div#ContactForm1 { display: none !important; }

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

This Week 4 Years Ago...

Prior to becoming an author, my past life involved working with offenders in a male prison. Last week marked four years since I left the service. 

I wrote about some of my many experiences for Refinery29 - you can read it HERE

Part of me misses the job, but I'm now settled into life as an author and wouldn't change that. The experiences I had will always be a mix of happy, sad, challenging, rewarding, frustrating and exciting and I will put them to good use in my writing!

Since leaving the prison, I've had four short stories published, written four novels, two of which have now been published, and the third will be published next year - and I've been faced with new, totally different challenges. I couldn't have predicted where my life would go four years ago - I took a leap of faith and thankfully, it worked out well.

It's very strange rereading my first blog post four years ago about my new start and new career! You can read it HERE

The final words in that blog post were: "I don't know how it will end, I just want to enjoy the ride." And I think that's exactly how it should be.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Top 5 Books to Read on a Winter's Night!

First appeared on laurapatriciarose.co.uk

My top books to read on a dark winter’s night

There’s nothing quite like snuggling up on the sofa with a good book. Even better when it’s a cold, wintry night – adding further atmosphere to a creepy read or some extra chills to a thriller.  I’ve come up with a list of five novels I’d recommend for the winter months ahead.
Grab a hot chocolate and a cosy blanket J

1-    The Ice Twins – S K Tremayne
I finished reading this book very early one dark morning, the wind whistling down the chimney, the rain pelting against the window. It was brilliant! Couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions to accompany me in this creepy journey. Following the death of one of their twin girls, a family move to an isolated house on a tiny Scottish island. But being trapped with an extremely unsettling twin – whose identity might be the one who lived, or the one who died, we’re not sure – was chilling! A tense, haunting story that left me with goose bumps.

2-    Dark Matter – Michelle Paver

Again, the claustrophobic atmosphere created in this novel is perfect. An old-fashioned ghost story and told through journal entries, this haunting tale is set in 1937 in the deep arctic and follows Jack on an expedition. But, one by one, his companions leave, until he’s left alone in the endless dark of winter. The journal entries get more and more disturbing; his terror becomes ours. Is it cabin fever, or is there really something outside in the darkness? One to cause shudders!

3-    The House on Cold Hill – Peter James
Now, who doesn’t like a good haunting? The opening chapter drew me right in, and by the end of it I was stunned - the ‘oh, wow, wasn’t expecting that!’ reaction remained for a while.
A few days after moving from town to countryside, the Harcourt family realise they are not the only occupants of Cold Hill House. Hauntings that become more malevolent and a house that has a dark history makes this novel perfect for a cold evening. I love the creepiness of the writing – the way it caused me to literally go cold at some points and left my mouth gaping! Great stuff.

4-    Never Alone – Elizabeth Haynes

Another isolated house and terrible weather conditions create a tense read in Elizabeth’s latest novel. Widowed Sarah lives with just her two dogs – her children having left for university. To help financially, she rents the cottage in her grounds to the mysterious Aiden – an old acquaintance who turns up and needs temporary accommodation. They rekindle their old relationship and Sarah feels happier than she has for a while – but is Aiden all he seems? With Will, an old friend of her son’s, also making regular appearances to check up on Sarah, we are left questioning the motives of both men. And when Sarah’s best friend goes missing, things take a dramatic turn.

5-    Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
Although I enjoyed Gillian’s Gone Girl, this novel had more of an edge for me. Libby was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in their house in what appeared to be a satanic sacrifice. Survivor Libby testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years on, Libby is contacted by the Kill Club – a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes, who believe Ben is innocent. And so, a search for the truth of what happened that tragic night, begins. The horrific deaths of members of Libby’s family, the slow reveal of who, why and how, make this a truly unsettling story.

If anyone has got any other recommendations for a fab dark, unsettling read I can add to the list, please do leave a comment!

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!