXBURY: As an avid fantasy fan I would have to say that Tolkien is my all time favourite, but over the last few years I’ve discovered others that I enjoy just as much.
ME: Thank you for answering my questions, Tony.
Tony Leslie Duxbury’s first book is available on Amazon and Goodreads.
Would you like to do a guest interview ?
A guest interview is a great way for authors to reach a bigger audience. I would love to feature some interviews with authors on my website. I write crime, horror and science fiction – but I do not mind posting interviews for writers in other genres, except erotica. I want my website to be suitable for everyone to read – so please remember that swearing and other adult content are not suitable.
There is more information on this page.
GUEST INTERVIEW – NICKY PEACOCK
Today I’m doing my first guest interview with the author Nicky Peacock. Nicky writes horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and supernatural Young Adult fiction. That’s a wide selection of genres – but it’s just a part of what she’s written. Nicky also writes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal noir, urban fantasy and dystopian fiction. Her stories have been published in over forty anthologies in five countries, the USA, the UK, Australia, Ireland and Canada.
In 2013 her first YA novel Bad Blood was published by Noble Romance’s YA imprint Noble & Young. Bad Blood is a story of a four-hundred-year-old vampire fighting against an uprising of zombies.
Nicky also runs a local writers’ group called Creative Minds Writing.
QUESTION 1: Hi, Nicky. Why did you want to become a writer?
NICKY PEACOCK: I think, like most writers, it was to tell stories. I always loved to read, but sometimes found it difficult to find the stories I wanted – so I started writing them myself.
QUESTION 2: Yeah – I did that too. Every writer is deeply influenced by the work of others they enjoy reading. Which writer has had the most influence on you?
NICKY PEACOCK: I have a wide variety of fav authors, growing up I was fascinated by horror and was drawn to the works of Anne Rice and Poppy Z Brite. I think you have to be careful though, as a writer (especially starting out) that you don’t just become a poor echo of your favourite writers’ work – you then end lost in the realms of fan fiction.
QUESTION 3: That is a danger – but copying the work of writers you admire does help you learn – as long as you don’t do it for too long! Here’s my next question. If your house was burning down and you could only take one book with you, which book would you save?
NICKY PEACOCK: I know I’ll get hated for this – but I’d take my Kindle. It has more books on it than are on my shelf and it’s backed up – so if there’s smoke damage, I’m still good! I’d also grab my beloved memory stick, as it’s got on all my music and writing – back up people, you know it’s right!
QUESTION 4: Being a writer can be hard work, especially when you are starting out. What advice would you give new writers?
NICKY PEACOCK: Unfortunately there are no short cuts, you can only really learn writing by doing it, like most things in life. You have to put pen to paper, finger to keyboard and get on with it. I’ve met a lot of ‘writers’ in my time who don’t actually write anything at all! The best advice I can give is ‘knuckle down and get it done’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work and you have to sacrifice parts of your life to include it in – but anything that’s worth having is hard work.
QUESTION 5: Often finding somewhere to sell a story is harder than the writing of it. What resources do you use to find good paying markets?
NICKY PEACOCK: I use Horror Tree and Dark Markets. There’s a great database called Duotrope (although you have to pay for that now). However, if you are just organised and keep a spread sheet of all the publishers you want to work with and keep an eye their submission pages for call-outs, then at least you are giving those publishers what they are looking for at the right time – which is half the battle.
Also, a bit of an odd tip is to join Netgalley, it’s a review site for publishers. Not only do you get to read and review free books, but you also get valuable publisher contacts and can see the genres they are interested in before their books are released to general market.
QUESTION 6: Horror Tree is a useful site. I’ve found new markets for my writing there. You have an impressive publishing history. Would you like to tell me about that?
NICKY PEACOCK: To be honest, I still don’t see my published history as impressive, I just submitted a lot of short stories (I actually became quite obsessed with it for a time.) Short stories are a great way to cut your teeth as a new writer, not only do you get to learn the craft of writing by actually writing, you get to work with publishers and editors and also build up a CV ready for when you sell that novel.
QUESTION 7: What horror films and TV shows do you enjoy?
NICKY PEACOCK: Oh, sooo many at the moment. I really like ‘The Strain’ and ‘Walking Dead’. I’m a big fan of ‘American Horror’ and am looking forward to ‘Freak Show’. I also just watched the whole box set of the first season of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ from Netflix – really addictive! I love ‘Game of Thrones’ (although who doesn’t?) and am curious about the new series of ‘Gotham’ – as I’m a DC rather than a Marvel girl.
QUESTION 8: In your horror fiction you have to scare readers. What scares you?
NICKY PEACOCK: Oddly, quite a few things. When you have an over active imagination, you can manage to scare yourself more often than other people! One thing that really gets me is being lost. I think it stems from when I was little, but the thought of driving or even walking around somewhere I don’t know on my own scares me. When I go some place new I have to do a dry run with a friend or family member – it’s odd, but as long as I’ve been somewhere at least once, I’m good.
QUESTION 9: What made you want to write your novel Bad Blood?
NICKY PEACOCK: I love vampires and zombies in literature, but rarely found them together. So I decided to see what would happen if I pitted them against one another – a monster of magic against a monster of science with humans caught in the middle. Once my characters were fleshed out, it almost wrote itself!
QUESTION 10: What are you working on right now?
NICKY PEACOCK: At the moment I am working on an urban fantasy retelling of a Hans Christian Anderson tale for an adult market. I’m also beavering away on the second book in the Bad Blood series, Bad Timing.
FINAL QUESTION: Where can readers find you online?
NICKY PEACOCK: I’m everywhere!
You can check out Nicky Peacock’s novel in the UK here:
Nicky Peacock is also at these web addresses:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NickyPeacockYaBooks
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicky-Peacock/e/B007UH2ACW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_4