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Books Reviews And More

Brought to you by The Bookworm

Thank you to all the authors who have taken part in interviews for this site your time and participation is very much appreciated

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Ian Totten author of 'The House of Silver Doors.'

Hi Ian , lovely to have you with us today and thank you for agreeing to this interview.

To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background

Howdy Susie, I appreciate your interest in wanting to interview me. To begin with, I grew up in New Jersey and have bounced around the country a bit. I'm a US Navy vet who started writing while in the service and to date have released four novels. The aforementioned The House of Silver Doors and my bestselling vampiric dark fantasy series The Blood Gods Trilogy.

Could you tell us a bit about your book ?

Certainly, The House of Silver Doors is a horror thriller set in New Jersey. It takes place in a small town called Collier's Crossing where people have begun to vanish. Marisa Conner, sister to one of those who've gone missing thinks she knows why, but as things unfold she and her friend Al Morris begin to realize that things aren't as cut and dry as they seem. They're forced to band together with one the adults as things get deeper and they realize that their home town isn't as idealic as they'd thought.

What were your goals and intentions for the book, and do you feel you achieved them?

My goals were to tell the story that was inside my mind. The whole thing came to me in a very vivid dream and refused to go away. I think I've captured and conveyed the story well.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Honestly, I rarely have a difficult time with any scene in a book, though the last chapter left me feeling emotionally drained.

What would say are the upsides and downsides of being author?

I get to do something I love and share the movies that are in my mind. The only real downsides for me are having to self promote and all the other things an author has to do to make it in a social media world.

How do you think you have evolved creativity since you first started writing?

I don't know if I've evolved creativly so much as my ability to convey what I'm seeing has gotten better.

Thank you Ian it's been a pleasure talking to you.

Thank you Susie, it was great talking to you as well.

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Martin J Best author of Ghost Hunter III: Blood Ties.

Hi Martin, lovely to have you with us today and thank you for agreeing to this interview. To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Hi Susie, thank-you for inviting me. I’m fifty-two, and live in my home town of Torquay, Devon with my wife, eldest son, and Shadow the Utonagan. I grew up in an actively haunted house, which probably accounts for my abiding interest in the supernatural. I worked for many years as a mobile DJ, before becoming full-time carer to my elderly mother which, ironically, gave me the time to fulfil my ambition to write.

Could you tell us a bit about your book?

Ghost Hunter: Blood Ties is the third novel in my Ghost Hunter series, and I was fortunate to have occult horror writer Sarah England write the foreword. The series was inspired by a short story that I wrote, The Novice Ghost Hunter – you were kind enough to review it recently – which introduced the character Malachi Hunter, and it grew from there. In Blood Ties, I have tried to continue the theme of unorthodox, but credible, hauntings with two malevolent Victorian spirits, the essence of whom has been absorbed by, and preserved in, the matrix of a pair of magnetite statues. In a parallel, but connected storyline, a Russian occultist launches an audacious mission to take control of Celtic God Camulos: a bizarre, but natural product of evolution.

What were your goals and intentions for the book, and do you feel you achieved them?

My intention for Blood Ties was to produce a story which the reader could believe without straining credibility. Other than their paranormal interests, the characters live in the ‘real’ world: they have jobs; family commitments; and face the mundane problems of daily living. I try to raise thought-provoking issues, such as the ghost hunters’ secular approach to their craft, and I like explanations, which is why I employ hard fantasy elements in my writing. Only my readers can determine whether I’ve achieved these goals, but feedback so far is positive!

What drew you to the horror genre?

I’ve been a devotee of writers such as James Herbert and Brian Lumley for many years, but I’m never sure whether my work truly belongs in the horror genre. There are certainly some gruesome and violent elements in my stories, but I’ve taken to describing them as Paranormal Hard Fantasy.

What would you say are the upsides and downsides of being an author?

The main upside of being an author is having an occupation that I feel one hundred-per-cent comfortable and confident doing. The major downside is not earning much money!

How do you think you have evolved creativity since you first started writing?

I like to think that I’ve become more confident in expressing complex concepts, factual or theoretical. I genuinely learn something every time that I write.

And one final question what do you like to do when you're not writing?

I enjoy walking Shadow, our Utonagan, in the many local woodlands: by day or night!

Thank-you Martin, it's been a pleasure talking to you.

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Eve Gaal author of The Fifth Commandment, Penniless Hearts and her latest novel, Penniless Souls.

Hi Eve it's lovely having you to talk to us today and thank you for agreeing to this interview.

To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background When did you decide to become a writer?

Hi Susie! I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I remember being the first person in my first-grade class to read. We had one of those giant books with Dick, Jane and the dog spot. I aced the entire book. My teacher looked shocked. Seems I had a great babysitter back then…. I even had a kid’s typewriter waiting for me at home.

A short time later I began writing poems, some of which were published in my high school yearbook. My college internship was spent writing articles for a corporate newspaper.

Could you tell us a little bit about your books? 

The Fifth Commandment came to me in my dreams. I wish I had titled it something different, but it’s too late now. From what I can tell after studying the commandments, this one, that speaks of respecting authority, might be the most important; especially with the way things are going these days. My story is simply about a girl who gets three chances to find out she might have made a grave mistake by wishing for different parents. A better title would be The Third Rooster, because I think this title may scare off readers who don’t like faith-based fantasies. Anyway, it’s a short book and doesn’t take long to read. Maybe your friends will like it. It has reached bestseller lists in Australia and the reviews are good.

My debut novel is called Penniless Hearts. It’s about a graphic artist who travels to Hawaii with a good-looking pilot. He’s super handsome but he’s not Prince Charming. In fact, she finds out he’s a low-life cad. Unfortunately, Penny’s cell phone isn’t charged and she left her ATM card at the counter of the drug store where she met the pilot.  Her credit card is over the limit and she can’t get home. She’s lost and it’s raining. Meanwhile, her friends, family members and co-workers travel to Hawaii in order to find her. Penny is finding trouble everywhere. Things are going from bad to worse but her fantastic imagination is keeping her sane. There’s a volcano erupting, spewing ash and an artist who thinks she is Pele. A goddess? Yes, she finally realizes she has the power. The power to take control. The power to fall in love. The power to make her dreams come true.

What were your goals and intentions for the books, and do you feel you achieved them? 

