Category: Interview

Blog Tour: Absolute Darkness

Today I am interviewing Tina O’Hailey on the blog tour for Absolute Darkness. In addition to my interview, there are lots of things in store for this tour (including a giveaway)!

Book Description:

A thrill ride through time that will make you hold your breath.

Sitting by the campfire, Brandy admitted a secret to her friends. She swore she saw a ghost when exiting a cave earlier that day. Was she seeing things? Did they believe her? The next day, breaking a cardinal rule, she snuck back to the cave alone. No one knew where she was. What if she fell or was trapped? There would be no rescue.

For ten thousand years Alexander had kept the time streams of this universe safe from an eternal destructive force that continually threatened to tamper and destroy all. Locked in an unremitting battle, the two foes become sidetracked by an unexpected visitor. An entangled journey begins with chilling twists and turns until becoming locked into an inescapable death deep within a submerged cave.

Who will come out of the watery depths alive?

Purchase Link:
Amazon


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

I have avoided this question – it is actually the hardest one to answer! Everything I write reads like a baseball card of stats. Here goes. I’m closer to 50 now but still feel like I’m in my 30s some days and like a little kid the other days, yet, I feel like I’ve lived five separate lifetimes worth of experiences. Maybe six. I have the divine luck of being a professor and having worked in a creative industry since my early 20s. Most of my life I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel the globe for my job and meet intriguing people. It has kept me ever curious. Mom of two great young adults (both artists), married to a fella’ that has put up with me for 28 years (also an artist). Together we form a fantastic creative force that usually results in a stream of sarcastic memes throughout the day via group text. If I was to sum me up in a plaque (which sits on my desk): “You can never have too much fun.”

My best weekend involves:
1) caving—which I don’t do as often as I would like but am working to change that.
2) riding motorcycles with my husband—I have a BMW r1200c, it is my favorite, and I think, an ugly bike. It fits me like a glove and I’ve had it for years. My husband has a Kawasaki Connie (Concours), which was mine but the day after I bought it I dropped it twice in a row because my legs are too short, got mad and said, “This is yours now.” He’s six foot. It fits him just fine. I am still shocked when I see pictures and finally realize I’m the shorter person standing there. I’m six foot in my head. (And gorgeous.)
3) watching a movie with a good a glass of whiskey (neat) or a glass of red wine and a good maduro cigar.
4) learning something new. Generally something nerdy involving computers.

JRR:  Did you always want to become an author?

I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t a writer. Imagine an eight year old banging at a typewriter with some self-imposed word quota and deadline. Seriously. I constantly wrote and then hated what I wrote. Tore it up. Wrote more. I would buy Writer’s Markets and pour over them like girls my age mooning over teenage magazines. Oddly, I never considered getting an English degree. My other love was playing piano and that is what I wanted to study. So, of course, my degrees are in animation and computer programming. I’ve been writing text books for a number of years. The novels have always been a secret I wouldn’t let see the light of day. This one, Absolute Darkness, is the first one to escape.

JRR: And we are glad it escaped!  Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?

I can’t single one writer out. It is more my love of books and reading that has propelled me. The very first book I remember reading was Erma Bombeck’s “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?” I was seven and obviously had access to my mother’s bookshelf. She was an avid reader. We lived in the country and I had no idea what a library was. So, I read at the library of Mom. That’s not really true. There was a small library at the wee school I attended – I tried to read there. I got in trouble for reading Peggy Anderson’s book “Nurse” because it was “too mature” for me. When I told mom, she handed me her copy of the book and told me to take that to school and read it. She was a bit of a rebel, that Mom. So truly, from then on I read from her bookshelf. What I read was not age appropriate. When I tried to read YA—I could not.

Somewhere in there, around age eight, I started writing. I had to, just as surely as one must eat. I remember my father giving me a Royal typewriter and I loved it. I would write plays. When babysitting my nieces and nephews, I would dress them up and put on fantastic imaginary plays with them, doing all of the speaking parts for them. They were 18 months old – they couldn’t speak yet. When I was a teen, of course, Stephen King was my mother’s favorite and therefore in my possession. “Thinner” was the first book of his that I read. It made an impact on me. Then my father bought an electric typewriter for me.

