div#ContactForm1 { display: none !important; }

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Facebook Live Author Chat

On Friday I travelled to London to the HarperCollins tower to have a chat with debut author, Caroline England. No ordinary chat, this was going to be for a live Facebook feed! I was so nervous. But it ended up being quite relaxed and fun, and Caroline was great! I thoroughly enjoyed talking about our books, writing, and also answering questions, some of which were asked live during the event.

Our books lined up!

A big thank you to Avon and HarperCollins for organising the event, and a massive thank you to those who tuned in to listen to Caroline and I talk, and for asking questions. If you missed it, you can still watch it on Avon Books UK and HarperCollins Facebook pages - follow this link:
Video Link

Here are some pics from our day:


The  stunning view over London from HarperCollins  

HarperCollins tower, right next to The Shard

Finishing the day with some prosecco!

Caroline's debut domestic noir novel, Beneath The Skin has been likened to Cold Feet. You can get it for a mere 99p HERE

Bad Sister is also 99p for a limited time, you can get it HERE

Friday, 10 November 2017

Creating Connie

For today's blog tour post, I'm talking about creating characters - in particular, Connie Summers.
Connie is a psychologist and the lead character in my second novel, BAD SISTER (which is a mere 99p for the ebook at the moment!)


How did Connie come about?

In the few months prior to beginning writing Bad Sister, the central character was already forming in my mind. I knew I wanted a strong, professional woman who’d concentrated on building her career rather than building solid relationships – therefore not marrying and settling down to have a family. However, as well as being a strong character, I wanted to also show her vulnerability – I wanted her to be someone people could relate to on some level. We all have a history, we’ve become who we are due to the experiences we’ve had, so I needed my main character to have had some difficult and challenging things happen in her past, ones that she’s forced to confront in the present. Our experiences shape us, how we see the world – the decisions we make, so I felt it was important to give Connie a reason as to why she chose to work in the criminal justice system. A family tragedy seemed a good way of doing this. Something as traumatic as losing a family member has lasting effects for all involved, and the consequences can be far-reaching; the entire family dynamic can alter. For Connie, this led to her working in forensic psychology, in part to help her understand the experience she and her family went through. But more importantly for Connie, she wanted to do her part in preventing others from enduring such trauma.

When thinking about names, which is a really fun part of writing, I needed one that reflected her personality. I think Connie sounds a strong, no nonsense name. I actually think of Connie from Holby City when I hear the name, and her character is also strong, and she’s career-minded. To balance it out though, I gave my Connie the surname Summers. Sounds soft, conjures images of bright, sunny, happy days. I also wanted her to look striking – so I gave her dark hair in a short bob, and piercing green eyes. This seemed like it could be a look that might make people see her in a certain way – perhaps even intimidating. Again, to contrast this I’ve ensured she comes across as caring, interested in helping people and committed to her job. Of course, her job in the prison isn’t the one that Connie has when we meet her in Bad Sister.


Because I’ve created another problem for Connie.

I love giving life to my characters and there are loads of tips about creating strong protagonists. I also had to think about how to keep Connie interesting as she is going to be in the next novel! But that’s a whole other blog post!

Here are a few of my tips on creating memorable characters:

  • -    Make sure they have a point: by this I mean, why do you want them in this novel? What is their purpose? What story are they telling? They must have an aim, or goal (preferably more than one) - something that is driving them on, therefore pushing the story forwards and keeping the readers wanting to know what’s next.
  • -     Make sure they are interesting: no one wants to read about a dull character in a dead-end job who does very little and is instantly forgettable! Give them a decent backstory, something that will make them feel real.
  • -    Whether you intend your character to be likeable or not, give them some redeeming qualities! Personally, I’m fine with unlikeable characters, but I know a lot of readers aren’t. If they are going to be people you want readers to hate, at least let them have a good quality or two in order to have a bit of balance. 
  • -    You’ll want to put your main character through the mill. Throw lots of problems at them, show them trying and failing to overcome them – but ultimately let them change by the process. They shouldn’t be quite the same person on the final page as they were on the first.

I hope readers enjoy finding out about Connie Summers in Bad Sister – and watch out for her in book three!

Monday, 6 November 2017

How Do Writers Choose Their Settings?

When writing my first novel, Saving Sophie, I never doubted it would be set in Devon - I was born and bred here and can’t see myself ever leaving! I knew I’d also keep it for my further books, and my second, Bad Sister is mainly set in Totnes - a town situated along the River Dart. Devon has so much to offer, and where I live I’m the same distance from the amazing, sweeping moors of Dartmoor as I am to the stunning south Devon coastline. What further inspiration does a writer need?

I will talk about the places I have used in my novels in my next blog post – for now I wanted to share what other authors have done, so I asked a bunch of unsuspecting writers how, and why, they chose the setting for their novels.

*If you click on the author's name you can be whisked to their Amazon author page to check out their novels*

Mason Cross - I set part of my latest in Las Vegas so I could go there on a research trip, but then we moved house instead and I never got to go :'(

Simon Booker - Where better for a crime series than the eerie, weird and wonderful landscape of Dungeness? My heroine, Morgan Vine, lives in a converted railway carriage on a vast shingle beach, surrounded by amazing wildlife, plus a nuclear power station dominating the landscape.

Casey Kelleher - My latest book features the old railway badlands behind Kings Cross station. Set in the 1990's, the area is such a contrast to how Kings Cross is today. A great grit-lit setting.