I had many goals with Penniless Hearts. 1. To have the book as a subtle thank you message to all the graphic artists I worked with throughout the years in the newspaper business. 2. To show my siblings that marriage and true love is possible. 3. To bring awareness to endangered Hawaiian sea turtles. 4. To encourage everyone to communicate.

I recently finished Penniless Souls which takes place 20 years after Penniless Hearts. The setting is Las Vegas this time and the subject darker. My intention with Penniless Souls is to bring awareness to human trafficking. Penniless Souls is a standalone sequel, packed with action. Take a trip through the Mojave Desert and find out what happens when Penny is faced with one disaster after another. Her husband is working on a skyscraper and her boss might be a criminal. Does she take a giant gamble to save her family? Wouldn’t every mom?

Do you hid any secrets in your in books that your friends and family would recognise?

I have two or three characters with names in a different language but very few people would catch my little secrets.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers ?

It sounds like a cliché, but ‘never give up’ is the best advice for writers. Also, don’t get bogged down reading too many negative things on social media. Write your stuff. Focus. Get it out there, even if you have to publish it yourself. Tell your friends, family members and anyone who will listen. You are your best advocate; at least until your wonderful writing hypnotizes all your friends and relatives and then, they too, will become advocates for the wonderful writer that you have become.

Thank you, Susie, for the interview. I had fun answering your questions.

Please stop by my publisher’s site to read other interviews I’ve done here:

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing C.Marshall Turner author of A Cajun Journey

Hi thank you for agreeing to this interview. To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background

I was born and raised in south Louisiana in Jefferson parish, which neighbors New Orleans. The field behind my house was a sugar cane field before urban sprawl made it into a subdivision. I graduated from Louisiana State University with an English Literature degree and enjoyed a career in the Marine Corps before becoming a writer.

Could you tell us a bit about your book ? 

The story is about a small family who treks into the Louisiana swamp to escape an abusive situation. They are given a helping hand by a stranger, James, who is also leaving an abuse-laden organization. Josephine and her children, with the help of an older relative and James, are able to heal physically and emotionally, while living deep in the Louisiana swamp on Attakapas Island. The children flourish finding their passions. Along the way there is tragedy, which they meet with strength. With help from Josephine and her children, James confronts his loss of faith and ghosts from his service in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

What were your goals and intentions for the book, and do you feel you achieved them.

My goals and intentions were to educate the reader while informing the reader about Cajun culture, Louisiana, the US Marine Corps, and the Korean War. Literary success to me is when a reader tells me they decided to visit the Acadiana region of Louisiana after reading my book.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

This is my debut novel. When I set out to write it, it had not occurred to me that writing is really about editing. If done properly, the editing phase is long and tedious.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed most "getting into character" as I wrote the story. I had to, in a way, become each character to share their feelings, dreams, and worries. I also enjoyed sharing insights about the US Marine Corps. It allowed me to re-live some times I enjoyed and some I'd rather forget.

This is a question I like to ask just for fun, if you could spend time as a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Your fun question is a challenge to answer! Can I pick more than one character? HAHAHA. Okay, if I had to choose only one, it would be Evie while she was in boarding school.During my day as Evie, I would thank all of my teachers for the life they worked so hard to prepare me for. I show my family gratitude everyday, but I did not thank my teachers at Marion Military Institute enough.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk ?

My most interesting writing quirk is that I must begin writing by 4:45 each morning or I can't get into the writing mindset. I think this habit harkens back to my days as a Marine. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. The pages on the days when I didn't begin writing at 4:45 are a lot more anemic than those pages when I did begin at 4:45.

Where can you see yourself in five years time?

In five years time, I will be back on my property in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana enjoying a full-time writing career.

Thank you taking part I wish you all the best and success in your future.

Thank you for this opportunity. I had a lovely time sharing with you my book and my writing-self. C.Marshall Turner

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing M Sean Coleman author of THE CUCKOO WOOD

Hi Sean, thank you for agreeing to this interview. To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in the UK but raised in South Africa, returning to the UK to finish my schooling. I got my passion for books and reading from my parents, who were both excellent and expressive readers. My Mum was very good about encouraging me to read alone, and my grandfather, who lived with us, used to make up stories with me from his sick bed, which is one of my only memories of him. This passion for language and stories was cemented by two superb English teachers in the pretty rough secondary school I ended up in—one of whom would definietly have married John Milton had he not been dead for so long. Their enthusiasm and passion was so infectious, I wanted to make people feel like that. Anyway, I was lucky enough to study Scriptwriting for Film and TV at Bournemouth University as a BA, and then Screenwriting for an MA at what was then the London College of Printing. To support my writing career I worked as a teacher for a few years, as a producer of interactive televison, and then online drama and then standard television, and every now and then it would all get too removed from writing and I would disappear abroad somewhere and try to focus on my writing. Finally, through a number of odd connections, I was asked to write the script for a graphic novel series for a company I had helped consult on a cross-platform project. The publisher of the graphic novel series asked if I could extend the world and characters into a novel, and then a second, and I had finally found my niche as a crime thriller writer.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?

The Cuckoo Wood is the first in the Alex Ripley Mysteries series, and tells the story of a deeply religious, old-fashioned village—rural and isolated—in the Lake District. A spate of teenage suicides among a group of teenage girls from the village all share a number of similarities, the most disturbing being that each of the girls claimed to have seen an angel in the weeks before they died. Alex Ripley, the so-called miracle detective, is called in to help understand what the significance of the angel is, and finds a village haunted by a dark secret, rooted in fear and suspicion, bound by their strange faith, unwilling to help, unable to forgive. They buried the secret of the angel once, and they are not about to let Ripley dig it up again.

What were your goals and intentions for the book, and do you feel youachieved them?