Ah, but then came the turning point. “Wuthering Heights”. Eighth grade English, I think. I had read the book ahead of the class because I had read everything at home and in the library – why not get ahead on the upcoming required reading? We had an assignment to write what Pip was thinking as he runs from the graveyard. Up until that point, I had only written research papers for school. All my other writing had stayed at home in my box of banned stories never to see the light of day. This was my first creative writing moment that I would share and I had such fun with it. Mr. Yothers, the mild-mannered English teacher, penned in red ink onto the paper, “You should think about becoming a writer!” and he read the paper in front of the class. It was such a wonderful moment for a shy, insecure, withdrawn, adolescent to be seen. That one moment of affirmation started an obsession. I then purchased a word processor with a printer from my savings and started to write more.

JRR: Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?

I’ve continued to read everything in front of me for years never really paying attention to the name of the author, the series or anything. That’s weird, right? I’d grab anything or pick anything on Audible and read it. A book a day sometimes. Then I would go on hiatus and not read a thing. Nothing sung to me until I read Koontz’s snappy dialogue in—well, heck—I don’t remember the name of the book. Seems like it had a killer clown in it. And time was a big factor. I don’t recognize the cover when I look it up on Amazon. But the dialogue made me pay attention. I started to notice sentence structure and his phrasing. A tempo.

Then, Cormac McCarthy made me weep. I wanted to give up. Who could write like that? I’ve read Blood Meridian half a dozen times, Suttree a few half dozen more. I couldn’t read anything else after finding McCarthy for a while—nothing compares.

Hugh Howie captivated me with his books recently. I try to read from new authors now and leave them reviews. I understand how much that means. You sit there and look at the printed book that took so long to birth and wonder, “What did the reader think?”

JRR: The Dean Koontz book is Life Expectancy:  I listened to the audiobook of that one a few years ago. That was my first Koontz novel!!  Now, what inspires you to write?

A need. If I don’t have a story or character or chapter to chew on in the back of my head during the day I get very frustrated.

JRR: What does your writing process consist of? Do you research or just ‘go with the flow’, Handwrite vs type, music or no music?

I do a lot of research, and love that part. Then I outline the main points and what the characters are going to do. However, new characters just show up sometimes and they are the most fun – because I’m not sure what they will do.

I type very fast, no one would want to see my handwriting. Though I’ve employed various methods to help keep timelines straight: sketching them out on the back of a roll of wrapping paper. That way I could roll it up and take it with me. That’s mostly the key – I don’t have a set process. I can sit down and write anywhere. Anytime. Got a free moment? Let’s take a look at those pages and twiddle with this scene. So, I carry a backpack with my battered laptop with me at all times. I use Dropbox so that there is a backup not local to the machine so I have little risk of losing work should the machine see damage.

My favorite place to write is on long, international plane rides or on my back porch over looking the valley; both places that I am so very fortunate to be able to frequent upon occasion.

JRR:  What made you choose to write this type of novel? Did you use your background in caving to help you write Absolute Darkness?

Brandy and Susan are characters I created for a murder mystery. They were hot on the case solving a serial killer who left his clues in very unusual places. I was deep into the first rewrite when I moved to Tennessee and found caving. In the murder mystery, “Running in Place”, I came up with various ways to kill the serial killer: death by alligator (a tip of the hat to my Florida upbringing), death by flaming guano in a cave (I had just found caving and found that guano, bat poo, was combustible), or death by drowning (a true fear of mine).

I paused the rewrites on that book and asked the question, “What if these ladies were cavers?”

So, I imagined the cave they would crawl in. Sitting in that cave was a character I had never met before. Alexander. He could see all of time. He was on the brink of madness. When Brandy and Susan crawled into his cave in the first three pages of the book—Alexander fell in love with Brandy. I, in turn, was completely intrigued by him. However, I did not want to write a love interest story. I stopped writing.

Now, having been at the typewriter since the age of eight—I knew that the writing muse would not be denied. She is demanding and I would find my mind slipping back to imagine how Alexander came to be. I wanted to explore his world more.

But I did not want to write a romance.

Stalled, I turned to research, since I do not read romance. (I had avoided those books on my mother’s bookshelf.) I started reading all kinds of books that my friends recommended including “The Outlander” and a romance/vampire series that a neighbor loaned to me—all of which caused me to sincerely blush. It was a struggle and I picked a tone for the romance portions that I felt were heartfelt and true but not too steamy. Once I figured out that portion I returned to writing the book and scavenged scenes from “Running in Place” for this new book “Absolute Darkness”.

