Thursday, 26 September 2013

Ten facts about … Lesley Cookman

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer
I don’t remember actually wanting to be a writer, I just always wrote! I won competitions as a child, but didn’t even think about writing as a career until it began by accident when I was asked to write a piece for Which Computer over thirty years ago.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I am contracted to write two books a year at the moment, so roughly six months. Usually slightly less, as I tend to faff about a lot at the beginning and speed up towards the end!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I do emails and social networking in the mornings, then attend to any household chores then start writing. I work best in the afternoons.

How many crime novels have you written?
So far there are twelve books in the Libby Sarjeant series, but there are other books as well.

Which is your favourite and why?
I don’t think I have a favourite. I’ve only ever read one of them after it was published, and that was because I needed the facts in it for the one I was writing.

Where do you get your ideas?
The ideas shop.

Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
I would have to say my eponymous series heroine, wouldn’t I? Apart from her, I love Harry, the chef-patron of The Pink Geranium in Steeple Martin.

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
I don’t wish I’d invented anybody, but I’m in awe of those who write historical crime for their incredible research, and envy them their ability.

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
No idea! Not something I’ve ever thought about, and not something I’d ever write about, either. I do like lots of fictional historical characters, though.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing the thirteenth Libby book – and no, I don’t think thirteen is unlucky, my mother and my eldest daughter were both born on the 13th of the month – and I have two other non-Libby related projects wafting about in the ether. Trouble is, I’m so lazy I don’t know when they will get done!

Published Titles:
Running Away (as Rosina Lesley)
A Will To Love (as Rosina Lesley)
How to Write A Pantomime
Cinderella – a pantomime
Red Riding Hood – a pantomime
Ali Baba – a pantomime
Sleeping Beauty – a pantomime
Little Boy Blue – a pantomime
The Queen Of Hearts – a pantomime
Puss In Boots – a pantomime
Summer Season – a musical
Murder In Steeple Martin
Murder At The Laurels
Murder In Midwinter
Murder By The Sea
Murder In Bloom
Murder In The Green
Murder Imperfect
Murder To Music
Murder At The Manor
Murder By Magic
Murder In The Monastery
Murder In The Dark
Bad Behaviour – a collection of short stories

Bio – Lesley Cookman is a former air stewardess, model, actor, nightclub DJ, wife and mother. She morphed into a freelance journalist over thirty years ago and is now a merry widow with four grown up children and two cats.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ten facts about ... Jimmy Bain

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I always enjoyed English literature at school. After university I worked in a pub for short time and decided to write a rant about some of the customers. Then when I finished a postgraduate course in the mid-1990s and found myself job searching with plenty of time on my hands, I started to formulate the characters for The Bumble’s End. I’ve been writing off and on ever since.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually several years. Polish and re-polish. And procrastinate! I’m hopeful that the next one won’t take as long though.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
It can be difficult getting the motivation sometimes – work, life etc. When I do sit down it can be intensive. So far it’s been a series of long writing sessions with long gaps between. But all that’s going to change for the next one as I hope to be more disciplined in my approach. 

How many crime novels have you written?
Two so far: The Bumble’s End and this new one, The Long Drop Goodbye, both of which feature the same characters – The Bumble, the unnamed Narrator, Charlie and Priscilla.

Which is your favourite and why? 
Both – how can I possibly choose? Of course, the next one, now in the pipeline, may turn out to be my favourite.

Where do you get your ideas?
From life. Sitting on a bus listening to conversations. Experiences at work and in temporary jobs. My family background and the people of the Clyde. Many of my characters and situations are (loosely) based on real life – but with the names changed to protect the guilty!
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
The Bumble. He’s gross, badly dressed and totally non-pc but quite convinced of his own worth and charm. Nothing bothers him.

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?  
Philip Marlowe – the great character created by Raymond Chandler. It’s the combination of wisecracks and style that make him so compelling. Marlowe drifts between the good and the bad with consummate ease. 

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why? 
Wyatt Earp – he too drifted between the good and the bad with ease.  He also dressed stylishly and had a moustache.

What are you working on now?
The next Bumble book – The Bumble on Beale Street. It’s partly set in Memphis, Tennessee and is about Elvis impersonators.

Bio:  Jimmy Bain hails from Greenock, Scotland but lived mainly in Edinburgh. Jimmy is a long-time fan of Raymond Chandler and Elvis Presley. He got married at the gates of Graceland and now lives in Newcastle with his wife, writer Barbara Scott Emmett and his tortoiseshell cat, Gizzie.