I am fascinated by faith, and what faith or blind faith will excuse within a community. I am also fascinated by small, isolated communites in the UK that are trapped in something of a time-warp. I wanted to create a gentle, slow-paced thriller, if such a thing exists. And I wanted a mystery / thriller world which could explore questions of humanity and morality whilst carrying us through an investigation of something quite sinister. I also wanted police without the main character being an officer. I wanted something visual and evocative, which leaves the reader questioning whether they were witness to a miracle, or something else entirely—just as Alex Ripley is left questioning. She's fairly sure, but you never know… I think I achieved most of it. It's always difficult to assess your own work. I worry that it all bubbles along quite peacefully and then, when the sh*t hits the fan it all kicks off and races to the end. Maybe that's not a bad thing. One reader described it as "slow-paced and melodically creepy", which is basically the best way to look at it.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Introducing a new character that you hope to carry a series is always hard. Getting the balance right of exposition and action is a tough one in 300 pages. Also, the setting was tough—trying to get the idea of an old fashioned village whilst still allowing it to be rooted in the present kept tripping me up. At one point, I had to remind myself that Ripley had a mobile phone and access to modern police resources through her friends and colleagues! Timescales, too, were difficult. Ripley squeezes a lot in to a handful of days up in the Lake District. It didn't make sense to drag it out any longer, but even someone as dogged as Alex Ripley needs her sleep and food.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Finally bringing this character to life. Alex Ripley, in one form or another, has been with me for about 15 years. In her first incarnation she was male, a priest, and looked a little like Garbiel Byrne. She's much better now. I have been fascinated by the concept of a Miracle Detective for years. These people do exist – called in to help authorities investigate cases of miracles in all sorts of avenues of investigation, most frequently during attempts to cannonise a new saint. Whilst Ripley has been a Devil's Advocate for the Vatican once, she hated the experience, and now she tends to focus on criminal cases with some kind of connection to claims of miracles or the abuse of faith. It's such a fascinating angle on standard crime thrillers I think. Finally bringing Alex Ripley to life made me very happy.

This is a question I like to ask just for fun, if you could spend time as a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

It would definitely be Alex Ripley. She is the woman I would love to be if I wasn't a man and fundamentally less intelligent, intuitive or brave than she is! I would be inclined to let her have a day off, but I know that wouldn't suit her, so I would inevitably find myself chasing down some fraudster or murderer who'd been using people's faith to control, deceive or manipulate them. I hope I'd catch them.

You have recently switched from traditional publishing to independent publishing can you tell us a little bit about why you made this decision.

The Alex Ripley series was originally commissioned by a German Publisher, who unfortunately changed their business model just around the time of the release of the first book. This meant that they weren't able to promote the book in English, and were going to hold back any promotion until the German release. This to me felt like a huge kick in the teeth, given that the second book was already on their desks, and I was waiting for notes. I have a very sensible and pragmatic husband, who told me to buck up and find the positives and, thanks to the intervention of an editor I happened to be chatting to I was introduced to the realities of self-publishing. I have to admit that I had originally viewed it—as little as I had thought about it—as something of a second rate way of coming to market. I now know that to be both a common fallacy and a huge mistake. Currently I am more in control of my work, from cover and design, to release schedule, to marketing and promotion. I set up a small Independent Publishing company, because my life changes happened to coincide with a couple of other former colleagues, and we decided that between us, we could cover most bases from design to management and finances, and fomatting to marketing. We are now starting to look at other Independent authors to include in our catalogue, who have excellent stories, but who would prefer to focus on their writing rather than the business of publishing. We are aiming to build a catalogue of crimer thrillers with a twist, to accompany Alex Ripley into the marketplace, and we have a solid focus on helping independent bookshops stay afloat too.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I think that there are several big disruptions to come, especially in terms of blockchain selling direct from Indie Authors or Publishers. I think a switched on author, or small publisher, can harness advances in AI or Machine Learning to understand how audiences really work, and wrestle some of the control of that targetted marketing back from the Amazon and Facebook. It will be years before we can find ways to level the playing field with the big 5 publishers. We simply don't have thousands to pay to secure our books place in celebrity book clubs, or top tables, but what we can do in a more nimble and intelligent way, perhaps, is communicate directly with our readers, carving our own niche and targeting those readers personally and directly. MicroGeolocation means we can be very very clever with our ad targeting, allowing us, for example, to direct readers attending a conference directly to our little unofficial table in the coffee shop with a targetted offer. It takes getting your head around, but I think that Indie Publishers and Authors have the nouce to be nimble like that, and will put the effort in to figure out how to use these tools to our advantage.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

I'm very much at the beginning of this journey and it is a steep learning curve. Sign up to ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) and Sam Missingham's Lounge Marketing group. If nothing else, there is a world of information available to you from other authors, marketers, editors and designers. The facebook groups alone are worth the subscription charges. Otherwise I would say you need to take charge of your own public image. Your social media pages need to reflect you as much, if not more, than they reflect your writing. You won't win any fans just posting details of your latest release or links for your friends and family to buy your book. Think about what else you have to offer. What can you give away to act as a funnel to get people to sign up to your mailing list, facebook page, or twitter feed. Keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter frequently change the way people view their own feeds, so if your 'list' is solely on facebook you may one day find that only a limited number of people are being shown your content. Be supportive of other writers, even when their success makes you spit the dummy and shout 'Why you, and not me?' Maybe they were lucky, maybe they worked their ass off, maybe they hit a zeitgeist bang on. Who knows, they don't. Promote other writers, and they may promote you. Support other writers, and they may support you. And even if they don't, you are still surrounding yourself with positive, supportive vibes about this tough industry and we all need that, right now. Psychologically, you will feel involved, one of the gang, and that means you're more likely to keep pushing. Also, be engaged, be funny, talk about something other than your book, your reviews or how hard it is to be a writer.

Where can you see yourself in five years time?

Probably exactly where I am now, writing and pushing the publishign business, but hopefully making a proper living from it. I'd love to see Dr Alex Ripley on our TV screens, but then, who doesn't have that pipe dream for their favourite detective? I would also love to find a complete stranger reading one of my books on a beach or on the train. Simple dreams, I guess, but they still feel largely out of reach. Let's see how this publishing business works out.

Thank you Sean


Today we are interviewing Welsh author David Owain Hughes about his latest book


Hello and welcome David thank you for agreeing to this interview.


To begin with tell us a little about yourself and your background


David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instil in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had multiple short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine, and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novels “Walled In” (2014), "Wind-Up Toy" (2016), “Man-Eating Fucks” (2016), and “The Rack & Cue” (2017) along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and "Choice Cuts" (2015). He’s also written three novellas – “Granville” (2016), “Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything & Chaos Rising” (2016).


You are known as a horror writer but your latest book 'South By Southwest Wales is a crime thriller. Could you tell us why you decided to write a crime thriller?