My love of caving permeated throughout the book and I hoped to capture the world for the casual reader.

JRR: What is your favorite cave you have been to? Where would you recommend someone to visit if they are interested in caving/spelunking? I did a small bit of caving/ spelunking when I was in girl scouts many years ago. It was so much fun! There is something just fascinating about it.

Ah. There’s a cave that is special to me but I can’t name it as it is a privately owned cave and a closed one. It’s special because I mapped it and know every single rock it holds, except for the two places I did not crawl through and my buddy Mark can’t sleep at night because there is probably more cave to be found down that narrow crack which takes on water.

There are a lot of great places that are accessible including commercial caves too where there are installed lights and guides to help explain the surroundings. That’s actually what got me into caving. I found a public assessable cave listed in a hiking guide and took the family on a walkabout to find this cave. I stood in the gaping maw of an opening and peered into the darkness. Bats hung from the ceiling. A small stream flowed out of the wide opening. And—I had no clue what I was looking at. What was safe? Where did it go? I was hooked and had to learn more. I looked up a grotto via http://caves.org, read books, introduced myself to the grotto, and those wonderful people kindly introduced me to this new world. It is dangerous, even tourist caves. You have to go in educated and have a guide.

JRR: Did you base Brandy and Alexander off anyone you know?

Not really. Some small aspects from friends are attributed to these characters. The perfect shoes that Susan wears are from a good librarian friend of mine. The beer muse is based very much on a fellow from my grotto and with his permission I used his name. Mark, my caving buddy, in my head played the part of Mark in the book and with his permission I used his name for the character. I didn’t create that character to resemble Mark though – or I would have added in a love for McGriddles. Alexander. He’s a mystery to me. He just appeared as if sliding into my time from somewhere else.

JRR: If you could have dinner with three people(living or dead) who would they be and why?

My parents and my younger self (she needs a talking to).

JRR: Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

I’d like to read Blood Meridian again in print and savour the punctuation or lack there of. There are some classics I haven’t read that I’d like to also study.

JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?

It wasn’t advice so much as it was encouragement to be creative.

My parents, my husband and many of my friends are the most supportive people ever. Or maybe they just indulge me. Growing up if I had a passion I was encouraged to follow it. I have continued to work at places that support passions and creativity. The people who stay with me as close friends are crazy passionate about their nerdy thing and I love that in people.

My advice to anyone – do the thing you want to do and be prepared to suck at it. That’s part of the process. Embrace it and keep going. You will get better. Some days you will suck again. Pick yourself up and keep going. Other days you will excel. Love the journey.

JRR: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you so much for the opportunity! I hope everyone enjoys the book. Follow me at http://coffeediem.wordpress.com for when the next book comes out! Gosh, I need to get writing…..

JRR: Thank you for your time with this interview!


The #FORLINEARS puzzle: Please check out the virtual blog tour here and you might find some embedded fun in the imagery.
In fact, I dare you. Can you find the hidden puzzles that lead to an autographed book give away? First one to figure it out wins an autographed book.


About the Author:

Tina O’Hailey (author of animation text books “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation”, professor in animation, visual effects and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves—if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet—whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee) was struck by lightning as a baby.

Absolute Darkness: Virtual Blog Tour: June 28 – July 4: https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/absolute-darkness

Contact Tina:
Website
Twitter @tohailey
Absolute Darkness Facebook

 

Blog Tour: Cuttin’ Heads: A Conversation with D.A. Watson

Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Cuttin’ Heads by D.A. Watson! I interviewed him and there is also a giveaway for a signed copy!

Book Description:

Aldo Evans is a desperate man. Fired from his job and deeply in debt, he struggles to balance a broken family life with his passion for music.

Luce Figura is a troubled woman. A rhythmic perfectionist, she is haunted by childhood trauma and scorned by her religiously devout mother.

Ross McArthur is a wiseass. Orphaned as an infant and raised by the state, his interests include game shows, home-grown weed, occasional violence and the bass guitar.

They are Public Alibi. A rock n’ roll band going nowhere fast.

When the sharp-suited, smooth talking producer Gappa Bale offers them a once in a lifetime chance to make their dreams come true, they are caught up in a maelstrom of fame, obsession, music and murder.

Soon, Aldo, Luce and Ross must ask themselves: is it really better to burn out than to fade away?


Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

Howdy. My name’s Dave, I’m 41, I live in the Inverclyde area in West Central Scotland, and I’ve been doing this writing thing seriously for around six years. When not scribbling, I’m probably reading, attempting maverick DIY and gardening projects, playing Minecraft with my seven year old son or teaching the guitar.

JRR: Did you always want to become an author?

Nope. I toyed with the idea for about ten years while writing the first draft of my first novel, In the Devil’s Name, but it was more a fantasy than an actual ambition. Starting that first novel in 2002 was more like a part time experiment to see if I could write a book, and I would dip into it every now and again, just doing a little bit at a time, sometimes going months or even years between writing sessions. It wasn’t until I posted a few chapters online and people reacted well to it that I started to think I might actually have written something other folks would want to read. That was when I gave what I had, which was only about half of a first draft, to Louise Welsh, who was then the Writer in Residence at the University of Glasgow where I was doing a music and digital media degree with the plan of becoming a teacher. When Louise told me she thought I had something there, and encouraged me to finish the novel, that’s when I really started getting serious, so much so I self-published the first edition of In the Devil’s Name, and surprised and delighted by the good reviews it received, wrote my second novel The Wolves of Langabhat. When I managed to land a literary agent and publisher on the back of that book, weighed against my rather mediocre marks at uni, it became clear what I was better at. So I abandoned the plans to go into education and did my masters degree in Creative Writing instead.

JRR:  And look where you are now!  Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?

Well I remember reading Killer Crabs by Guy N Smith when I was about thirteen and thinking it was a work of unparalleled literary genius. That, and The Howling III by Gary Brandner were the first books that got me into horror. For my sixteenth birthday, I got a Dean Koontz omnibus which included Lightning, The Bad Place and Midnight. After that, obsessed, I spent the next few years going through the Koontz back catalogue, and also got really into writers like Richard Laymon, Stephen King, Stephen Laws, James Herbert, Mark Morris, Graham Masterton and Joe Donnelly, who I was delighted to find lived on the other side of the river Clyde from me, and based his novels in the area. When I was in my twenties, I found an old copy of Guy N Smith’s Cannibals in a charity shop, and while it was entertaining enough, set in Scotland and gloriously disgusting, compared to some of the other authors I’d discovered since my thirteen year old self thought Killer Crabs was the best book ever published, I thought the writing wasn’t that great, and was arrogant enough to think I could do better, so Cannibals is the book that first gave the idea to try it myself. Stephen King’s On Writing was also a huge kick in the arse in terms of motivation to pick up a pen.

 JRR:  Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?

If I had to pick one favourite, it has to be the totally unoriginal choice of Stephen King. Seriously, give me the new King book, a good milkshake and a well made cheeseburger and I literally couldn’t be more content. In terms of inspiration, a couple of my go-to guys at the moment are Adam Nevill, Joe R Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Glen Duncan and Justin Cronin. Guys that can pen stories that consume you, that play with your emotions, and can make you pause every once in a while, just to savour how good and tight the prose is. Those are the kinds of writers I aspire to.

JRR: I enjoy King as well!  I plan on listening to his newest on audio soon.  What inspires you to write?

Most of the things I write are based on real life experiences, but with a “what if” scenario thrown in. This goes for things I’ve experienced personally, and from existing folklore, myths and legends which is where I get a lot of my ideas.

JRR:  What does your writing process consist of?  (Do you research or just ‘go with the flow’, Handwrite vs typing, music or no music?)

Once I have a basic idea, I’ll do a bit of background research into the subject matter if I need to, just to get a feel for it, then I’ll just dive in and see where the idea goes. I’ll do more research as the story demands it. If I’m stuck, I’ll go back and do some editing, and I do find turning to my notebook and sketching out handwritten ideas helps to give my brain a jump start. I know a lot of writers like to have loud music on to block out everything else, but I’ve tried this method and for me it becomes a distraction. Maybe that’s because other than writing, music is my other big love, and I tend to analyse it, sing along and play air instruments when I’ve got tunes on.

JRR: What made you choose Horror to write? Do you have a favorite Horror novel/author/movie?