Anna Mazzola - My second novel is set on the Isle of Skye as it needed to be somewhere where people still believed in fairies and spirits in the 19th century, and also somewhere creepy...

Marnie Riches - The George McKenzie series is set in Amsterdam, partly because I've lived in the Netherlands but mainly because Amsterdam has beauty and sleaze in equal measure. It's a gift of a location for a crime novel. Central America featured in the fourth instalment because I found my trips to Mexico magical. Similarly, I now write about Manchester because it enthralls me with its grit and rough-hewn industrial beauty, even though it's my hometown.

Caroline England - I'm a write-what-you-know type of girl, so predictably I write novels set in locations that are familiar to me. One of my in-the-draw manuscripts is set in Rome, though. I only visited for a day on a cruise. I think that warrants another longer holiday to Italy, don't you?

Beth Lewis - My second novel, Bitter Sun, is set is a small farming town in the American midwest, in the middle of cornfields, in the 1970s. I chose it because the area is so isolated and so big, in a way the UK isn't. The roads are endless and dead straight and the sky seems so much bigger than anywhere else, it's all gold and blue and hazy. The place seems so uniform and empty but there are countless hiding places and areas where kids make their dens and create their own private worlds and so much bubbling under the surface. It's a hugely evocative setting to me.

Caroline Mitchell - My DS Ruby Preston series is set in Shoreditch, London. I grew up in a very small village in Ireland, so the first time I visited London I was totally in awe. I think it's important to choose a setting that you're happy to spend time in, which is why I've chosen London as the setting for my new DI Winter series too. I love carrying out research, whether it be online or visiting for real. I also love the capital's diversity, which makes for very interesting characters.

Guy Bolton - My novel, The Pictures, is set in Hollywood 1939. It's the year best known for the start of WW2 but the movie industry was booming. 1939 was considered the golden year of cinema because of hits like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. But at the same time, whilst some in Hollywood were wealthy, others were struggling to come out of the depression. It was a place of contradictions, or as I wrote "where Sepia and Technicolour play side by side".

Elisabeth Carpenter - I have various locations in my book, 99 Red Balloons. Preston, Germany and Lincoln. I have lived in two of those places. I love living in the north of England; I think it's unusual as a setting as most novels are set in the south. I chose Lincoln even though I've never been, because of its RAF connections (my dad spent a lot of time at RAF Coningsby).

Julia Crouch - Her Husband's Lover was partly written in a flat in Elephant & Castle, overlooking the Heygate Estate as it was being demolished to make way for swanky expensive apartments for City types ('walking distance'). I set the book largely there, because it is about the attempt and failure to erase a past. With each redevelopment, London is continually throwing up its layers of history – in the case of Crossrail, the bodies, quite literally, were uncovered.

Erin Kelly - My new book is set in deepest Suffolk because although asylum-turned-into-luxury-flats that inspired it is in London I needed somewhere rural and wild so that people could plausibly kill each other / scream /bury bodies without being caught on CCTV etc. Also because my mum lives there and it's the only true countryside I know well.

A fascinating insight - thanks to all of the fabulous authors for taking part!

Readers - are there any locations you long to see in a novel?

Friday, 3 November 2017

Competition time!

To celebrate the release of my second psychological thriller, BAD SISTER, published by Avon/HarperCollins - which is at the special price of 99p for a limited time - I'm running a competition for one reader to win a signed paperback copy of my debut novel, SAVING SOPHIE!

To get your hands on it, just share my Facebook post - the pinned one from my Author Page ( HERE ) on your own Facebook page and tag a friend who you think might be interested in my new novel, BAD SISTER.


*This competition is UK only - but there will be an international competition soon, so watch this space!*

If you've already read Bad Sister - thank you! If you would love to help an author out, then please do leave a short review on Amazon! Reviews are so important and I love reading your thoughts on my stories!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

BAD SISTER on offer!

Bad Sister is on offer at a just 99p - cheaper than a coffee!

It's available at this fab price on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and GooglePlay.

I've had some fabulous reviews, you can read some of them on the 'Bad Sister' page on this blog - click HERE for shortcut.

Thank you so much to everyone who has already downloaded it, read it, and reviewed - I'm hugely grateful.

For those who haven't - go on, you know you want to!
Here are the links to buy:





If you've read Bad Sister, it would be fab if you could leave a brief review on Amazon - gaining those precious reviews really helps authors!

Thank you!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

BAD SISTER Blog tour Days 7 and 8

I was delighted that Sharon, from Shaz's Book Blog was part of the Bad Sister blog tour yesterday! 

I wrote a guest post relating to my experience of writing books 1 and 2 - and the differences I found between them. You can read it HERE

Today, Stephanie Rothwell shares her review of Bad Sister - you can read that HERE

Over on Twitter at lunch time, Avon will be asking for your best sibling rivalry stories to celebrate Bad Sister's ebook release - please do share some of your stories! I'm sure there will be some funny ones :) 
Please feel free to join in on Twitter - Avon's page from 12 pm today...

Or share your stories in the comments below!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

DAY 6 of BAD SISTER's blog tour!

Today I am delighted to be on Short Book & Scribes blog with a guest post about switching off from writing.

You can read if, how and when this happens right ... HERE

Elsewhere, you can *WIN* one of THREE proof copies of Bad Sister if you pop along to Twitter! All you have to do is retweet Avon's post to be in with a chance!
Here's the link to make it super easy :


Good luck!

I hope those of you who've read the ebook of Bad Sister have enjoyed it. If you have, please help by leaving a brief review on Amazon - they are SO important to authors!

Thank you!