I’ve had a thing for crime fiction for many years—especially 1930’s/40’s gangster crime—and so it came as no great shock to me that I wanted to produce a book within the crime/noir/detective genre. I also have a keen interest in detectives/P.Is, as they’re almost always portrayed in films/books/TV shows as lonely individuals – an aspect I love exploring when building my own characters. However, I think the biggest prompt for me to write such a book, was to show people I’m not a one-trick pony; that I can write other things too, not just blood, guts and perversion. I had a golden opportunity here to explore some dark, interesting things, such as Sam’s delusional state of mind and hard-drinking habits.


Without giving the plot away. How would you describe your book to someone thinking of buying it?


I think Richard Ayre’s full blurb will sum this question up nicely: ‘Samson Valentine. Once the best gumshoe in the city, but now little more than a washed up has-been. The question is, though, which city? And when? Owain-Hughes is probably best known for his horror stories, but South by Southwest Wales showcases the sheer versatility of this brilliant writer, and the detail of both setting and characterisation combine to make one hell of a good read. In Samson Valentine, Owain-Hughes has created a classic flawed hero. A man who is inherently good in a world that has turned bad. And when things get personal, Valentine shows that he is not a man to cross. In South by Southwest Wales, David Owain-Hughes presents us with a pure gem. Part Noir detective thriller, part insight into the dark world of alcoholism. This is a fabulous story that weaves its way seamlessly from 1940’s Chicago to modern-day Cardiff, thanks to the fractured mind of its main character. I can’t think of a better evening than to sit in the pool of light from a shaded chintz lamp, sip a single malt, and get lost in South by Southwest Wales. Pure magic’ --Richard Ayre


Your main character Samson is a brilliant creation who was the inspiration for the character?


Nobody in particular. Samson is a mash of a multitude of characters—with a special sprinkling of Hughes’ magic dusted—who I’m fond of from various films. However, Eliot Ness and Jim Malone spring to mind – characters found in my all-time favourite gangster flick The Untouchables. Also, I’ve always liked Bob Hoskins’ hapless P.I Eddie Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Martin Balsam’s portrayal of Milton Arbogast, the unwitting P.I killed off in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Readers will more than likely see the little nods to the latter film within my book. Hitchcock’s North by Northwest was another huge influence. So too was the main character, played by Cary Grant. That whole era does it for me – it’s was classy.


The cover of the book is fantastic could you tell us about it and who designed it?


A French fella by the name of Kevin Enhart produced the cover, which isn’t the first he’s done for me. I’ve known Kev the best part of ten years. I can’t go into too much detail about the cover, because I don’t want to give too much away. The only thing I will say is, if you look close enough, you will see two cities – one older than the other…


As someone who has read the book, I have to ask will there be a sequel?


Definitely. I have the idea all mapped out and ready to go. However, at current, I’m taking a wee breather. I want to catch up with my reading and to spend some quality time with my family. I also want to push South by Southwest Wales, and give it time to see how it does, before I press on with the sequel.

Thank you David it's been wonderful talking to you. We wish you all the best with your book.


My pleasure. Thanks!


If want to find more about David's work visit:



An interesting interview with Matt Leyshon

Today I'm interviewing Mat Leyshon author of 'Jack the Ripper Live And Uncut'

Hello Matt would you like tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Australia spent most of my childhood in a suburb called Liverpool in Sydney. I now live in the USA (Tampa FL) and love life here too, being married with two children. I am spoiled with two good choices on where to live, which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. 

I’ve wanted to write stories pretty much since I have been able to write. I love storytelling and either seeing or hearing reactions from those that are party to it. Currently I’m a humble software engineer by day but hoping I can make a career out of this author gig. 

 Do you aim for a set amount of words  pages per day?

 I have two kids and one of them is a night owl like their mum and dad. So no, haha! I always try to either write/contribute to a book or do work on the promotion of my current one. To give you an idea though I wrote 60 pages in 5 weeks, which is not great, but my family went on a road trip for 10 days. In those 10 days I wrote 180 pages. I love them dearly but man do I get a lot done when I’m on my own! I do set writing goals or milestones but they are not daily ones.

 Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? 

I use a computer and that is probably a very good thing.  

 Where do your ideas come from?

I could default to my dark, twisted mind but I think there are various things that serve as catalysts for inspiration. I could get ideas from research, it may cause a simply idea to grow into something bigger, which definitely happened with this book. It can also come from the most obscure of places, when I am totally distracted and should not be thinking about writing. I recently mapped out 90% of my next story’s outline while sitting in a hotel hot tub. I can’t say I planned that.

 What is the hardest thing about writing your book?

 Definitely research for starters. For most matters, especially the main topic in this book (Jack the Ripper) you find that one or two sources can’t be deemed reliable enough. This book required a ton of research, a lot of it after midnight, and it was a very dark rabbit hole to go down. I found I was full of a lot of adrenaline after writing and researching some aspects of this particular book and found sleep difficult after a lot of nights.

 It is obviously tough to find the time. The vast majority of this book was written between 10:00pm and 2:00am. That can be taxing, especially trying to be a decent husband and father in the same time day. The words of James Patterson still resonates with me though. “There are no excuses, a writer will always find time to write during their day.” I believe that is true, I just had to extend my day.

One other thing, was maintaining a balance where the books narrative was concerned. I wanted to write a Jack the Ripper tale that even the hardest of hard core fans would enjoy. They could enjoy the yarn, and appreciate the detail, not be preoccupied with pulling it apart. I also wanted to create a mainstream thriller for any reader, that loves a good page-turner, to enjoy. Knowledge of the Jack the Ripper murders is not a prerequisite here. There is more reward for those who do though.

What is the easiest thing about writing your book?

Getting into the narrative that either didn’t require any further research, or none at all, just imagination. I could also say writing the juicy bits was interesting, which made it easy of course. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? and if you do is there any tips that you use which could help others through their dreaded writer’s block?

 I did and got a mad case of it while writing my book. What I eventually did was jump to another part of the book that I felt I could write easily and worked on that. It kind of helped as I went from that point through to the end, leaving a 12 chapter gap right in the middle of the book! When it came to filling in the gap I simply pushed through, writing only 2/3 of a page on one night. The next night I wrote 3 pages. After that I was good and had my momentum back. 

My advice would be to possibly write another part of the book, I know that’s not feasible for some novels though. That or simply push through bit by bit. If all else fails, locate the nearest hot tub.

Can you tell us about the cover's and how they came about.

I conceived the idea very early. I wanted a cover that would jump out, especially as a thumbnail, but I also wanted it to have a confronting Ripper scene, along with a strange third party leaving people to wonder “who is that guy?” I sat down with an artist and conveyed this idea and I thought he did a very good job of the artwork. I actually did the title design.