I’ve just always been drawn to that side of storytelling, probably because I was exposed to so much of it as a kid. I grew up in the eighties with a grandfather who loved telling ghost stories, and two older brothers who were really into horror movies, so I saw and heard all sorts of messed up things at a very early age. A couple of memorable films that I saw by the time I was seven would be The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, The Howling, and the one that’s still my favourite movie of all time, An American Werewolf in London. Yeah, I was traumatised, had nightmares, etc etc, but it all worked out okay in the end…

JRR:  I also grew up in the 80s. I have never seen the Nightmare movies.(I know: shocker!) My husband is planning on getting me to watch it soon. I never saw The Exorcist until college

Where did you get the idea for Cuttin’ Heads? Did you base the main characters off anyone you know?

Cutttin’ Heads is basically my homage to all my favourite music. It’s based on a mix of my own experiences of being in a band, and takes a lot of inspiration from the myths and legends of rock n roll. And yeah, a lot of people who I’ve been in bands with over the years may find a very slightly altered version of themselves in the story.

JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?

Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, the original lineup of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, so I could hear some awesome road stories, then kick back to my own private gig.

JRR:  Great list!  Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

Well last year I bought the complete collection of Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs for 99p in the Kindle store. I’m about halfway through those, and plan to finish the entire collection someday.

JRR:  What’s the best advice you have ever received?

I didn’t receive it personally, but I always liked the Jack London quote, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

JRR: Great quote!  Thank you for your time with this interview!


About the Author:

Prizewinning author D.A. Watson spent several years working in bars, restaurants and call centres before going back to university with the half-arsed plan of becoming a music teacher. Halfway through his degree at the University of Glasgow, he discovered he was actually better at writing, and unleashed his debut novel, In the Devil’s Name, on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 2012. Plans of a career in education left firmly in the dust, he later gained his masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.

He has since published two more novels, The Wolves of Langabhat and Cuttin’ Heads, a handful of non-fiction pieces, several short stories including Durty Diana, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016, and the Burns parody Tam O’ Shatner, which in 2017 came runner up in the Dunedin Robert Burns Poetry Competition, and was a competition winner at the Falkirk Storytelling Festival.

He lives with his family in Western Scotland.

“The Christoper Brookmyre of horror. Readers will be very very afraid.”  – Louise Welsh, bestselling author of the Plague Times trilogy

Contact D.A.:
Twitter  @davewatsonbooks
Goodreads
Facebook


**GIVEAWAY**

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*Terms and Conditions –Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  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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Blog Tour: The Picture


Today is the last day of the blog tour for Roger Bray’s The Picture and I get to end the tour with an interview! I also participated in the cover reveal earlier.

Book Description:

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.

Roger Bray on Amazon:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born just north of London but was raised in Blackburn in Lancashire, which I consider my home town.  I went to a grammar school there and despite the best efforts of the teachers I was a very mediocre student.  School was something I endured rather than embraced and as soon as I could I left and joined the Navy.

It took quite a bit of travel and a couple of career changes before I found myself medically discharged from the police force after being seriously injured at work.  Contrary to my previous scholastic efforts I decided to go to university, which I did and thoroughly enjoyed,  realising my academic direction 30 years after my peers.  It also relit my love of writing which I had had at school but never followed except for a few short stories and magazine articles.  I am married to the love of my life for 32 years.  We have three children that don’t live at home and an overly cute but needy cat which does.

JRR: I have two cats and one is co-dependent too! He’s about 20 pounds and his sister is 10 pounds.  Did you always want to become an author?

I always aspired to write but I cannot say that I always wanted to become an author.  I had many ideas which seem to run out of steam during the initial conceptual process.  Maybe I was being too critical but I often felt that there were major plot holes which I couldn’t resolve in a satisfactory way.  Age I think has mellowed me and given me the experience to understand the realities of plots and definitely the fact that sometimes things I had considered to be ‘far-fetched’ were actually perfectly plausible.  Possibly cynicism in an imperfect world has taught me that most things are possible. Except possibly Blackburn Rovers winning the FA cup again in my lifetime.

JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?

I was a voracious reader from as early as I can remember.  The Famous Five and Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were staples of my pre-teens.  I think the first author that influenced me, there have been many others, was Gerald Durrell who gave me a love of inquiry and travel.  Some scenes in his books stay with me to this day and still give me a chuckle.

JRR:  Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?

Robert Harris for a number of reasons.  He is not locked into any particular genre so each book he writes is a new take on him as an author, his books are well researched which lends an authenticity to them and, he writes about things that I am interested in. Dreyfus and Enigma to name two.

JRR:  What inspires you to write? Where did you get the idea for The Picture?