Published work: 
The Bumble's End - Crime - A tale of greed, death and toffees.
The Long Drop Goodbye  - Crime - Tans, Tossers and Trannies!
Both available at Amazon and other online stores
Twitter @TheBumble

Friday, 13 September 2013

Crooked Cat Publishing Book Sale

The entire range of Crooked Cat Publishing’s books, from crime to chicklit, is on sale this week on Amazon worldwide. All titles are on offer for only 77p/99c and that includes my own two crime thrillers, Bad Moon Rising and Someday Never Comes.

Here’s the page showing the full catalogue on Amazon.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ten facts about … Sheila Bugler

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve never wanted to be anything else although, like a lot of writers, it’s taken a long time to work that out.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Usually a year from start to finish. However, often the idea for a novel will bubble away inside my head for years before I ever get to writing it down. If I didn’t work, I’d probably get more done. Some day...

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Like most writers, I have to fit the writing around my other responsibilities. I have a job and two children so finding the time to write is difficult. I try to get up early and write before the day begins but that can be exhausting. Otherwise, I beg weekend hours from my husband, write on the train, or any free time I get. It’s not easy.

How many crime novels have you written?
Hunting Shadows is my first published novel but not the first one I’ve written. The first crime novel I wrote is still sitting in a drawer waiting to be dusted down some day. A lot of authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. I don’t feel that way. The book is called Ready to Fall and I really like it. I’d like to see it published one day.

Which is your favourite and why?
Possibly my first novel. One of the reasons I like the first book so much is because I learned to write with that book. It got me an agent and it also got me a place on the Apprenticeships in Fiction programme.

I’m currently writing a sequel to Hunting Shadows and I think that might end up being another favourite. Ooh dear. That makes it sound as if I don’t like Hunting Shadows. I do!  I just feel m

y work with that book is done so, in that sense, it’s less demanding of my emotions. Sort of like a child you’ve sent out into the big bad world.

Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere and nowhere. Sorry, that sounds really pretentious but it is true! Sometimes I’ll dream the outline of an entire novel. Other times a novel comes from a single image. Recently, I sat in the bar of the Four Seasons hotel in Dublin and a scene in there gave me an idea for a novel.

Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
A character called Erika Sharpe in the novel I’m currently writing. I can’t give too much away about Erika or it will ruin the story but let’s just say she’s not quite who she seems.

Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
Any female character from any Megan Abbott novel. Why? Nobody writes dark, complicated, twisted women like Megan Abbott (although Gillian Flynn writes mighty fine females as well).

If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
Edward Fitzgerald, QC. The man’s a legend. As well as being a top defence barrister who has defended people charged with truly terrible crimes, he has represented Gary McKinnon, the Gurkhas, Hillsborough victims’ family and the family of Derek Bentley.

What are you working on now?
A sequel to Hunting Shadows, called Watch Over You. It’s a dark, twisted tale about dark, twisted women. I think it’s going to be good!

Sheila grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at university, she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Eastbourne, where she now lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children.

Her first novel, Hunting Shadows, published by Brandon Books, is now available in Ireland and will be on sale in the UK from 12 September. The sequel to Hunting Shadows will be published in 2014.

Twitter: @sheilab10

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Award Winning Novel? Could be …

The People’s Book Prize
Founded by Dame Beryl Bainbridge DBE, the People’s Book Prize is decided entirely on readers’ votes. I’m delighted to say that Bad Moon Rising has been nominated in the fiction category, but it’s up against some stiff competition, not least being the great Frederick Forsyth’s latest offering!

You can vote for Bad Moon Rising if you’ve read and enjoyed the novel. If you haven’t read it, now’s a good time to point out you can do so for the paltry sum of 77p/99c on Amazon Kindle.

I hate begging for favours, but I think the only way Bad Moon Rising is going to make the final is if lots of you vote – so, here goes: please, please, please vote for my book by following the link below.

To give you a flavour of the novel, it has garnered 22 five-star, 6 four-star and 1 one-star reviews so far.

Here’s the latest:
“As an enthusiastic detective fan, I was not disappointed by this book. The reader is kept guessing all the way through as to the identity of the killer even though his motives are left in no doubt. What I found troubling was that I was taken into the mind of the serial killer and understood it, not a pleasant trip. The twist in the end was satisfying even if I did want to slap Paolo at times and ask him to wake up in his personal life. Characters were believable and not too overdrawn. I can't wait to read the next in this series.”