 Who designs your book covers?

I did, with some input from the cover artist. I was pretty stubborn about what I wanted though. To be honest I am currently considering a new cover that is more basic. I had somebody in the know tell me they felt the cover spoke only to Jack the Ripper fans and I think they have a point. Most thrillers have basic covers that give away nothing, so I may go back to basics, and that may include changing the title.

 Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I have not tried it to this point but have thought about it. I see and read mixed feedback regarding the experience so I am currently not sure. If I were confident it could increase my readership by a decent amount I would probably be all about it. 

What is your favourite positive saying?

 “Don’t expect, suggest.” (Yes I quoted a U2 song haha.)

 I also love “It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Also “Do things based on the reasons why you should rather than not do them based on the reasons why you shouldn’t.” That one is actually mine. 

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

 I live in a country with Donald Trump as President, so who the hell knows! 

Hopefully writing more, having produced at least 2 more stories. Would prefer they were best-sellers like any author, but this current book has given me so much personal satisfaction by merely completing it I think there is gratification in that alone.

 What advice would you give to your younger self?

Start now! What are you waiting for?

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Oh man I love this question! If I had to pick one, which is very difficult, I would say The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was my favourite book growing up as a child and one of my all time favourites. It’s not just a classic, it’s extremely clever, wonderful imagination and very funny. It also has a very important message that is still relevant for children today. I would have been honoured to have my name attached to a book and story so rich.

For materialistic purposes I would say The Da Vinci Code. I actually love the book but I did say for superficial reasons. I could have bought my own island and retired on that thing.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

It’s hard work. Whether your book requires research or simply your own creativity, it is still very hard work. It is so worth it though. Holding that proof copy in your hand is the greatest feeling. Also don’t be afraid to reach out. Many writers, especially myself, have called upon the generosity of others and most are very keen to help. 

And be ready for the hard yards once that first draft is done. There is just as much ahead as what is now behind you. But if you believe you have written/told a good story then roll your sleeves up and fight for it. Some of the most successful authours received a lot of rejection before their story finally hit the big time.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I think self-publishing, or publishing through companies that are more independent or even obscure, is going to continue to grow in numbers. The big houses can’t accommodate everybody and the number of people who believe they can be an author is growing almost exponentially on account of how accessible chances are for them. 

I see eBook depositories such as the Kindle Store, Smashwords, iBooks and the like only growing in numbers. The invention of tablets has helped that. It’s also a lower cost method of getting your story out there. I think more people will be taking easier or faster options, enabling them to spend more time writing. The market is saturated and that’s not going away. I think a consequence of that is the bricks and mortar stores will simply stock by choice, with more “print on demand” publishing coming to the fore. 

I also see audio books becoming more popular. With so many people commuting, working out, or simply not wanting to read paper or screen anymore I think the audio option is going to show growth.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Just one shameless pitch for the book. If you’re a Ripperologist you WILL enjoy this book! If you’re not you will still enjoy it as well. My first proof-reader knew nothing about Jack and even told me if he saw my book in a store he would have walked straight passed it as it is “not his thing”. He has now purchased six copies of the book and given them to others to read 

Thank Matt and we wish you all the best with your book for these who might interested in purchasing a copy of the book there is a link below.


Paul Roland



Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing the very talented Paul Roland who is a recording artist and the author of many books that included 'The Nuremberg Trials: The Nazis and Their Crimes Against Humanity' and one I recently added to my own read pile 'The Crimes of Jack the Ripper'. 


Hi Paul, thank you for agreeing to this interview, to start with would you tell us a little about yourself and your background please.


How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?


Paul: I began writing short stories as a child and I have had an irresistible compulsion to write ever since. I think you must have that natural urge if you are going to survive the ups and downs that are a part of the writer’s life. You can teach technique, but you can’t teach people who don’t have a love of words how to write well. I had to write and I think about what I’m writing all the time – even in the middle of the night. It’s never a chore and I don’t consider it ‘work’. It’s an expression of my personality and I wouldn’t feel I was living unless I could write.


With my non-fiction books the publisher usually has a title they are looking to place with an established author, although I have suggested titles when I have a particularly strong idea or looked for a publisher who might be interested in the subject I want to write about. But I wouldn’t write about something that I couldn’t work up enthusiasm for. I’ve only turned down two books in my life – one on the SS because I was concerned that it might appear that I endorsed the view that they were in some way an ‘elite’ unit when they were in fact responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the war (and that is a myth I am keen to dispel). The other was a psychological study of Hitler which I turned down because I didn’t feel qualified to talk about his madness in clinical terms. It was too serious a subject to tackle as an armchair psychiatrist. 


I don’t think it is necessary for a writer to have personal experience of their chosen subject to write a good book, or a book worth reading, but they should have something specific to say. I only accept a commission if I have a particularly strong view on that topic or if I feel the need to address a misconception.


How did you become interested in the case of Jack the Ripper?


Paul: I had always had a morbid fascination with Victorian England, the Victorian’s obsession with death - its ritual and pageantry – and crime. I had written and recorded songs on that theme and related themes (‘The Crimes of Dr Cream’ being one) and so when I had graduated to writing books I was keen to cover the subject in depth (or as deep as a ‘popular history’ would allow) and to examine the idea that the Ripper may have been a mythic figure created to boost newspaper circulation. The murders were real enough, but were they all the work of one man – or woman -and if not, which victims could confidently be attributed to the Ripper and which victims might have been attributed to him to flesh out this potent symbol of Victorian hypocrisy?


I was also eager to dismiss the ludicrous theory dreamt up by Patricia Cornwell who seemed desperate to tie the killings to the painter Walter Sickert! Instead, I wanted to reassess all the likely suspects from an objective viewpoint – I had no pet theory to prove – and to present a likely candidate who had not been seriously considered before.   


What is the hardest thing you find about writing?


Paul: I honestly don’t find anything difficult with regard to the writing of non-fiction, after all the story and characters are all there, the trick for me is to find the human interest and to bring the place, period and characters to life. With the Ripper book, for example, I focused on the victims and attempted to describe them in terms that would make the reader empathise with their plight, rather than romanticise their killer. 