I was standing on my back veranda, looking out over the courtyard having breakfast, which then consisted of a cup of coffee and a cigarette.  It was daylight but overcast and grey.  I was thinking of nothing in particular that I recall when there was a crack in the clouds and a beam of sunlight broke through.  I didn’t have any sort of epiphanous moment where the whole idea clicked into place, more of a question as to how to use such an event, what it could portray and anyone would be remotely interested in it.  I filled in the gaps for the scene which became the title of the book within a few days, and built the plot around it.

JRR:  Well, you wrote it and people do want to read it!  I love the idea of a simple picture becoming a symbol, which many have. There are many iconic pictures out there that people think of. 

Where you there for the 2011 Tsunami? Did you base your protagonist Ben off anyone you know?

No I wasn’t, but I have been involved in a lot of rescue and recovery work after natural disasters.

Ben?  Like any character he is a composite, he is definitely not me but my wife can see me in a lot of what he does and says, whereas I had other people in mind for him.  I do find it easier to write a character if I have a person in mind, maybe not for the whole character but for some basic concepts – how they might look, walk, talk etc.  My doppelgänger for Ben was Russell Crowe who also shares his birthday with my wife, the fact of which she hasn’t stopped banging on about since I told her I used him for Ben.

JRR:  I will picture Russell Crowe now once I can get to it! Even better than he shares his birthday with your wife!  Now, what does your writing process consist of? Do you research, handwrite vs typing, music or no music?

Research – I do a lot of research, most of which never makes it into the book and my editor tends to cut out a lot of the woffle taking the rest out as well.   But it is never wasted as much to realise what cannot be done as what can.   Often research revolves around a single word, a medical procedure or single concept.  I try to be accurate without spending pages trying to fit my irrelevant research in regardless, just because of the time I spent on it.  When reading there is nothing worse than a blatantly wrong fact.  It is like a mental speed hump, slowing the flow of the book.

Music – No.  I don’t find Led Zeppelin, Floyd or Lynyrd Skynyrd conducive to writing, I get too lost in the music and smack down on the keyboard too hard.

I do all my work on a computer.  I have embraced technology since I first bought a ZX81, I had to type a lot as a police officer and find the machines hate me.  I have dual screens so I have my manuscript on the left and research / notes / maps on the right.  When my wife’s cat isn’t trying to sit on the keyboard I find I can power along quite nicely like that.

My writing process is pretty much sit down and write, I write until I run out of ideas, then keep writing some more.  I do find that I am better suited to getting a few days in at a time rather than trying to snatch an hour here or there.  By doing that I feel more immersed in the story and better able to see where I am going with it.

JRR: If you could have dinner with three people(living or dead) who would they be and why?

Freddie Mercury – The guy was a genius, talented and brilliant.  Taken too soon I think he had a lot more to give.

Max Webber – My academic area is in politics and international relations and although Webber was predominantly a sociologist his influence in politics cannot be understated.  He was instrumental in the drafting of the Weimar Constitution in post world war 1 Germany and had he not died of Spanish Flu in 1920 his influence could have meant a completely different, better world to what we see today.

Maggie Smith – A beautifully brilliant, talented actress.  She had me in hysterics in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet and even in dramatic roles her sense of humour still manages to show itself.

JRR:  Great group!  Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

The Silmarillion which I bought, first edition, in 1977.  I have tried a few times to read it but just cannot get passed page 50 or so. I’ve tried and failed so many times that it has almost become a badge of honour that I haven’t read the damn thing.

JRR: What’s the best advice you have ever received?

With regard to writing – be professional.  Have your work professionally edited, have a professionally developed cover.  I bumbled along for a time before I realised the wisdom of that advice.  I have a great editor in Emma Mitchell, she is forthright and honest and I take notice of what she advises.  At the end of the day I want my readers to enjoy my writing and I would be underselling myself and them if I wasn’t professional.

JRR:  Awww, I adore Emma!  I worked with her in blog tours when she offered them and she is great to work with!  If you are a writer looking for an editor her site is here. Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank you for inviting me along to your blog.

Above you asked the best advice I had received.  To add to that I would add some advice of my own, getting a good editor helps you become a better author, the potholes, most of which I unerringly found I can now avoid while I am working on my third novel.

JRR:  Thank you so much for your time with this interview Roger! I look forward to reading The Picture (hopefully soon!).


About the Author:

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.

Contact Roger:
Website
Twitter @rogerbray22
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