Recently I have started to write crime fiction after a break of 25 years and I find that equally enjoyable. The initial idea, characters and dialogue come readily enough, but plotting is the difficult part. I think it was Agatha Christie who said that plotting took the most of the time and writing was routine after that. I wouldn’t go that far – I derive the most pleasure from telling the story, or allowing it to unravel, while plotting it can be frustrating and maddening, but it’s something I just have to do.  


How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?


Paul: Now, that’s a very interesting question! I can see a significant improvement in the quality or standard of my prose from the fiction I wrote in my 20’s


Thank you Paul your time and participation is very much appreciated




Thank You

Thank you to all the authors who take part in answering the series of questions I put them. Your time and participation is very much appreciated 

Donna Marie McCarthy



Today's see the re- launch of The Meddler by Donna Marie McCarthy under Hellbound publishing. To mark the occasion she has agreed to an interview.


Do you think that the cover plays an important part to the buying process?


The cover is enormously important - people buy with their eyes, and if you are lucky, you have an awesome publisher like mine 'Hellbound Books who have thoroughly read and understood your book. 


 How are you publishing this book and why? (Indie, traditional or both)


 I'm publishing through my fabulous publisher Hellbound, and the book is available on kindle and in paperback. 


What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?


 About 30 minutes a day - I prefer to be writing. 


How do you market your books?


 I tried SP in the early days but with full-time work is so tiring, and I wasn't able to dedicate the time and hours to marketing. I now have an awesome publisher who covers this for me at this point in my life is integral. I share Hellbound's posts about them as they are far more professional than mine. Although I do like to indulge and create a few trailers here and there.


Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?


There is no wrong or right way just making sure as many people know about your book as possible. 


Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?


 In the beginning I did - however, the best reviews come from people who have been unbiased bought your book because they love the sound and look of it. 


What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?


 I try not to take too much notice of reviews, although do love the awesome ones. 


What’s your views on social media for marketing?


Reading is so subjective, and you can never please all the people all the time. 


Which social network has worked best for you?


I think Facebook it an extremely helpfuly community and very social, it's is a great place and platform for all sorts of people who would never be able to talk you otherwise .


Will you be doing , a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work?


 I have a launch tonight with my American publisher, so I shall be up late lol people outside the US can catch up the next day, but I haven't had time to arrange press interviews, although I did with my debut. 


Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? 


I can't say any one thing ever impacted significantly - just dogged determination. 


Thank you Donna as always, it's a  pleasure to  have you take part in an interview, and we wish you all the best with the re-launch. 


Thank you Susie - I love your interviews.

The Strange Case of Caroline Maxwell by Amanda Harvey Purse

Today have we a most interesting interview with Amanda Harvey Purse about her book, The Strange Case of Caroline Maxwell.   


Why you ask is it interesting well it's because she posed the questions herself after I asked if she wouldn't mind telling the reader's the background story of her wonderful and intriguing book .


The Strange Case of Caroline Maxwell’ is your third book based around the murderer Jack the Ripper and yet all your books are all different, how can that be so?


I never intended to stay on the Jack the Ripper theme, I had always been writing since I was a little girl but nothing felt right to me until I wrote my first Jack the Ripper novel…


You mean ‘Jack the Ripper’s Many Faces’?


No, Jack the Ripper’s Many Faces is my first published novel yes, but when I was seventeen I wrote another novel, it took me four years to write and is very detailed but I still haven’t felt the right feeling to publish it. I don’t know why exactly, I love the novel and it was the first time my characters actually came alive to me but still, I have this sentiment towards it that I have not got rid of yet. 


Anyway, after writing that, I was sure I felt comfortable writing in the Victorian era. I could smell the atmosphere, see the homes and houses, walk the streets with my characters, feel what they felt and know why they were feeling that way. I have always felt more comfortable in the history of things and once I knew I was on the right track, I guess I stayed there.


But all three novels, Jack the Ripper’s Many Faces, Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales and The Strange Case of Caroline Maxwell focus on Jack the Ripper and yet they are all different…


Yes it is somewhat amazing isn’t it? How can the same crime be so different? Well that is simply answered by saying, it depends who is looking at the crime. There are many theories to who was Jack the Ripper for example and why is there so many theories? Because we are all different and look at the same case in a different way. There is no end of possibilities of things that could happen in the Jack the Ripper case when you are working in fiction, although I do think to make the story seem real it has to be based on facts. Well researched facts.


Why did you call you book ‘The Strange Case of Caroline Maxwell’?


Quite simply because I found her case to be strange…


So why focus on a real witness to the Jack the Ripper crime such as Caroline Maxwell?


You will find many of my characters are real or at least based on real people but with Caroline Maxwell, she is one of these examples of things I read in the Jack the Ripper case that somehow sticks out and stays in the back of my head. There are a few of these little quirky facts that sits in my head because they seem to be odd to me and I don’t quite understand it.


Caroline Maxwell was mentioned in the first ever book I read about Jack the Ripper and because I never could understand her actions, she has always stayed with me. So when I decided to write a detective novel around Jack the Ripper, I wanted my characters to solve what I couldn’t, I wanted my character to solve Caroline Maxwell's actions.


You place a lot of facts to the Jack the Ripper case...


Yes. I couldn't not really. It's not like I had any Jack the Ripper books (of which i have many) around me at the time of writing either. So when I reread the book I surprised myself how many nods there are to the case. Oddly, for someone that plans everything in life, when writing fiction, there is never a plan.


Is this why at the end, you state all the facts you've used within the story?


Well I don't want anyone to miss them do I? Ha! I put them at the end if anyone that wants to know more about what's mentioned they can look at the back and that means, the reader doesn't have to leave the book either! 


You put a lot of clues to Sherlock Holmes and his adventures in this story...


It's a detective story within a detective story! Can you spot all the nods to Sherlock Holmes? Some will be large and in your face, others will be small and demure.


What made you write a detective novel with Sherlock Holmes in it?


It may look like I did that as a gimmick, a selling ploy or something. I mean how many Jack the Ripper books out there has Sherlock Holmes in them?


But this was different for me, I had always wanted to write a Sherlock Holmes story myself to see it I could actually get Sherlock right, I mean it is one thing being a fan but it is quite another placing him into one of your own stories.


I never have my version of Sherlock being Jack the Ripper and I certainly do not have my version chasing Jack the Ripper, if anyone has read my book they will know why, because I always felt Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never placed his detective with Jack the Ripper even though Sir Arthur lived through those murderous years, so why should I? 


I wanted to have Sherlock Holmes in at least one of my novels as a sort of thank you to him for the years I have read of his stories and enjoyed the world in which he had placed me.


And you got the okay from The Conan Doyle Estate…


Yes that was nerve wrecking to say the least, I kept expecting them to say, ‘Sherlock wouldn’t have done that, Sherlock wouldn’t have said that’ but they never did. They saw my vision of Holmes from the off and I can never thank them enough. It was the closest thing I could get to having Sir Arthur Conan Doyle looking at my work and saying it was okay.


But Sherlock Holmes is not the only detective in your story…


No, I have my own detective called Amelia Christie. I had always wanted my own detective and this was the first story I believed I could have placed one in. I never thought she would be a woman though because I do feel more comfortable writing a character that is a Victorian gent, but because of the time I had set my book in, the start of the Edwardian era I wanted something to show the differences in the time period from the days of Jack the Ripper and from when the story starts.


The only way I felt I could so this was making my main character a woman, this was somewhat hard for me to write, oddly, but I didn’t make her too womanly for she is very much like Sherlock Holmes, just perhaps a few seconds slower.


Also with her being a woman, it was a good platform to put her beside Sherlock Holmes, so he kept him uniqueness and she stood on her own two feet.


The fact she is a ‘Christie’ didn’t bother you?


Yes, I suppose her name is similar to another great fictional crime author isn’t it? I do have Amelia seemly like she could have been the young version of the great Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie but only fictionally and in honour of the distinguished woman. 


As Amelia was born a ‘Christie’ and although she has the mind to be a great crime author she starts of working for The Times Newspaper which the real ‘Christie’ never did.


Amelia has her own back story that is only hinted at in this book because she will come out with her own adventures later on that will explain a little more into why she managed to be writing for The Times Newspaper and her own feelings in this case. 


This is not the first time you have been mentioned with Dame Agatha…


Yes I suppose so, Tom Westcott, author of ‘The Bank Holiday Murders’ did me the huge honour once of saying,


‘Amanda Harvey Purse – Ripperology’s own Agatha Christie’


I must say I do feel privileged to be spoken about in such a way and to have my work looked at with the same high regard as someone I hold very dear was breath taking. 


Let’s hope I can write as many novels as she did!


Thank you Amanda always a pleasure having you as a guest. 


If you have a question for Amanda please use the comments box below and we get back to you.




Kevin Mcmanus

Hi Kevin , thank you for agreeing to this interview.


Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in Western Ireland. I work as a secondary School teacher. I support Aston Villa FC and love listening to 70s and 80s music. I played Bass Guitar in bands for many years.


Do you aim for a set amount of words each day ?

No, I write whenever I find the time, ideas and the motivation.


Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

A computer.


Where do the your ideas come from ?

They can come from any where but usually from stories in newspapers. I watched a great documentary about Ian Rankin. He inspired me to keep a collection of newspaper cuttings. It is a great idea. Sometimes a news story about a crime can spark off a plot for a novel.


What has been the hardest thing about writing your book (s) ?

Finding the time to write, its difficult when you have a full time day job.


How do you think you’ve evolved creatively ?

I think you get better at anything the longer you do it. Writing is the same as any craft. The more you write the better you hone your skills.


Can you tell us about the cover's and how they came about.

My latest book: Under the Red Winter Sky was designed by a photographer in Ireland called Paul Moore. I love his work. I came across an image of his on social media which I adored and I contacted him to arrange to adapt it as a cover. The cover of my first two books were designed by my publishers. They generally show me a number of possible covers and I pick one of them.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

Yes it does boost sales and it opens up your books to a new audience.


Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

Maybe after signing the rights to an adaptation of one of my books to a major Hollywood studio and then I will wake up from the dream as my alarm clock goes off.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Have more confidence in yourself, start writing.


What is your favourite positive saying?

Ah sure, it will be grand.


If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Wuthering Heights. Has always been my favourite book. It has everything. The supernatural, romance, crime, mystery, beauty and incredible imagery and language.


Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I’m not sure. Illegal downloading of eBooks is going to be a challenge. I think book shops will start to offer a print on demand service. They will print the customer a book in a few minutes as they stand at the counter. That way they won’t have to order in so much stock. This will open up the market for small publishers.


How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Through my facebook page: 

Through my Amazon Page



Thank you Kevin and all the best for the year ahead


Christopher Lee


Hi Christopher thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you please tell us a little about yourself and your background?


I am a wordsmith, blogger, bardic poet, indie author, and a keeper of the old ways. I am a storyteller by nature and crave to let the world in on a sliver of what goes on in the chaos that is my never resting mind.


Do you aim for a set amount of words \ pages per day?

I try to hit 3k minimum though my goal is being stretched right now to 5k, then 10k.


Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write on my Chromebook via Google Docs. I love the portability and functionality of the Chromebooks.


Where do the your ideas come from ?

A great deal of my ideas come from history or mythology. I consider myself an amateur historian and mythologist. I am obsessed with understand what the overarching human story is, and I try to reflect this quest within my writing. Nemeton and Westward, my current WIP were both designed to attempt to tell this story.

What is the hardest thing about writing ?

Well anyone will tell you, facing the blank page. Life is all too good at getting in the way, so as writers it is key to guard your writing time with your life.


Can you tell us about the cover's and how they came about.

The cover for Nemeton I designed myself via a few free tools available to everyone. I did this to prove that you can design a killer cover without spending a fortune. While I am not at all against hiring an artist to provide your cover, I like to break down barriers that authors feel they can’t surmount. I aim to inspire greatness in all who come into contact with me.


Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

Sure! You have to start somewhere. Sometimes this involved giving away your book, if not only to get the book into someones hands. If even a few take an interest in downloading, that means you have created a product worthy of their time, which is far more valuable than their money.


What is your favourite positive saying?
Delete the word can’t from your vocabulary. It is a poisonous word that will only serve to prevent you from succeeding.


Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

Five years I will probably be cruising along towards my ultimate goal of having a NY Times Bestseller. I told myself last year when I got serious about my writing that I would achieve that goal by age 40. I am about to turn 33 so I have seven years, so it’s time to go get it. I am not good at losing, and I do not aim to miss any goal I set. Each one has been achieved thus far, and I don’t see any reason for my craft to diminish, only room for upward growth.


How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I write a blog and I have a strong online precense in social media all the way down the chain from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vero, Instagram, Tumblr, Medium, Etc. You name it I am on it. 


Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?


The most important thing in life is to believe in yourself. It may seem simple, but it is a very deep concept that transcends time and space. 


Thank you for taking part and all the best for the coming year.

Amanda Havery Purse



Today joining us we have author Amanda Havery Purse

Hello and thank you for talking with me .


How long does it take you on average to write a book ?


It depends what I am doing, in fictional but factual between 6-7 months. If I am doing factual it depends on how long it takes to visit places, source documents and gather research, then write it all up. This can a year to 15 years! 


Of course this also depends on if my husband can leave me alone long enough without asking me a question and if I can work around my cat and get to my notes and my computer!


What did you like to do when you're not writing?


When I am not writing? I sorry I don't understand the question. When does that happen?


What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?


I wouldn't say interesting but I have to have noise. It takes me longer to work in silence. So I stick on the Jeremy Bett Sherlock Holmes Album and I am away.


Does writing energise or exhaustion you




Do you hide secrets about your life within your books that only somebody who knows would recognise?


Yes. I am not telling what as it wouldn't be a secret anymore! Ha!


Have you ever Googled yourself




Thank you taking part today and I wish you a very successful year ahead.

Neil R Storey

Joining us today we have the lovely Neil R Storey


How long does it take you on average to write a book? The writing depends on the size of the book and the topic but I average about two books a year plus a couple of 10,000 booklets such as Britain's Heritage or Shire Guides.


What did you like to do when you're not writing? I will be lecturing or doing some research, hunting down some new original photographs for my archive or browsing a bookshop. When not doing that I love dining out and enjoying good food and wines with great company.


What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I use a laptop and like to write all over the place.


Does writing energise or exhaustion you ? Both. Its great to draw all that research into a written form but because I get into 'the flow' the hours can be long.


Do you hide secrets about your life within your books that only somebody who knows would recognise? No don't like secrets but people who know me and enjoy reading my books say they can heard my voice when they are reading them.


Have you ever Googled yourself? No. I have always had something 

better to do.


Thank you Neil


Mari Collier

Today joining us we have author Mari Collier


How long does it take you on the average to write a book.

A most difficult question to answer. Gather The Children started to be put down when I was eleven. My one brother laughed uproariously that his baby sister would attempt such a thing, plus I’d killed everyone, but two of the main characters.  I stopped writing, but then continued. It changed drastically and expanded like crazy in my mind and on paper.  It wasn’t finished until fifty years later. Of course, I’d also written Before We Leave in that length of time.  Then when my husband died, I wrote my most violent story Man, True Man is three months and returned to editing Gather The Children.  I had chapters written for all the others except Earthbound.  That one took a year to finish.  The same length of time is true for The Silver and The Green. I’ll be lucky to finish Marika in that length of time.  Since I’m not a math person, I let someone else try to find an average.


What did you like to do when you are not writing?

I like to read, walk, talk with people, volunteer at the Old Schoolhouse Museum now.  When I was younger I taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and worked on PTA, Girl Scout, and Boy Scout programs. Need I mention, I detest housework?  It is a necessary evil.


What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

 When I’m mulling a scene or waiting for the character to tell me what comes next, I play solitaire.  When it was before the computer, I used cards.  Now it is Spider Solitaire.


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I’d say it energizes me, particularly when it is an exciting scene.  My novels fall more into the adventure type. They are all science fiction and three of them are Western Science Fiction.  The research part can be exhausting, but then I find something interesting like the experiments the government is doing to move physical object through space with electrons, then it becomes exciting.


Do you hide secrets about your life within your books that only somebody who knows would recognize?

I wouldn’t say hiding, but my niece did recognize the family gathering singing hymns. She said she could “hear” them.  Of course, she could. When I described the scene, I used the voices of my parents, her father, and myself. She was the youngest member of the group.  Other than that, I’ve led a rather dull life, although when I tell people I was a collector and did repo work, they look at me like I must be insane.


Have you ever Googled yourself?

Well, of course, I have.  I also have Googled all of my novels and anthologies.  You see, I’m quite human although some have accused me of being an alien.


Thank you Mari for your time and participation .


For anyone interested in finding about Mari novels and four Twisted Tales anthologies visit

Emma Pullar

Today joining us we have author Emma Pullar


Thank you, Emma, for taking part in this New Year interview I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.


 How long does it take you on average to write a book?


 I’m a fairly new writer and so I don’t really have an average yet. My debut took two years to write. With three small children, a part-time job, suffering with PTSD and hubby working all hours until he eventually had a breakdown, and I was still learning grammar, spelling and punctuation (due to a lack of basic education as a child) I think even though the world building took a lot of research and effort, my life being hectic was what caused it to take so long to complete. It took six months to write my next novel which is currently on sub with my agent (contemporary, so there wasn’t the same level of world building) and I’m writing the sequel to Skeletal now. Once finished it will have taken me about three months. 


 What did you like to do when you're not writing?


 I’m an ex-dancer/dance teacher so I love to dance whenever the opportunity arises. I like to read articles/books and I enjoy show like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things. I’m a Legend of Zelda fan. We play Zelda and board games as a family on Sundays. I also enjoy catching up with friends on social media and in person. 


 What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?


 I don’t always write in order. I write chapters 1-3 and then I usually write the last chapter. I will also try different things to ensure my readers feel like they’re really there. For example: I might go outside and throw myself onto the grass to see which body parts impact first, how painful it is, whether my clothes get damaged and how the ground smells when my face hits it. Nothing too dangerous, of course. It’s a bit like method acting. I’m a method author, I guess. 


 Does writing energise or exhaustion you?


 Both. When writing was a hobby it was enjoyable every time I sat at my desk. Now I have deadlines it’s sometimes a struggle because I don’t get to choose when I write and there’s no room for not being in the mood or waiting for inspiration to strike. I dislike proofreading the most because I’m typo blind. Thank goodness for editors! I love writing even when it’s hard work. I’m a storyteller and that’s what I’ll always be.


 Do you hide secrets about your life within your books that only somebody who knows would recognise?


 There’s truth in all of my stories. I use things that have actually happened to me. My characters are often created from real people and I also ask friends if I can use their names and experiences in my work.  


 Have you ever Googled yourself?


 I do it all the time. I think I have a problem.


 Thank you taking part today and I wish you a very successful year ahead.


Thank you for the opportunity. It’s been a pleasure.